Graduate Seminars 2014-15

Here are some graduate seminars you can take. Check the web sites of other departments for areas of interest to you, and work out your schedule with the Director of Graduate Studies prior to meeting with her. It is best to identify several possibilities in regards to your scholarly interests and fields examinations.
The following CLIT seminars count toward the Graduate Emphasis in Global Studies: CLIT210, with Prof. Nesci (Fall 2014), CLIT 260, with Prof. Levine (Winter 2015); CLIT 253 with Prof. Kittler (WInter 2015); CLIT 200/French228G with Prof. Jehan (Spring 2015). The following CLIT seminars count toward the Graduate Emphasis in Translation Studies: CLIT210, with Prof. Nesci (Fall 2014);  CLIT 260, with Prof. Levine (Winter 2015); and by petition CLIT 265 with Prof. Skenazi (Winter 2015); and CLIT 200/FR226C with Prof. Enders (Spring 2015).                                                                                                     

Spring 2015


CLIT 200/French 226C: Rhetoric, Literature, and Performance in the Past made Present Prof. Jody Enders Wednesday 3:00-5:50pm, Phelps 6206C
Please see attached description in download area below.

C LIT 200/French 228G: Enlightenment and Contemporary Cosmopolitanism Prof. Aude Jehan Tuesday 3:00-5:50pm, Phelps 6206C
There is no period of history that has been more analyzed, debated, celebrated and disparaged than the Enlightenment. Unlike, say, the Renaissance or the Reformation, the Enlightenment helped shape much of the political and moral foundations of the modern world and its contemporary debates. Nevertheless, over the past decade, traditional accounts of the Enlightenment have been challenged by historian Jonathan Israel in his outstanding trilogy Radical Enlightenment, Enlightenment Contested, and Democratic Enlightenment. Building on Enlightenment’s achievements, the seminar will focus on contemporary ideas of cosmopolitanism, freedom and democracy. We will discuss contemporary critical theories, such as Anthony Pagden's The Enlightenment - And Why It Matters and Jonathan Israel’s controversial thesis. The seminar will address questions such as: was Hobbes’s account of human nature as marginal to subsequent thought as Pagden suggests? Was the idea of sentiment really the motor of Enlightenment cosmopolitanism? Are the UN and the EU the best expressions of contemporary cosmopolitanism? Does democracy matter in cosmopolitanism? Sessions of enhancement in French will be offered.

CLIT 253/CLIT198H: Techno Theory Prof. Wolf Kittler Monday 3:00-5:50pm, Phelps 6206C
This seminar will deal with coding and timing of transmission media from antiquity to the present. There will be five different sections based on philosophical, literary, and technical documents (downloaded to Gauchospace). Additional material including animated simulations of various telecommunication systems will be shown in class. The five sections include: 1. Writing: The Alphabet; 2. Telegraphy 1: Beacons; 3. Telegraphy 2: Electricity; 4. Telegraphy 3: Electromagnetism; 5. Computing: Digital Data Processing.
For the list of the full document see document in the download area below.

Winter 2015


CLIT 236: Media History Theory Prof. W. Hagen, Kade Professor Monday 3:00-5:50pm, Phelps 6320
This will be a seminar in both philosophy (in particular, aesthetics or epistemology) and media history (in particular, the history of the theory of photography). We will be concerned with a variety of interrelated and overlapping theoretical questions that arise in connection with the present, i.e. digital photography. Our guiding questions will be: What is a photograph today, and how has it changed in the transition from the analogue world to digital networks? See the more detailed description on the download area below.

Comparative Literature 260: Translation Studies Prof. Jill Levine Wednesday, 3:00-5:50pm, Phelps 6320
We will study central issues of translation studies including  translation as a domesticating or foreignizing practice; the original  as "work-in-progress"; the history of diverse cultural  /national/diachronic historical views toward translation; the  challenge of transculturality: transposing colloquial speech, regional  and cultural allusions, language-bound poetic forms; ideological  perspectives on appropriation and reception.

CLIT 265/CLIT198H/FR198: Renaissance Literature Prof. Cynthia Skenazi Thursday, 1:00-3:50pm, Phelps 5313
Our focus will be on the rise of the individual in the Renaissance.  How did cultural and intellectual achievements transform the concept of human being?  Texts by Petrarch, Boccaccio, Erasmus, More, Rabelais, Machiavelli, Montaigne, Cervantes, and Graciàn will be analyzed in the religious, political, and social tensions of the time.  Theoretical works on the notion of the "Renaissance" and on the concept of the "individual" will include readings by Jacob Burckhardt, Michel Foucault, Stephen Greenblatt, Paul O. Kristeller, Erwin Panofsky, and Paul Ricoeur.                                                                                                                

Fall 2014


CLIT200/FR229F/CLIT198H: Reading Proust Prof. Dominique Jullien Tuesday: 3:30-6:20pm, Phelps 5313
In the works of Proust, Woolf, and Borges, depiction of mental states, cognitive processes and emotional experience, seems to anticipate on an intuitive level what modern cognitive science is only beginning to verify as our knowledge of brain function develops. Traditional notions of selfhood are radically uprooted and reframed both in fiction and psychology. Proust's analysis of habit parallels William James's; James's stream of consciousness conception comes alive in Woolf's late novels; Bergson's ideas on time and memory find echoes in the Proustian novel of recollection; Mrs. Dalloway offers a metaphorical counterpart to Freud's trauma theories. At the other end of the century, Borges's fictions take views of the self and cognitive processes to fantastic extremes. Issues explored in this seminar include: memory & oblivion, the ethics & aesthetics of habit, memory & the fantastic, involuntary & unconscious memory, memory & trauma, metaphor & understanding, epiphanies of the mind, deductive reasoning & detective fiction logic, creativity & everyday experience, stream of consciousness, dream & sleep, individual & collective memory.                                

CLIT 210. Proseminar in Comparative Literature
Prof. Catherine Nesci
Wednesday: 9:00-11:50pm, Phelps 6206
Ali Behdad and Dominic Thomas recently (re)defined Comparative Literature as an “inter-disciplinary, cross-cultural, and trans-national endeavor.”  What does it mean to read and study literatures and cultures from comparative perspectives, across geographical and linguistic boundaries, through historical periods/layers, along other print or visual media? In this pro-seminar in Comparative Literature, we will pursue this multi-pronged question and address comparative literature as an evolving discipline (or indiscipline), from the early nineteenth century to the present.  Using The Princeton Sourcebook in Comparative Literature and The Routledge Companion to World Literature, we will read essays and theoretical works that have shaped and are currently reshaping “comparative literature” and “world literature” from Western as well as non-Western vantage points. Essays in contemporary critical theory will help us frame our discussions on the tools and goals of comparative literary studies. We will read reports on the state of the discipline from the American Comparative Literature Association and will examine issues pertaining to world literatures and to the material conditions and interpretive practices of literary inquiries in the age of globalization. Check the syllabus in the download box below.

CLIT/English 236: "Digital Humanities - Introduction to the Field"
Prof. Alan Liu
, Tuesday: 12:30-3:00pm, South Hall 2617
In recent years, the digital humanities field ("DH") has reached a critical mass of participants, publications, conferences, institutional programs, job calls, critical discourse, and general visibility.  This course provides a graduate-level introduction to the field.  The course introduces major types of digital humanities work and central topics and controversies.  It asks students to develop project ideas and public visibility in their intended professional field in its relation to the digital humanities.  Major topics include: the emergence of the digital humanities and the relation of DH to the humanities in general; the logic of text encoding (with some attention to relational databases); methods of text analysis (including quantitative analysis, topic modeling, and social network analysis); deep space and time in the digital humanities (visualization, mapping, archival theory, and media archaeology); "algorithmic criticism" and "deformance" theory; and "critical digital humanities" (including controversies about the field's relation to "theory" and "cultural criticism").  A key aspect of the course is the balance it seeks between ideas and technology.  Far-reaching ideas from both the human past and present are reexamined from a technological perspective, and--just as important--vice versa.  The focal question for the first class, for example, is "What kind of 'human' subject do the digital humanities speak from, to, for?"  And the focal question for one of the last classes is "How can the digital humanities contribute to the humanities in helping human beings understand other ways of 'understanding' and of being 'human'?"