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RUSSA 1103 : Conversation Practice
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Reinforces the speaking skills learned in RUSSA 1121. Homework includes assignments that must be done in the language lab or on the students' own computer. Detailed description at russian.cornell.edu.
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COML 1105 : FWS: Books with Big Ideas
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
What do Frankenstein and Things Fall Apart have in common? What lies behind the fantastical stories of Aladdin? Do we have to like Garcia Márquez and Shakespeare? These texts and authors re-imagine the human experience as its most intriguing level. In this course, we will discuss human rights, intimacy, joy, isolation, and other controversies at the heart of these books. Throughout the semester, students will learn how to articulate an informed and nuanced position on these issues via formal practices in analytical readings, drafting, peer review, and self-editing. Actual selection of readings may vary depending on the instructor's focus.
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COML 1106 : FWS: Robots
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
In 2015, Japan's SoftBank Robotics Corporation announced the world's first robot with feelings. Many people were excited, many more disturbed. If robots are simply, as the dictionary suggests, machines "designed to function in the place of a living agent," then what is so disturbing about them? Since robots are designed to replace human labor (first economic, and now also emotional), do they represent a threat as much as they do an aid? What happens when robots exceed their purpose, and become more humanlike? How do robots read, write, and feel? How do the activities of coding and writing, or decoding and reading differ? Students will be equipped with the vocabulary and writing strategies to rigorously analyze, compare, and debate the meaning of robots in the human imagination from different epochs, countries, languages, and media. In doing so, they will write in a variety of registers about plays such as R.U.R. by Karel Capek, who invented the term "robot". Other materials may include philosophical texts, fiction, videogames, films, graphic novels, and hip-hop concept albums.
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COML 1107 : FWS: Writing the Environment
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
The state of the planet is one of the most urgent issues of our time, yet communicating environmental concerns and engaging the public on environmental issues is never easy. By studying and emulating how scientists, activists, philosophers, anthropologists, religious leaders, journalists, and last but not least creative writers connect us with our increasingly threatened world, this course aims to provide tools to students from all disciplines on writing the environment. Assignments will include analyzing and mapping the templates of different kinds of environmental writing; comparing writing from different periods and parts of the world aimed toward diverse audiences; and trying out writing voices and styles within and across the students' divergent knowledge, interests, and skills.
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COML 1110 : FWS: Seeing (beyond) Race
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
"[T]he Other fixes me with his gaze", so writes Fanon about being seen as a black man. Our course will start from the working premise that racial difference is constructed through the act of looking and being seen. We will consider how different peoples have been subjected to racial stereotypes and how image impacts power relations in real life. We will also examine the ways artists and intellectuals speak back to oppressive representational regimes through creative self-expression and critical analysis. Our texts may include essays by Stuart Hall, accounts of ethno-tourism, Marlon Riggs's documentary, Beyoncé's Lemonade, and David Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly. Through writing personal reflection, critical essays, and a research paper, students will learn to analyze visual texts and the social power of image.
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COML 1115 : FWS: On Alienation and Empathy
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Have you ever been frustrated with only existing inside your own mind? In this course we will read what authors and thinkers have written about differences between groups of people – like race and gender – and about the difference between any two people, which makes it hard to feel like we "really know" someone. We will write about how these differences relate to each other, and what we would want to change about them. We will read stories that allow us to reach across distance and know something, but also how, in the information age, they demonstrate what we cannot know.
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COML 1116 : FWS: Things
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
What can the seemingly mundane objects that populate everyday life tell us about our relationship to the world? And if art, as A.B. Marx put it, is a "secret confession," what might it confess about this relationship, about "things"? In this seminar, we will explore how art – including literature, film, and visual media – can help us to unlock the hidden stories and histories contained in things. By engaging with these materials, we will learn to think and write about how art reflects on and engages with the "things" of our world, be they objects, commodities, possessions, money, or even bodies. Though we will consider "things" from a variety of contexts, we will concentrate primarily on French literature, film and visual art from the twentieth-century.
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COML 1119 : FWS: A Taste of Russian Literature
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Explore the culinary tradition and culture of Russia in broad historical, geopolitical and socioeconomic context through the lens of Russian folklore, short stories of Gogol, Chekhov, and Bulgakov, works of contemporary Russian-American writers, visual art, and international film. The literary journey will take you from the lavish tables of the XVIII century aristocracy, to the hardship and austerity of GULAG prison, to the colorful and savory regional fare of the former Russian Empire and Soviet Union, to the fridge and pantry staples in the everyday life of Russian family. Your writing assignments will help you develop critical thinking and argumentative skills, precision and clarity of expression, ability to write with discipline, creativity, and sense of style.
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RUSSA 1121 : Elementary Russian through Film
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Gives a thorough grounding in all the language skills; listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Course materials include clips from original Russian films and televisions programs. Homework includes assignments that must be done in the language lab or on the students' own computers. Note the RUSSA 1103 option. Detailed description at russian.cornell.edu.
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COML 1121 : FWS: Ukraine and Russia through the Eyes of Nikolai Gogol
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
For several years now, Ukraine and Russia have been in the headlines as their conflict has captivated the world. Nikolai Gogol (1809-52) is uniquely positioned to provide some answers to many questions surrounding this conflict. A native of Ukraine, Gogol moved to St. Petersburg at the age of twenty. His works set in Ukraine and Russia, his juxtaposition of the two ethnicities, are relevant in gaining an understanding of this tragic strife between the two neighboring countries. Gogol's picturesque style is abundant with rhetorical devices. Studying Gogol's works chronologically, from "The Fair at Sorochintsy" to "The Overcoat," will enable students to familiarize themselves with his oeuvre's wide range. This, in turn, will equip students with numerous tools designed to enrich and improve their writing skills. Most important, writing assignments will help students to learn how to write in a lucid and coherent manner.
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COML 1122 : FWS: Aesthetics for Beginners
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
This course will treat basic concepts of aesthetics with reference both to theoretical texts and to artworks of all forms, genres, and periods, as well as to natural phenomena. With care and precision, we will address elementary questions of aesthetic experience: Are there objective standards of beauty or does it really lie in the eye of the beholder? What do we mean when we call something "sublime"? Is it meaningful to argue about taste? Why do we sometimes take pleasure in the ugly and the disgusting? What is the relationship between aesthetic and moral judgment? Developing their own critical writing, students will gain argumentative skills crucial for any academic discipline. Readings may include Plato, Aristotle, Longinus, Rousseau, Burke, Kant, Darwin, Baudelaire, and/or Nietzsche.
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RUSSA 1125 : Reading Russian Press
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
The emphasis is on reading unabridged articles on a variety of topics from current Russian web pages and translating them into English; a certain amount of discussion (in Russian) may also be undertaken. Detailed description at russian.cornell.edu.
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RUSSA 1131 : Self-Paced Elementary Russian I
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
RUSSA 1131 and RUSSA 1132 cover the standard Cornell first-year Russian language curriculum at a slower (or faster) pace than RUSSA 1103 -RUSSA 1104 and RUSSA 1121 -RUSSA 1122, the pace to be chosen by each individual student in consultation with the instructor. Somewhat larger homework reading, writing, and online assignments with fewer and shorter meetings with the instructors, one-on-one or in very small groups.
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COML 2006 : Punk Culture: The Aesthetics and Politics of Refusal
Crosslisted as: AMST 2006, ENGL 2906, MUSIC 2006 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Punk Culture–comprised of music, fashion, literature, and visual arts–represents a complex critical stance of resistance and refusal that coalesced at a particular historical moment in the mid-1970s, and continues to be invoked, revived, and revised. In this course we will explore punk's origins in New York and London, U.S. punk's regional differences (the New York scene's connection to the art and literary worlds, Southern California's skate and surf culture, etc.), its key movements (hardcore, straight edge, riot grrrl, crust, queercore), its race, class and gender relations, and its ongoing influence on global youth culture. We will read, listen, and examine a variety of visual media to analyze how punk draws from and alters previous aesthetic and political movements. No previous experience studying music is necessary.
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COML 2030 : Introduction to Comparative Literature
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Take your love for literature into uncharted waters. "Introduction to Comparative Literature" journeys beyond national and disciplinary borders to explore the far-reaching implications of our increasingly globalized world. In this fast-paced survey of the field, you'll be exposed to the cutting-edge of the discipline as we survey debates in world literature, literary theory and philosophy. Exploring a range of literatures from across the globe, we'll read authors including Ovid, Aimé Césaire, Jorge Luis Borges, Franz Kafka, and Kazuo Ishiguro. Punctuated by special guest lectures by innovative scholars in the field, this course will expose you to a wide array of topics: postcolonial literature, literary theory, animal studies, ecocriticism, and media studies.  Students will emerge from this course with new awareness of the global literary scene and with the ability to read critically and write with clarity.
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COML 2050 : Introduction to Poetry
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Could a meter have a meaning?  Could there be a reason for a rhyme?  And what is lost and gained in translation?  We'll think about these and other questions in this introduction to poetry.  We'll see how poems are put together and we'll learn how to figure them out.  Poets may include Herbert, Hardy, Hopkins, Housman, Dickinson, Frost, W. C. Williams, Gw. Brooks, Heine, Pushkin, Lermontov, Akhmatova.  All reading is in English; we'll make use of non-English originals when possible.
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RUSSA 2203 : Intermediate Composition and Conversation
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Guided conversation, translation, reading, pronunciation, and grammar review, emphasizing the development of accurate and idiomatic expression in the language. Course materials include video clips from an original Russian feature film and work with Russian web sites, in addition to the textbook. Detailed description at russian.cornell.edu.
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COML 2235 : New Visions in African Cinema
Crosslisted as: ASRC 2235, ENGL 2935 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
This undergraduate course introduces the formal and topical innovations that African cinema has experienced since its inception in the 1960s. Sections will explore, among others, Nollywood, sci-fi, and ideological cinema. Films include: Abderrahmane Sissako's Bamako, Mohamed Camara's Dakan, Djibril Diop Mambéty's Touki-Bouki, Cheikh Oumar Sissoko's Finzan, Anne-Laure Folly's Women with Open Eyes, Ousmane Sembène's Camp de Thiaroye, Jean-Pierre Bekolo's Quartier Mozart.
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COML 2754 : Wondrous Literatures of the Near East
Crosslisted as: JWST 2754, NES 2754 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
This course examines Near East's rich and diverse literary heritage. We will read a selection of influential and wondrous texts from ancient to modern times, spanning geographically from the Iberian peninsula to Iran. We will trace three major threads: myths of creation and destruction; travel narratives; and poetry of love and devotion. Together we will read and discuss such ancient works as the 'Epic of Gilgamesh' and 'The Song of Songs,' as well as selections from medieval works such as the 'Travels' of Ibn Battuta, the 'Shahnameh' of Ferdowsi, poetry of Yehuda HaLevi, and The Thousand and One Nights. The modern unit will include work by Egyptian Nobel Laureate, Naguib Mahfouz. Students will also have the opportunity to research and analyze primary source materials in the collections of Cornell Rare Books and Manuscript Collection, and the Johnson Art Museum. All material is in English translation.
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COML 3240 : Blood Politics: Comparative Renaissance Drama
Crosslisted as: ENGL 3240 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Blood is everywhere. From vampire shows to video games, our culture seems to be obsessed with it. The course examines the power of "blood" in the early modern period as a figure that continues to capture our imagination, not only as a marker of racial, religious, and sexual difference and desire, but also as a dramatic player in its own right. How does a politics of blood appear on stage when populations are being expelled and colonized for reasons (mis)understood in terms of blood? In the course of trying to answer this and other questions of blood, we will read plays by Shakespeare, Webster, Kyd, Cervantes, Lope de Vega, and Calderón de la Barca. Topics include honor, revenge, purity, the body, sexuality, conversion, and death.
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RUSSA 3300 : Directed Studies
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Taught on a specialized basis for students with special projects (e.g., to supplement a non-language course or thesis work).
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COML 3300 : Political Theory and Cinema
Crosslisted as: GERST 3550, GOVT 3705, PMA 3490 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
An introduction (without prerequisites) to fundamental problems of current political theory, filmmaking, and film analysis, along with their interrelationship.  Particular emphasis on comparing and contrasting European and alternative cinema with Hollywood in terms of post-Marxist, psychoanalytic, postmodernist, and postcolonial types of interpretation.  Filmmakers/theorists might include: David Cronenberg, Michael Curtiz, Kathryn Bigelow, Gilles Deleuze, Rainer Fassbinder, John Ford, Jean-Luc Godard, Marleen Gorris, Werner Herzog, Alfred Hitchcock, Allen & Albert Hughes, Stanley Kubrick, Fredric Jameson, Chris Marker, Pier-Paolo Pasolini, Gillo Pontecorvo, Robert Ray, Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott, Oliver Stone, George Romero, Steven Shaviro, Kidlat Tahimik, Maurizio Viano, Slavoj Zizek.  Although this is a lecture course, there will be ample time for class discussions.
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RUSSA 3303 : Advanced Composition and Conversation
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Reading, writing, and conversation: current Russian films (feature and documentary), newspapers, television programs, Russian web sites, and other materials are used. Detailed description at russian.cornell.edu.
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RUSSA 3305 : Reading and Writing for Heritage Speakers of Russian
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Intended for students who speak grammatically correct Russian but do not know Russian grammar and have not learned to read or write Russian well (or have not learned written Russian at all). May be taught slightly faster or slower in a given year, depending on the needs and interests of the students. Two classes a week teach writing and grammar and include related reading. These classes are required, and the students who take them receive 2 credit hours. The third (optional) class teaches reading and discussion, and grants an additional credit hour. Detailed description at russian.cornell.edu.
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RUSSA 3309 : Advanced Reading
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Designed to teach advanced reading and discussion skills. In seminar 101, weekly reading assignments include 20-40 pages of unabridged Russian, fiction or non-fiction. In seminar 102, the weekly assignments are 80-100 pages. Discussion of the reading is conducted entirely in Russian and centered on the content and analysis of the assigned selection.
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COML 3440 : The Tragic Theatre
Crosslisted as: CLASS 3645, PMA 3724 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Tragedy and its audiences from ancient Greece to modern theater and film. Topics: origins of theatrical conventions; Shakespeare and Seneca; tragedy in modern theater and film. Works studied will include: Aeschylus' Agamemnon; Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus, Philoctetes; Euripides' Alcestis, Helen, Iphigeneia in Aulis, Orestes; Seneca's Thyestes, Trojan Women; Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Titus Andronicus, Othello; Strindberg's The Father; Durrenmatt's The Visit; Bergman's Seventh Seal; Cacoyannis' Iphigeneia.
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COML 3542 : Fables of Capitalism
Crosslisted as: GERST 3610, GOVT 3606 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
This course examines the stories, literary examples, and metaphors at work in elaborating the modern economic subject, the so-called "homo oeconomicus." We will examine material from Locke, Smith, Defoe, and Mill through Marx, Nietzsche, Brecht, and Weber, up to current the neoliberal subject and its critiques (Foucault, Bataille). The course focuses on narrative and figurative moments in theoretical texts as well as crucial literary sources (novels, novellas, and plays) as they collectively develop the modern economic paradigms of industry, exchange, credit-debt, and interest. The course thus addresses both literary and theoretical sources, particularly the stories and examples told to justify the liberal order as well as its guiding metaphors such as the invisible hand; Schuld as both debt and guilt; investment (in oneself, in one's future); and the intersection of religious and secular economies.
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COML 3815 : Reading Nabokov
Crosslisted as: ENGL 3790, RUSSL 3385 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
This course offers an exciting trip to the intricate world of Nabokov's fiction. After establishing himself in Europe as a distinguished Russian writer, Nabokov, at the outbreak of World War II, came to the United States where he reestablished himself, this time as an American writer of world renown. In our analysis of Nabokov's fictional universe, we shall focus on his Russian corpus of works, from Mary (1926) to The Enchanter (writ. 1939), all in English translation, and then shall examine the two widely read novels which he wrote in English in Ithaca while teaching literature at Cornell: Lolita (1955) and Pnin (1957).
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COML 3971 : Books Turned into Operas
Crosslisted as: ENGL 3713, ROMS 3971 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
How and why is a book "translated" into an opera? We will study several such works and the operas they inspired: Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, Verdi's Rigoletto, Massenet's Werther, Giordano's Andrea Chénier, Holten's The Visit of the Royal Physician, and the movie A Royal Affair, a bridge between opera and novel. There will be opportunities for original historical research. What is so fascinating about the literary texts the operas (and the movie) draw on? It is partly their formal and linguistic qualities and partly their relation to history. Each of the literary works we study reflects the crisis of authority dating from the French Revolution; each of the operas in some way "manages" historical experience by creating aesthetic pleasure. We will see how.
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COML 4190 : Independent Study
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
COML 4190 and COML 4200 may be taken independently of each other. Undergraduate student and faculty advisor to determine course of study and credit hours.
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RUSSA 4413 : Advanced Conversation and Stylistics
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Involves discussion, in Russian, of authentic Russian texts and films (feature or documentary) in a variety of non-literary styles and genres. Detailed description at russian.cornell.edu.
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RUSSA 4491 : Reading Course: Russian Literature in the Original Language
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
To be taken in conjunction with any Russian literature course at the advanced level. Students receive 1 credit for reading and discussing works in Russian in addition to their normal course work. Detailed description at russian.cornell.edu.
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COML 4575 : Migration in the Americas: Engaged Research Methods and Practice
Crosslisted as: COML 6375, DSOC 4312, DSOC 6312, ILRIC 4312, ILRIC 6312, LSP 4312, LSP 6312 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
This course will introduce students to basic concepts and developments related to migrants and migration in Central America, Mexico, and the United States via engaged learning and research. The course will be organized around core themes such as the challenges and ethics of working with vulnerable populations, workplaces and working conditions, oral histories/testimonios, and immigration policy and enforcement practices. Students will learn qualitative methodologies for field research.  All students will practice their skills through collaboration with the Cornell Farmworker Program on priority projects identified by immigrant farmworkers.  This can be taken as a stand-alone course, but it is also a prerequisite for an optional winter intersession practicum, and for ILRIC 6311/LSP 6110 in the Spring.
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COML 4621 : Author, Critic, Reader
Crosslisted as: ENGL 4926, SHUM 4626, SHUM 6626 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
What does it mean to have a relationship with a work of literature? This course explores three relationships between text and human: one of authorship and authority, one of critique and criticism, and one of consumption and reading. What are the social relationships imagined by each position? Thinkers and writers across the twentieth century have attempted to describe these positions under historical conditions ranging from authoritarianism and imperialism as well as from historical conditions of post-totalitarianism. Each section draws on essays, literary theory, and an exemplary novel to illuminate the stakes of these questions, for not only aesthetic theory but also political theory and history in the twentieth century.
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COML 4700 : Translation and Cultural Difference
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 4481 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Problems concerning translation are explored. Although there are many different models of translation, we tend to be confined to the unilateral regime of translation, that is, the very narrow and historically specific mode of translation as a transnational transfer of significance between two national or ethnic languages. This course will survey theories of translation with special emphasis on relationships between trans-national translation and transnational transference. Translation establishes a division of two spheres and thereby marks the limit of what can be expressed in one medium. Broadly understood, translation can take place not only between two national languages but also at a variety of boundaries within a single society. We will investigate different economies of translation by which different social and cultural identities are constructed, emphasizing the disappearance of multi-lingualism in the modern nation-state and the mutation of translation tropics which has given rise to new ways of imagining the organicist unity of the society. Historical transformation of translation accompanying the genesis of linguistic and cultural identity will be examined in reference to historical materials. Furthermore, the course will explore the broader conception of translation in terms of which to critically understand communication as the ideology of Capital.
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COML 4704 : Written on the Body
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 4407, FGSS 4607 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Images of tattooed, inscribed, and marked bodies abound in popular media, from television series to blogs, from performance art to popular literature. When the body becomes a canvas or text, this raises crucial questions about the interactions between individual bodies, culture/s, and society/ies. In this course we will pay particular attention to the shifting meanings of body modification in different cultural, theoretical, and historical contexts. Course material will include texts, films, and artwork by Michel de Certeau, Jacques Derrida, Georges Didi-Huberman, Lalla Essaydi, Zhang Huan, Franz Kafka, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Mirta Kupferminc, Christopher Nolan, Renata Salecl, Stelarc, Jun'ichiro Tanizaki, Qiu Zhijie, and others, as well as television series, internet forums, and other popular culture formats.
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COML 4930 : Senior Essay
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Times TBA individually in consultation with director of Senior Essay Colloquium. Approximately 50 pages to be written over the course of two semesters in the student's senior year under the direction of the student's advisor. An R grade is assigned on the basis of research and a preliminary draft completed in the first semester. A letter grade is awarded on completion of the second semester, COML 4940.
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COML 4940 : Senior Essay
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Times TBA individually in consultation with director of Senior Essay Colloquium. Approximately 50 pages to be written over the course of two semesters in the student's senior year under the direction of the student's advisor. An R grade is assigned on the basis of research and a preliminary draft completed in the first semester.
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COML 4947 : Bio-Politics and Poetics of Nakedness
Crosslisted as: ASRC 4947, FGSS 4947 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
In this course, you will explore nakedness as a form of protest by various social movements and in compelling fictional texts. As you analyze nakedness from ancient Greece to 21th century Africa, Asia, and Latin America, you will also be attentive to the variables of race, gender, and bodily abilities and how they complicate this mode of political speech. Primary texts include Devi's "Draupadi," Ngugi's Wizard of the Crow, Andersen's The Emperor's New Clothes, Tennyson's "Godiva," Auden's "Cave of Nakedness," videos of Femen, gay parades, and Occupy Wall Street. You will read these visual and literary texts in conjunction with theoretical reflections on shame/injury, exposure, and humanity by Freud, Foucault, Derrida, Levinas, Nancy, and Berger. Assignments will clarify and build upon the readings and films and include reflection papers, analytical, and argumentative essays.
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COML 6033 : Intensity: Recent Critical Models
Crosslisted as: GERST 6235 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Critical-aesthetic models about the role of art and literature in the search for the  active, good, or just life are increasingly under pressure by the conditions of late capitalism, which assimilates ideas that once promised alternative ways of seeing or being: intensity, (a) liveness, singularity, presentness, fiction, documentation, subversion, even contemporaneity, autonomy, or action/activism have  become norms for self-formation and team-work, for erasing the present by banking on futures. This seminar explores recent critical debates in German-speaking literary and art theory responding to this conundrum, attempting to rethink temporalities; notions of action and passivity; movements and collectives; the tension between autonomy and heteronomy; realism, fiction, facts, and documents. We will also investigate contemporary poetry and theater as major sites of experimentation.
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COML 6135 : Tragic Modernity
Crosslisted as: GERST 6040 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
The tradition of tragic thought has had an enormous impact on theories of modernity. This seminar will explore the ways in which models of the tragic (and tragedy) have influenced the formation and theoretical orientation of disciplines such as literature, philosophy, psychoanalysis, gender and sexuality studies, performance studies and law. Central questions for inquiry: why does Modernity still refer to prominent figures of Antiquity--such as Antigone and Oedipus--when discussing social--and kinship relations?  How does tragic thought help us articulate fundamental problems of belonging, community, identification, emotional bonds, questions of power and its performative force on stage and in matters of state?  Authors include: Hölderlin, Aristotle, Sophokles, Lessing, Shakespeare, Freud, Heidegger, Butler, Loraux, Derrida, Scheler, Nietzsche, Vernant, Kristeva, Bowlby, Benjamin, Heiner Müller, Botho Strauss. Readings and discussion in English.
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COML 6186 : Posthumanism, Cybernetics, Systems Theory
Crosslisted as: GERST 6315, STS 6131 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
This graduate course is dedicated to an in-depth exploration of the recent emergence of Posthumanism as a new theoretical paradigm in cultural and literary studies. Hardly a unified theory, Posthumanism draws on a wide variety of precursors and inspirations—in the natural sciences, the philosophy and history of science, the social sciences, and different theory paradigms in the humanities. They all have in common the intention of transcending a worldview that is exclusively premised on human needs and measures. Thus, posthumanist theorizing in the widest sense includes many recent additions to the critical canon, such as eco-criticism and animal studies. It is the underlying hypothesis of this course that much posthumanist thinking is recapitulating—consciously or unconsciously—many of the insights of cybernetics and systems theory, and that tracking this genealogy helps in clarifying the stakes and challenges of posthumanist theory.
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COML 6190 : Independent Study
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Graduate Students: please bring your faculty signed proposal to 240 Goldwin Smith Hall.
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COML 6308 : Expanded Practice Seminar
Crosslisted as: ARCH 6408, ARCH 6509, ASIAN 6630, SHUM 6308, VISST 6308 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Expanded Practice Seminars bring students and faculty in the humanities and the design disciplines together around a common and pressing urban issue such as the cultural and material practices induced by national or ethnic divisions; the increasingly leaky taxonomy of the terra firma in areas where land/water boundaries are rapidly changing; and the inadequacy of static zoning models that fail to capture dynamic, urban economics and performance. The intent of the Expanded Practice Seminar is to study complex urban conditions using theoretical and analytic tools derived in equal part from the design disciplines and humanist studies. The Expanded Practice Seminar includes a site visit to experience the conditions under study and meet with local experts, designers, and authorities.  Expanded Practice Seminars are offered under the auspices of Cornell University's Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Collaborative Studies in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities grant. For current special topic seminar description and application instructions, visit: urbanismeseminars.cornell.edu/courses/.
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COML 6375 : Migration in the Americas: Engaged Research Methods and Practice
Crosslisted as: COML 4575, DSOC 4312, DSOC 6312, ILRIC 4312, ILRIC 6312, LSP 4312, LSP 6312 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
This course will introduce students to basic concepts and developments related to migrants and migration in Central America, Mexico, and the United States via engaged learning and research. The course will be organized around core themes such as the challenges and ethics of working with vulnerable populations, workplaces and working conditions, oral histories/testimonios, and immigration policy and enforcement practices. Students will learn qualitative methodologies for field research. All students will practice their skills through collaboration with the Cornell Farmworker Program on priority projects identified by immigrant farmworkers.  This can be taken as a stand-alone course, but it is also a prerequisite for an optional winter intersession practicum and for ILRIC 6311/LSP6110 in the Spring.
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COML 6556 : Rethinking Trauma Theory
Crosslisted as: ENGL 6556 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
This course will serve as an introduction to trauma theory as it (re)emerged near the end of the 20th century as well as a rethinking of its fundamental terms in light of new theoretical developments and global perspectives. We will explore questions of temporality, inscription, archive and erasure in psychoanalytic, post-structuralist, techno-mediatic and politically-inflected thinking about trauma (including new ideas of futurity and event in nuclear and environmental criticism). Central to the course are problems of traumatic address as they emerge in literature, film, performance and new media (and encompass questions of the human and the animal, gender and race). We will also reconsider the problem of conceptualizing trauma across languages, cultures and periods and in new modes of 21st century catastrophe.
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COML 6630 : Nietzsche and Heidegger
Crosslisted as: GERST 6630 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
This graduate seminar provides a basic introduction to the thinking of Nietzsche and Heidegger, and to the latter's interpretation and appropriation of the former. A major concern is the articulation of philosophy and politics, particularly in the case of Heidegger. We are also interested in the types of argumentation and styles of writing of both thinkers, including in light of the hypothesis that they were working in the ancient tradition of prudent exotericism, viz. that they never wrote exactly what they thought and that they intended their influence to come slightly beneath the level of conscious apprehension. We also consider their impact on the long list of intellectuals across the 'Left-Center-Right' spectrum, including (depending on seminar-participant interest): Adorno, Agamben, Bataille, Badiou, Bourdieu, Butler, Derrida, Deleuze, Foucault, Gadamer, Irigaray, Klossowski, Löwith, Marcuse, Rorty, Leo Strauss, Vattimo, Zupancic.
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RUSSA 6633 : Russian for Russian Specialists
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Designed for students whose areas of study require advanced active control of the language. Fine points of translation, usage, and style are discussed and practiced. Syllabus varies from year to year. May be taken more than once. Detailed description at russian.cornell.edu.
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COML 6736 : Ekphrasis: The Art of Description from Homer to Anne Carson
Crosslisted as: ARTH 6730, CLASS 6736 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
This course explores the use of "speech that brings the subject matter vividly before the eyes." Known in classical antiquity as ekphrasis, this trope has received intense attention in recent decades across the fields of classical philology, art history, and literary studies. Setting ekphrasis within its broad context of use within antiquity (from rhetorical handbooks and speeches to epic poetry, epigrams, and technical treatises), we will trace the process by which the term has come to refer specifically to descriptions of works of art. From Homer's shield of Achilles to the vivid descriptions of the Greek novel, this 'sub-genre' of ekphrasis has also enjoyed a rich reception in later western literature, from Keats and Browning to Ashbery and Carson. Students will be encouraged to explore ekphrastic techniques across genres, cultures, and periods (and to practice writing ekphraseis themselves), whilst also considering the degree to which the discipline of art history is grounded in ekphrastic practice. All literature will be available in translation.
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COML 6902 : Environmental Humanities: Theories and Methods
Crosslisted as: STS 6902 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Designed for an interdisciplinary audience, this seminar explores the theoretical and methodological potentials of a broad range of scholarship in the environmental humanities. Together we will discuss a number of foundational texts in this rapidly emerging field, which will in turn facilitate and develop students' own research projects. The course will feature visits from prominent scholars and end with a mini-symposium.
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COML 6920 : Aesthetics and Politics of Touch
Crosslisted as: ENGL 6725, PMA 6920 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
The course will consider the aesthetic and politics of "touch" in dialogue with critical, artistic innovations.. Emphasizing differentiations between interactivity and immersion in art and theory, the course will discuss renewed critical emphasis on the legacy of phenomenology (from Merleau-Ponty and Deleuze to affect theory) in dialogue with recent writings on global critical race and sexual theory (Mbembe, Stoever, Ganguly, Lalu, Moten, Spillers, Cardenas).  Designed as an archive-based course, students will be invited to shape the second part of the syllabus around works featured in the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art and in the 2018 CCA Biennial on "Duration: Passage, Persistence, Survival" with the aim of staging a theory/practice final exhibit/performance based on conceptual approaches to "touch."
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COML 6960 : Rites of Contact
Crosslisted as: GERST 6960, NES 6960 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
New forms of German literature emerged in the wake of transnational labor migration, especially after 1989. Taking leave of a sociological model that interprets this literature only in terms of intercultural dialogue, this course juxtaposes prose fiction about cultural contact and critical theories of difference with two primary goals in mind. Students will be introduced to representative examples of contemporary German literatures of migration, and critical modes of conceptualizing cultural contact in Germany will be compared in relation to each other and in tension with the literary field. Focus on German literature of Turkish migration complemented by readings reflecting other transnational phenomena such as postsocialism, postcolonialism, globalization, refugees, world literature.
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COML 6998 : Listening from the Other Side: Issues in Music and Border Theory
Crosslisted as: LSP 7352, MUSIC 7352 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Borders are highly contested sites and their representation plays a fundamental role in a variety of identity discourses. The place of borders in contemporary political discourse also speaks of the anxiety borders generate as well as their political currency. This seminar engages a number of cutting edge theoretical and ethnographic writings as well as cultural manifestations (music, films, literature, TV shows) about borders in an attempt to contest the essentialisms that have controlled the representations of these areas and to show instead their fluidity and multi-sited nature. However, in an attempt to articulate the possible shortcomings of border theory, throughout our exploration of the topic we'll keep in mind the following question: who gets empowered when we speak about borders?
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