Winter 2018

Comparative Literature Winter 2018 Course Offerings

C LIT 30A. European Literature, from the Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages [GE: E, G, EUR, WRT]
Instructor: Elizabeth Macarthur  T/R 9:30-10:45, CHEM 1179
An introduction to Western literary productions from the beginning of classical antiquity to the end of the Middle Ages, with emphasis on the comparative study of works by genre (heroic epic, romance, drama, and visionary literature).  Lectures will provide an introduction to the cultural background that produced these masterpieces as well as a close reading of the texts, offering students an understanding both of literary themes and techniques, and of religious and political commitments. 1) Students who read the texts will become acquainted with a number of works which are canonical in the sense that they have played a decisive role in the history and culture of Western Europe and which are still worth studying in our global world today. 2) Students who follow the lectures will learn about the material, political, and intellectual conditions under which these works were produced. They will be shown a way to derive general concepts from close readings of selected documents. 3) And they will be given the opportunity to probe their analytical skills by expressing their own ideas in a research paper at the end of the course.

C LIT 35 / GER 35. The Making of the Modern World: Village and Globe [GE: E, WRT]
Instructor: Alexander Honold T/R 3:30-4:45, BIOEN 1001
Description and analysis of decisive events contributing to the world we are inhabiting. Various themes presented: City planning, war and industrial warfare, technology and media-technology, ideologies of modernity, and modern master theories.

C LIT 36. Global Humanities [GE: WRT, WC]
Instructor: Elisabeth Weber T/R, 8:00am-9:15am, BIOEN 1001
What do literature, philosophy, and critical theory contribute to the practice of and reflection on human rights and to the analysis of their violation? Do such textual practices have the ability to reframe the debate on human rights? Can fiction serve as a social force? This class will address the fundamentally literary structure of testimony by exploring works of fiction that treat various human rights violations. The literary texts will be accompanied by historical and philosophical reflections. The course will focus on human rights violations that have a direct connection to US history (slavery, genocide of Native peoples), and/or have a direct connection to US domestic or foreign politics (immigration; “war on terror,” use of torture).
Students will 1) acquire a basic understanding of the literary structure of testimony; 2) practice a variety of methods and theories for the interpretation of literary texts; 3) articulate subtle literary scholarship, critical thinking, analytical skills and sensitivity to cultural diversity; 4) learn about different cultural experiences outside of the dominant European-American tradition; 5) reflect critically on their own cultures through an understanding of the cultural experiences of others; 6) improve skills for writing analytical essays on literatures

C LIT 100. Introduction to Comparative Literature [GE: G, WRT]
Instructor: Catherine Nesci T/R, 5:00pm-6:15pm, Phelps 2524
This introductory course focuses on comparative literature as an “inter-disciplinary, cross-cultural, and trans-national endeavor" (Ali Behdad, and Dominic Thomas). In four thematic modules centered on various literary genres and thematic lines, we will examine texts that refer to other texts across centuries and past literary traditions or texts that dialogue with other texts of their own times. Our first module will be the modern poetry of the city. Second, we will turn to revisions of masterpieces of Western literature and focus on Aimé Césaire’s A Tempest, a postcolonial, Caribbean re-imagining of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Our third module will examine the retelling of descents into hell and creative rewritings of Homer, Virgil and Dante in contemporary poetry, fiction and film, including Primo Levi's If This is a Man. Last, we will study an early example of world literature and cultural globalization, The Arabian Nights and will analyze modern, postmodern and postcolonial rewritings of The Nights. Along the way, we will read across literary genres and revisit their embodiments across various geographical locations and national traditions, in North-South and East-West axes.Course objectices include: 1. Acquiring a basic familiarity with the history of the discipline of comparative literature; 2. Exploring issues of translation and transmission in world literature; 3. Practicing a variety of methods and theories for the interpretation of literary texts; 4. Improving our skills for writing analytical essays on literatures.

C LIT 101. Introduction to Literary and Critical Theory
Instructor: Juan Pablo Lupi. M/W 3:30-4:45, Phelps 1448
The purpose of this course is to examine trends of literary and critical theory, both of the past and the contemporary moment.  Within theory lies attempts at framing culture and thought in ways that open it up to questioning and critique, an appeal towards an intellectual coherence that lies beneath superficially disconnected strands of experience.  With that in mind, such theories are themselves subject to examination and questioning, and that is the goal of this class.  Weekly units will cover a wide selection of literary and critical theory: foundations such as phenomenology and structuralism, cutting edge approaches in the form of non-philosophy and object oriented ontology, and the contemporary pertinence of Marxist, postcolonial, and feminist critique.

C LIT 103 / ENGL 128EN: Going Postal: Epistolary Narratives [GE: G, WRT]
Instructor: E.H. Cook T/R 12:30-1:45, Girvetz 2115
Investigates reappearance of the letter-novel at particular historical moments, and paradoxes built into the letter-form itself. Range of works emphasizing eighteenth- and later twentieth-century novels, likely works by Austen, Goethe, Hoffman, James, Montesquieu, Choderlos de Laclos, Lydia Davis, Pynchon.

C LIT 126 / BLST 126. Comparative Black Literature [GE: G, WRT, WC]
Instructor: Jude Akudinobi  T/R, 8:00 am-9:15 am, Girvetz 2128
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Using a social constructionist approach to race, this course examines the multiple ways in which racial discourses operate in global literary cultures. It emphasizes that blackness need not be a homogeneous concept in order to continue to be a powerful agent in the postmodern world. In this course, students will: 1. Demonstrate knowledge of formal elements like plot, characterization, theme, language, symbol, structure, point-of-view, allegory, and myth in selected and relevant works, in class discussions and assignments; 2. Establish astute connections between certain historical, social, political, cultural contexts, literary traditions, genres, and the creative dynamics as well as thematic trajectories they engender; 3. Articulate subtle literary scholarship, critical thinking, analytical skills, writing proficiency, and sensitivity to cultural diversity through designated and relevant literary works from across the Black diaspora.
 

C LIT 133 / ENGL 133TL. Transpacific Literature [GE: G, WRT]
Instructor: Yunte Huang M/W 9:30-10:45, Girvetz 2128
Looks at the Pacific as the primary location for literary and historical imagination since the Age of Exploration. Studies the crisscross, transpacific field of inscriptions ranging from Captain Cook to Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Jack London, and Maxine Hong Kingston.

C LIT 148. Creative Chaos
Instructor: Christina Vagt M/W 2-3:15 pm, Phelps 1444
Chaos: is it primordial mahem and confusion? Or does chaos permit the possibility of form and creativity? Course explores the order and disorder of chaos within literary, scientific, and philosophical narratives. From Hesiod and Ovid through Norbert Wiener and Alexander Kluge.

C LIT 170. The Art of Translation [GE: G, WRT]
Instructor: S. J. Levine T/R, 2:00pm-3:15 pm, HSSB 2201
The course aims to develop skills in terminology and technologies of translation; it also examines the practical and theoretical issues pertaining to translation as an artistic, cultural, and ethical process. Focus on literary translation as creative research and practice.
The learning outcomes of our Translation Practice are to: 1) promote the acquisition of language skills, the improvement of writing skills as well as the comprehension of translation as an art; 2) and provide a model for the study of literature, in both national and comparative (or world) contexts.
 

C LIT 171 / FR 154G. Post-Colonial Cultures [GE: G, E, WC]
Instructor: Eric Prieto T/R 3:30-4:45 pm, Buchanan 1940
Study of fiction from the Caribbean, West Africa, and the Maghreb. Born of the conflict between and hybridization of widely differing cultural traditions, this course provides insights into the vibrancy of contemporary post-colonial societies, the ongoing legacy of colonialism, and the meaning of multiculturalism.
 

C LIT 184A / RGST 133B. From Superman to Spiegelman: The Jewish Graphic Novel
Instructor: Ofra Amihay T/R 2-3:15 pm, HSSB 3041
This survey of graphic novels by Jewish authors will include selections of early comics, works by American authors such as Eisner, Spiegelman, and Pekar, and Israeli graphic novels. The seminar-style discussions will address varied themes, including identity, gender, trauma and memory.
 

C LIT 186FL. Vegetarianism: Food, Literature, and Philosophy [GE: D, WRT]
Instructor: Renan Larue M/W 3:30-4:45, SH 1431
Veganism is a growing movement that opposes animal suffering and promotes environmental sustainability. More and more people in the US, especially in California, are adopting a plant-based diet. This course will discuss vegetarianism and veganism: their underlying claims, their philosophical roots and history, their treatment in literature and the media, and ultimately their stakes in our contemporary world.

C LIT 186PL/ 198H. Introduction to the Philosophy of Literature
Instructor: Pierre Fasula T/R 5:00-6:15 pm, HSSB 4065
A survey of twentieth-century French tradition in philosophy of literature (Bergson, Deleuze, Foucault, Derrida, Ricoeur) and twentieth-century analytical tradition regarding the place of literature in arts, the importance (or not) of the author in the creation and the understanding of a literary work, the assimilation (or not) of literature to fiction, and the existence and nature of truths in literary works.

C LIT 186PP. Poetry & Community Practice
Instructor: Rick Benjamin T-R, 11:00am-12:15pm, Girvetz 213
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Poetry & Community Practice honors a connection between poetry and citizenship, assuming that poetry is a wisdom medium or vehicle toward more enlightened thinking and public practice. Poetry is an ideal medium for extending our study and practice beyond UCSB, and students will conduct workshops in schools, community centers, and assisted living facilities as part of their work for the course. Students will extend their own learning through teaching—a natural stretch—while also being of benefit elsewhere.
 

C LIT 198. Junior/Senior Seminar
Instructor: Cynthia Brown M/W 11:00-12:15, Phelps 5313
The seminar approaches selected methodological issues in comparative literature. Topics vary with each instructor.
Focus on Winter 2018: Key medieval issues in France and England through 20th-century films and their relationship with the medieval texts that inspired them. Students explore how the historical, literary and mythical past has been repeatedly reconstructed, with a focus on affiliations and tensions between text and film, the medieval-modern dichotomy and French-Anglo-Saxon contrasts and competitions. Issues explored include the dynamics of myth in the dissemination of the Arthurian legend; the re-presentation of love and adultery in the Tristan and Iseut narrative; Catholicism, women and witchcraft; and power and (in)justice in the trials of Joan of Arc and Martin Guerre.

C LIT 210. Proseminar in Comparative Literature
Instructor: Sara Pankenier Weld W 9:00-11:50 am, Phelps 6206C
Addresses topics relevant to comparative literary study, including scholarly approaches and practices, the discipline of comparative literature broadly conceived, and the specific resources and intellectual culture of UCSB. Course format will range from seminar style discussions, workshops, and formal presentations.
Description for winter 2018 proseminar: "Recently Ali Behdad and Dominic Thomas (re)defined Comparative Literature as an “inter-disciplinary, cross-cultural, and trans-national endeavor.” In this proseminar, we ask, what does it mean to read and study literatures and cultures from comparative perspectives, across geographical and linguistic boundaries, and through wide historical periods, along other print or visual media? Through readings and discussion, we pursue this multi-pronged question and address the tools and goals of comparative literature as an evolving discipline, from the early nineteenth century to the present. We discuss seminal essays and theoretical works that have shaped and are currently reshaping “comparative literature” and “world literature” from Western and non-Western vantage points. We also read two reports on the state of the discipline prepared by the American Comparative Literature Association in recent decades and examine issues pertaining to the material conditions and interpretive practices of literary inquiries in the era of globalization and digitization."

C LIT 220 / ENGL 236. Cognitive Approaches to World Literature
Instructors: Dominique Jullien & Sowon Park T 2:00-5:00 pm, Phelps 6206C
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.
 

C LIT 249 / GER 210. Music & Literature
Instructor: Alexander Honold W 3:00-5:50 pm, Phelps 6206C
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).