College of LS&A

Winter Academic Term 2003 Graduate Course Guide

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Courses in Comparative Literature


This page was created at 8:09 PM on Wed, Feb 5, 2003.

Winter Academic Term, 2003 (January 6 - April 25)

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COMPLIT 490. Comparative Cultural Studies.

Section 001 Berlin, City of Extremes A Study in Art and Politics Between the Wars.

Instructor(s): Alina M Clej (aclej@umich.edu)

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

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Taking as its focus the city of Berlin, and its turbulent history between the two world wars, this course proposes a close-up study of the complex relation between art and politics in modern Europe. While the Weimar Republic (1918-1933) offered German, as well as other European artists living in Berlin, the opportunity to explore new forms of expression, with remarkable results, Hitler's rise to power in 1933 opened a period of severe political and artistic repression. In order to explore the limits of artistic freedom between the wars, we will focus on Weimar modernist and avant-garde productions in theater and film, as well as on the creative activities of European artists in Berlin (e. g. Josephine Becker, Julian Green, Christopher Isherwood, W. H. Auden, V. Nabokov). The effects of censorship and ideological complicity during the Third Reich will be examined in relation to state-sponsored film production and architecture, and the peculiar phenomenon of retrenchment represented by "inner exile." A special emphasis will be given to gender issues, insofar as they reveal the distance between sexual liberation, and personal repression, experiment and conformity, that marks the extremes of social and artistic life in Berlin during the interwar period. Examples will be drawn from fiction, theater, journalism, film, and architecture, produced either by Berliners themselves or by visitors and expatriates. Students from other disciplines are welcome.

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

COMPLIT 490. Comparative Cultural Studies.

Section 002 Modernism and Its Other.

Instructor(s): Lydia Liu

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

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course examines the evolution of modernist aesthetics in response to war, cultural dislocation, and ethnic migration since the late nineteenth century. We will read canonical modernist texts alongside South Asian, African, Russian, Chinese, and Latin-American texts and explore the journey of literary "modernism" across the boundaries of national literatures. Our goal is to reconsider modernist texts in a global context in which Western and non-Western writers or artists engage in direct or implicit dialogue (or debate) concerning the meanings of suffering, memory, love, violence, and humanism.

Requirements: short papers, and a final exam.

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

COMPLIT 601. Contemporary Theory.

Section 001 Innocence & Experience.

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

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission of instructor. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

A mystery in my life. I can't even pretend to describe it coherently in this genre. But I know that it matters. I feel that a practical understanding of this has everything to do with experiencing joy. Even if I don't know any more than that, I have some words that always come up in connection to this: ignorance, knowledge, wisdom, compassion, irony, trust, doubt, cynicism, fear, love, intuition, reason, language and silence. And I have some questions I might still want to explore with others beginning in January: Can innocence and experience go together? How? What does knowledge have to do with this? And what kinds of knowing have to do with this? Is experience knowledge? If we've lost some original innocence, can we recover another form of innocence through knowledge and experience? What do sex and death have to do with this? The only thing I'm sure we1ll read is the trilogy His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman. We might also read Genesis, some William Blake, some John Milton, some Thomas Merton, some Zen stuff, and watch The Matrix. I have no idea what, if anything, it would be good for us to write or create.

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

COMPLIT 698. Directed Reading in Comparative Literature.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites: Graduate standing. Permission of instructor required. (1-4). (INDEPENDENT). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (1-4).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Designed for individual students who have an interest in a specific topic (usually that has stemmed from a previous course). An individual instructor must agree to direct such a reading, and the requirements are specified when approval is granted.

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

COMPLIT 721. Seminar in Translation.

Section 001 Translation Seminar.

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

Prerequisites: Graduate Standing. (3). May be elected up to three times for credit.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Writing on the "task of the translator" some eighty years ago, Walter Benjamin posed the question: "Is translation meant for readers who do not understand the original?" Drawing on a variety of theoretical and literary texts, this seminar, while trying to understand Benjamin's question (and, hopefully, to answer it), will closely examine the elusive meaning of the act of translation, within the context of the emerging discipline of Translation Studies. Focusing on the twentieth century, we will start with Ezra Pound's theory of "luminous details," then grapple with Benjamin's argument that translation is meant to liberate the language imprisoned in the text through the recreation of that text, and end up discussing the ideas put recently forward by Lawrence Venuti, about translation being a totalizing, domesticating process, meant to restore or preserve the foreignness of the foreign text. In the meanwhile, we will examine the traceable, concealed, manipulated, and invented intertextual connections (and, obviously, disconnections), between source and target, the self and the Other, "rightful" Prospero and "savage" Caliban, against the complex politics of translation. Besides a substantial, final research paper, students will be required to write two short essays, based on, or inspired by, the weekly readings. The essays will be shared with the group in advance (through e-mail), and then presented as a basis for in-class discussions.

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

COMPLIT 731. Seminar in Literary Movements ad Periods.

Section 001 Theories of Realism: Epistemology and Aesthetics. Meets with German 821.001.

Instructor(s): George P Steinmetz (geostein@umich.edu), Julia C Hell

Prerequisites: Graduate standing. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

The basic assumptions of realist philosophy are that reality exists independent of knowledge about reality, and that there is an ontological difference between levels of reality (generative structures versus events, as with the langue/parole distinction in Saussure or unconscious and symptom in Freud). Within aesthetic theory and art, realism is less a question of ontology than one of representation. In this course we will explore various concepts of realism and their critique within social and aesthetic theory. The course will be divided into two main sections centering respectively on philosophical discussions of realism (e.g. Heidegger, Lukacs, Roy Bhaskar, Richard Rorty) and on the concept of realism in aesthetic theory (e.g. Auerbach, Adorno, Barthes, Sartre, Macherey on literature; Benjamin, Barthes, Bazin on photography). We will explore several themes that cut across the philosophical and aesthetic discussions of realism pertaining to the subject of knowledge. Examples include cognitive mapping (we will read Fredric Jameson and Bruno Latour together with W.G. Sebald, The Emigrants and Rings of Saturn; V.S. Naipaul, The Enigma of Arrival and A Turn in the South), and trauma theory (Cathy Caruth, Ruth Leys). Within these themes, more specific topics include the representation of the (post)modern city and of death. In this section, we will focus on Detroit (see Georgia Daskalakis, Charles Waldheim, and Jason Young, Stalking Detroit) and Gerhard Richter's painting cycle October 18, 1977.

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

COMPLIT 741. Seminar in Major Authors.

Section 001 Freud on Reading, Translation/Transference, History.

Instructor(s): Tomoko Masuzawa (masuzawa@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: Graduate standing. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

What is the place of the Freud corpus in the development of contemporary critical theory? Why does psychoanalysis an institutionally anomalous field of knowledge and practice as it is continue to be prevalent? Does psychoanalysis constitute something essential about critical thinking, or is this prevalence but a phase about to end? Whatever the answers may be, there is little doubt that a certain kind of meticulous reading of Freud has proven enormously productive for many critical thinkers; philosophers, literary scholars, historians, and cultural theorists have been profitably informed and disciplined by sustained readings of Freud.

The principal aim of the seminar is not so much to identify the legacy of Freudian psychoanalysis generally (which may be impossible) or merely to situate it in a historical context (which may be impossible and insufficient). Rather, we will focus on various textual junctures where Freud's writing itself demonstrates an interpretive strategy and explicates its theoretical underpinnings, as well as situations where a particular reading of Freud's text or, in some cases, a reading of a reading of Freud's text instructs us about the onus of reading, translation, commentary, etc. and offers some resources as to how we might cope with these tasks. We will begin by studying some representative texts by Freud, ranging from clinical case histories and theoretical expositions to incidental cultural essays. We will then examine several celebrated instances of Freud reading, including those by Jean Laplanche and Samuel Weber.

In the course of our reading, we will address two overarching issues: first, how and why the Freudian interpretive strategy can be construed as anti-hermeneutical; secondly, the outcomes of psychoanalytic deliberations on the question of temporality, memory, and history.

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

COMPLIT 751. Topics in Comparative Literature.

Section 001 Terror, Memory & Human Rights. Meets with Spanish 870.002.

Instructor(s): Lucia M Suarez (suarez@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: Graduate standing. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

See Spanish 870.002.

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

COMPLIT 791. Seminar in Literary Theory.

Section 001 Body Theory. Meets with English 822.001.

Instructor(s): Tobin Anthony Siebers (tobin@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: Graduate standing. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

"We are not well advised," Stanley Cavell muses, "to inspect the population to discover who among us in fact have bodies and who have not." We all have bodies this is an indisputable fact, but not all facts are equal, and neither are our bodies. The last thirty years have seen an explosion of theoretical speculation about the body, some of it bent on showing the primacy of the body, some of it contending that the body is anything but fact. We have seen the emergence of the gendered body, the queer body, the racial body, the docile body, the body politic, the body in pain, the disabled body, the ritual body, etc. "Every body wants to get into the act," said the man with the humongous nose. This seminar will examine contemporary body theory, ranging from its origins in the human geography of psychoanalysis and the materialism of Marx to its postmodern incorporations. Some areas of special focus will be the use of human and animal bodies in art, hunger artistry, blood and the media, prosthetics, intersex identity, narcissism, ritual and exhibitionism, social constructionism, piercing, and disability studies. Headliner theorists include Georges Bataille, Judith Butler, Mary Douglas, Michel Foucault, Sander Gilman, René Girard, Donna Haraway, bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Nancy Mairs, and others. Our main question throughout will be: what does body theory incorporate, and what does it not?

Books Available at Shaman Drum Book Shop, 315 South State Street:

  • Georges Bataille. The Story of the Eye. Trans. Joachim Neugroschel. San Francisco: City Lights, 1987. Also @ http://www.phreebyrd.com/~sisyphus/bataille/sstoryeye.html
  • _____. The Tears of Eros. Trans. Peter Connor. San Francisco: City Lights, 1989.
  • Peggy Zeglin Brand. Beauty Matters. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000.
  • Katie Conboy, Nadia Medina, and Sarah Stanbury, ed. Writing on the Body: Female Embodiment and Feminist Theory. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.
  • Michel Foucault. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Trans. Alan Sheridan. New York: Vintage 1977.
  • Mark O'Brien. The Man in the Iron Lung. Berkeley, CA: Lemonade Factory, 1997.
  • Tobin Siebers, ed. The Body Aesthetic: From Fine Art to Body Modification. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000.

Course packs for your consultation are available in the Comparative Literature Library and the English Graduate Student Lounge and include:

  • Cheryl Davis. "Disability and the Experience of Architecture." Rethinking Architecture: Design Students and Physically Disabled People. Ed. Raymond Lifchez. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987.
  • Kathy Davis. "'My Body is My Art,' Cosmetic Surgery as Feminist Utopia?" European Journal of Women's Studies 4, no. 1 (1997): 23-37.
  • Mary Douglas. "The Two Bodies" in Natural Symbols. New York: Vintage, 1973.
  • Jacques Lacan. "The Mirror Stage." Ecrits. New York: Norton, 1977.
  • Nancy Mairs. "Sex and the Gimpy Girl." River Teeth 1, no. 1 (1999): 44-51.
  • Marcel Mauss. "Body Techniques." Sociology and Psychology: Essays. London: Routledge, 1979.
  • David Valentine and Riki Anne Wilchins. "One Percent of the Burn Chart: Gender, Genitals, and Hermaphrodites with Attitude." Social Text 52/53, nos. 3 and 4 (1997): 215-22.

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

COMPLIT 990. Dissertation/Precandidate.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites: Election for dissertation work by doctoral student not yet admitted as a Candidate. Graduate standing. (1-8). (INDEPENDENT). May be repeated for credit.

Credits: (1-8; 1-4 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Election for dissertation work by doctoral student not yet admitted as a Candidate.

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

COMPLIT 995. Dissertation/Candidate.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites: Graduate School authorization for admission as a doctoral Candidate. Graduate standing. (8). (INDEPENDENT). May be repeated for credit.

Credits: (8; 4 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Graduate School authorization for admission as a doctoral Candidate. N.B. The defense of the dissertation (the final oral examination) must be held under a full term Candidacy enrollment period.

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


Undergraduate Course Listings for COMPLIT.


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