300 Level Courses

 

Auden and Kierkegaard: The Aesthetic, The Ethical, and the Religious

 

Course Number: LIT 3049

CRN Number: 90321

Class cap: 15

Credits: 4

 

Professor:

Matthew Mutter

 

Schedule/Location:

 Tue      3:10 PM5:30 PM Olin 307

 

Distributional Area:

LA Literary Analysis in English  

Crosslists: Written Arts

The vocation of the artist, says Caliban to the audience in W.H. Auden’s “The Sea and the Mirror,” is to represent “your condition of estrangement from the truth” and make you “unforgettably conscious” of the “gap between what you so questionably are and what you are commanded without any question to become.” Yet the danger of art, he continues, is that it may “strengthen your delusion that an awareness of the gap is in itself a bridge, your interest in your imprisonment a release.” When the “noble despair of the poets” elicits the cry, ‘Miserable, wicked me, / How interesting I am!’, the reader is tempted to evade the “tasks of time.” Auden’s meditations on poetry and selfhood were deeply shaped by the poet-philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, for whom subjectivity evolved with three “spheres of existence”: the aesthetic, the ethical and the religious. This course will trace the contours of these spheres by reading deeply in Kierkegaard’s writings while exploring the trajectory of Auden’s poetic career. We will immerse ourselves in the intellectual and political cultures that shaped Auden’s poetry – Marxism and psychoanalytical theory, the Spanish Civil War, World War II – and explore why he saw Kierkegaard as an indispensable guide to an “age of anxiety.” We will be particularly interested in both writers’ conviction that “the comic” was an essential element of the spiritual life. Throughout the semester we will remain attentive to the distinctiveness of each writer’s poetic voice: for Kierkegaard, to the use of pseudonyms and the play of irony; for Auden, to his early, difficult idioms, his ambition to compose a viable public poetry, and his mastery of a wide range of English verse forms. This poetry seminar fulfils one of the two poetry requirements for students intending to moderate into the Written Arts.

 

Choose Your Own Adventure: Doing Research in Literary Studies

 

Course Number: LIT 3130

CRN Number: 90322

Class cap: 15

Credits: 4

 

Professor:

Adhaar Desai

 

Schedule/Location:

Mon       3:10 PM5:30 PM Olin 309

 

Distributional Area:

LA Literary Analysis in English  

Designed especially for post-moderation Literature students, this course offers an opportunity to deepen your knowledge about a topic in literary studies of your own choosing. Have you taken an inspiring course and wish to read more texts in that area? Are you interested in a specific writer, time-period, theoretical approach, literary tradition, genre, or medium and want a semester to spend more time with it? This course will ask you to develop your own reading list for the semester in consultation with faculty members with the goal of developing a strong foundation for your Senior Project. Interested in medieval poetry? Kafka? Experimental poetics? Afrofuturism? Queer theory? Graphic novels? Autofiction? Design your own syllabus (with some help!) so that you can get familiar with the important texts and critical conversations related to your academic interests. Students in this course will learn about the history and methods of Literature as a discipline, and each week the class will convene to discuss and practice different elements of research: design a research agenda, engage with secondary criticism, situate yourself in a critical or theoretical conversation, make use of the library’s resources, find archival materials, use citation and annotation software, and share your findings with your peers. Coursework will involve compiling a reading list (and reading it!), developing annotated bibliographies, writing a SPROJ proposal, and engaging with the cutting-edge work of literary scholars, including professors at Bard and of current and former Bard students. This course is a Junior Seminar course offering.

 

Geographies of Unease

 

Course Number: LIT 3139

CRN Number: 90331

Class cap: 15

Credits: 4

 

Professor:

Marina van Zuylen

 

Schedule/Location:

    Fri   12:30 PM2:50 PM Olin Languages Center 118

 

Distributional Area:

LA Literary Analysis in English D+J Difference and Justice

 

Crosslists: French Studies; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Human Rights

How do we acquire cultural and social capital?  What are the subtle mechanisms by which symbolic power is transferred? The books we read, the tastes we acquire, and the ambitions we hold make us into insiders or outcasts, depending on where we stand.  Do social structures inevitably reproduce themselves or can we ever hope to start over? Using literary and philosophical texts, this class will explore the tenuous process of passing from one condition to another.  Whether this integrative process involves race, country, sexuality, gender, or socio-economics, it explodes the notion of a stable and unchanging self and focuses on border zones of culture and being.  We will explore the threatening and liberating resonances of hybrid states and deterritorialized sensibility. Double-consciousness (W.E.B. Du Bois), double temporality (Spinoza), and double diaspora are some terms that will help us study the pain and loss involved in the plasticity of self, in the broken and rebuilt habits at the heart of our desire to be accepted. Readings from Bourdieu, Rancière, Larsen, W. D. Howells, Ernaux, Foucault, Eribon, Glissant, Fanon, Rankine.

 

The Essays of Hannah Arendt

 

Course Number: LIT 318

CRN Number: 90323

Class cap: 15

Credits: 4

 

Professor:

Thomas Wild

 

Schedule/Location:

 Tue      3:10 PM5:30 PM Olin Languages Center 208

 

Distributional Area:

LA Literary Analysis in English  

 

Crosslists: German Studies; Human Rights; Philosophy; Politics

Asked what her most important book was, Hannah Arendt responded: “Between Past and Future”– a collection of essays. This may come as a surprise. The clue is manifest in her subtitle: ’Exercises’ in Political Thought suggests the French word “essayer” meaning roughly “to try out”, “to experiment” and, here, also to exercise, to practice. Hannah Arendt’s essays practice an imaginative, provocative, dialogical mode which informs her thinking and writing in general.      We will closely read Arendt’s essay collections Between Past and Future (which critically revisits political and philosophical terms such as freedom, authority, power, tradition, truth and politics) as well as Men in Dark Times (which profiles poetic thinkers such as Walter Benjamin, Bertolt Brecht, and Rosa Luxemburg who are, like Martin Heidegger and W.H. Auden, also interlocutors of Arendt’s work). In addition, we will discuss crucial individual essays from across Arendt’s lifetime (e.g., We Refugees, On Violence, Thinking and Moral Considerations) and compare thematic and stylistic correspondences to some of her ‘big books’ (e.g., on Totalitarianism, Human Condition, Banality of Evil). Last but not least, our course will conceptually reflect on the “essay” by engaging with authors formative for this genre. Students will be invited to investigate Arendt’s personal library (preserved at Bard College) to scrutinize the traces of her interaction – in reading, a pencil at the ready – with essayists like Montaigne, Nietzsche, Emerson, and others. Assignments will welcome a diverse range of analytical, imaginative, creative formats. Enrollment:  15

 

The Tragic Heroine in the Western Imagination

 

Course Number: LIT 3217

CRN Number: 90325

Class cap: 22

Credits: 4

 

Professor:

Daniel Mendelsohn       

 

Schedule/Location:

Mon  Wed     1:30 PM2:50 PM Olin 205

 

Distributional Area:

LA Literary Analysis in English  

 

Crosslists: Classical Studies; Theater and Performance

The figure of the tragic heroine—suffering, abject, grandiose, vengeful, self-sacrificing, murderous, noble, alluring—has gripped the Western imagination for nearly thirty centuries, from the Homeric epics to 20th century theater, and raises a question that remains a compelling one today: Why do male authors focus so consistently on the representation of suffering females—often for the benefit of male audiences?  Through a series of close readings of representative texts (classical, medieval, Renaissance, Neo-Classical, Enlightenment, 19th and 20th century) in a number of genres (epic, tragedy, lyric, fiction, opera), this course will seek to explore the aesthetic nature and ideological roots of this cultural preoccupation. Close readings of texts will be accompanied by readings in theoretical materials and secondary scholarship, (Cathérine Clément’s Opera, or the Undoing of Women, Camille Paglia’s Vamps and Tramps, Wayne Koestenbaum’s The Queen’s Throat). Weekly showing of films will also be considered required material.  Requirements: midterm exam; midterm paper (6 pp); final exam; final paper (10-12 pp).  This course is a Pre-1800 and World Literature Course offering.

 

Dramatic Difference: Russia and Its Theater

 

Course Number: LIT 330

CRN Number: 90320

Class cap: 15

Credits: 4

 

Professor:

Marina Kostalevsky

 

Schedule/Location:

 Tue  Thurs    1:30 PM2:50 PM Olin 309

 

Distributional Area:

FL Foreign Languages and Lit  

 

Crosslists: Russian and Eurasian Studies; Theater and Performance

This course will examine the evolution of Russian dramaturgy in connection with parallel developments in both literature and theater. It will offer students an opportunity to explore various aspects of Russian culture by discussing the specifics of Russian Drama. Special attention with be given to issues of genre and style, tradition and innovation, criticism and theory. Readings include plays by Fonvizin, Griboedov, Gogol, Pushkin, Ostrovsky, Chekhov, Bulgakov, Mayakovsky, Erdman, and Petrushevskaia, as well as theoretical texts by Stanislavsky, Meyerhold, and Mikhail Chekhov. Also, the students will have a chance to see some productions of Russian plays on screen and on stage. Conducted in English.

 

Solidarity with the Nonhuman: Poetry as Coexistence

 

Course Number: LIT 3330

CRN Number: 90332

Class cap: 15

Credits: 4

 

Professor:

Cole Heinowitz

 

Schedule/Location:

Mon       12:30 PM2:50 PM  Bard Chapel

 

Distributional Area:

LA Literary Analysis in English  

Crosslists: Written Arts

How do you write about what you do not, and cannot, rationally know? How can poetry address the presence of the nonhuman in the world and in ourselves? What kind of psychic and political orientation emerges from the acknowledgment that no rigid, stable boundary separates humans from other organisms and objects—that human existence is necessarily a coexistence with the nonhuman? Around the time of the Industrial Revolution, these questions became a focal point for innovative thinking about poetics; since that time, their urgency has only intensified. Our study in this course charts the compositional practices (e.g. attunement, dictation, and somatics) by which experimental writers from the eighteenth century to the present have approached and sought to encounter the nonhuman in language. Readings will include works by Diderot, Edward Young, Goethe, Coleridge, Percy Shelley, Gerard Manley Hopkins, John Ruskin, Yeats, H.D., Muriel Rukeyser, Jack Spicer, Alejandra Pizarnik, Hannah Weiner, and C.A. Conrad.

 

Extinction: Loss and Futurity in American Literature

 

Course Number: LIT 336

CRN Number: 90327

Class cap: 15

Credits: 4

 

Professor:

Alex Benson

 

Schedule/Location:

   Tue    6:00 PM – 9:00 PM Olin 305

 

Distributional Area:

LA Literary Analysis in English D+J Difference and Justice

 

Crosslists: American Studies; Environmental & Urban Studies

The concept of extinction is central to how we talk about precarity and change across many spaces: biological, cultural, linguistic, even technological. This hasn’t always been the case. Only after fossil discoveries made during the Industrial Revolution did the idea of extinction begin to gain the traction it has today. This course looks at this idea’s evolution through the lens of American literary history. How, we’ll ask, have shifting concerns about the disappearance of species or cultures been reflected across fiction, poetry, and film? How, in turn, have writers and other artists reimagined these concerns—and to what ends, whether aesthetic or political? Exploring such questions, what we’ll hope to gain is not only a historical sense of the exchange between ecological thought and literary art. It’s also a set of analytical tools with which to actively engage (i.e., not merely be overwhelmed by) representations of extinction in the media environments of our everyday life. Ranging from the American Romantics to contemporary science fiction and poetry, course texts will likely include work by Octavia Butler, W. E. B. Du Bois, Emily Dickinson, Joy Harjo, Ursula K. LeGuin, Denise Levertov, Herman Melville, N. Scott Momaday, and Ed Roberson. This course is cross-listed with the MAT program for 4+1 students in Literature.

 

Playing in the Dark: Toni Morrison’s Literary Imagination

 

Course Number: LIT 356

CRN Number: 90329

Class cap: 15

Credits: 4

 

Professor:

Peter L’Official

 

Schedule/Location:

   Thurs    12:30 PM2:50 PM Olin 306

 

Distributional Area:

LA Literary Analysis in English  

 

Crosslists: Africana Studies; American Studies

“How is ‘literary whiteness’ and ‘literary blackness’ made? What happens to the writerly imagination of a black author who is at some level always conscious of representing one’s own race to, or in spite of, a race of readers that understands itself to be “universal” or race free?” This course takes Toni Morrison’s book-length 1992 essay, Playing in the Dark (the above quotes are drawn from its Preface), as inspiration for an exploration of not only Morrison’s own fiction, non-fiction, and work as a literary editor at Random House, but also how to read—and read critically–within the fields of American and African American literature. We will read Morrison’s work (and that of her contemporaries, predecessors, critics, and scholars) in order to examine issues of race and ethnicity, gender, language, identity, and technique, and we will attempt to ask and answer versions of these very same opening questions that Morrison herself leveled at American fiction. This is a Literature Junior Seminar, and as such we will devote substantial time to methods of research, writing, and revision. This course is a Literature Junior Seminar and fulfills the American Studies Junior Seminar requirement.

 

Romance and Realism: Italian Cinema from the Silent Screen to the Internet Age

 

Course Number: LIT 366

CRN Number: 90330

Class cap: 15

Credits: 4

 

Professor:

Joseph Luzzi

 

Schedule/Location:

Mon       12:30 PM2:50 PM Olin 305

 

Distributional Area:

FL Foreign Languages and Lit  

 

Crosslists: Film and Electronic Arts; Italian Studies

The phrase rifare l’Italia (remake Italy) was a refrain for many of the Italian filmmakers of the 1940s and 1950s who created works that dealt in some way with their nation’s struggle to rebuild itself after two decades of Fascism and years of world (and civil) war. In particular, the famous postwar cinematic movement Neorealism revolutionized filmmaking by employing documentary-style techniques to address the pressing sociopolitical issues of the day. A focus of this course on the history of Italian film will be the works and legacies of the vaunted Neorealist movement, whose directors (Roberto Rossellini, Vittorio De Sica, Luchino Visconti) trained or influenced a generation of the so-called auteur filmmakers (Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Pier Paolo Pasolini). We will also study the richly interdisciplinary realm of the silent film era as well as the major recent Italian directors who continue to produce “art cinema” in the tradition of the Neorealist and auteur masters. All course work/readings in English; films with English subtitles.

 

Senior Colloquium

 

Literature Senior Colloquium I

 

Course Number: LIT 405

CRN Number: 90333

Class cap: 30

Credits: 1

 

Professor:

Alex Benson

 

Schedule/Location:

Mon       5:10 PM6:30 PM Olin Languages Center 115

 

Distributional Area:

LA Literary Analysis in English  

 (To be taken concurrently with LIT 401) Senior Colloquium is the capstone course in the Literature curriculum and, along with the Senior Project, represents the culmination of your work in the major. The course has several interrelated goals: 1) to facilitate and support every stage of your work on the Senior Project; 2) to develop ways of sharing that work and constructively exchanging ideas with fellow colloquium members as well as other Literature students and faculty; 3) to actively engage with related intellectual and artistic events (such as readings, panel discussions, and lectures) in ways that connect your work on the Senior Project with the work of prominent scholars and writers; 4) to cultivate an honest, self-reflective relationship toward your own scholarship, thinking, and writing; and 5) to document your research in a way that is generous toward future readers and writers.

 

Literature Senior Colloquium II

 

Course Number: LIT 406

CRN Number: 90334

Class cap: 10

Credits: 1

 

Professor:

Alex Benson

 

Schedule/Location:

Mon       3:30 PM4:50 PM Olin Languages Center 118

 

Distributional Area:

LA Literary Analysis in English  

 (To be taken concurrently with LIT 402) Senior Colloquium is the capstone course in the Literature curriculum and, along with the Senior Project, represents the culmination of your work in the major. The course has several interrelated goals: 1) to facilitate and support every stage of your work on the Senior Project; 2) to develop ways of sharing that work and constructively exchanging ideas with fellow colloquium members as well as other Literature students and faculty; 3) to actively engage with related intellectual and artistic events (such as readings, panel discussions, and lectures) in ways that connect your work on the Senior Project with the work of prominent scholars and writers; 4) to cultivate an honest, self-reflective relationship toward your own scholarship, thinking, and writing; and 5) to document your research in a way that is generous toward future readers and writers.

 

Cross-listed courses:


 

Solidarity as Worldmaking

 

Course Number: MES 301

CRN Number: 90324

Class cap: 15

Credits: 4

 

Professor:

Dina Ramadan

 

Schedule/Location:

  Wed     3:30 PM5:50 PM Olin Languages Center 206

 

Distributional Area:

MBV Meaning Being and Value  D+J Difference and Justice

 

Crosslists: Africana Studies; Architecture; Human Rights; Literature

 

The Contemporary Poetic Sequence

 

Course Number: WRIT 365

CRN Number: 90528

Class cap: 12

Credits: 4

 

Professor:

Ann Lauterbach

 

Schedule/Location:

 Tue     12:30 PM2:50 PM Olin 307

 

Distributional Area:

PA Practicing Arts D+J Difference and Justice

 

Crosslists: Literature