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Department of Comparative Literature


  • Frederick de Armas
  • Loren A. Kruger
  • Françoise Meltzer
  • Mark Payne
  • Joshua Scodel

Associate Professors

  • Sascha Ebeling
  • Leah Feldman
  • Rachel Galvin
  • Na’ama Rokem
  • Lawrence Rothfield
  • David Wray

Assistant Professors

  • Hoda El Shakry
  • Anna Elena Torres
  • Kris Trujillo

Department Administrator

  • Ingrid Sagor

The Department of Comparative Literature promotes the multidisciplinary, historically self-reflective and cross-cultural study of texts, traditions, and discourses. The department offers students the opportunity to grapple in a rigorous way with the most pressing issues in literary studies today, such as the questioning of national and cultural boundaries and identities; the struggle over literature’s epistemological, ethical, or social authority; the debate about what counts as literature, and why; and the interaction between literature and other cultural or intellectual practices. To that end, the department works with every student individually to arrange a course of studies fitted to their background and scholarly interests. Students may choose from courses offered by the department, as well as those offered by other departments in the Division of the Humanities and in some cases those offered by other divisions. Since we place particular emphasis on reading texts in their original language, all students are expected to develop the highest possible competence in the languages they work with. Students generally use their first years (the time period leading to the Master’s degree) to explore areas of interest and to strengthen their language competence.

The Degree of Master of Arts

The objective of the program is the Ph.D. degree.  Doctoral students in the program are eligible for an M.A. degree after completing the following requirements: a program of eight graduate level courses (one full academic year), all of which must be taken for a letter grade; the required two-quarter Introduction to Comparative Literature sequence; and demonstrated competence (high proficiency in a graduate literature course or high pass in a University examination) in two foreign languages. The remaining six quarter courses are normally divided among two literatures, although a student may, with the Department’s permission, place greater emphasis on one literature or on some special disciplinary interest. Satisfactory completion of the M.A. requirements will be based on a student’s grade record and performance in the required two-quarter sequence.

The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

In spring quarter of their first year of study, students are required to submit to the DGS a portfolio of no less than three papers written in their first two quarters in the program. The DGS will circulate these papers to the faculty of the department as a whole ahead of the year-end review of graduate student progress. These papers should demonstrate the student’s ability to write scholarly prose, to formulate a clear research argument, and to situate it within the context of secondary literature relevant to the topic. They must be submitted by the third week of the spring quarter of the first year. The papers may be written for courses outside the department. After the year-end review, the DGS will report to the student feedback from the faculty on the papers submitted and suggestions for the development of their research and writing.

Please note that all required courses in the PhD must be taken for a quality letter grade (not pass/fail).

Before the student is recommended for admission to candidacy for the doctor’s degree, they must pass satisfactorily a written and oral examination by their committee, only after completion of the PhD coursework (16 courses).

Language Requirements

High proficiency in two foreign languages demonstrated by passing a graduate literature course in the language (and approval by the instructor) or a high pass (P+) on the Graduate Reading Exam proctored by the Chicago Language Center. At least one high proficiency language should be confirmed in the first year. The remaining requirements must be completed before the student is admitted to candidacy.

Students should also be working towards native fluency in the language of their major literature by applying to studying abroad, only after exhausting UChicago language offerings. Funding for language study depends on the language and on the student’s immigration status; please review the Humanities Division and UChicago Grad websites for more detailed information and policies.

Registration for the language exam (for which a High Pass is required) can be found on the Graduate Reading Exam page. The exam is proctored by the Chicago Language Center where you can find more resources on language certificates, courses, and the schedule for language exams.


Before entering candidacy, students will be asked to present and discuss their dissertation proposals at a proposal hearing attended by their dissertation committee and other interested faculty. After entering candidacy, students will participate in a dissertation proposal presentation, normally in their fifth year, in which they will discuss with their dissertation committee the current state of the dissertation and outline their plans and schedule for further progress. Students are strongly urged to join appropriate workshops and present dissertation chapters on a regular basis to such workshops. After satisfying the above requirements, the candidate is expected to pursue independent research under the direction of a member of the faculty culminating in the writing of a doctoral dissertation. Candidates conclude their studies by successfully defending their dissertation in a final oral examination.

For additional information about the Comparative Literature Graduate Program, please visit


The department requires a writing sample of no more than 25 pages, usually a critical essay written during the student’s college years.

The application process for admission and financial aid for all graduate programs in Humanities is administered through the divisional Office of the Dean of Students. The Application for Admission and Financial Aid, with instructions, deadlines and department specific information is available on their website.

Questions pertaining to admissions and aid should be directed to or (773) 702-1552. Our application process is entirely online.  Please do not send any materials in hard copy. All materials should be submitted through the online application.

International students must provide evidence of English proficiency by submitting scores from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). (Current minimum scores, etc., are provided with the application.) For more information, please see the Office of International Affairs website, or call them at (773) 702-7752.

Comparative Literature Courses

CMLT 30230. Iconology East and West. 100 Units.

Iconology is the study of images across media and cultures. It is also associated with philosophical reflections on the nature of images and their relation to language-the interplay between the "icon" and the "logos." A plausible translation of this compound word into Chinese would describe it as "Words in Pictures, Pictures in Words":  诗中有画,画中有诗. This seminar will explore the relations of word and image in poetics, semiotics, and aesthetics with a particular emphasis on how texts and pictures have been understood in the Anglo-European-American and Chinese theoretical traditions. The interplay of painting and poetry, speech and spectacle, audition and vision will be considered across a variety of media, particularly the textual and graphic arts. The aims of the course will be 1) to critique the simplistic oppositions between "East" and "West" that have bedevilled intercultural and intermedial comparative studies; 2) to identify common principles, zones of interaction and translation that make this a vital area of study. (Theory; 20th/21st)

Instructor(s): WJT Mitchell     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Enrollment in the course will be with the consent of instructor; it is open to students at all levels, but enrollment will be limited to 15. Students should send a one page statement of their interest to W. J. T. Mitchell (
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 30033, ARTH 20033, ARTV 20033, ENGL 30230, ENGL 20230, CMLT 20230, ARTH 30033

CMLT 32400-32500. History of International Cinema I-II.

This sequence is required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies. Taking these courses in sequence is strongly recommended but not required.

CMLT 32400. History of International Cinema I: Silent Era. 100 Units.

This course provides a survey of the history of cinema from its emergence in the mid-1890s to the transition to sound in the late 1920s. We will examine the cinema as a set of aesthetic, social, technological, national, cultural, and industrial practices as they were exercised and developed during this 30-year span. Especially important for our examination will be the exchange of film techniques, practices, and cultures in an international context. We will also pursue questions related to the historiography of the cinema, and examine early attempts to theorize and account for the cinema as an artistic and social phenomenon.

Instructor(s): Allyson Field     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Prior or concurrent registration in CMST 10100 is required. Course is required for students majoring or minoring in Cinema and Media Studies.
Note(s): For students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies, the entire History of International Cinema three-course sequence must be taken.
Equivalent Course(s): MAAD 18500, ENGL 29300, CMST 48500, MAPH 33600, ARTV 20002, ARTH 28500, ARTH 38500, CMST 28500, ENGL 48700, CMLT 22400

CMLT 32500. History of International Cinema II: Sound Era to 1960. 100 Units.

The center of this course is film style, from the classical scene breakdown to the introduction of deep focus, stylistic experimentation, and technical innovation (sound, wide screen, location shooting). The development of a film culture is also discussed. Texts include Thompson and Bordwell's Film History: An Introduction; and works by Bazin, Belton, Sitney, and Godard. Screenings include films by Hitchcock, Welles, Rossellini, Bresson, Ozu, Antonioni, and Renoir.

Instructor(s): James Lastra     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Prior or concurrent registration in CMST 10100 required. Required of students majoring or minoring in Cinema and Media Studies.
Note(s): CMST 28500/48500 strongly recommended
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 28600, ARTH 28600, REES 25005, CMST 48600, MAAD 18600, CMLT 22500, ARTH 38600, MAPH 33700, ENGL 29600, ENGL 48900, ARTV 20003, REES 45005

CMLT 32668. Suffering and Justice. 100 Units.

What is suffering, and what is its relationship to justice? This course explores the construction and circulation of understandings of suffering and justice through literary and aesthetic representations, the law, non-governmental organizations, and intellectual discourses. We will consider how local and transnational contexts shape understandings of suffering and the various attempts to respond to it (through, for instance, human rights advocacy, revolutionary politics, humanitarianism, and bearing witness). Readings will include works by Rigoberta Menchú, Antjie Krog, Chinua Achebe, J.M. Coetzee, Ariel Dorfman, Hannah Arendt, Jean-Paul Sartre, Martha Nussbaum, Elaine Scarry, Didier Fassin, and Paul Farmer.

Instructor(s): Nory Peters     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 22668, CMLT 22668

CMLT 33301. Balkan Folklore. 100 Units.

Vampires, fire-breathing dragons, vengeful mountain nymphs. 7/8 and other uneven dance beats, heart-rending laments, and a living epic tradition. This course is an overview of Balkan folklore from historical, political, and anthropological perspectives. We seek to understand folk tradition as a dynamic process and consider the function of different folklore genres in the imagining and maintenance of community and the socialization of the individual. We also experience this living tradition firsthand through visits of a Chicago-based folk dance ensemble, "Balkan Dance."

Instructor(s): Angelina Ilieva     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): NEHC 20568, REES 39009, ANTH 25908, ANTH 35908, REES 29009, NEHC 30568, CMLT 23301

CMLT 33401. The Burden of History: A Nation and Its Lost Paradise. 100 Units.

What makes it possible for the imagined communities called nations to command the emotional attachments that they do? This course considers some possible answers to Benedict Anderson's question on the basis of material from the Balkans. We will examine the transformation of the scenario of paradise, loss, and redemption into a template for a national identity narrative through which South East European nations retell their Ottoman past. With the help of Žižek's theory of the subject as constituted by trauma and Kant's notion of the sublime, we will contemplate the national fixation on the trauma of loss and the dynamic between victimhood and sublimity.

Instructor(s): Angelina Ilieva     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 23401, REES 39013, HIST 24005, NEHC 30573, HIST 34005, NEHC 20573, REES 29013

CMLT 33723. Musical Selfhood. 100 Units.

What sort of subject is the musical self? Within the already brief historical moment of subjectivity in its Western modern shape that is no more than a few hundred years old, an even briefer moment is associated with the idea of a musical subject, a subject or self entirely made up of music. This idea seems of one piece with the idea that music can be pure - or, as it was called at the time, absolute - that it can fully be an end in itself. What does this even mean - that music could be its own end, and that a self could entirely consist of it?

Instructor(s): Florian Klinger     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Discussion in English, readings in English or German. Undergraduates by permission only.
Equivalent Course(s): GRMN 33723, MUSI 33722

CMLT 33819. Narratology of Tears: Goethe, Sterne, and the Sentimental Novel. 100 Units.

This seminar will, with a certain intensity of focus, examine two masterpieces of the "sentimental" mode: Laurence Sterne's A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy (1768) and Goethe's Die Leiden des jungen Werther (1774). Since these novels are both generically self-reflective and, each in its own way, boldly experimental, they are well-suited for an analysis oriented toward the theory of narrative. Comparisons will be drawn to passages in Samuel Richardson's Clarissa, or, The History of a Young Lady (1747-8) and Rousseau's Julie, ou La nouvelle Heloise (1761). We will also take a forward look at Pierre Choderlos de Laclos' Liaisons dangereuses (1782), which may be considered the destruction of the form. In addition to fundamental contributions to narratology, works by Roland Barthes (Fragments of a Lover's Discourse), Albrecht Koschorke (Körperströme und Schriftverkehr. Mediologie des 18. Jahrhunderts), and James Chandler (An Archeology of Sympathy. The Sentimental Mode in Literature and Cinema) will be important points of reference. As always, Schiller's Über naïve und sentimentalische Dichtung will prove indispensable.

Instructor(s): David Wellbery     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 33819, GRMN 33819

CMLT 34017. Fact and Fiction: Hoaxes and Misunderstandings. 100 Units.

This course will focus on fictional texts that readers have misrecognized as factual accounts, as well as the less frequent case of factual texts misidentified as fictional. Students will study the rhetorical strategies or historical and cultural circumstances responsible for these "errors of pragmatic framing" (O. Caïra) by investigating the contexts governing the production or reception of works such as Apuleius' The Golden Ass, Les Lettres d'une religieuse portugaise, Denis Diderot's La Religieuse, Wolfgang Hildesheimer's Marbot: A Biography, and Orson Welles' adaptation of The War of the Worlds, among others.

Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 24017, FREN 24017, FREN 34017

CMLT 34223. Parrhesia: Fearless Speech from Socrates to Greta von Thunberg. 100 Units.

The course will examine the long history of parrhesia, the Greek term for free and fearless speech, from ancient Athens to its current renaissance through the rediscovery by Michel Foucault. Focusing on the relation of truth and discourse, the course will consider not only the extraction of truth as a form of subjection to disciplinary power but also acts of telling truth to power as a practice of self- formation and exercise of freedom. Parrhesia implies a relation between the human self and the act of truth-telling that is suffused with interesting political, philosophical, and ethical possibilities, which students will be encouraged to explore. The course will begin by reviewing Foucault's final lectures on parrhesia and "the courage of truth." It will then examine some of the ancient Greek and Christian texts that Foucault analyzed. It will go on to consider early modern instances of parrhesia (e.g. Galileo and Descartes) and will conclude by surveying relatively recent versions (e.g. Greta von Thunberg and James Comey, JD'85), including contemporary feminist and queer practices of parrhesia. Lectures and discussions in English. No prerequisites.

Instructor(s): Christopher Wild     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PARR 24223, GRMN 24223, RLVC 34223, RLST 24223, GRMN 34223, CMLT 24223

CMLT 34256. Récits et mémoire des catastrophes naturelles. 100 Units.

Ce cours propose d'interroger, dans une perspective diachronique et comparatiste, les enjeux de la mise en récit et de l'artification des « catastrophes naturelles ». On se demandera, par exemple, quelles formes de rationalisation, quels rapports à la temporalité implique le choix du récit, de l'image, du spectacle et de tel ou tel média (architecture, peinture, film, bande dessinée….). L'hypothèse de travail majeure du cours est que l'artification des catastrophes est inséparable de stratégies mémorielles et d'enjeux politiques. La réflexion se portera sur quelques mémoires (avec des extraits de Boccace, Montaigne, Samuel Pepys) et représentations fictionnelles des épidémies. La comparaison entre Le Journal de l'année de Peste de Defoe et la Peste de Camus amènera à s'interroger sur l'usage de la première personne dans les fictions de la peste.

Instructor(s): Françoise Lavocat     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Taught in French.
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 24256, FREN 34256, FREN 24256

CMLT 34723. Philosophical Anthropology: Origins of the Human. 100 Units.

What makes us human? What is our place in the cosmos? What common condition unites us as a species across race, gender, and ethnicity? In this course, we will explore these questions through the lens of twentieth-century German thinkers who placed the human being at the center of philosophical inquiry. Seeking an alternative to both religious and scientific accounts, the philosophers Max Scheler, Arnold Gehlen, and Helmut Plessner developed new conceptions of the human that sought to do justice to both our spiritual and our biological being. We will take an historical approach to this intellectual movement, considering how philosophers such as Herder, Kant, and Nietzsche laid the groundwork for a reevaluation of who we are. In the conviction that literature also plays a vital role in formulating a philosophical anthropology, we will also consider several poets, in particular Friedrich Hölderlin and Rainer Maria Rilke. All texts will be read in English translation.

Instructor(s): Simon Friedland     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): GRMN 24723, CMLT 24723, GRMN 34723

CMLT 34801. Poetics. 100 Units.

In this course, we will study poetry 'in the abstract'. We will study various efforts on the part of philosophers, literary critics, and poets themselves to formulate theories of poetic discourse. We will examine a range of historical attempts to conceptualize poetry as a particular kind of language practice, from Greek, Chinese, and Indic antiquity to the present. (18th/19th, 20th/21st)

Instructor(s): TBD     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): MAPH 34800, ENGL 34800

CMLT 35424. Spiritual Exercises: Giving Form to Thought and Life from Plato to Descartes. 100 Units.

This course will examine the tradition of spiritual exercises from antiquity to the early modern period. Spiritual exercises were at the core of classical paideia, the regimen of self-formation designed and promoted by ancient philosophers, orators, and other pedagogues. As Pierre Hadot and Michel Foucault have demonstrated, ancient philosophy first and foremost has to be understood as a "way of life," as a set of techniques and practices for shaping the self according to wisdom. It was not until philosophy's critical turn with Kant that it shed its practical dimension and became a "theoretical" discipline. Early Christianity, stylizing itself as the "true philosophy," eagerly adopted the ancient spiritual exercises and retooled them for its salvational ends. Throughout the middle ages and early modern period spiritual exercises and meditative techniques informed a host of religious, cultural, and artistic practices and media such as prayer and devotional reading, religious art and poetry, but also theatrical performances and musical works. We will focus on individual exercises like the meditation, the examination of conscience, the discernment of spirits, the application of senses, prosoche (attention), consolation, contemplation, etc., and discuss authors such as Epictetus, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, John Cassian, Augustine, Bonaventure, Ignatius, Descartes, and others.

Equivalent Course(s): CLAS 35423, GRMN 35424, RLST 25424, CMLT 25424, GRMN 25424, RLVC 35424, CLCV 25423, FNDL 25424, COGS 22017

CMLT 35713. Toward a Critique of Avarice. 100 Units.

With the help of Freud, Marx, Lacan, Foucault, Agamben (among others) along with some highpoints of the European literary canon, we propose to develop a "critique of avarice," a project to be sharply distinguished from the moralistic indignation at greed. Our historical and theoretical reflections on avarice open out on to a number of domains and modes of inquiry: from literary criticism to psychoanalysis, from the study of political economy to theories of biopolitics, and finally to the "Jewish question" in relation to all of this. The core text and touchstone of the seminar will be Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, in which the tensions, ambiguities, disavowals, hatreds, projections, and repressions associated with the "avarice complex" are magisterially staged and played out. Attention will also be given to the subsequent history of the figure of Shylock as well as to the capacities for mercy and forgiveness that were posited as the ideal opposites of avarice and usury. One of the goals of the seminar is to interrogate this very opposition.

Instructor(s): E. Santner, M. Dolar     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CDIN 35713, GRMN 35713

CMLT 35902. Virgil, The Aeneid. 100 Units.

A close literary analysis of one of the most celebrated works of European literature. While the text, in its many dimensions, will offer more than adequate material for classroom analysis and discussion, attention will also be directed to the extraordinary reception of this epic, from Virgil's times to ours.

Instructor(s): G. Most
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 35902, CLAS 44512, SCTH 35902

CMLT 35993. The Sublime. 100 Units.

The sublime has traditionally been thought to have had a merely marginal place in ancient Greek and Latin aesthetics and literary theory; but some scholars have recently argued that it was instead more central, and it is difficult not to apply this category to many ancient literary works. However the explicit category of the sublime did not become central to European aesthetics until the 17th century and then continued until the 19th century to play a central role in discussions not only of art and literature, but also of religion, politics, and other fields. By the middle of the 19th century the wave of interest in the sublime seems to have subsided, but in the past forty years this concept has returned to play an important role in aesthetic theories. The seminar will consider the odd history of the sublime, examining central texts from ancient (Longinus), early modern (Boileau), and modern aesthetics (certainly Burke, Kant, Schiller, and Hegel; perhaps also, depending on students' interest and preparation, Tieck, Schlegel, Schelling, Solger, and Jean Paul) as well as some more recent discussions (again depending on student preferences, Nietzsche, Lyotard, Adorno, Zizek). It will also ask whether the concept of the sublime can still play an important role today, or, if not, then what has taken its place. We will deal primarily with theories of the sublime but also to some extent with works of art. Open to undergraduates with consent.

Instructor(s): Glenn Most     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CLAS 35521, SCTH 35993, CLCV 25521

CMLT 35997. Three Comedies of Sexual Revolution. 100 Units.

This seminar will discuss three comedies of sexual revolution from three different times and places. Aristophanes's Assemblywomen recounts how under the leadership of the able Praxagora the women of Athens take over the Assembly and legislate a new regime in which private property is replaced by communism and sexual equity is achieved in favor of the old and unattractive at the expense of the young and attractive. Machiavelli's Mandragola dramatizes the tricks by which young Callimaco manages with the aid of the trickster parasite Ligurio to have sex with Lucrezia, the beautiful young wife of the elderly lawyer Nicomaco, with the consent of both her and her husband, ushering in a new regime in which all are satisfied. In Shakespeare's Measure for Measure Angelo the interim duke of Vienna institutes a repressive sexual regime in which the brothels are closed and extramarital sex is a capital crime. What might we learn about sexual relations from these diverse plays? Why are they comedies?

Instructor(s): Glenn Most & Nathan Tarcov     Terms Offered: Spring. Spring 2024
Prerequisite(s): Undergraduates need the Instructor's permission to register.
Equivalent Course(s): CLCV 27623, SCTH 35997, CLAS 37623, PLSC 35997, GNSE 35997, FNDL 21772, CMLT 25823, PLSC 25997, GNSE 25997, SCTH 25823

CMLT 35999. Realism: Art or Metaphysics? 100 Units.

Besides its historical role as the first capital-letter avant-garde in painting and literature, Realism is making a return in many current artistic and, for that matter, cultural and journalistic contexts. But whether one examines its entanglement with reputed adversaries like Romanticism and Idealism, its origins in ancient and medieval metaphysics, or its strange side career as a label for amoral pragmatism in political theory and practice, the many-sidedness of realism makes pinning it down quite a challenge. Is there any common thread binding Plato and Courbet, Virginia Woolf and García Marquez, Catherine Opie and Ai Weiwei? Can there be a realism of dreams and desire, such as one might find in Freud? And is realism a revolutionary venture, or a consolidating surveillance of social types? What role do new technologies and forms of spectatorship, from oil painting to photography, the printed book to streaming media, play in its rise and evolution? Readings in art history, fiction, and philosophy will alternate with film screenings and gallery visits.

Instructor(s): Andrei Pop and Mechtild Widrich      Terms Offered: Autumn. Autumn
Prerequisite(s): No Consent Required
Equivalent Course(s): KNOW 35010, CMLT 25999, ARTH 39609, SCTH 35010, KNOW 25010, SCTH 25010, ARTH 29609

CMLT 36012. 19th Century French Poetry in Translation: Tradition and Revolution. 100 Units.

A study of modern French lyric poetry: Tradition and Revolution, Poetry and Politics, the seedbed of Modernism. Desbordes-Valmore, Baudelaire, Mallarme, Verlaine, Rimbaud, Apollinaire. Texts will be read in English with reference to the French originals. Close reading, references to poetry in English, and focus on problems in translation. Students with French should read the poems in the original. Class discussion to be conducted in English; critical essays to be written in English. An extra weekly session will be scheduled for discussion in French, for French-speakers.

Instructor(s): Rosanna Warren
Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 26012, FREN 26019, SCTH 36012, ENGL 36012, FREN 36019

CMLT 36015. The New Criticism. 100 Units.

n examination of primary works of The New Criticism, British and American. We will consider the theoretical variety and different critical practices of these loosely allied critics, who were often not allies at all. Authors to be studied: I.A. Richards, T.S. Eliot, F.R. Leavis, Kenneth Burke, John Crowe Ransom, Cleanth Brooks, Robert Penn Warren, W.K. Wimsatt, Yvor Winters, R. P. Blackmur, William Empson.

Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 43250, SCTH 36015

CMLT 36088. The Scientist in the Nineteenth-Century Imagination. 100 Units.

The nineteenth century saw both the professionalization of science and the specialization of its practitioners. In this age of "human empire" produced by industrialization, new technologies offered humanity unprecedented dominion over the natural world, and the "scientist," a term coined in 1834, marked the advent of the idea of a vocation dedicated to that mastery. Moreover, by the end of the century, the natural philosophers and polymaths of earlier ages had given way to chemists, physicists, biologists, and statisticians, whose scope of study was necessarily both deeper and narrower. These developments produced a new social and political positioning for the scientist - an expert, an authority, a wielder of power. This class explores how nineteenth-century fiction writers, from Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe to Jules Verne and Arthur Conan Doyle, engaged with these emerging and transforming conceptualizations of the scientist figure. We will pair our literary explorations with non-fiction readings texts by thinkers and scientists such as Humphry Davy, Karl Pearson, Claude Bernard, William Whewell, and Max Weber ("Science as Vocation") about what the scientist should be and science should do. Additionally, we'll consider how this literary genealogy influences both our fictional portrayal of science to this day as well as our perceptions of it - from our contemporary distrust of expertise to our fear of the scientist playing god.

Instructor(s): Anastasia Klimchynskaya     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): KNOW 36088, CHSS 36088

CMLT 36200. Early-Modern Aesthetics and French Classicism. 100 Units.

Though "aesthetic" philosophy first developed as an autonomous field in the mid-eighteenth century, it has important roots in earlier seventeenth-century debates concerning literature and the arts. In the wake of Cartesian rationalism, could reasoned method be reconciled with non-rational creativity, or decorous order with the unruly "sublime"? Just what kind of "truth" was revealed by poetry or painting? We will consider the relation between literature and other media (including music, opera, and the visual arts) and gauge the impact of French classical criticism on the broader European scene, considering its reception and contestation in Britain, Italy, Spain and Germany. Among the authors considered will be Descartes, Pascal, Boileau, Molière, Félibien, Du Bos, Addison, Hutcheson, Vico, Montesquieu, Diderot, and Herder.

Instructor(s): L. Norman     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Reading knowledge of French
Note(s): Course conducted in English but students taking course for French credit must do all written work in French.
Equivalent Course(s): FREN 36200, REMS 36210

CMLT 36319. The Sublime: Theory and History of an Aesthetic Category. 100 Units.

This course focuses on the aesthetic category of the sublime, combining a rich theoretical discussion with analysis of literary and visual texts. The starting point is Pseudo Longinus' "On the Sublime," the first text in the history of aesthetics to focus on reception and subjective response. After a close reading of this text and a careful examination of its recent interpretations, the course will first deal with key moments in the long and complex modern theoretical debate on the sublime, with special focus on the Italian Renaissance and Torquato Tasso, French classicism and Boileau, the British Enlightenment and Burke. In parallel with this historical overview, the course will examine concrete examples of the sublime in the arts, especially the poetry of Leopardi and Baudelaire, and the parallel theme of landscape, especially in visual arts. The last part of the course will focus on contemporary philosophical and aesthetic debate on the sublime, in particular on Fredric Jameson's notion of the hysterical sublime, Slavoj Zizek's reflection on trash sublime; and on parallels with visual arts: Italian arte povera, Bill Viola's videos inspired by Italian Renaissance paintings, Anselm Kiefer's paintings, Mario Martone's movie on Leopardi, and Lars von Trier's "Melancholia," which recovers the theme of apocalypsis reinforced by Wagner's sublime music.

Instructor(s): M. Fusillo     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Taught in English.
Equivalent Course(s): ITAL 36319

CMLT 36523. Motherless Tongue:" Introduction to Transnational Writing in German. 100 Units.

This course introduces students to contemporary authors writing in German whose texts explore cross-pollinations between languages and cultures. Discussions will center around topics such as: identity; cosmopolitanism; memory; cultural hybridity and alterity; hospitality; guests and hosts; storytelling; migration; what are transnational German Studies? Authors include: the Japanese writer Yoko Tawada who lives in Berlin and writes in Japanese and German; the Romanian-born author Herta Müller (Nobel Prize in 2009); the Black British author Sharon Dodua Otoo who resides in Berlin and writes in German and English; the Ukrainian-German writer Katja Petrowskaja; the Turkish-born writer Feridun Zaimoglu; and others. Course conducted in English with an LxC option for interested students.

Instructor(s): Margareta Ingrid Christian     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 26523, GRMN 26523, GRMN 36523

CMLT 36624. Ekphrasis. 100 Units.

What happens when a text gives voice to a previously mute art work? Ekphrasis - the verbal representation of visual art - continues to be a central concern of word and image studies today. The understanding of ekphrasis as an often hostile paragone between word and image exists alongside notions of a more reciprocal model involving a dialogue or "encounter" between visual and verbal cultures. The affective dimension of the relationship -- ekphrastic hope, ekphrastic fear -- has also been prominent in recent scholarship, as well as attention to the "queerness" of ekphrasis. Drawing on literary works and theories from a range of periods and national traditions, the course will examine stations in the long history of ekphrasis. Why are certain literary genres such as the novel or the sonnet privileged sites for ekphrasis? How can art history inform our understanding of such encounters, and to what extent can we say that it is a discipline based in ekphrasis? What can we learn from current work on description, intermediality, narrative theory, and translation theory? Readings from Homer, Philostratus, Lessing, Goethe, Keats, A.W. Schlegel, Kleist, Sebald, Genette, among others.

Instructor(s): Catriona MacLeod     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 26624, ENGL 36624, GRMN 26624, GRMN 36624, ARTH 36624, ENGL 26624, ARTH 26624

CMLT 36855. Queer Theory. 100 Units.

This course offers a foundation in queer theory. In order to understand the contested definitions of the term "queer" and explore the contours of the field's major debates, we will work to historicize queer theory's emergence in the 1980s and 1990s amidst the AIDS crisis. Reading texts by key figures like Foucault, Sedgwick, Butler, Lorde, Bersani, Crimp, Warner, Halperin, Dinshaw, Edelman, Anzaldúa, Ferguson, and Muñoz in addition to prominent issues of journals like GLQ, differences, and Signs, we will approach these pieces as historical artifacts and place these theorists within the communities of intellectuals, activists, and artists out of which their work emerged. We will, thus, imagine queer theory as a literary practice of mournful and militant devotion, trace queer theory's relationship to feminism and critical race theory, critique the hagiographic tendency of the academic star system, and interrogate the assumptions of queer theory's secularity.

Instructor(s): Kris Trujillo     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 26855, CMLT 26855, RLVC 36855, ENGL 36855, GNSE 20130, GNSE 36855, RLST 26885

CMLT 36912. Strangers to Ourselves: Emigre Literature and Film from Russia and Southeast Europe. 100 Units.

Being alienated from myself, as painful as that may be, provides me with that exquisite distance within which perverse pleasure begins, as well as the possibility of my imagining and thinking," writes Julia Kristeva in "Strangers to Ourselves," the book from which this course takes its title. The authors whose works we are going to examine often alternate between nostalgia and the exhilaration of being set free into the breathless possibilities of new lives. Leaving home does not simply mean movement in space. Separated from the sensory boundaries that defined their old selves, immigrants inhabit a warped, fragmentary, disjointed time. Immigrant writers struggle for breath-speech, language, voice, the very stuff of their craft resounds somewhere else. Join us as we explore the pain, the struggle, the failure, and the triumph of emigration and exile. Vladimir Nabokov, Joseph Brodsky, Marina Tsvetaeva, Nina Berberova, Julia Kristeva, Alexander Hemon, Dubravka Ugrešić, Norman Manea, Miroslav Penkov, Ilija Trojanow, Tea Obreht.

Instructor(s): A. Ilieva     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): REES 39010, REES 29010, CMLT 26912

CMLT 37512. Dream of the Red Chamber: Forgetting About the Author. 100 Units.

The great Chinese-Manchu novel _Honglou meng_ (ca. 1750) has been assigned one major author, Cao Xueqin, whose life has been the subject of much investigation. But before 1922 little was known about Cao, and interpreters of the novel were forced to make headway solely on the basis of textual clues. The so-called "Three Commentators" edition (_Sanjia ping Shitou ji_) shows these readers at their creative, polemical, and far-fetched best. We will be reading the first 80 chapters of the novel and discussing its reception in the first 130 years of its published existence (1792-1922), with special attention to hermeneutical strategies and claims of authorial purpose. Familiarity with classical Chinese required.

Instructor(s): Haun Saussy     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Familiarity with classical Chinese required.
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 27512, CMLT 27512, SCTH 37512, EALC 27512, EALC 37512

CMLT 37621. Philosophical Aesthetics: Heidegger and Adorno. 100 Units.

Two major positions in German philosophical aesthetics of the 20th century will be considered in detail: 1) the ontological-hermeneutic theory advanced by Martin Heidegger; 2) the dialectical-critical theory developed by Theodor W. Adorno. Primary readings will be Heidegger's Origin of the Work of Art and selections from Adorno's Aesthetic Theory. In addition, selected shorter pieces by the two authors will be studied, with a special emphasis on their work on lyric poetry. The seminar will also consider contributions by Georg Simmel, Walter Benjamin, Helmut Plessner, Arnold Gehlen, Georg Lukács. The course seeks to develop an understanding of the conceptual foundation of each of the two philosophical positions. Particular topics to be considered: a) the nature of artistic presentation (Darstellung); b) the nature of artistic truth; c) the historical character of art; d) the political significance of art; e) the relation of art to philosophy.

Instructor(s): David Wellbery     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Undergrads must receive consent.
Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 27621, CMLT 27621, SCTH 37621, GRMN 37621, GRMN 27621

CMLT 37652. Broken Mirrors: Writing the Other from Herodotus to the Jewish/Christian. 100 Units.

How are Others represented in Greco-Roman, Jewish, and Christian canons? Is the Other purely a mirror of the self who represents it? Or do self and Other interact? Can we trace and compare patterns of representation and taxonomies for human difference across cultures, genres, regions, periods, and sciences? How can we develop new critical frameworks and concepts for this task, if we refuse to take for granted the categories and conventions of today's academic disciplines? What might this new approach to the Other help us to learn, or unlearn, about the making of "the West"? In order to answer those questions, our course will survey the most influential literary models of the Other, from Herodotus to the early medieval "Life of Jesus" polemic tradition. Beyond developing a new framework for exploring and connecting these diverse sources, it has three historical aims. First, to interrogate the limits of modern anthropology as the institutionalized site for writing and knowing the Other. Second, to reveal the centrality of the figure of the Jew in the prehistory of anthropology, where it plays a neglected but crucial role in the European history of human difference in general. Finally, to expose the premodern roots of "scientific" categories-"primitive," "civilized," "Oriental," "Aryan," "Semite," etc.-where racial, linguistic, religious, and cultural differences still intersect today.

Instructor(s): James Adam Redfield     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): This course meets the HS or LMCS Committee distribution requirement for Divinity students.
Equivalent Course(s): CLCV 21922, HREL 37652, RLST 27652, JWSC 26603, HIJD 37652, CLAS 31922

CMLT 38024. Ficción del siglo XX, tradición y canon: la narrativa en catalán. 100 Units.

El curso ofrece una introducción al concepto de 'tradición' y a sus mecanismos de funcionamiento, y analiza su relación con la creación literaria contemporánea a partir del estudio de tres obras fundamentales de la narrativa catalana del siglo XX: "El quadern gris" de Pla, "Mirall trencat" de Mercè Rodoreda y "Estremida memòria" de Jesús Moncada. Estas obras de géneros distintos -diario y relato- serán puestas en relación con la ficción contemporánea universal: leeremos los textos de Pla a la luz de la tradición diarista contemporánea, de Woolf o Nin a Walser, Pavese, Gombrowicz, Torga, Ribeyro o Piglia; la novela de Rodoreda, desde el conocimiento de las técnicas experimentales del modernism; y la de Moncada, a través de los universos ficcionales de Faulkner, Bassani, Carpentier, o García Márquez, y de la novela clásica de aventuras de Dumas y Verne. El propósito es contribuir no sólo a clarificar un concepto esencial en las humanidades, como es el de 'tradición', sino a situar en el contexto literario de la ficción internacional tres autores de lengua catalana que han devenido clásicos por su éxito comercial y académico, por el elevado número de traducciones que han merecido, y por su ascendiente en autores posteriores. Estudiaremos el proceso creativo de la ficción contemporánea y sus lazos con la tradición a través de un enfoque comparatista que tiene en cuenta cuestiones como la tensión entre literaturas de lenguas minoritarias y literaturas dominantes.

Equivalent Course(s): CATA 28024, CATA 38024, SPAN 28024, CMLT 28024, SPAN 38024

CMLT 38102. Cervantes: The Exemplary Novels and Don Quixote, Part II. 100 Units.


Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 28102, SPAN 34311, REMS 34311, FNDL 21808, SPAN 24311

CMLT 38123. Friedrich Hölderlin: Poetic Media and Prophecy. 100 Units.

The landscapes of southwest Germany and ancient Greece figure prominently in Friedrich Hölderlin's poetic thinking and writing. What allows his poems to bridge and interlace both worlds - often in the span of a single sentence - is his understanding of nature, which is deeply informed by Jean-Jacques Rousseau's retour à la nature ("return to nature"). It is through nature that the modern self can not only access the unspoiled culture of the Greeks but also commune with the divine - whether in the form of the ancient pantheon or a more Christian version of transcendence. Paradoxically, nature is mediated in a variety of ways; whether through the elemental media of water, air, earth, fire, and light, travel accounts, maps, and more generally written and printed texts. Our seminar will examine - through close readings of some of Hölderlin's most famous and challenging poems - how the deployed poetic media structure aesthetic experience and afford travel to distant times and places. All texts will be read in English translation, but a reading knowledge of German is going to be helpful.

Instructor(s): Christopher Wild     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): GRMN 38123, RLVC 38123

CMLT 38500. Journey to the West II. 100 Units.


Equivalent Course(s): CHIN 21306, CMLT 28500, CHIN 31306, RLIT 49200

CMLT 38600. Neoclassical Aesthetics: Transnational Approaches. 100 Units.

Though "aesthetic" philosophy first developed as an autonomous field in the mid-eighteenth century, it has important roots in earlier eighteenth- and seventeenth-century debates concerning literature and the arts. In the wake of Cartesian rationalism, could reasoned method be reconciled with non-rational creativity, or decorous order with the unruly "sublime"? Just what kind of "truth" was revealed by poetry or painting? What is the value of the Greco-Roman models versus authorial innovation? We will consider the relation between literature and other media (particularly opera and the visual arts) and read French texts in dialogue with other, and often contending, national trends (British, German, Italian). Readings will include Descartes, Pascal, Perrault, Félibien, Dryden, Du Bos, Addison, Vico, Montesquieu, Staël, and A.W. Schlegel.

Instructor(s): Larry Norman     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Reading knowledge of French is required. Undergrads permitted with consent of instructor.
Note(s): Taught in English. Students seeking FREN credit must complete all readings and written work in French.
Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 37000, FREN 37000, ARTH 48301

CMLT 38871. Horror, Abjection, and the Monstrous Feminine. 100 Units.

This course explores cinematic and literary works of horror (the uncanny, gothic, sci-fi, paranormal, psychological thriller, killer/slasher, gore) from around the world. As a mode of speculative fiction, the genre envisions possible or imagined worlds that amplify curiosities, dreads, fears, terrors, phobias, and paranoias which simultaneously repel and attract. Horror frequently explores the boundaries of what it means to be human by dwelling on imaginaries of the non-human and other. It often exploits the markers of difference that preoccupy our psychic, libidinal, and social lifeworlds-such as race, class, gender, and sexuality, but also the fundamental otherness that is other peoples' minds and bodies. Interrogating the genre's tension between desire and fear, our course will focus on the centrality of abjection and the monstrous feminine-as both thematic and aesthetic tropes-to works of horror. Films and fiction will be paired with theoretical readings that contextualize the genre of horror while considering its critical implications in relation to biopolitical and geopolitical forms of power. Content Warning: Course materials will feature graphic, violent, and oftentimes disturbing images and subjects. Enrolled students will be expected to watch, read, and discuss all course materials.

Instructor(s): Hoda El Shakry     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): No prerequisites for undergraduate students Online consent required for graduate students
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 28871, GNSE 30137, MAAD 10871, GNSE 20137, CMLT 28871, ENGL 38871

CMLT 39023. Returning the Gaze: The West and the Rest. 100 Units.

Aware of being observed. And judged. Inferior... Abject… Angry... Proud… This course provides insight into identity dynamics between the "West," as the center of economic power and self-proclaimed normative humanity, and the "Rest," as the poor, backward, volatile periphery. We investigate the relationship between South East European self-representations and the imagined Western gaze. Inherent in the act of looking at oneself through the eyes of another is the privileging of that other's standard. We will contemplate the responses to this existential position of identifying symbolically with a normative site outside of oneself-self-consciousness, defiance, arrogance, self-exoticization-and consider how these responses have been incorporated in the texture of the national, gender, and social identities in the region. Orhan Pamuk, Ivo Andrić, Nikos Kazantzakis, Aleko Konstantinov, Emir Kusturica, Milcho Manchevski.

Instructor(s): Angelina Ilieva     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 33609, NEHC 39023, NEHC 29023, REES 29023, CMLT 29023, REES 39023, HIST 23609

CMLT 39024. States of Surveillance. 100 Units.

What does it feel to be watched and listened to all the time? Literary and cinematic works give us a glimpse into the experience of living under surveillance and explore the human effects of surveillance - the fraying of intimacy, fracturing sense of self, testing the limits of what it means to be human. Works from the former Soviet Union (Solzhenitsyn, Abram Tertz, Andrey Zvyagintsev), former Yugoslavia (Ivo Andrić, Danilo Kiš, Dušan Kovačević), Romania (Norman Manea, Cristian Mungiu), Bulgaria (Valeri Petrov), and Albania (Ismail Kadare).

Instructor(s): Angelina Ilieva     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): REES 39024, CMLT 29024, REES 29024

CMLT 39045. Dostoevsky and Critical Theory. 100 Units.

The tormented, obsessed, and sadistic characters of Dostoevsky's novels posed a challenge to positivism and reason too scandalous and compelling to be ignored. The novels inspired some of the most brilliant and influential thinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the fields of religion, philosophy, psychology and literary theory. We will read two of Dostoevsky's philosophically challenging novels alongside works by these critics and philosophers, including Nietzsche, Sartre, Freud, Bakhtin, Kristeva, and Levinas. While exploring their ideas about faith and unbelief, madness and reason, violence and torture, society and history, we will also inquire into the relationships among literature, philosophy and biography and examine the processes of influence and adaptation.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): RLST 28207, REES 29045, CMLT 29045, REES 39045

CMLT 39300. Dostoevsky: The Idiot. 100 Units.


Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 48902, REES 30018, CMLT 29300, REES 20018, ENGL 28902, FNDL 27101

CMLT 39821. Goethe's Faust: Myth and Modernity. 100 Units.

In this seminar we shall undertake an intensive study of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust, with close textual study of the entirety of Part I and Act 5 of Part II. We will begin by casting a brief look at the earliest versions of the Faust myth, the so-called Faust Chapbook of 1587 and Christopher Marlowe's Dr. Faustus composed 1589-92, premiered 1592), and we will have an eye on later versions such as those of Paul Valéry and Thomas Mann. Some consideration will be devoted to the question of modern "myth" and the Faust myth will be compared to that of Don Juan in particular. Our major task, however, will be to develop a close reading and interpretation of Goethe's text, which ranks as one of the supreme achievements of the European literary tradition. The interpretive issues at the center of our inquiry will include: a) the theory of (modern) tragedy; b) desire and subjectivity; c) Faust in relation to post-Kantian philosophy; d) the theme of time and the "moment." In addition to major works of scholarship, we shall touch on interpretations of the play by Schelling and Kierkegaard. Command of German will be helpful, but students may also refer to an English translation. (Recommended English version: Faust I & II, translated by Stuart Atkins, introduction by David E. Wellbery, Princeton Classics, 2014. Recommended German version: Faust I und II, hrsg. Albrecht Schöne, 2 vols. Text + commentary. Deutscher Klassiker Verlag 2017.)

Instructor(s): David Wellbery     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 39821, GRMN 39821

CMLT 40010. Ruins. 100 Units.

Ruins" will cover texts and images, from Thucydides to WWII, via the Reformation. We will include films (e.g. Rossellini's "Germany Year Zero"), art (e.g. H. Robert, Piranesi) archaeology, and the museum (Soane). On ruins writing, we will read Thucydides, Pausanias from within antiquity, the Enlightenment responses to the destruction and archaeological rediscovery of Pompeii, Diderot, Simmel, Freud on the mind as levels of ruins (Rome) and the analysis as reconstructive archaeologist as well as on the novel Gradiva and the Acropolis, the Romantic obsession with ruins, and the firebombing in WWII. We will also consider the photographing of ruins, and passages from the best-known works on photography (Benjamin, Sontag, Ritchen, Fried, Azoulay). The goal is to see how ruin gazing, and its depictions (textual, imagistic, photographic, etc.) change from the ancients (Greek and Roman), to the Romantic use of ruins as a source of (pleasurable) melancholy, to the technological "advances" in targeting and decimating civilian populations that describe the Second Word War.

Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 40010, CDIN 40010, RLIT 40010

CMLT 40100. Islamic Love Poetry. 100 Units.

The focus of this course is classical Islamic love poetry, Arabic and Persian love lyric will be covered, as well as some Ottoman love lyric (at least in translation). In the past we have incorporated Urdu, Punjabi, Bangla, Bosnian, and Turkish traditions, and-for comparative and historical purposes-Hebrew poetry from medieval Andalus. Because none of us are proficient in the all these languages, students who are proficient a given language are asked to provide a guide (including text, translation, explanation of key vocabulary, etc.) for selected poems from in that language. Each member of the class will be asked to present one poem guide, in addition to a final assignment. Among the poets commonly included in the course are Ibn Zaydun, Ibn al-Farid, Ibn al-`Arabi, Rumi, Hafiz, Baba Fighani, Na'ili, Mir Dard, Bulleh Shah, and Ghalib.

Equivalent Course(s): RLIT 40300, ISLM 40100, NEHC 40600

CMLT 40203. Biopolitics & Posthumanism. 100 Units.

Much has been written about the possibility (or impossibility) of creating an integrated political schema that incorporates living status, not species boundary, as the salient distinction between person and thing. In this course, we will explore how biopolitical and posthumanistic scholars like Michel Foucault, Hannah Arendt, Giorgio Agamben, Jane Bennett, Cary Wolfe, and Donna Haraway have acknowledged (and advocated transcending) the anthropocentric ümwelt, to borrow Jakob von Üexküll's influential term. In parallel with our theoretical readings, we will explore how actual legal systems have incorporated the nonhuman, with a particular focus on Anglo-American and transnational law. Our goal is to develop our own sense of an applied biopolitics-whether to our own research, to future legislation and jurisprudence, or both.

Instructor(s): Nicolette I. Bruner     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): This course fulfills part of the KNOW Core Seminar requirement to be eligible to apply for the SIFK Dissertation Research Fellowship. No instructor consent is required, but registration is not final until after the 1st week in order to give Ph.D. students priority.
Equivalent Course(s): KNOW 40203, CHSS 40203, ENGL 40203

CMLT 41219. Interpretation: Theory and Practice. 100 Units.

his seminar will be conducted on two tracks. On the one hand, we will study major contributions to hermeneutic theory (including positions that understand themselves as anti-hermeneutic). Contributions to be considered include works by Friedrich Schleiermacher, Wilhelm Dilthey, Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Paul Ricoeur, E.D. Hirsch, Manfred Frank, Roland Barthes, Stanley Cavell, and Jacques Derrida. At the same time, the seminar will include a practical component in which we will collectively develop interpretations of works by Heinrich von Kleist, Johann Peter Hebel, Franz Kafka, Friedrich Nietzsche, Charles Baudelaire, Guillaume Apollinaire, Emily Dickinson, and Herman Melville. English translations of the assigned readings will be provided. (This course is restricted to students in Ph.D. programs.)

Instructor(s): David Wellbery     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 41219, ENGL 41219, FREN 41219, GRMN 41219

CMLT 41410. The Literary Life of Things in China. 100 Units.

This course investigates traditional literary strategies in China through which objects are depicted and animated. Our emphasis will be on reading in primary sources, but we'll also draw on secondary sources from anthropology, the history of material culture, literary theory, and art history, both from within and outside China studies. Each week will introduce some basic genre and key literary works while also foregrounding certain conceptual issues. Students will select a case study to work on throughut the quarter, which will become their final research paper and which will also help orient their shorter class presentations. The choice of subject for the case study is quite open, so that each student can pursue a project that relates to his or her own central interests. It might be a cultural biography of a real object or class of objects; it might be a study of how objects are deployed in a novel or play, encyclopedia or connoisseurship manual, but there are many other possibilities.

Instructor(s): J. Zeitlin     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): EALC 41400

CMLT 41815. Writing the Algerian War of Independence. 100 Units.

This course aims to examine the representation of the Algerian War of Independence (1954-1962) in the work of Algerian and French writers. It will consider a corpus of testimonial texts, novels, and poetry in relation to the memory of the war, its traumatic experiences, and various forms of anticolonial struggle and insurgency. We will analyse the narrative, discursive, and poetic strategies used by authors to explore individual and collective memories and elaborate a politics of resistance and transformation in the Algerian context. Studied authors include Maïssa Bey, Assia Djebar, Leïla Sebbar, Mouloud Feraoun, Jean Sénac, Laurent Mauvignier, and Joseph Andras.

Instructor(s): Khalid Lyamlahy     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): All readings and in-class discussions will be in English. Students will have the option to write either in English or in French.
Equivalent Course(s): FREN 41815, NEHC 41815

CMLT 42410. Proust: The first volume. 100 Units.

This course will undertake in-depth readings of the first volume of Proust's In Search of Lost Time. While we will use a translation, any student who can read the French is strongly encouraged to do so (alongside the English, to facilitate class discussion). By doing close readings, we will explore the famous Proustian world, its textual and cultural complexities, the literary style it inaugurates, as well as the belle époque it depicts. The course will thus consider social, literary, historical, and critical approaches to this seminal text.

Instructor(s): Françoise Meltzer     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): The course is intended for graduate students, but advanced undergraduates (third or fourth years) can take the course with the permission of the instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): FREN 22410, CMLT 22410, DVPR 42410, FREN 32410, RLST 28410

CMLT 42503. Renaissance Humanism. 100 Units.

Humanism in the Renaissance was an ambitious project to repair what idealists saw as a fallen, broken world by reviving the lost arts of antiquity. Their systematic transformation of literature, education, art, religion, architecture, and science dramatically reshaped European culture, mixing ancient and medieval and producing the foundations of modern thought and society. Readings focus on primary sources: Petrarch, Poggio, Ficino, Pico, Castiglione, and Machiavelli, with a historiographical review of major modern treatments of the topic. We will discuss the history of the book, cultural and intellectual history, and academic writing skills especially planning the dissertation as a book and writing and submitting articles to journals.

Instructor(s): A. Palmer     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Upper-level undergraduates with consent of instructor. Students with Latin, Greek, Italian, French, Spanish, or German will have the opportunity to use them.
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 42503, CLAS 42514, ITAL 42503

CMLT 42918. Exploratory Translation. 100 Units.

Translation is one of the central mechanisms of literary creativity across the world. This course will offer opportunities to think through both the theory and practice of this art form and means of cultural transmission, focusing on the problems of translation of and by poets in a variety of languages: it will emphasize precisely the genre most easily "lost in translation," as the truism goes. Topics to be discussed will include semantic and grammatical interference, loss and gain, the production of difference, pidgin, translationese, bilingualism, self-translation, code-switching, translation as metaphor, foreignization vs. nativization, and distinct histories of translation. Alongside seminar sessions for discussion of readings, workshop sessions patterned on Creative Writing pedagogy will offer students a chance to try their hands at a range of tactics of translation. We also hope to invite a few poets and translators to engage in dialogues about the art (these visits conditioned on funding that we are currently seeking). The course therefore engages with such fields as linguistics, literary study, creative writing, psychology, and anthropology. Its thematic and methodological implications reach across the humanities and social sciences.

Instructor(s): Jennifer Scappettone, Haun Saussy     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 42918, MAPH 42918, ENGL 42918, CRWR 42918, RLLT 42918

CMLT 43121. Translation Theory and Practice. 100 Units.

This course introduces students to the field of Translation Studies and its key concepts, including fidelity, equivalence, and untranslatability, as well as the ethics and politics of translation. We will investigate the metaphors and models that have been used to think about translation and will consider translation as a transnational practice, exploring how "world histories" may be hidden within "word histories," as Emily Apter puts it. In the process, we will assess theories of translation and poetry from classical antiquity to the present; compare multiple translations of the same text; and examine notable recent translations. Students will carry out translation exercises and create a final translation project of their own.

Instructor(s): Rachel Galvin     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CRWR 51503, CRWR 43121, ENGL 43121

CMLT 43300. Baudelaire. 100 Units.

This course will consider the major poems of Baudelaire as well as the chaotic political landscape that he inhabited.

Instructor(s): Françoise Meltzer
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 23310, FREN 43300, RLIT 43500

CMLT 43301. Comparative Mystical Literature: Islamic, Jewish and Christian. 100 Units.

The mysticisms of the three monotheistic faiths share many features that invite comparison. All three deal with sacred texts that overlap in instances, and all three responded in different ways to the philosophical mysticisms inherited from Classical antiquity. While there are a number of influences, both direct and indirect, among these traditions, there are far more instances of similar structural motifs shared by the three. This course is designed to explore the history and structural dynamics of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic mysticisms through the careful reading of primary sources across the traditions. The Class will be limited to 20 students on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each student will be expected to demonstrate reading competence in the language of one of the mystical traditions (e. g., Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Latin, or one of the Christian vernaculars).

Equivalent Course(s): HCHR 43302, HIJD 43301, ISLM 43301, RLIT 43303

CMLT 43995. Comparative Issues in Monotheistic Mystical Traditions. 100 Units.

The mysticisms of the three monotheistic faiths share many features that invite comparison. All three deal with sacred texts that overlap in instances, and all three responded in different ways to the philosophical mysticisms inherited from Classical antiquity. While there are a number of influences, both direct and indirect, among these traditions, there are far more instances of similar structural motifs shared by the three. This course is designed to explore the history and structural dynamics of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic mysticisms through the careful reading of primary sources across the traditions.

Equivalent Course(s): RLIT 43995, ISLM 43995, HIJD 43995, HCHR 43995

CMLT 44000. Cultura visual y esclavitud en Iberoamérica. 100 Units.

La esclavitud en las Américas no fue únicamente un sistema de organización socio-económica fundamentado en el trabajo coactivo. Este también conllevó la gestación de complejas y heterogéneas formas de producción cultural. En el contexto del moderno sistema de la plantación, ello en parte implicó una inédita articulación filosófica de las relaciones entre poder, raza y cuerpo, sofisticadas formas sincréticas de musicalidad y religiosidad populares, así como la producción de numerosas representaciones artísticas en las que se simbolizaron las conflictivas y a veces insólitas relaciones entre amos y esclavos. En este seminario nos enfocaremos en una serie de artefactos en los que se dramatiza puntualmente la intersección entre cultural visual y dominación esclavista en el mundo iberoamericano, prestándole especial atención a sus encuadres transatlánticos y a sus relaciones con los proyectos de constitución nacional en el siglo XIX. Nuestro objetivo es identificar el lugar de lo visual al interior de las cultura de la esclavitud --las lógicas de sus funcionamientos-- a partir del reconocimiento de algunas de sus zonas menos estudiadas. Examinaremos una selección de expresiones relativas a la "alta" pintura, las dimensiones visuales de los reglamentos de esclavos, ciertas modalidades performáticas de las prácticas evangélicas y del teatro popular, y la dialéctica de lo visible y lo invisible en narrativas de esclavos y en algunas producciones efímeras de la cultura material.

Instructor(s): Agnes Lugo-Ortiz     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Taught in Spanish. Open to advanced undergraduates with consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 44000, LACS 44000, SPAN 44000

CMLT 44410. Practices of Classicism in the French Seventeenth Century. 100 Units.

This seminar has two goals. One is to combine the text-based tradition of French literary studies with the image-based, comparative tradition of art history-and, in so doing, to change the taxonomies of both. The other is to re-evaluate French Classicism by attending to practices of reading, writing, performing, looking and making. The seminar's breadth is designed to appeal to all graduate students interested in the theory and history of aesthetics, and the interleaving of visual and literary evidence. Looking will be no less important than reading, as we will conduct sessions with original objects in the Art Institute and in Regenstein Special Collections. Authors studied will include Corneille, Molière, La Fontaine, Pascal, and Descartes; among the artists, Poussin, Claude Lorrain, La Tour, and Callot. Critical readings will range from Leo Spitzer to Louis Marin and Foucault. The seminar will be conducted in English; all primary texts will be made available in both English translation and, for those with reading knowledge, in the French original. This seminar will travel to Paris during exam week (March 13-21, 2020); airfare and lodging covered by university. Consent of instructors required.

Instructor(s): Larry Norman and Richard Neer     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): FREN 34420, TAPS 44420, ARTH 45885, CDIN 44420

CMLT 46150. Heidegger and the Poets. 100 Units.

An investigation of the role(s) that poetry plays in Martin Heidegger's thinking. We will begin by focusing our attention on Heidegger's reading of the German poet Friedrich Hölderlin. We will then consider his interpretations of figures such as Rainer Maria Rilke, Stefan Georg, and Georg Trakl. We shall conclude by examining poetic responses to Heideggerian thought by figures such as René Char and Paul Celan, among others.

Instructor(s): Ryan Coyne and Eric Santner     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): This course meets the CS Committee distribution requirement for for Divinity students. Undergraduates must petition to enroll.
Equivalent Course(s): GRMN 46150, THEO 46150, DVPR 46150

CMLT 46202. Performance Theory: Action, Affect, Archive. 100 Units.

This seminar offers a critical introduction to performance theory organized around three conceptual clusters: a) action, acting, and forms of production or play, in theories from classical (Aristotle) through modern (Hegel, Brecht, Artaud), to contemporary (Richard Schechner, Philip Zarilli, others); b) affect, and its intersections with emotion and feeling: in addition to contemporary theories of affect and emotion we will read earlier modern texts that anticipate recent debates (Diderot, Freud) and their current interpreters (Joseph Roach, Erin Hurley and others), as well as those writing about the absence of affect and the performance of failure (Sara Bailes etc); and c) archives and related institutions and theories of recording performance, including the formation of audiences (Susan Bennett) and evaluating print and other media recording ephemeral acts, including the work of theorists of memory (Pierre Nora) and remains (Rebecca Schneider; Mark Fleishman), theatre historians (Rose Bank, Ellen Mackay etc) and tensions between archive and repertoire (Diana Taylor).(20th/21st)

Instructor(s): Loren Kruger     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Note: This course is intended only for those who have completed their undergraduate degree.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 38346, ENGL 46202, TAPS 46202

CMLT 47201. History of Criticism: 16th-19th Centuries. 100 Units.

The second of a two-course sequence that offers a survey of major historical moments in the theory of interpretation. The course will pursue the thesis that the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries are dominated by three cardinal moments in the sociology of modern knowledge: the emergence of the figure of "the critic"; the articulation of "aesthetics" as an independent mode of thought; and the establishment of historical-critical methodology as prerequisite to understanding, and in turn properly interpreting, the Bible. Prerequisite: completion of the first course in the sequence. Required of Ph.D. students taking the RLVC 1 exam.

Instructor(s): Richard Rosengarten     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): RLVC 47200

CMLT 48017. Phaedras Compared: Adaptation, Gender, Tragic Form. 100 Units.

This seminar places Racine's French neoclassical tragedy Phaedra within a wide-ranging series of adaptations of the ancient myth, from its Greek and Latin sources (Euripides, Seneca, Ovid) to twentieth-century and contemporary translations and stage adaptations (Ted Hughes, Sarah Kane), read along with a series of theoretical and critical texts. Particular attention will be paid to critical paradigms and approaches in the evolving fields of classical reception studies, theater and performance studies, and gender studies. Reading knowledge of French strongly preferred.

Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 48017, CLAS 48017, FREN 48017, TAPS 48017, CDIN 48017

CMLT 48616. Hölderlin and the Greeks. 100 Units.

The German poet Friedrich Hölderlin submitted to the paradoxical double-bind of Johann Joachim Winckelmann's injunction that "the only way for us [Germans] to become great or - if this is possible - inimitable, is to imitate the ancients." As he wrote in his short essay "The standpoint from which we should consider antiquity," Hölderlin feared being crushed by the originary brilliance of his Greek models (as the Greeks themselves had been), and yet foresaw that modern European self-formation must endure the ordeal of its encounter with the Greek Other. The faculty of the imagination was instrumental to the mediated self-formation of this Bildung project, for imagination alone was capable of making Greece a living, vitalizing, presence on the page. Our seminar will therefore trace the work of poetic imagination in Hölderlin's texts: the spatiality and mediality of the written and printed page, and their relation to the temporal rhythms of lived experience. All texts will be read in English translation, but a reading knowledge of German and/or Greek would be desirable.

Equivalent Course(s): GRMN 48616, CLAS 48616

CMLT 48647. Trauma and Narrative. 100 Units.

This graduate seminar invites students to engage with literary trauma studies, a field that first emerged in the 1990s, and that has more recently been undergoing decolonization processes. Following calls by scholars such as Stef Craps in Postcolonial Witnessing (2013), we will examine foundational and current literary theory by questioning its validity and applicability across different cultural contexts and languages. We will read select fictional trauma narratives, in English translation or in the original language when possible. Readings will include select psychological and psychoanalytical theoretical literature from Judith L. Herman and Cathy Caruth to Bessel van der Kolk; (literary) theory by Ruth Leys, Lauren Berlant and Stef Craps, as well as fictional texts, largely from non-Euro-Anglo-American contexts. Students working on trauma-related literary projects are welcome to contribute materials in their respective research languages. We will end the course by bridging discussions of literary trauma studies with recent debates around a pedagogy of trauma, especially as applicable the context of higher education. Students need to be available for 2 synchronous online meetings per week.

Instructor(s): Nisha Kommattam     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 48647

CMLT 48852. Proust: first two volumes of La Recherche. 100 Units.


Instructor(s): Françoise Meltzer     Terms Offered: Autumn

CMLT 49002. Ekphrasis: Description, Vision and Imagination in Art and Religion. 100 Units.

This course explores the rich traditions of the description - ekphrasis -- from Greco-Roman antiquity to modernity. It tackles texts (both prose and verse) in order to establish the ramifications of a genre in the European tradition, and its applications in particular to visual culture and religion. There will be opportunity in the final paper to range beyond these into questions of comparative literature, art (history) writing, religious imagination and ekphrasis in all periods or contexts, as well as into the use of images or films as themselves forms of descriptive response. The course is primarily intended for graduates but interested undergraduates are welcome. The course will be taught over 5 weeks in the Spring Quarter on an intensive schedule. It will be examined on the basis of a paper, due on a subject to be agreed and on a date to be agreed at the end of the Spring quarter.

Instructor(s): Jaś Elsner and Francoise Meltzer     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Note: Consent of instructor required for undergraduates; email Professors Meltzer and Elsner a paragraph long description about what you bring and what you hope to get out of this seminar. (CDI seminar enrollment is capped at 18 students.)
Equivalent Course(s): CDIN 49002, RLVC 49002, DVPR 49002, ARTH 40401

CMLT 49003. Islam Beyond the Human: Spirits, Demons, Devils, and Ghosts. 100 Units.

This seminar explores the diverse spiritual and sentient lifeforms within Islamic cosmology that exist beyond the human-from jinn, angels, and ghosts to demons and devils. We will focus on theological, scientific, philosophical, anthropological, and historical accounts of these creatures across a variety of texts, as well as their literary and filmic afterlives in contemporary cultural representations. In so doing, we consider the various religious, social, and cultural inflections that shape local cosmological imaginaries. We ask how reflecting on the nonhuman world puts the human itself in question, including such concerns as sexuality and sexual difference, the boundaries of the body, reason and madness, as well as the limits of knowledge.

Instructor(s): Alireza Doostdar and Hoda El Shakry     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Enrollment by Consent Only (for both grads and undergrads). Students should send the instructors a paragraph explaining their interest and prior preparation or familiarity with the themes in the course.
Note(s): This course meets the LMCS or SCSR Committee distribution requirement for Divinity students.
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 49003, ISLM 49003, CMLT 29003, ANTH 49003, GNSE 29003, RLST 29003, NEHC 29003, AASR 49003, NEHC 49003, ANTH 29003, KNOW 49003

CMLT 49999. Graduate Comparative Literature Workshop. 100 Units.

Graduate writing workshop for Ph.D. students in Comparative Literature aimed at cultivating familiarity and fluency with various genres of writing in the academy-from seminar papers, conference presentations, and journal articles, to doctoral degree documents as well as fellowship and academic job market materials. Enrolled students will have the opportunity to share and individually workshop works-in-progress, while attending to the craft of producing creative, engaging, and persuasive scholarly writing. In addition to tackling the various stages of academic writing development, editing, and revision, we will address practical aspects of the writing process-such as writing habits, challenges, and technologies.

Instructor(s): Leah Feldman     Terms Offered: Autumn

CMLT 50007. Michel Foucault: Les aveux de la chair. 100 Units.

The last volume of Foucault's history of sexuality has finally been published after more than a 30 year wait. In this volume Foucault moves from his previous focus on Greco-Roman culture to early Christianity, and his account culminates in an extensive discussion of Saint Augustine. This seminar will consist of a close reading of Les Aveux de la chair, supplemented by a few other texts from the later Foucault. We will also try to draw some general methodological and philosophical conclusions from our reading.

Instructor(s): A. Davidson     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Good reading knowledge of French and familiarity with the previous volumes of Foucault's "Histoire de la sexualité". All students interested in enrolling in this course should send an application to by 12/14/2018. Applications should be no longer than one page and should include name, email address, phone number, and department or committee. Applicants should briefly describe their background and explain their interest in, and their reasons for applying to, this course.
Equivalent Course(s): DVPR 50007, PHIL 50007, FREN 40007

CMLT 50101. The Problem with Theory. 100 Units.

This graduate course offers a critical introduction to comparative theoretical methods by attending to theory's political and epistemological antagonisms and how they have shaped the ways in which we read literature and art. The seminar begins by tracing critical theory's historical contours-from the high theory boom of the 70s and 80s and the rise of postcolonial, performance, and queer theory in the 90s and 2000s to contemporary critical theory in a comparative context. The course thus attends to problems in thinking about critical theory's scope, boundaries, and canons, as not only as a mode of doing thought but as a site for disciplinary and institutional critique. The seminar explores how theory has both emerged from and animates the worldliness of literature and art as textured imprints of historicity, imagination, and experience across social, cultural and political contexts.

Instructor(s): Leah Feldman     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): This course fulfills the fall core requirement for first-year Ph.D. students in Comparative Literature.
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 50102, CRES 50101, ENGL 50101

CMLT 50104. Blood Libel: Damascus to Riyadh. 100 Units.

This course examines the Blood-Libel from the thirteenth-century to the present, with special focus upon the Damascus Affair of 1840 and its repercussions in the modern Middle Eastern and European contexts and in polemics today among Muslims, Christians and Jews. We will review cases and especially upon literary and artistic representations of ritual murder and sacrificial consumption alleged to have been carried out by Waldensians, Fraticelli, witches, and Jews, with special attention to the forms of redemptive, demonic, and symbolic logic that developed over the course of the centuries and culminated in the wake of the Damascus Affair. Each participant will be asked to translate and annotate a sample primary text, ideally one that has not yet been translated into English, and to use that work as well in connection with a final paper.

Instructor(s): M. Sells     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Willingness to work on a text from one of the following languages--Latin, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Hungarian, Russian, Arabic, Modern Greek, or Turkish--at whatever level of proficiency one has attained. This course fulfills the autumn core requirement for first year PhDs in Comparative Literature
Equivalent Course(s): ISLM 41610

CMLT 50107. Literary Theory: Auerbach's Mimesis. 100 Units.

The focus of this seminar will be Erich Auerbach's Mimesis, a book often held up as foundational and paradigmatic for the discipline of comparative literature. Close reading of its twenty chapters together with excerpts from its objects of study (from Homer to Virginia Woolf) will be framed by readings and discussion on the contexts of its production, the history of its reception, the limitations that have been imputed to its presuppositions and biases, and the generative potentials and significances it might continue to make available to the current and future practice of literary comparison.

Terms Offered: Autumn

CMLT 50204. Destruction of Images, Books & Artifacts in Europe and S. Asia. 100 Units.

The course offers a comparative perspective on European and South Asian iconoclasm. In the European tradition, iconoclasm was predominantly aimed at images, whereas in South Asian traditions it was also enacted upon books and buildings. The combination of these traditions will allow us to extend the usual understanding of iconoclasm as the destruction of images to a broader phenomenon of destruction of cultural artifacts and help question the theories of image as they have been independently developed in Europe and South Asia, and occasionally in conversation with one another. We will ask how and why, in the context of particular political imaginaries and material cultures, were certain objects singled out for iconoclasm? Also, who was considered to be entitled or authorized to commit their destruction? Through a choice of concrete examples of iconoclasm, we will query how religious and political motivations are defined, redefined, and intertwined in each particular case. We will approach the iconoclastic events in Europe and South Asia through the lenses of philology, history, and material culture. Class discussions will incorporate not only textual materials, but also the close collaborative study of images, objects, and film. Case studies will make use of objects in the Art Institute of Chicago and Special Collections at the University Library.

Equivalent Course(s): SALC 50204, HREL 50204, CDIN 50204, ARTH 40204, RLVC 50204

CMLT 58613. Poetry of the Americas. 100 Units.

In what tangled ways does poetry transform through dialogue across linguistic and geographical distances, and through performance, translation, and collaboration? This seminar takes a comparative, hemispheric approach to 20th- and 21st-century poetries from the Southern Cone to the Caribbean to Canada, with significant attention to Latinx poets. We will examine developments in poetic form, especially transformations of the epic and the lyric, in conjunction with questions of modernization, globalization, and colonialism, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender. This course is held in tandem with Fall quarter events including Chicago's Lit & Luz Festival, which stages Mexican-U.S. artistic collaborations. Seminar members will have the opportunity for dialogue with poets and translators who visit our seminar and/or give poetry readings on campus. (No knowledge of Spanish, French, or Portuguese is required.) (20th/21st)

Instructor(s): Rachel Galvin     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): SPAN 48613, ENGL 58613

CMLT 70000. Advanced Study: Comparative Literature. 300.00 Units.

Advanced Study: Comparative Literature

CMLT 75000. Advanced Research. 300.00 Units.


Terms Offered: Autumn