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Fall Academic Term 2003 Course Guide

Note: You must establish a session for Fall Academic Term 2003 on wolverineaccess.umich.edu in order to use the link "Check Times, Location, and Availability". Once your session is established, the links will function.

Courses in Comparative Literature


This page was created at 7:00 PM on Tue, Sep 23, 2003.

Fall Academic Term, 2003 (September 2 - December 19)



COMPLIT 122. Writing World Literatures.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Christi Ann Merrill (merrillc@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: (4). (Introductory Composition). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

How does the voice you adopt to tell a story shape the way the story sounds? When you write in English, this is an especially tricky question, since there are so many different communities of speakers you can address. You may imagine yourself one way writing to your grandmother in Madras, and another way when writing to your friends in Miami, Monrovia or Melbourne. This course will combine readings from a range of times and places (an Indian play from the fourth century in older and newer versions, American folktales from the 1930s, Homer rewritten in Renaissance England or in the Caribbean of today) with creative assignments that encourage you to travel imaginatively in time and place in your own writing. This course aims to help you test out for yourself what stories sound like in a range of different Englishes and explain the significance of those differences. You will be graded on your active participation in class discussion, weekly writing exercises, comments on fellow students' papers, and a final take-home examination.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 5, Permission of Department

COMPLIT 122. Writing World Literatures.

Section 002.

Instructor(s): Clara Hong (seunghei@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: (4). (Introductory Composition). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

To translate means to carry across; it implies a bridging of domains (linguistic, ethnic, national, historical, cultural, personal, etc.) and a fluency in each. Beginning with a focus on language, we will address the question of what it means to be fluent in a culture or society. From there we will expand our conceptions of fluency and translation to incorporate questions of form, perspective, value, and meaning. We will take up some of the following questions:

  • What kinds of translation do we do every day?
  • What does it mean to translate a story or a message or information from one place or time to another? From one medium to another? From one person to another?
  • Are there things that simply cannot be translated, that inevitably "get lost in translation"? If so, what are the implications of this for our understanding of our own culture or other cultures?

As we consider these questions — and the many others that are sure to arise in our discussions — in the context of specific narratives, we will connect the problem of translation to the task of writing. Because there are no exact matches between words of different languages, a translator must constantly make choices. These choices add up to a kind of interpretation of the text. In producing a new text, the translator combines the critical and the creative and becomes in a sense the text's most intimate reader. Thus, in this course, we will be both critical and creative as we become intimate with texts and attempt to build bridges across languages and cultures. Through reflection upon these texts as models of thinking, speaking, and writing we will strive to improve our own analytic and communicative skills and become more self-conscious about how the ways in which we write (and think and speak) affect both ourselves and others.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 5, Permission of Department

COMPLIT 122. Writing World Literatures.

Section 003.

Instructor(s): Abraham Acosta (acostaa@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: (4). (Introductory Composition). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

To translate means to carry across; it implies a bridging of domains (linguistic, ethnic, national, historical, cultural, personal, etc.) and a fluency in each. Beginning with a focus on language, we will address the question of what it means to be fluent in a culture or society. From there we will expand our conceptions of fluency and translation to incorporate questions of form, perspective, value, and meaning. We will take up some of the following questions:

  • What kinds of translation do we do every day?
  • What does it mean to translate a story or a message or information from one place or time to another? From one medium to another? From one person to another?
  • Are there things that simply cannot be translated, that inevitably "get lost in translation"?
  • If so, what are the implications of this for our understanding of our own culture or other cultures?

As we consider these questions — and the many others that are sure to arise in our discussions — in the context of specific narratives, we will connect the problem of translation to the task of writing. Because there are no exact matches between words of different languages, a translator must constantly make choices. These choices add up to a kind of interpretation of the text. In producing a new text, the translator combines the critical and the creative and becomes in a sense the text's most intimate reader. Thus, in this course, we will be both critical and creative as we become intimate with texts and attempt to build bridges across languages and cultures. Through reflection upon these texts as models of thinking, speaking, and writing we will strive to improve our own analytic and communicative skills and become more self-conscious about how the ways in which we write (and think and speak) affect both ourselves and others.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 5, Permission of Department

COMPLIT 240. Introduction to Comparative Literature.

Section 001 — Reading to Live.

Instructor(s): Santiago Colás (scolas@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: (3). (HU). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Why read? Why live? Do the two questions have the same answers? What does reading have to do with living?

In this course, we will take these questions as a framework through which to approach comparative literature as something people study and as a way they study it. But wait, there's more! The books you read, the thoughts you think, and the words you hear, speak, and write will slip under your skin with excruciating sweetness. They might make you feel itchy and uncomfortable. It may be difficult to walk and talk normally. You may begin to hear voices and to tell stories. I promise… But only if you do the reading (which will include work by authors such as Cortazar, Borges, McCullers, Puig, Suzuki, Nietzsche, Marx, Shelley, Oliver, and Snyder), writing (weekly short papers, one or two longer essays), talking, and thinking (constantly).

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

COMPLIT 350. The Text and Its Cultural Context.

Section 001 — Global English.

Instructor(s): Richard W Bailey (rwbailey@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: (3). (HU). May be repeated for credit for a maximum of 6 credits.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: http://coursetools.ummu.umich.edu/2003/fall/english/317/005.nsf

"Healthy languages are always borrowing from each other," writes a prominent scholar, and, just as biodiversity sustains healthy ecosystems, so linguistic diversity nourishes civilization. Over the next century, about two languages will die every month, and a century from now the linguistic landscape will be very different from what it now is. English plays a role, and the use of English is increasing all over the world. Yet it is multilingualism that is growing even more rapidly, and many nations, large and small, are recognizing and responding to this trend. What transformations are involved in this massive change? What is the role of English in it? How have policy makers and poets responded? We will begin by reading Vanishing Voices: The Extinction of the World's Languages (Oxford University Press). Then we will turn to a course pack and case studies. This small class is offered as part of the "globalization" curriculum and participants are expected to participate in the major events offered through it. There will be a midterm, a final, and a major paper.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 1

COMPLIT 382(422). Literature and the Other Arts.

Section 002 — Greek Myth & Cinema.

Instructor(s): Vassilios Lambropoulos (vlambrop@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: (3). (HU). May be elected for a maximum of 9 credits. May be elected more than once in the same term.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Cinema has often tried to depict the Greek gods, heroines, and lands in the same terms as the ancients talked about them. But it has also often tried to update them and bring them closer to our own reality. What happens when films adapt Greek tales to modern times? When Medea, Antigone, and Electra appear in South Africa, Poland, or Tunisia? When Orpheus, Ulysses, and Oedipus suffer in the American South, Yugoslavia, or Italy? This course will examine the uses of Greek myth in movies that remove the stories from their original setting and take them to different lands and times. Accordingly, readings will include not only ancient material but also modern literature that transforms myths in radically modern terms. The goal of the course is to examine the mutually reinforcing overlap between myth, literature, and cinema. The movies will have neither columns nor monsters but they will show how fate can still turn us all into wandering, questioning Greeks.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 5, Permission of Department

COMPLIT 432. Comparative Studies in Non-Fictional Prose.

Section 001 — The Politics of Prose. Meets with English 417.001.

Instructor(s): Simon Gikandi (gikandi@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Junior Standing. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for credit for a maximum of 6 credits.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

"Philosophers have so far sought to interpret the world; our aim is to change it," so said Karl Marx. But how were philosophers, writers, and intellectuals to change the world given the fact that they were perpetually excluded from systems of power? The answer, for most of the nineteenth and twentieth century, was that they could use the weapon of language to change the world. In this course we will explore the claims made for the ability of language to intervene and change the politics of everyday life. Focusing on what has come to be known as the discursive power of language, the use of rhetorical strategies and figures of speech, this course will examine how language has been deployed by writers from a variety of literary, historical, and political traditions to effect the process of change or to resist it.

The course will be organized around unique historical moments that challenged the political claims of language, including the French and Haitian Revolutions, the industrial revolution, American slavery, and the struggle against colonialism. We will start with a comparative reading of some texts exploring the relation between language and revolution, including Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France, Mary Wollstonecraft's An Historical and Moral View of the Origin and Progress of the French Revolution, and C. L. R. James' The Black Jacobins. We will pause to look at classic essays by Marx, most notably The Communist Manifesto, once considered to be the most dangerous work of prose in the world.

We will then turn our attention to the discourse surrounding the question of slavery, examining selections from both opponents of slavery and its proponents and even statutes from the United States Supreme Court. The course will conclude with classic texts on the issue of freedom and decolonization, including W. E. B. Dubois' The Souls of Black Folk and Frantz Fanon's Black Skin White Masks.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 1, 5: Permission of Department

COMPLIT 492. Comparative Literary Theory.

Section 001 — Introduction to Literary Theory and Criticism.

Instructor(s): Anton Shammas (antons@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Junior standing. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for credit for a maximum of 6 credits.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course is designed to introduce the students to some critical terms used in contemporary literary theory and criticism that are of importance to the comparative study of literature. Lentricchia & McLaughlin's anthology, Critical Terms for Literary Study (2nd ed.), will serve as our basic, companion book, for the discussion of critical key-terms, such as "Representation," "Discourse," "Narrative," "Author," "Ideology," "Gender," "Desire," etc. In addition, we will watch some movies, read some literary texts, and discuss a selection of twentieth century theoretical texts that compliments and illuminates the sections chosen from Critical Terms. These selections might be assigned on an ad hoc basis, depending on the needs of class discussions, and on the individual research plans, toward the writing of a final, substantive paper.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 5, Permission of Department

COMPLIT 495. Senior Seminar in Comparative Literature.

Section 001 — Talking about Dialogue.

Instructor(s): Catherine Brown (mcbrown@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Senior standing and concentration in Comparative Literature. (3). (Excl). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: http://coursetools.ummu.umich.edu/2003/fall/complit/495/001.nsf

A seminar about talking, about dialogue. About dialogue as a way of finding things out, of making things. We'll read across genres: philosophical dialogues of course (Plato, but also interviews between contemporary thinkers Michel Serres and Bruno Latour), novels (Interview with a Vampire, Vox ), odd Renaissance category-breaker La Celestina, film (My Dinner with Andre ), linguistic and "literary" theory (Benveniste, Bakhtin). Maybe even an opera (Dialogues of the Carmelites )! What are we talking about when we talk about talking? What are we trying to find out when we talk? How does talking talk to knowledge and the erotic?

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 5, Permission of Department

COMPLIT 496. Honors Thesis.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites & Distribution: COMPLIT 495 and Honors concentration in comparative literature. Permission of instructor required. (3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

No Description Provided. Contact the Department.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 5, Permission of instructor/department

COMPLIT 498. Directed Reading.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites & Distribution: Permission of instructor. (1-4). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (1-4).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course is intended for Comparative Literature concentrators. It offers a student the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member associated with Comparative Literature on a comparative topic chosen by the student in consultation with the professor. Together they will develop a reading list; establish goals, meeting times, and credit hours (within the range); and plan papers and projects which the student will execute with the tutorial assistance of the instructor. The student will be required to submit a written proposal of his or her course to the Program office. For further information, contact the Program in Comparative Literature, 2015 Tisch.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 5, Permission of instructor/department


Graduate Course Listings for COMPLIT.


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