Show The Graduate Center Menu

 
 

Fall 2021

 For all registration dates and deadlines, see the GC academic calendar.

Please note that this schedule is subject to change. Course descriptions are forthcoming, and there is a possibility that more cross-listed courses will be added.

2-4 Credit Grading System
2 credit courses= Pass or Fail option
4 credit courses= Letter grade


CL 79500: Approaches to Comparative Literature, GC, Wednesdays, from 4:15pm-6:15pm, Caroline Rupprecht, 4 credits. Online

CL 89100: History of Literary Theory & Criticism I, GC, Wednesdays, 6:30pm-8:30pm, Monica Calabritto, 4 credits. Room 3207. In person.

CL 80100/ANTHRO 81000: Life Histories: Articulation of Self (and Other), GC, Wednesdays, 2:00pm-4:00pm, Vincent Crapanzano, 2/4 credits. Online.

CL 86500: Lorca, Buñuel, Dalí,  GC, Wednesdays, 4:15pm-6:15pm, Professor Paul Julian Smith, 2/4 credits. Online.

CL 89400/MALS 78500/SPAN 78200: Problems in Translation, GC, Wednesdays, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, Prof. Esther Allen, CL section is 2,4 credits. Room 6417. Hybrid.

CL 88500: Race, Writing, and Comparison, GC, Tuesdays, 2:00pm- 4:00pm, Sonali Perera, 2/4 credits. Hybrid.

CL 87000: Recitar cantando: Opera Librettos from Origins to the Early Classical Period, GC, Thursdays, 6:30pm-8:30pm, Paolo Fasoli, 2/4 credits. Room 3309. In person.

CL 80100: The Qur’an: Literary Perspectives, GC, Thursdays, 2:00pm-4:00pm, Anna Akasoy, 2/4 credits. Online.                                                    
CL 80100/FREN 70500: Writing the Self: From Augustine to Covidity, GC, Tuesdays, 4:15pm- 6:15pm, Domna Stanton, 2/4 credits. Room 6495. In person. 
     

CTCP 71088: Critical Theory: Foundations and Practices, GC, Mondays, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM, Sorin Radu Cucu, 3 credits (Permission of Program Coordinator Required; Not open to 1st year students). Online.


Codes for Registering on Record/WIU
Registered on Record: 51278
Weight Instructional Unit 1: 51280
Weight Instructional Unit 2: 51281
Weight Instructional Unit 3: 51285
Weight Instructional Unit 4: 51287
Weight Instructional Unit 5: 51289
Weight Instructional Unit 6: 51299
Weight Instructional Unit 7: 51308

Course Descriptions

CL 79500: Approaches to Comparative Literature, GC, Wednesdays, from 4:15pm-6:15pm, Caroline Rupprecht, 4 credits. Online.  

This proseminar introduces students to the discipline and methods of Comparative Literature. We will read and discuss a range of essays from Cultural Studies, Gender Studies, and Postcolonial Studies. We will address basic questions, such as: How does one decide what should be the focus of a comparative inquiry? What is the relationship between a close reading and its theoretical frame? What is the role of context, as derived from the study of national literatures? How can historical approaches help or hinder comparisons aimed to be grounded in differentiation?

The class is taught online via zoom. It is not a lecture class, your participation will be required. We will use breakout rooms and the discussion board on Blackboard. Formal requirements include at least one presentation and several short papers, based on the readings on the syllabus. Registration is for PhD students only (MA students must ask for instructor’s permission).
 
Reading List:
Adorno, Theodor W. “Cultural Criticism and Society,” Prisms (1951)
Apter, Emily. Introduction, Against World Literature (2013)
Bachner, Andrea. “Found in Translation,” Shu-mei Shih, ed. Sinophone Studies (2013)
Baer, Elizabeth. Introduction, The Genocidal Gaze (2017)
Bhabha, Homi. “The Other Question,” The Location of Culture (1994)
Butler, Judith. “Violence, Mourning, Politics,” Precarious Lives (2004)
Chen, Mel. “Lead’s Racial Matters,” Animacies (2012)
Glissant, Edouard. “The Road to Rowan Oak,” Faulkner, Mississippi (1994)
Hayles, Katherine. ”Speculative Aesthetics,” Speculations V (2014)
Hartman, Saidiya, “So Many Dungeons,” Lose your Mother (2008)
Herling, Bradley. “Either a Hermeneutical or a Critical Consciousness,” Comparatist 34 (2010)
Heschel, Susannah. “German Jewish Scholarship on Islam,” New German Critique 117 (2012)
Huyssen, Andreas. “Rewritings and New Beginnings: W.G. Sebald,” Present Pasts (2004)
Jullien, Francois. “On Human Rights,” On the Universal (2017)
Latour, Bruno. “Agency at the time of the Anthropocene,” New Literary History 45 (2014)
Leys, Ruth. “The Turn to Affect: A Critique,” Critical Inquiry 37 (2011)
Liu, Lydia. “Shadows of Universalism,” Critical Inquiry 40:4 (2014)
Love, Heather. “Emotional Rescue,” Feeling Backward (2007)
Moten, Fred. “The Case of Blackness,” Criticism 50:2 (2008)
Pang-White, Ann. “Nature, Interthing Intersubjectivity, and the Environment,” Dao (2009)
Sedgwick, Eve. “Paranoid Reading and Reparative Reading,” Touching Feeling (2002)
Silverman, Kaja. “Photography by Other Means,” Flesh of my Flesh (2009)
Tobin, Robert. “Thomas Mann’s Queer Schiller,” Lorey, Pews, eds. Queering the Canon (1998)
Wang, Ban. “Aesthetic Humanity and the Great World Community,” ACLA (2015).

CL 89100: History of Literary Theory & Criticism I, GC, Wednesdays, 6:30pm-8:30pm, Monica Calabritto, 4 credits. In person.

With readings from Plato, Aristotle, and Longinus to Dante, Sidney, Boileau, Dryden, and Lessing, this course will examine the history and evolution of literary theory in the classical, medieval, and early modern periods. It will also examine such fundamental terms as truth, beauty, nature, and artifact with which pre-Romantic Western critics have attempted to understand literary works of art. This course will also explore the legacy and limitations of these and other terms and their impact on criticism today.

CL 80100/ANTHRO 81000: Life Histories: Articulation of Self (and Other), GC, Wednesdays, 2:00pm-4:00pm, Vincent Crapanzano, 2/4 credits. Online.

This seminar will focus on the expression of self and other in life-historical texts and oral accounts. We will read exemplary life histories, ranging from Saint Augustine’s Confessions to Milarepa, The Biography of a Tibetan Yogi by way of Montaigne, Kierkegaard, Rilke, Blanchot...Particular attention will be given to how the other figures in these narratives: the way it constitutes the self, the subject, and subjectivity. Is it opaque, transparent, friendly, inimical, seductive, internalized, frozen, or dead? How does it figure in the intimate surround of the self-narrator? Attention will be given to modes of self-reflection and objectification, to bad faith, the unsayable and the unsaid, to solipsism, exceptionalism, and the moral challenge self-narratives pose, including those generated through the ethnographic interview. Theoretical readings will include, Schiller (on Bildung), Freud, Sartre, Bataille, Lacan, and Foucault.

CL 86500: Lorca, Buñuel, Dalí,  GC, Wednesdays, 4:15pm-6:15pm, Professor Paul Julian Smith, 2/4 credits. Online.

This course, which is taught in English, treats the drama of Federico García Lorca, selected films of Buñuel, and some fine art works by Dalí. It involves close reading of literary, cinematic and fine art texts and analysis of the voluminous and contradictory body of criticism on those texts. It also addresses such questions as tradition and modernity; the city and the country; and the biopic in film and television. The question of intermediality, or the relation between different media, will be examined in its historical and theoretical dimensions. The course will graded by final paper (50%), midterm exam (25%), and final presentation, weekly postings to course website and oral contribution to class (25%).

CL 89400/MALS 78500/SPAN 78200: Problems in Translation, GC, Wednesdays, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, Prof. Esther Allen, CL section is 2,4 credits. Hybrid.

In lieu of a welcome video, you’re invited to explore the 2020 online conference “Translating the Future”: https://www.centerforthehumanities.org/programming/translating-the-future
 
Literature is unimaginable without translation. Yet translation is a disturbing, even paranormal practice, mysteriously conferring xenoglossy upon unwitting or suspicious readers. The literary cultures of English, in particular, have often been resistant to, even contemptuous of translation, or have used it as a tool of colonialism. The problem may lie with prevailing concepts of the original, but translation has often taken the blame. Among the aesthetic, ethical, and political questions it raises — questions increasingly crucial to practitioners of literature worldwide— are: Who translates? Who is translated? What is translated? And—yes—how? And also: what does it mean to think of literature prismatically rather than nationally? What constitutes an anti-colonial translation?
 
In this seminar, we’ll discuss theoretical and literary readings and engage with the contemporary translation sphere, both in the digital realm and in New York City. We’ll also welcome the perspectives of some notable guest speakers. Students will work towards and workshop a final project, either: 1) a discussion of a specific translation theory or set of theories; 2) an analysis of a specific translation, or comparison of multiple translations, or 3) an original translation into English (of a previously untranslated work) accompanied by a critical introduction and annotation. The class is taught in English, but students should have working knowledge of at least one other language.

CL 88500: Race, Writing, and Comparison, GC, Tuesdays, 2:00pm- 4:00pm, Sonali Perera, 2/4 credits. Hybrid.

Writing in 1986, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. introduces the pathbreaking compilation, ‘Race,’ Writing, and Difference by observing that its publication “augurs well for scholars who wish to see the academic institution of literature and its criticism become truly a comparative and decolonized endeavor.” But how have we come to understand such articulations (“comparative and decolonized”) in the intervening years? In a 2008 PMLA special issue on Comparative Racialization Shu-Mei Shih commemorates the critical legacy of the Gates volume, even as she considers ideological blind spots that persist despite (or perhaps because of) the institutionalization of certain academic fields within the US academy. As she puts it in her introduction, “intellectual tokenism abounds as do equivalences between phenotypes and fields of study…[and yet as she reminds us,] it is not at all certain that the relation between race and critical theory, so central to the Gates volume, is settled.” More recently, Souleymane Bachir Diagne in dialogue with his co-author, Jean-Loup Amselle, revisits old and new discussions of race, class, and universalism in In Search of Africa(s): Universalism and Decolonial Thought (2020).

Keeping in mind these three key academic interventions, but drawing from a constellation of literary, cultural, activist, mixed-genre, and critical theory texts published before their arrival on the scene, we will consider anew the relationship between theories of race and methods and meanings of value-making and comparison. Our examples will be drawn from anti-colonial, Marxist, feminist, Black Internationalist, and Black Radical traditions. Over the course of the semester, we will also aim to familiarize ourselves with recurring keywords, concepts, and concept metaphors (including race, class, colonization , intimacies, relationality, difference, value, incommensurability, inequality, checkpoints, shibboleths, borders.)

Throughout our course, you are encouraged to consider how these debates might shape the way that we think of research and writing in literary studies today.

Specific texts studied may include selections from works by Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon, C.L.R. James, Chinua Achebe, Ngûgî Wa Thiongo, Edward Said, Michel Foucault, Achille Mbembe, Giorgio Agamben, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Robin Kelly, Edouard Glissant, W.E.B Du Bois, Hortense Spillers, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Angela Davis, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Fred Moten, Brent Hayes Edwards, Natalie Melas, Marc Redfield, Nicholas Brown, Gary Wilder, Vivek Bald, Edlie Wong, and Lisa Lowe.

Alongside works of critical theory, we will read literary and mixed genre texts including Saidiya Hartman’s Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments, Toni Morrison’s Paradise and “Recitatif,” J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace, Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and Bessie Head’s A Question of Power.

Course Requirements:

1.) A 10 minute oral presentation on one or two of the weekly readings (in combination with a 3 page presentation paper)*
2.)  A 2 page prospectus for the final paper.
3.) A 15-20 page final paper.
4.) Engaged class participation.
 
**Serving as a respondent to a presenter:
In addition to signing up for your own presentation, you must also select a date where you will serve as respondent to a presenter. Having read the pre-circulated “presentation paper,” respondents should come prepared with a few questions and/or comments for the presenter.

Not for Credit:
For those interested in teaching comparative literature courses at some point—I will help you to design a course syllabus that conceptualizes interdisciplinary connections between critical theory (studied in this course) and your specific area of inquiry. Thus this “assignment” requires that you put together a provisional syllabus for a special topics undergraduate class. The syllabus must be fully annotated and you must submit a justification for the class (as though to a curriculum committee). As noted above, this project is not for credit, but if you decide to follow through with it, the syllabus will be due on the last day of class.

CL 87000: Recitar cantando: Opera Librettos from Origins to the Early Classical Period, GC, Thursdays, 6:30pm-8:30pm, Paolo Fasoli, 2/4 credits. In person. 

Opera was born in Florence at the end of the 16th century as an attempt to revive Greek classical theater, or what at the time Greek drama was thought to have been. It was the product of a collaboration and a compromise between poets and composers. Poets would abandon the then prevailing style that called for the use of endless conceits for one that favored linear understandability, while composers renounced to the extensive use of polyphony and counterpoint, adopting a monodic style and resorting to recitatives and later, increasingly, to arias. In this course, we will study the literary aspect of this still flourishing endeavor, in a historical period that stretches from the invention of opera, to Gluck’s post-Baroque “reform.” Librettos will include some of those centered on opera’s mythical numen, Orpheus (set to music by Caccini, Peri, Monteverdi, Lully, Gluck), and others adapted from early modern narrative masterpieces such as Ariosto’s Orlando furioso and Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata.  Librettos based on Ariosto’s poem will include texts written for composers like Lully (Roland), Vivaldi (Orlando furioso, Orlando finto pazzo), Handel (Ariodante, one of his three Ariostean operas), while those inspired by Tasso will be limited, for practical and historical reasons, to librettos used by Lully (Armide, a text later set to music by Gluck), Vivaldi (Armida al campo d’Egitto), and Jommelli (Armida abbandonata). We will also devote particular attention to librettos that, while ostensibly narrating ancient historical events (Monteverdi’s Incoronazione di Poppea, Haendel’s Agrippina) actually tackled contemporary political controversies. The relationship between opera production and the discourse on power at the time the works  were conceived will be an essential element of discussion. The course will feature guest speakers (musicologists, librettists, composers) and will address, among others, issues of gender, theory and practice of dramatic adaptation, and history of operatic performance

CL 80100: The Qur’an: Literary Perspectives, GC, Thursdays, 2:00pm-4:00pm, Anna Akasoy, 2/4 credits. Online.                           
As the scope of Comparative Literature departments is being diversified and globalized, the Qur’an is frequently included as a canonical text of world literature. There is no doubt that the Qur’an is a text of great, even singular importance in the Islamic tradition, but what does it mean to treat the Qur’an in the context of literature, especially comparative literature? Is a text which is considered inimitable in the Islamic tradition also incomparable?

This course aims at bridging the gap between two different fields, one the study of the Qur’an in Middle Eastern and Islamic studies, the other the study of literature. The course will provide students with an introduction to perspectives on the Qur’an in recent scholarship, but we will be primarily exploring the Qur’an and its literary dimensions in conversation with select examples of Middle Eastern, European and world literature.
The course will focus on three topics:

  1. Prophecy as a mode of literary production. We will be discussing theories of prophecy in medieval Islamic philosophy and for comparative purposes material from the Arabian Nights as well as Mario Vargas Llosa’s The War at the End of the World.

  2. The Qur’an and poetry. The Qur’an itself states that Muhammad was not a poet, but his historical milieu was very much defined as a literary space in which poetry loomed large. In addition to samples of pre-Islamic and classical Arabic poetry, we will be exploring Rumi’s Masnavi, a key text of Sufism which is sometimes referred to as the Qur’an in Persian. We will also be discussing western European responses to Middle Eastern poetry (e.g., Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan).

  3. The Qur’an and storytelling. This section will focus mostly on stories of prophets, notably Joseph. We will be discussing other forms of storytelling in medieval Islamic literature (the ‘stories of the prophets’) as well as Biblical storytelling and examples from modern Middle Eastern (e.g., Children of the Alley by Naguib Mahfouz) and European literature (e.g., Thomas Mann’s Joseph and His Brothers).

This course does not require any previous knowledge of the Qur’an, Arabic literature or Islamic history.

CL 80100/FREN 70500: Writing the Self: From Augustine to Covidity, GC, Tuesdays, 4:15pm- 6:15pm, Domna Stanton, 2/4 credits. In person.   

How is the self written, constructed? What forms and shapes does this writing take over time, in different genres? what purposes does it serve, what work does it accomplish for the several selves inscribed in the text and for others (including the self) who will read it? This course will begin by tracing self-writing from the Middle Ages to today, in theoretical texts (Derrida, Butler, Lacan, Lejeune), and primary works, beginning with confession (St Augustine, Rousseau); then early-modern discursive forms of interiority (Gentileschi, Sévigné) that steadily enlarge both the scope of self writing and the figures of the self. We will consider the centuries that women's autogynography and the self-writing of persons of color and other others took to be recognized -- from Kempe, Heloise and Pisan to slave narratives (Equiano, Jacobs, Douglass), and letters, diaries and journals (Woolf, Nin, de Beauvoir). Our readings will culminate with the proliferation of forms in the 20th- and 21st century: from autofiction (Colette, Stein, Eggers) and pictorial modes (Leonard, Bourgeois, Abramovic); Holocaust memorials, trauma narratives (Frank, Levi, Agamben) and testimonials (Manchu); to AIDS memoirs (Arenas, Guibert), the matter of black lives (Cullors, Kendi and Blain), and the global pandemic that engender terror and dying along with possible transformation and rebirth. Finally, given the untraceable lines between the ‘real’ and ‘the fictive,’ we will end by debating whether all writing is self-writing.

CTCP 71088: Critical Theory: Foundations and Practices, GC, Mondays, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM, Sorin Radu Cucu, 3 credits (Permission of Program Coordinator Required; Not open to 1st year students). Online.

Do we really live in a post-truth world, the age when unreason and magical thinking seem to have returned with a vengeance?

This course addresses this question and the urgency it poses not only because critical theory has been accused as being complicit in the ‘attack’ against facts and science but primarily because we need to reflect critically on the often-confusing relation of reality to fiction in a variety of media and genres. Furthermore, this course will draw on the interdisciplinary approaches of both social sciences and the humanities to as whether digital algorithms are transforming our sense of shared reality and threaten the fragility of modern democratic institutions and practices. What does it means to think of reality as a complex network of discourses and practices rather than as a unitary concept? The underlying question of the interplay reality-irreality will be explored at the outset with reading together but against each other a few foundational figures: Husserl (on the crisis of the European sciences), Freud (on dream interpretation), Weber (on ‘ideal type’) and Arendt (on truth and lying).
 
We will examine a range of possibly irreconcilable theoretical approaches, as we re-read Kant’s “conflict of the faculties” in order to frame our conversations along the lines of distinct research approaches and terminologies rather than simply from the viewpoint of a conflict of interpretations. We will discuss how philosophical anthropology (Blumenberg), sociology of systems (Esposito, Luhmann), narratology/semiotics (Barthes, Genette, Patron), aesthetics (Eco, Krauss, Rancière), and media philosophy (Debray, Groys, Engel)  deal with the tension between universality and particularism, connect to everyday reality by a variety of rhetorical devices, and conceptually navigate aesthetic as well as religious experiences of reality.
 
Texts: Kant, The Conflict of the Faculties (Nebraska), Edmund Husserl, The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology (Northwestern), Hans Blumenberg, History, Metaphors, Fables: A Hans Blumenberg Reader (Cornell), Niklas Luhmann, Trust and Power (Polity)
 
Excerpts and essays by Elena Esposito, Roland Barthes, Sylvie Patron, Rosalind Krauss, Boris Groys,  others will be provided via Google Classroom.