This course is organized around debates and research topics that have helped define and motivate literary studies. We seek to understand various issues in their intellectual, disciplinary, institutional, and maybe even interpersonal contexts. In the process we will discuss how debates are conducted and perceived, and how research topics compete to achieve prominence.
There is no textbook, but some core readings will be available through CTools. Each week, students will be discussing a debate or research topic identified and introduced in class by a Michigan faculty affiliated with Comparative Literature. Students will also work on a 12-page term paper examining a debate or research topic of their choice. The aim of the course is to introduce the students to (1) some of the basic debates and research topics in Comparative Literature and (2) methodological questions involved in the study of literature and related fields.