Spring 2021 Course Offerings

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Comparative Literature Course Offerings

Spring 2021 Course Offerings

(as of January 25, 2021, subject to updates)

 

Department Chair: Tracy McNulty

Director of Graduate Studies: Patricia (Patty) Keller

Director of Undergraduate Studies: Philip Lorenz

Graduate Course Leader (FWS): Parisa Vaziri

Course codes: COML, RUSSL, RUSSA, BCS, FINN, UKRAN

Comparative Literature (COML FWS)

COML First-Year Writing Seminars (FWS)

3 credits. Letter grade only.

Enrollment via a ballot system, see https://as.cornell.edu/first-year-writing-seminars

COML 1105 FWS: Books with Big Ideas
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 at 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.

  • COML 1105.101 Online MW 7:30p m – 8:45pm, Nitzan Tal (nt354)
  • COML 1105.102 Online MW 9:40am – 10:55am, Tianyi Shou (ts833)
  • COML 1105.103 Online TR 11:25am – 12:40pm, Marie Lambert (mhl97)

 

COML 1106 FWS: Robots
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 works such as the play R.U.R. by Karel Čapek, who invented the term “robot”. Other materials may include philosophical texts, fiction, videogames, films, graphic novels, and hip-hop concept albums.

  • COML 1106.101 In Person MW 8:05am – 9:20am, Oliver Aas (oa226)
  • COML 1106.102 In Person TR 1:00pm - 2:15pm, Marc Kohlbry (mck222)
  • COML 1106.103 Online TR 1:00pm - 2:15pm, Joe Zappa (jaz79)

 

COML 1119 FWS: A Taste of Russian Literature
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.

  • COML 1119.101 Online TR 2:45pm – 4:00pm, Raissa Krivitsky (rvk3)

 

COML 1134 Reading Poetry
Poems are puzzles, and in this class you’ll figure them out by writing about them.  You’ll learn how to answer the key question “What is this poem about?” and how to explain your conclusions to other readers. The language of poetry may be distinguished from everyday language, but the skills needed for understanding and writing about poetry are broadly useful, for academic and for more practical purposes.  Readings include poems by Emily Dickinson, Robert Louis Stevenson, A. E. Housman, Robert Frost, Alexander Pushkin, Mikhail Lermontov, and others (all reading is in English).

  • COML 1134.101 In Person MWF 9:05am – 9:55am, Didi Chang-Park (dp625)

 

COML 2000 Introduction to Visual Studies (AMST 2000, ARTH 2000, VIST 2000)
(LA-AS, ALC-AS, ETM-AS)
4 credits.

Online TR 1:00pm – 2:15pm, with required discussion section
Rickard, J. (jkr33)

This course provides an introduction to modes of vision and the historical impact of visual images, visual structures, and visual space on culture, communication, and politics. It examines all aspects of culture that communicate through visual means, including 20th-century visual technologies—photography, cinema, video, etc., and their historical corollaries. The production and consumption of images, objects, and events is studied in diverse cultures. Students develop the critical skills necessary to appreciate how the approaches that define visual studies complicate traditional models of defining and analyzing art objects.

COML 2032 Contemporary Narratives by Latina Writers (FGSS 2460, LSP 2460, SPAN 2460)
3 credits.
In Person TR 9:40am – 10:55am
Castillo, D. (dac9)

This course will provide an introduction to some of the most important fictional work by US Latina writers, including short stories, novel, and film, with a particular focus on social justice, gender advocacy work, and work by Afro Latinx writers.  We will begin with discussion of canonical figures like Gloria Anzaldúa and Cherríe Moraga, to provide a basis for our focus on more recent writers like Angie Cruz, Elizabeth Acevedo, Linda Yvette Chávez, and Carmen Maria Machado.

New! COML 2034 Black Holes: Race & the Cosmos (ASTRO 2034)
(LA-AS, ALC-AS, PHS-AS)  
3 credits.

Hybrid- This course has two required meeting days
Online
M 11:25am – 12:40pm
In Person W 11:25am – 12:40pm
Vaziri, P. (pv248), Battaglia, N. (nb572)

Conventional wisdom would have it that the “black” in black holes has nothing to do with race. Surely there can be no connection between the cosmos and the idea of racial blackness. Can there? Contemporary Black Studies theorists, artists, fiction writers implicitly and explicitly posit just such a connection. Theorists use astronomy concepts like “black holes” and “event horizons” to interpret the history of race in creative ways, while artists and musicians conjure blackness through cosmological themes and images. Co-taught by professors in Comparative Literature and Astronomy, this course will introduce students to the fundamentals of astronomy concepts through readings in Black Studies. Texts may include works by theorists like Michelle Wright and Denise Ferreira da Silva, authors like Octavia Butler and Nalo Hopkinson, music by Sun Ra, Outkast and Janelle Monáe. Astronomy concepts will include the electromagnetic spectrum, stellar evolution, and general relativity.

COML 2036 Literature and the Elements of Nature
(GB) (CA-AS, ALC-AS, GLC-AS) (EC-SAP)
4 credits.

Online TR 9:40am – 10:55am
Enrollment limited to: undergraduates.
Banerjee, A. (ab425)

Literature has long been understood as a window into the human condition, with nature serving as its mere backdrop. How would our relationship with literature change if we reversed this hierarchy? In an age when human activity has irreversibly transformed all four elements of nature – air, water, earth, and fire – how do we rediscover the active role that the elements have always played in the constitution of the literary imagination? Through a journey with texts from six continents, this course offers a new model of world literature, one predicated not on social actors and cultural forces alone but on the configurations, flows, and disruptions of the elements. In the process, it addresses the place and work of literature in an increasingly threatened planet.

COML 2050 Introduction to Poetry
(LA-AS, ALC-AS)
4 credits.

Online MW 2:45pm – 4:00pm
Pollak, N. (np27)

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.

New! COML 2271 Reading for the End of Time
(LA-AS, GLC-AS)
4 credits.

Online MWF 11:20am – 12:10pm
Melas, N. (nam5)

This course will explore how in the body of world literature humans have construed, narrated, imagined the end of time and of the world and sometimes its new beginning.  Spanning from ancient epic and origin myths through nineteenth century novels and colonial narratives to contemporary science fiction, we will inquire, through our reading: what is a world?  How does the labor of the imagination construct a world or the world and deconstruct or undo worlds?  Readings will range widely across time and world space (with authors such as Hesiod, Balzac, Marquez, Murakami, Alexievich, Bacigalupi) and will include attention to contemporary theories of world literature.

COML 2580 Imagining the Holocaust (ENGL 2580, JWST 2580)
(LA-AS, ALC-AS)
4 credits.

Online TR 9:40am – 10:55am
Schwarz, D. (drs6)

How is the memory of the Holocaust kept alive by means of the literary and visual imagination? Within the historical context of the Holocaust and how and why it occurred, we shall examine major and widely read Holocaust narratives that have shaped the way we understand and respond to the Holocaust. We also study ethical and psychological issues about how and why people behave in dire circumstances. We shall begin with first-person reminiscences—Wiesel’s Night, Levi’s Survival at Auschwitz, and The Diary of Anne Frank—before turning to realistic fictions such as Kineally’s Schindler’s List (and Spielberg’s film), Kertesz’s Fateless, Kosinski’s The Painted Bird, and Ozick’s “The Shawl.” We shall also read the mythopoeic vision of Schwarz-Bart’s The Last of the Just, the illuminating distortions of Epstein’s King of the Jews, the Kafkaesque parable of Appelfeld’s Badenheim 1939, and the fantastic cartoons of Spiegelman’s Maus books.

COML 2703 Thinking Media (ENGL 2703, GERST 2703, MUSIC 2703, PMA 2703)
(CA-AS)
3-4 credits.

Online MWF 12:25pm – 1:15pm
Born, E. (ecb234)

Taught in English.  Although designed as a three-credit course, students may elect to take this course for four credits by completing additional research components (including a piece of extended writing) and attending extra sessions, which may enable the course to satisfy certain elective requirements in various departments and programs. Please consult the instructor for further details.

COML 2760 Desire (ENGL 2760, FGSS 2760, LGBT 2760, PMA 2680)
(LA-AS, ALC-AS, SCD-AS)
4 credits.

Online MW 2:45pm – 4:00pm
Hanson, E.

“Language is a skin,” the critic Roland Barthes once wrote: “I rub my language against the other. It is as if I had words instead of fingers, or fingers at the tip of my words. My language trembles with desire.” Sexual desire has a history, even a literary history, which we will examine through an introductory survey of European dramatic literature from the Ancient Greeks to the present, as well as classic readings in sexual theory, including Plato, Freud, Foucault, and contemporary feminist and queer theory.

COML 2762 Desire and Modern Drama (ENGL 2762)
Second 7-week session
2 credits.
Hanson, E.

This will be a 2nd 7-week course that will co-meet with the existing semester-long course ENGL 2760 Desire. As the critic Roland Barthes has written, "the first thing we love is a scene."  We'll analyze a few modern plays that are in part about the theatricality of the erotic; alongside each play, we will also read some key works of modern erotic philosophy, including psychoanalysis and the reaction to it in feminist and queer theory.

COML 3021 Literary Theory on the Edge (ENGL 3021, FREN 3921, PMA 3421)
(LA-AS, ALC-AS)
4 credits.
Co-meets with COML 6159/ENGL 6021.

  • Designated theory course for Comparative Literature Majors.
  • No previous knowledge of theory required.

Online TR 2:45pm – 4:00pm
Caruth, C. (cc694) and Lorenz, P. (pal37)

Without literary theory, there is no idea of literature, of criticism, of culture. While exciting theoretical paradigms emerged in the late 20th century, including structuralism and poststructuralism, this course extends theoretical inquiry into its most exciting current developments, including performance studies, media theory and cinema/media studies, the digital humanities, trauma theory, transgender studies, and studies of the Anthropocene. Taught by two Cornell professors active in the field, along with occasional invited guests, lectures and class discussions will provide students with a facility for close textual analysis, a knowledge of major currents of thought in the humanities, and an appreciation for the uniqueness and complexity of language and media. This course may involve presentation of performance art.  Course open to all levels; no previous knowledge of literary or cultural theory required.

COML 3115 Video and New Media: Art, Theory, Politics (ENGL 3155, PMA 3515, ROMS 3115, VISST 3115)
(LA-AS)
4 credits.

  • Enrollment limited to: 15 students.
  • Enrollment preference given to: Comparative Literature majors. Core Course for Comparative Literature majors.
  • Restricted to Undergraduates.

Online M 7:30pm – 10:30pm
Murray, T.

The course will offer an overview of video art, alternative documentary video, and digital installation and networked art. It will analyze four phases of video and new media: (1) the development of video from its earliest turn away from television; (2) video’s relation to art and installation; (3) video’s migration into digital art; (4) the relation of video and new media to visual theory and social movements. Screenings will include early political and feminist video (Ant Farm, Rosler, Paper Tiger TV, Jones), conceptual video of the ‘80s and ‘90s (Vasulka, Lucier, Viola, Hill), gay and multicultural video of the ‘90s (Muntadas, Riggs, Piper, Fung, Parmar), networked and activist new media of the 21st century (Critical Art Ensemble, Electronic Disturbance Theater, SubRosa, Preemptive Media). Secondary theoretical readings on postmodernism, video theory, multicultural theory, and digital culture will provide students with a cultural and political context for the discussion of video and new media style, dissemination, and reception.

COML 3262 Global Cinema II (PMA 3551, VISST 3176)
Co-meets with PMA 6551.
4 credits.

Online TR 10:10am – 11:00am
Fitzpatrick, V. (vaf35)

Global Cinema I and II together offer an overview of international film history from the late nineteenth century to today. Through a focus on key films and significant epochs, the course traces the evolution of form, style and genre, the medium’s changing technologies and business models, as well as film’s relation to broader cultural, social and political contexts. Screenings of narrative, documentary and experimental films will be accompanied by readings in film theory and history.

Global Cinema II covers the period from 1960 to the present. Precise topics will vary from year to year, but may include: “New Waves” in Italy, France, Germany, Japan; cinematic modernism; new modes of documentary; changing technologies of sound and image; avant-garde and experimental cinema; “New” Hollywood; “counter-cinema” and underground film; feminist film theory and practice; Hollywood’s enduring importance; popular cinema in China, India, Brazil; the impact of television, video and the digital revolution. (HTC)

COML 3315 Music and Money (MUSIC 3315, SHUM 3315)
(HB) (CA-AS, ALC-AS, HST-AS)
3 credits.

Online MW 9:40am – 10:55am
Wan, M. (mtw47)

From the 1720 South Sea Bubble to the 2008 global financial crisis, from Handel’s operas to Spotify’s algorithms, music has chronicled the booms and busts of markets. This course investigates how music and money entwined in discourse and practice by tracing an origin story of capitalism that began in eighteenth-century Europe. We will ask how music has captured the spirit of capitalism since its inception, stoking its fantasies and attuning to its effects. In turn, we will contemplate how systems of economic thought might reckon with our shifting ways of creating and consuming music. In allowing music ranging from broadside ballads to commercial jingles to illuminate mutually the writings of such thinkers as Smith, Marx, Adorno, and Graeber, our discussions will unravel varied musical lives through themes including credit and debt, labor and property, media and interest, trade and slavery, nature and environment. This class is open to all students, regardless of prior experience of studying music or economics.

New! COML 3336 Border Environments (LATA 3336, LSP 3336, SPAN 3335)
4 credits.
Co-meets with COML 6336/LATA 6336/LSP 6336/SPAN 6335.

Online TR 1:00pm – 2:15pm
Banerjee, A. (ab425), Castillo, D. (dac9)

This course focuses on a place and a concept where two of the most urgent issues of our times-- migration and environmental degradation -- converge, collide, and shape each other. It examines borders not as abstract lines on the map, but as dynamic hubs that connect human societies, politics, and cultures with the natural and built environments that we inhabit and transform. Through scholarly and creative work from an array of borders around the world, we will develop new theoretical approaches and methodological toolkits for rethinking and re-visioning borders in an era of climate change, toxic pollution, and mass extinction. The course encourages multi- and inter-disciplinary projects from students and will feature guests from diverse areas, disciplines, and practices.

COML 3440 The Tragic Theatre (CLASS 3645, PMA 3724)
(HB) (LA-AS, ALC-AS)
4 credits.

Online MW 11:25am – 12:40pm
Ahl, F. (fma2)

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.

COML 3743 Minorities of the Middle East (JWST 3655, NES 3655)
4 credits.
Co-meets with NES 6655.

Online TR 9:40am – 10:55am
Starr, D. (das86)

This course examines the historic diversity of the modern Middle East, exploring histories of inter-communal contact and conflict. We begin by investigating the legacy of the Ottoman Empire and the impact of its dissolution. We will focus our attention on commercial centers that fostered inter-communal relations, as well as investigating sites of strife and cases of minority repression. We will read histories, memoirs, and fiction, and view films that help us better understand inter-communal relations, tensions, and conflict. We will also interrogate the terms for exploring a range distinctions among majority and minority populations including: religious difference (Muslims, Christians, and Jews); divisions of religious rite (Sunni and Shi’a); entho-linguistic minorities (Armenians and Kurds); national identities (Israelis and Palestinians); cultures of origin (Mizrahi, Sephardi, and Ashkenazi Jews). We will explore how these divisions inform urgent current conflicts: the civil war in Syria and the refugee crisis; the civil war in Iraq and the campaign by ISIS against minorities; as well as tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

COML 3781 Freud and the Invention of Psychoanalysis (FGSS 3651, FREN 3560, GERST 3561, ROMS 3560, STS 3651)
(KCM-AS, ETM-AS, SSC-AS)
4 credits.

In Person TR 11:25am – 12:40pm
McNulty, T. (tkm9)

Psychoanalysis considers the human being not as an object of treatment, but as a subject who is called upon to elaborate an unconscious knowledge about what is disrupting her life, through analysis of dreams, symptoms, bungled actions, slips of the tongue, and repetitive behaviors.  Freud finds that these apparently irrational acts and behavior are ordered by the logic of the fantasy, which provides a mental representation of a traumatic childhood experience and the effects it unleashes in the mind and body-effects he called drives.  As “unbound” energies, the drives give rise to symptoms, repetitive acts, and fantasmatic stagings that menace our health and sometimes threaten social coexistence, but that also rise to the desires, creative acts, and social projects we identify as the essence of human life.  Readings will include fundamental texts on the unconscious, repression, fantasy, and the death drive, as well as case studies and speculative essays on mythology, art, religion, and group psychology.  Students will be asked to keep a dream journal and to work on their unconscious formations, and will have the chance to produce creative projects as well as analytic essays.

COML 3800 Poetry and Poetics of the Americas (AMST 3820, ENGL 3910, LATA 3800, SPAN 3800)
(LA-AS, ALC-AS) (EC-LASP)

  • Ability to read Spanish desirable but not required; texts not written in English will be available in both translation and the original.

4 credits.
Online MWF 1:30pm – 2:20pm
Monroe, J. (jbm3)

As globalization draws the Americas ever closer together, reshaping our sense of a common and uncommon American culture, what claims might be made for a distinctive, diverse poetry and poetics of the America? How might we characterize its dominant forms and alternative practices? What shared influences, affiliations, concerns and approaches might we find and what differences emerge? Ranging across North and South America, Central America and the Caribbean, this course will place in conversation such figures as Poe, Stein, Eliot, Pound, Williams, Neruda, Vallejo, Borges, Parra, Césaire, Walcott, Bolaño, Espada, Waldrop, Vicuña, Hong, and Rankine.

COML 3921 Apes & Language (ENGL 3921)
(CA-AS, SCD-AS)
4 credits.

Online MW 9:40am – 10:55pm
Dubreuil, L. (ld79), Caruth, C. (cc694)

Talking chimpanzees, orangutans, bonobos or gorillas are certainly widespread in myths, novels or movies (from Franz Kafka to The Planet of the Apes, from Tristan Garcia to We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves). But centuries of philosophical speculation and of scientific research have also endowed some great apes with the ability to communicate verbally with humans, either through sign language or with arbitrary symbols on computer keyboards. This class will explore the scientific, theoretical, imaginary, and legal underpinnings and consequences of such endeavors and narratives, thereby also serving as an introduction to the “post-humanistic” field of “animal studies.” Our course will take advantage of unique video resources, the Cornell archive documenting the life of Kanzi and other bonobos as well as the “Ape Testimony Project.”

New! COML 3977 Body Politics in African Literature, Cinema, and New Media (ASRC 3977, ENGL 3977, FGSS 3977, FREN 3975, SHUM 3977)
(GLC-AS, LA-AS, SCD-AS)
4 credits.

Hybrid- This course has two required meeting days
Online
T 11:25am – 12:40pm
In Person R 11:25am – 12:40pm
Diabate, N. (nd326)

This course examines how African writers, filmmakers, and internet media content creators engage with and revise public images of bodies—specifically pleasure, gender, queerness, genital surgeries, sex strike, etc. Our inquiry also surveys African theorists' commitment in highlighting forms of agency on the continent in addition to troubling longstanding and problematic colonialist tropes of pathologization of Africans. These topical explorations will be achieved through analyses of storytelling, digitality, the aestheticization of violence, and social change theories. Through contemporary films, digital platforms, novels, and essays, we will reflect on the precarious, yet empowering, nature of the body in the post-independence African experience. Public speaking (class discussions, student presentation) and deep attention to writing (reaction papers, an abstract, and annotated bibliography, and a final paper) will help you to refine your understanding of body politics.

COML 4200 Independent Study
(CU-UGR)
1-4 credits, variable. Student option grading.
Permission of instructor required. To apply for independent study, please complete the on-line form at

https://data.arts.cornell.edu/as-stus/indep_study_intro.cfm
Staff.

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.

COML 4352 Race and Slavery, Old and Modern (FGSS 4691, ILRLR 4691, NES 4691)
(GHB) (CA-AS, ALC-AS, SCD-AS) (CU-ITL
)
4 credits.
Co-meets with COML 6352/ILRLR 6691/COML 6691.

Online T 2:40pm – 4:35pm
Vaziri, P. (pv248)
What does it mean to live in the aftermath of slavery? How has the human history of slavery contributed to the production of "natural" values that we take for granted—such as community, property, citizenship, gender, individuality, and freedom? This course explores the history of enslavement throughout the human past, from the ancient world to the modern era. We will pay particular attention to the relationship between slavery and the construction of racial blackness. We will explore various institutionalized forms of servitude throughout time and space, from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic worlds, from eunuchism to concubinage, from slavery in the Roman Empire to "modern slavery" and sex trafficking. Readings will be in English and will engage a variety of dynamic sources: theoretical, historiographical, anthropological, religious, legal, literary and multimedia.

COML 4626 Medieval Technologies of the Self (ENGL 4909, SHUM 4660, STS 4699)
(HB) (LA-AS, ALC-AS)
4 credits.
Co-meets with SHUM 6660/ STS 6699.
Online T 11:20am – 1:15pm
Lears, A. (ael74)

Recent years have seen a boom in ways to use technology in order to learn about and improve the self. This course examines contemporary cultural orientations toward technology by exploring how medieval thinkers turned to language, images, books, and other tools and means of making in order to develop a sense of themselves in ethical relationship to others and to the world around them. We will place medieval work (such as Chaucer and Kempe) in conversation with resonant modern and contemporary writing (including Haraway, hooks, and Foucault). Advertisements and marketing for apps like “Co-Star,” and “Calm” will supplement our discussions. 

COML 4798 Labor and the Arts (ITAL 4710, FREN 4715, ROMS 4715, SPAN 4710)
(LA-AS, ALC-AS, GLC-AS)
4 credits.
Co-meets with ITAL 6798/ITAL 6710.

Online TR 1:00pm – 2:15pm
Pinkus, K. (kep44)

This course, offered entirely in English, is open to advanced undergraduates and graduates who want to learn more about the relations of politics to art in general and the cultural politic of “autonomia” more specifically. This movement, primarily associated with Italy, continues to have widespread influence around the globe. During the 1960s and 70s in Italy and elsewhere, workers, and intellectuals began to think collectively about a social terrain outside of dominant structures such as the State, the political party or the trade union. How does their “refusal to work” shape culture and vice versa? What kinds of cultural productions can come “outside of the State” or from constituent power? We will begin the course by tracing the term autonomy (self-rule) from antiquity to the modern period with emphasis on its relation to culture. We will then focus on the period of the 1960s and 70s, with experimental and mainstream cinema of Antonioni, Bertolucci, Pasolini, Petri and others; with writers such as Italo Calvino, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Nanni Balestrini; with arte povera as one “origin” of contemporary conceptual art; architecture and the reformation of public space in the wake of the situationism; and critics or theorists including Giorgio Agamben, Hannah Arendt, Franco Berardi (Bifo), Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri, Mario Tronti, Paolo Virno and so on. We will conclude with the potential relevance of autonomist-or-some might say post autonomist-thought for the present and future.

New! COML 4861 Genres, Platforms, Media (PMA 4461)
(CA-LA, GLC-AS)
Co-meets with COML 6861/PMA 6461.
3 credits.

Online M 2:40pm – 4:35pm
Monroe, J.

How do questions of genre persist and evolve in the digital age? To what extent do we choose our genres, and in what ways do they choose us? How do genres, platforms, and media intersect and inform one another? What hierarchies do they establish, and to what purposes? What are the implications of such questions for what Jacques Ranciere has called the “distribution of the sensible,” for democratic consensus and dissensus? Moving among websites, social media, and streaming services, from Poetry Foundation and PennSound to podcasts and serial TV, from FaceBook and Twitter to Instagram and YouTube, from Netflix and Amazon to Roku and Hulu, this course will explore the accelerating interplay of genres, platforms, and media and their impact in contemporary culture and politics.

COML 4930 Senior Essay
(CU-UGR)
Multi-semester course (Fall, Spring). 4 credits. First course: R grade only (in progress).
Staff.

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.

COML 4940 Senior Essay
(CU-UGR)
Multi-semester course (Fall, Spring). 4 credits. Letter grades only.
Prerequisite: COML 4930.
Staff.

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.

COML 4948 Pleasure and Neoliberalism (FGSS 4948, ROMS 4948)
(HA-AS, GLC-AS, SCD-AS)
4 credits.
Co-meets with New! COML 6948/GOVT 6945.

In Person R 2:40pm – 4:35pm
Diabate, N. (nd326)

The comparative seminar explores pleasure and its relationship with neoliberalism. We will adopt an interdisciplinary approach and a historical trajectory, starting with the Ancient world through to the contemporary. Our investigation of philosophical, literary, and filmic reflections on pleasure and neoliberalism will engage important concepts such as the market, subjectivity, race, gender, and queerness. We highlight and conceptualize how new/old media, literary, and other artistic productions facilitate the expression, the search for, and the achievement of pleasure. Through public speaking (class discussions, student presentation) and deep attention to writing (weekly reaction papers, two precis, an annotated bibliography, an abstract, and a final paper), the students will refine their conceptual accounts of pleasure and neoliberalism and their mutual imbrication.

COML 6159 Literary Theory on the Edge (ENGL 6021)
(EC-SAP)
4 credits.
Co-meets with COML 3021/ ENGL 3021/PMA 3421.   

  • Designated theory course for Comparative Literature Majors.
  • No previous knowledge of theory required.

Online TR 2:45pm – 4:00pm
Caruth, C. (cc694) and Lorenz, P. (pal37)

Without literary theory, there is no idea of literature, of criticism, of culture. While exciting theoretical paradigms emerged in the late 20th century, including structuralism and poststructuralism, this course extends theoretical inquiry into its most exciting current developments, including performance studies, media theory and cinema/media studies, the digital humanities, trauma theory, transgender studies, and studies of the Anthropocene. Taught by two Cornell professors active in the field, along with occasional invited guests, lectures and class discussions will provide students with a facility for close textual analysis, a knowledge of major currents of thought in the humanities, and an appreciation for the uniqueness and complexity of language and media. This course may involve presentation of performance art.  Course open to all levels; no previous knowledge of literary or cultural theory required.

COML 6200 Independent Study
1-4 credits, variable. Student option grading.
Permission of instructor required. COML 6190 and COML 6200 may be taken independently of each other.
Staff.

This course gives students the opportunity to work with a selected instructor to pursue special interests or research not treated in regularly scheduled courses. After getting permission of the instructor, students should enroll online in the instructor’s section. Enrolled students are required to provide the department with a course description and/or syllabus along with the instructor’s approval by the end of the first week of classes.

COML 6221 Postcolonial Theory: Then & Now
(EC-SAP)
4 credits.
Enrollment limited to: 15 students.

Online W 2:40pm – 4:35pm
Melas, N. (nam5)

“All decolonization,” wrote Frantz Fanon, “is successful at the level of description.”  With a focus on the difference between description and critique and on the uneven relation between the academic project underlying the subfield of postcolonial studies and histories of colonialism and aspirations to decolonization across the twentieth century,  this seminar will offer a retrospective survey on the assemblage of texts that has come under the name “Postcolonial Theory” and inquire into its purchase on this present with particular emphasis on questions of indigeneity and environmental crisis.  Authors may include: Edward Said, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Homi Bhabha, Frantz Fanon, Amilcar Cabral, Aimé Césaire, Edouard Glissant, Achille Mbembe, Sylvia Wynter, David Scott, Leela Gandhi, Marlene Nourbese Philip, Jason Moore, Glenn Coulthard, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Rob Nixon.

New! COML 6336 Border Environments (LATA 6336, LSP 6336, SPAN 6335)
4 credits.
Co-meets with COML 3336/LATA 3336/LSP 3336/SPAN 3335.

Online TR 1:00pm – 2:15pm
Banerjee, A. (ab425), Castillo, D. (dac9)

This course focuses on a place and a concept where two of the most urgent issues of our times-- migration and environmental degradation -- converge, collide, and shape each other. It examines borders not as abstract lines on the map, but as dynamic hubs that connect human societies, politics, and cultures with the natural and built environments that we inhabit and transform. Through scholarly and creative work from an array of borders around the world, we will develop new theoretical approaches and methodological toolkits for rethinking and re-visioning borders in an era of climate change, toxic pollution, and mass extinction. The course encourages multi- and inter-disciplinary projects from students and will feature guests from diverse areas, disciplines, and practices.

COML 6352 Race and Slavery, Old and Modern (ILRLR 6691, NES 6691)
(CU-ITL)
4 credits.
Co-meets with COML 4352/FGSS 4691/ ILRLR 4691/NES 4691.

Online T 2:40pm – 4:35pm
Vaziri, P. (pv248)

What does it mean to live in the aftermath of slavery? How has the human history of slavery contributed to the production of "natural" values that we take for granted—such as community, property, citizenship, gender, individuality, and freedom? This course explores the history of enslavement throughout the human past, from the ancient world to the modern era. We will pay particular attention to the relationship between slavery and the construction of racial blackness. We will explore various institutionalized forms of servitude throughout time and space, from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic worlds, from eunuchism to concubinage, from slavery in the Roman Empire to "modern slavery" and sex trafficking. Readings will be in English and will engage a variety of dynamic sources: theoretical, historiographical, anthropological, religious, legal, literary and multimedia.

COML 6465 Black Feminist Theories: Sexuality, Creativity, and Power (ASRC 6207, ENGL 6207, FGSS 6207)
4 credits.

Online W 7:30pm – 10:30pm
Boyce Davies, C.

This course examines black feminist theories as they are articulated in the cross-cultural experiences of women across the African Diaspora. We will explore a variety of theories, texts and creative encounters within their socio-political and geographical frames and locations, analyzing these against, or in relation to, a range of feminist activisms and movements. Some key categories of discussion will include Black Left Feminism, Feminist Movements in Latin America and the Caribbean and African feminisms. Texts like the Combahee River Collective statement and a variety of US Black feminist positions and the related literature as well as earlier black feminist articulations such as the Sojourners for Truth and Justice will also be engaged. Students will have the opportunity to develop their own research projects from a range of possibilities.

COML 6798 Labor and the Arts (ITAL 6798, ITAL 6710)
4 credits.
Co-meets with ITAL 4710/FREN 4715/ROMS 4715/SPAN 4710.

Online TR 1:00pm – 2:15pm
Pinkus, K. (kep44)

This course, offered entirely in English, is open to advanced undergraduates and graduates who want to learn more about the relations of politics to art in general and the cultural politic of “autonomia” more specifically. This movement, primarily associated with Italy, continues to have widespread influence around the globe. During the 1960s and 70s in Italy and elsewhere, workers, and intellectuals began to think collectively about a social terrain outside of dominant structures such as the State, the political party or the trade union. How does their “refusal to work” shape culture and vice versa? What kinds of cultural productions can come “outside of the State” or from constituent power? We will begin the course by tracing the term autonomy (self-rule) from antiquity to the modern period with emphasis on its relation to culture. We will then focus on the period of the 1960s and 70s, with experimental and mainstream cinema of Antonioni, Bertolucci, Pasolini, Petri and others; with writers such as Italo Calvino, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Nanni Balestrini; with arte povera as one “origin” of contemporary conceptual art; architecture and the reformation of public space in the wake of the situationism; and critics or theorists including Giorgio Agamben, Hannah Arendt, Franco Berardi (Bifo), Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri, Mario Tronti, Paolo Virno and so on. We will conclude with the potential relevance of autonomist-or-some might say post autonomist-thought for the present and future.

New! COML 6861 Genres, Platforms, Media (COML 6861, PMA 6461)
(CA-LA, GLC-AS)
Co-meets with (COML 4861/PMA 4461)
3 credits.

Online M 2:40pm – 4:35pm
Monroe, J.

How do questions of genre persist and evolve in the digital age? To what extent do we choose our genres, and in what ways do they choose us? How do genres, platforms, and media intersect and inform one another? What hierarchies do they establish, and to what purposes? What are the implications of such questions for what Jacques Ranciere has called the “distribution of the sensible,” for democratic consensus and dissensus? Moving among websites, social media, and streaming services, from Poetry Foundation and PennSound to podcasts and serial TV, from FaceBook and Twitter to Instagram and YouTube, from Netflix and Amazon to Roku and Hulu, this course will explore the accelerating interplay of genres, platforms, and media and their impact in contemporary culture and politics.

New! COML 6948 Pleasure and Neoliberalism (GOVT 6945)
4 credits.
Co-meets with COML 4948/ FGSS 4948/ROMS 4948.

In Person R 2:40pm – 4:35pm
Diabate, N. (nd326)

The comparative seminar explores pleasure and its relationship with neoliberalism. We will adopt an interdisciplinary approach and a historical trajectory, starting with the Ancient world through to the contemporary. Our investigation of philosophical, literary, and filmic reflections on pleasure and neoliberalism will engage important concepts such as the market, subjectivity, race, gender, and queerness. We highlight and conceptualize how new/old media, literary, and other artistic productions facilitate the expression, the search for, and the achievement of pleasure. Through public speaking (class discussions, student presentation) and deep attention to writing (weekly reaction papers, two precis, an annotated bibliography, an abstract, and a final paper), the students will refine their conceptual accounts of pleasure and neoliberalism and their mutual imbrication.

Russian Literature (RUSSL)

RUSSL 2500 Demons and Witches in Russian Literature and Film
(HB) (CA-AS, ALC-AS)
3 credits.
All reading and viewing material is in English.  This course satisfies one of the literature requirements for the Russian minor.

Online TR 11:25am – 12:40pm
Krivitsky, R. (rvk3)

A paranoid husband believes that his wife is a witch. A man rejects vehemently the very idea of the Devil’s existence, unwittingly doing so right in his face. From outright horrifying to eerily funny, always dangerous, but at times benevolent, demons, witches, and other mysterious and elusive creatures of Russian lore inhabit people’s imagination and figure prominently in a number of Russian books and films. In this course, we will read and discuss fairy tales, pieces of poetry, short stories, and one of the greatest novels in Russian twentieth century. We will also watch several feature and animated films.

New! RUSSL 3351 Pushkin’s Fictions
4 credits.
Online MWF 1:30pm – 2:20pm
Pollak, N. (np27)

Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837) is considered the greatest of Russian writers and a central figure in Russian culture.  In a short life – he was killed in a duel at 37 – he wrote in a wide variety of forms.  He is best known as a poet, but his fiction – prose and verse – marks the beginning of the great tradition of the Russian novel; to understand Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, we need to read Pushkin.  Among the fictions we will read are stories, including the Tales of Belkin and “The Queen of Spades,” the novella The Captain’s Daughter, the novel in verse Eugene Onegin, and Pushkin’s history of his African ancestor, The Moor of Peter the Great.  We will also read selected short poems.  All reading is in English.  This course satisfies one of the literature requirements for the Russian minor.

RUSSL 4492 - Supervised Reading in Russian Literature
(CU-UGR)
Permission of instructor required. To apply for independent study, please complete the on-line form at data.arts.cornell.edu/as-stus/indep_study_intro.cfm.
Staff.

Independent reading course in topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses. Students select a topic in consultation with the faculty member who has agreed to supervise the course work.

RUSSL 6611 - Supervised Reading and Research
Fall or Spring. 2-4 credits, variable. Student option grading.
Prerequisite: proficiency in Russian or permission of instructor. Times TBA with instructor.
Staff.
Independent study.

 

Russian Language (RUSSA) Online SP 2021
Please see website for course information: http://russian.cornell.edu/

RUSSA 3312 Reading about the Cold War
1 credit. Student option grading.
Prerequisite: high intermediate to advanced knowledge of Russian; for non-native speakers, RUSSA 3303 or higher is recommended. Permission of instructor required. Enrollment limited to: students enrolled in GOVT 3837.
Staff.

Read and discuss texts for GOVT 3837. The course may also support student research for the GOVT 3837 final paper. This 1-credit course aims to expand the students’ vocabulary, and advance their speaking and reading skills as well as enhance their knowledge and deepen their understanding of certain aspects of the Cold war. Course materials may include archival documents, newspaper articles, songs and poetry, urban folklore, etc. The course is taught entirely in Russian. Native speakers of Russian as well as advanced non-native speakers with moderate to advanced reading skills are eligible.

Distant Learning Courses:
Online SP 2021

Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian (BCS), Finnish (FINN) and Ukrainian (UKRAN)
Enrollment via your student center
Contact: Angelika Kraemer (ak2573@cornell.edu) with any questions.

The language courses below are part of the Shared Course Initiative and taught from Columbia University using videoconferencing technology.  Students who may have a scheduling conflict with the published course time should contact the instructor.

 

Department of Comparative Literature

Ithaca, NY 14853-3201

https://complit.cornell.edu/