Fall Course Guide

Courses in Comparative Literature (Division 354)

Fall Term, 1998 (September 8-December 21, 1998)

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240. Introduction to Comparative Literature. (3). (HU).
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 McCullers, Kafka, Puig, Achebe, Shelley, Cortazar, Freud, Nietzsche, Marx, and Deleuze), writing (weekly short papers, one or two longer essays,) talking, and thinking (constantly). (Colás) WL:2
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350. The Text and Its Cultural Context. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of six credits.
Section 001 Topics in Caribbean Literature: Colonial Encounters.
For Fall Term, 1998, this section is offered jointly with English 384.001. (Gikandi)
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430. Comparative Studies in Fiction. Upperclass standing. (3). (HU). May be repeated for a total of nine credits.
Section 001 The Book of the Thousand and One Nights.
This course will offer a reading of the "book", its histories, traditions, translations, adaptations, transmutations and violations, throughout the millennium, from the tenth century Middle East to the twentieth century Hollywood. It will follow the emergence of the frame story, and the formation of some of the basic tales, through an astonishing interaction between the Arabic original and the French translation from the beginning of the eighteenth century. Discussions will revolve around a selection of English translations of different tales; the ways in which different translators from different cultures and persuasions dealt with violence, desire, and gender in the Nights; the appropriations of the book in the East and West: in film, theater, music, literature, etc. A special attention will be paid to Borges, Barth, and Rushdie, bearing in mind issues of narrative strategies, intertextual mappings, migratory motifs, and Orientalism. Students will be evaluated through class performance, an oral presentation, and a term paper. WL:2 Cost:2 (Shammas)

Section 002 The Arab-Israeli Conflict in Middle Eastern Literature. For Fall Term, 1998, this section is offered jointly with APTIS 383.001. (Bardenstein)
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490. Comparative Cultural Studies. Junior standing. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of six credits.
Section 001 The Literature of Witness: From the 1914-18 War to AIDS.
The twentieth century has been an era of wars, genocides, economic and political upheaval, and unspeakable events. We will look at the crop of witnessing writing this history of pain has produced, concentrating mainly on the 1914-18 war, the Holocaust, and the AIDS epidemic. On the hypothesis that witnessing is about the obscene for which existing genres, media, and discursive strategies do not have a place we will look at the way the attempt to give an account of obscene realities stretches the resources of genres like autobiography, poetry, and narrative fiction and of wholly or partly nonverbal media like cartooning, film, video, and dance. This course will make serious demands on your time. There will be quite a lot of reading, and it will require a thoughtful and sensitive response. Please do not sign up unless you are willing to commit yourself to two hours of reading per day. Writing assignments will be of varying length (3-10 pages): you will be asked to write one analytical paper, in another you will have a chance to write personally if you wish. Midterm by meeting with instructor; no final. Cost:2 WL:2 (Chambers)
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495. Senior Seminar in Comparative Literature. Senior standing and concentration in Comp. Lit. (3). (Excl).
Section 001 Introduction to Theory and Criticism. Europe: Between Myth and Reality.
As the capstone course for undergraduate study in Comparative Literature, this seminar is designed to provide senior concentrators with an opportunity to work collaboratively and intensively for a term in a series of discussions and workshops. Sessions will be arranged around a set of texts and topics drawn from recent debates that have informed the theory and practice of Comparative Literature. The course will culminate in a final paper, which in the case of some of the class will form the basis for an Honors Thesis, to be written in the second term continuation (Comparative Literature 496). Cost:2 WL:2 (Clej)
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496. Honors Thesis. Comp. Lit. 495 and Honors concentration in comparative literature. (3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).
In the Honors Thesis course the Honors student typically develops the seminar work done in Comp. Lit. 495 (Senior Seminar) into a longer, more thorough study under the auspices of a faculty thesis director. Students who need help in arranging for a thesis director should contact the Comparative Literature office, 2015 Tisch, 763-2351.
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498. Directed Reading. Permission of instructor. (1-4). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).
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.
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