Graduate Seminars in 2017-18

Graduate Seminars, 2017-18
Comparative Literature, French, and German

The seminars below respond to the needs and interests of students in Comparative Literature as well those students studying in French in Comparative Literature (CLF) or German in Comparative Literature (CLG).  Our students also take seminars from other departments of areas of interest to them such as Classics, English, East Asian Studies, Film and Media Studies, Religious Studies, Spanish and Portuguese, Chicano/a Studies. Global Studies, Feminist Studies, etc.

Fall 2017

CLIT200/FR231B: Spectral Cities: Modernity, History, Post/Memory (from Balzac and Baudelaire to Sebald and Sebbar). In this seminar we will read French and German literary texts and screen movies featuring urban walks and city settings, and dealing with disturbing, violent events of varying scope, from rapid modernization and industrialization to brutal repressions of anticolonial movements as well as major traumatic events such as the Holocaust and the dropping of the first nuclear bomb in Hiroshima. We will combine several critical tools to analyze the work of witnessing, memorialization, and literary testimony as well as the relations between literature, historiography, and Holocaust studies. We will also shed critical light on the current trends in trauma and memory studies, and address the different media (print text, “iconotext,” fixed image, moving image) in which the work of memory is being carried out. See syllabus in download area below.
Instructor: Catherine Nesci, Professor of French and Comparative Literature

CLIT260: Literary Translation: Theory and Practice Examination of translation and the canon, questioning the hierarchical division between translation and original, illustrating the concept of the original as translation and the literary text as "work-in-progress" in which translation forms part of the creative process.
Instructor: Jon Snyder, Professor of Italian Studies and Comparative Literature

Winter 2018

CLIT 220: Cognitive Approaches to World Literature. This seminar introduces students to key contemporary theories of world literature along with recently formulated ideas of human identity in neuro-cognitive sciences. It provides an opportunity to engage in detailed study of the some of the more significant developments in contemporary discourse of mind/brain and to address the connections between the world literary archive and the human mind. See syllabus in download area below.
Instructors: Professors Dominique Jullien (French and Italian) & Sowon Park (English)

CLIT249: Music and Literature Since antiquity, verbal and musical arts have always been in touch, related to each other through intense exchanges and cooperations: the poet as a singer of “cantos,” the importance of formal rules like repetition, reflection, and variation; the effects of sound and rhythm which do not seem to have clear semantic references, but still are “meaning something” to us, just to name a few examples. In order to observe and discuss the aesthetic differences and similarities of these two “neighbor arts,” the seminar will focus on four historical paradigms of music that have gained rich attention in literature: (1) J. S. Bach and the art of counterpoint: here we will examine novels by Thomas Bernhard (Der Untergeher/The Loser) and Richard Powers (The Gold Bug Variations); (2) the Viennese classics Mozart and Beethoven, seen through descriptions by E. T. A. Hoffmann (Don Juan) and Thomas Mann (Dr. Faustus); (3) the narrative voice in romantic songs (Schubert: Winterreise/Winter Journey) and (4) music in the age of politics (with selected chapters from William T. Vollmann’s Europe Centrale and with Julian Barnes’s The Noise of time, dedicated to Dmitry Shostakovich. See syllabus in download area below.
Instructor: Professor Alexander Honold (Basel University), Kade Visiting Professor