Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 Course Offerings

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Comparative Literature Course Offerings

Fall 2020 (as of August 3, 2020, 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

 

 

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 1104 FWS: Reading Films

We live in an image-saturated world. How do we make sense of the moving image and its powerful roles in shaping culture and mediating our relationship with the world? This course will equip students with the tools to understand and decipher film language. It introduces and interrogates the basic notions, technologies, terminologies, and theories of film analysis. We will study visual and compositional elements, like mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, and sound. Films we discuss will include different geographies, genres, major directors, schools, and film movements. Through writing, students will learn to analyze films with accurate, medium-specific vocabulary, develop informed and nuanced arguments, and critically reflect on the position of the viewer.

 

  • 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.

 

FA TBA Nitzan Tal

FA TBA Tianyi Shou

FA TBA Marie Lambert

 

  • 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.

 

FA TBA Oliver Aas

FA TBA Jonathan Davenport

FA TBA Joe Zappa

FA TBA Hannah Karmin

 

  • COML 1107 FWS: Writing the Environment
    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.

 

FA TBA Anindita Banerjee

 

  • 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.

 

FA TBA Raissa Krivitsky

 

  • COML 1121 FWS: Ukraine and Russia through the Eyes of Nikolai Gogol

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.

 

FA TBA Gavriel Shapiro

 

  • COML 1128 China and Race

This course aims to equip students with critical and comparative perspectives to the study of race in the modern world. The rise of China (PRC) on the global stage, often portrayed in the media as a threat to U.S. supremacy and democratic values, should be of general interest to college students in the U.S. Also, contemporary discussions about China in the West still manifest traces of Orientalism and Yellow Peril discourses, which are themselves products of imperialist legacy. At the same time, jingoistic nationalism and sovereign violence in China feed on memories of Western racism and colonization. It is thus crucial that our undergraduate students get exposed to and think with a range of racialized experiences and anti-racist expressions -- colonial, diasporic, socialist, Global South -- that complicate the U.S.-centric paradigm of race and the conventional separation of race, nation, ethnicity, and culture. Most importantly, this course will cultivate students’ concern about global affairs and their critical thinking skills through close-reading and writing about expository and creative texts.

 

FA TBA Kun Huang

 

  • COML 1134 Reading Poetry

Poems are puzzles, or are they plants? In this class, you'll learn to read with poetry as a fellow writer. You’ll respond to key questions like “How does this poem work?” or “Why do I like it?” Poems are often thought of as infinite in the possibilities of perception and wonder they produce. Together we will grapple with the paradox of writing about poetry in a closed, concise form without domesticating it, by investigating how reading poetry can teach us how to write anew. How are lines and stanzas related to sentences and paragraphs? Can ideas “rhyme?” Are notions such as deixis, voice, metaphor, apostrophe, prosody, and the “lyric I” essential to producing a cogent and truthful argument in any discipline? In addition to poems and essays by poets, this course may include relevant literary theory, scientific texts, musical works, and extracts from novels or films.

 

FA TBA Didi Park

 

Comparative Literature (COML)

 

FA COML 2006 Punk Culture: The Aesthetics and Politics of Refusal (MUSIC 2006, AMST 2006, ENGL 2906, SHUM 2006)

(CA-AS) (CU-ITL)    

TBA, Required F discussion sections

Peraino, J.

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.

 

FA COML 2020 Great Books: The Great Short Works

(LA-AS)    

TBA

Monroe, J.

What is a classic? What is contemporary? Where are we heading now? Extending from the Enlightenment and Age of Revolutions to the present, this course will focus on texts that have played a pivotal role in shaping our increasingly global understanding of World Literature. Exploring seminal works from the past and literature's enduring value in the 21st century, we will pay special attention to great short works that have had an outsized impact on the ways literature, culture, history, philosophy, language, economics, politics, and technology continue to intersect and evolve. Authors include Molière, Pope, Goethe, Blake, Wordsworth, Büchner, Poe, Dickinson, Whitman, Baudelaire, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Kafka, Woolf, Borges, Bolaño, Walcott, and Miranda.

 

FA COML 2030 Comparative Literature, Film, and Media (new title)

(LA-AS, ALC-AS)

TBA

 Melas, N. and Diabate, N.

Permission of instructor required. Students can submit a petition to the Knight Institute to request that this course fulfill the first-year writing requirement. Open to incoming freshmen.

 

*Students must apply in writing to chair of the department of Comparative Literature complit@cornell.edu . Application process is now closed.

 

Take your love for literature, film and media into uncharted waters. This course journeys beyond national, linguistic and disciplinary borders to explore implications of our globalized and technologized world.  Engage in cutting-edge debates in the fields of comparative literature and film and media studies. Exploring texts from across the globe, we’ll read authors like Sappho, Ovid, Kafka, Césaire, Coetzee, Head, Butler, Borges, Lu Xun, Tawada; watch films by Alain Resnais, Michael Snow, Wong Kar-Wai, Ousmène Sembène, Abbas Kiarostami. Topics will include: postcolonial theory, translation, black studies, gender and sexuality studies, ecocriticism, and media studies. Writing assignments will include the analytical college essay and other forms of critical reflection, such as translation and transmedial analysis.

 

FA COML 2035 Science Fiction (BSOC 2131, ENGL 2035, STS 2131)

(GB) (CA-AS) 

TBA

Banerjee, A.

Science fiction is not merely a literary genre but a whole way of being, thinking, and acting in the modern world. This course explores classic and contemporary science fiction from Frankenstein to The Hunger Games alongside a rich array of fiction and films from Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America. Our discussions will position these works vis-à-vis seminal thinkers, ranging from Plato to Descartes and Donna Haraway to Paul Crutzen, who ask the same questions as science fiction does about our selves, our world, and our future.

 

FA COML 2241 Game of Thrones: Multi-Media Fantasies (SHUM 2241)

(CA-AS)  

TBA

Bachner, A.

In this course we will use the Game of Thrones series as a way of familiarizing ourselves with different tools of cultural analysis and approaches in literary theory (such as narratology, psychoanalysis, media studies, queer theory, disability studies, animal studies etc.). A strong emphasis will be placed on the different media "avatars" of the series: novels, TV series, graphic novels, spin-offs, fan fiction, blogs, fan art, etc.

 

COML 2251 - [Poetry’s Image]

(crosslisted) ENGL 2951

(HA-AS)      Fall. Not offered: 2020-2021. Next offered: 2021-2022. 4 credits. Student option grading.

J. Monroe.

Where do we get our images of poets, and of poetry? Along with the images we find in poems themselves, how do poetry and poets figure in fiction and film, in music and popular culture? How do such figures inform both the images we find in poems and poetry’s own image? What is poetry’s relation to other genres and discourses, to self and language, history and politics? Exploring such issues in verse and prose, in fiction, film, and other media, including among others Blake, Wordsworth, Keats, Dickinson, Poe, Baudelaire, Pound, Williams, Neruda, Parra, Bolaño, and Dylan, the course will arc toward impactful recent interventions by such contemporary intermedial artists as Lin-Manuel Miranda, Beyoncé, and Kendrick Lamar.

 

FA COML 2630 Brazil to Brooklyn: Jewish Cultures of the Americas (ENGL 2630, JWST 2630)

TBA

Branfman, J.

What does it mean to practice theory in the midst of a pandemic? And then what does it mean to return to biopolitics — a mode of theoretical reflection on the enmeshment of life and politics — in the time of Covid-19? These questions lie at the heart of a seminar dedicated to re-examining some of the central theoretical set pieces of biopolitics. Alongside seminal texts from Hannah Arendt and Michel Foucault, we will take up biopolitics in a number of philosophical works from Italy from the likes of Giorgio Agamben, Roberto Esposito, Toni Negri, and Simona Forti in order to think again some of the key words and concepts of biopolitics (states of exception, community, immunity, event) in the time of virus.

 

FA COML 2700 Race and Sex: Arabian Nights (NES 2700, FGSS 2701, VISST 2701, ENGL 2917, SHUM 2700)

TBA

Vaziri, P.

What does the representation of sexual encounter in the Arabian Nights ('Alf layla-wa layla) have to do with a politics of race and gender? This course explores the millenia-long history of mediations and translations of this ancient Perso-Arabic text across litera-ture, film, and popular culture, in the Middle East and in Europe. We will pay attention to the transmission of phobic tropes about female sexuality and miscegenation, or "interracial" sex as they manifest in various versions of 1001 Nights across time and space.

 

FA COML 2754 Wondrous Literatures of the Near East (NES 2754, JWST 2754, SHUM 2754)

(GHB) (LA-AS) (CU-ITL)  

TBA

Starr, D.                                                                                       

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.

 

FA New! COML 3001 Methods of Comparison

(LA-AS) 

New major requirement.  Letter grade only.

Enrollment limited to: 18 students.

Intended for: current majors and minors and those who intend to declare. Non-majors are welcome if space allows.  To be considered, please email Comparative Literature, complit@cornell.edu.

TBA

McNulty, T.

What do comparatists do when we approach our objects of study? What enables or justifies comparison across different languages, different genres, different media, and different disciplines? Does all comparison assume a common ground of some kind (whether historical, formal, conceptual, or ideological), or is comparison inherently ungrounded, provocative, or political? We will explore these questions through examination of a wide range of comparative projects, from those often cited as foundational to the discipline and their most important critics to contemporary comparative projects that are reshaping the discipline and expanding it in new directions. Readings will be complemented by discussions with Cornell faculty and graduate students working in the field.
 

FA COML 3240 Blood Politics: Comparative Renaissance Drama (ENGL 3240)

(HB) (CA-AS)   

TBA

Lorenz, P.

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.
 

FA COML 3261 Global Cinema I (PMA 3550, VISST 3175)

TBA

Haenni, S.

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 I covers period from 1895 to 1960. Precise topics will vary from year to year, but may include: early silent cinema; the emergence of Hollywood as industry and a "classical" narrative form; Soviet, German, French and Chinese film cultures; the coming of sound; interwar documentary and avant-garde movements; American cinema in the age of studio system; Italian Neorealism; the post-war avant-garde. (HTC)
 

FA New! COML 3264 Poetics, Economies, Ecologies

3 credits.

Enrollment limited to: 15 students.

TBA

Monroe, J.

How have income inequality and climate change, two of the most urgent issues of our time, come to shape the contemporary imagination? What might a poetics of economies or ecologies, or an economical or ecological poetics, look like? What metaphors and semantic “fields,” “networks” and “webs” of discursive and rhetorical choices, inform discourses of economy and ecology? How might economical and ecological tropes help us rethink poetics, and vice-versa? What are their protocols and conventions, constraints and regulations, possibilities and limitations? What tensions, and what “imaginary solutions to real problems,” do we find among them? Ranging across a variety of national and international contexts, this course will explore how such concerns figure in contemporary poetry, fiction, and film, electronic and digital media.
 

FA COML 3300 Political Theory and Cinema (GERST 3550, GOVT 3705, PMA 3490)

(CA-AS) 

TBA

Waite, G.

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.

 

FA COML 3310 Afro-Asia: Futurism and Feminism (ASRC 3310, FGSS 3310, AAS 3312, LGBT 3310, SHUM 3310)

(GB) (LA-AS)  

TBA

Goffe, T.
This course explores cultural representations of Afro-Asian intimacies and coalition in novels, songs, films, paintings, and poems. What affinities, loves and thefts, and tensions are present in cultural forms such as anime, jazz, kung fu, and K-pop? Students will consider the intersections and overlap between African and Asian diasporic cultures in global cities such as New York, Chicago, Havana, Lahore, Kingston, and Hong Kong to ask the question: when did Africa and Asia first encounter each other? This will be contextualized through a political and historical lens of the formation of a proto-Global South in the early twentieth, Afro-futurism, women of color feminisms, and Third World solidarity and internationalism. Tackling issues of race, gender, sexuality, and resistance, this seminar also reckons with the intertwined legacies of the institutions of African enslavement and Asian indenture by reading the novels of Patricia Powell and the paintings of Kehinde Wiley, for instance. Students will work in groups to produce Afro-Asia DJ visual soundtracks as part of the final project

 

FA COML 3314/ Korean Literature & Performance: From P’ansori to K-Pop (ASIAN 3314/6614, COML 6314)

(GHB) (LA-AS)  

TBA

Yi, Y.

This course examines Korean literature and performance traditions from the Chosŏn dynasty (1392-1910) to the present. Through hands-on performance workshops, the course enables students to experience how Korean epic and lyric traditions were performed in the past and how they continue to flourish in the present across various media, including recorded music, written texts, and film. We will examine how Korean literature and performance traditions have transformed over time, with attention given to how these traditions speak to local and global audiences following the Korean Wave. The course concludes with recent developments in Korean popular music, including K-pop bands and K-hip-hop. Readings for the course will be in English or in English translation and no prior knowledge of Korean culture is necessary.
 

COML 3485 - [Cinematic Cities]

(crosslisted) FREN 3485, ITAL 3485, SPAN 3485

(LA-AS)      Fall. Not offered: 2020-2021. Next offered: 2021-2022. 4 credits. Student option grading.

P. Keller, C. Lawless.

For description, see SPAN 3485.

 

COML 3541 - [Introduction to Critical Theory]

(crosslisted) ENGL 3920, GERST 3620, GOVT 3636

(LA-AS)      Fall. Not offered: 2020-2021. Next offered: 2021-2022. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Taught in English.

P. Fleming.

For description, see GERST 3620.

 

FA COML 3550 Decadence (ENGL 3550, FGSS 3550, LGBT 3550)

(HB) (LA-AS)

TBA

Hanson, E.

“My existence is a scandal,” Oscar Wilde once wrote, summing up in an epigram the effect of his carefully cultivated style of perversity and paradox. Through their celebration of “art for art’s sake” and all that was considered artificial, unnatural, or obscene, the Decadent writers of the late-nineteenth century sought to free the pleasures of beauty, spirituality, and sexual desire from their more conventional ethical moorings. We will focus on the literature of the period, including works by Charles Baudelaire, Edgar Allan Poe, A. C. Swinburne, and especially Oscar Wilde, and we will also consider related developments in aesthetic philosophy, painting, music, theater, architecture, and design.

 

FA COML 3707 Hidden Identities Onscreen (ENGL 3707, JWST 3707, FGSS 3707 PMA 3507)

TBA

Branfman, J.

From White Chicks to Blackkklansman, American film has often depicted characters who conceal their race or gender, like black male cops "passing" as wealthy white women. This class will examine how Hollywood has depicted race and gender "passing" from the early 20th century to the present. While tracing common themes across films, we will also study the ideological role of passing films: how they thrill audiences by challenging social boundaries and hierarchies, only to reestablish familiar boundaries by the end. We will not treat these films as accurate depictions of real-world passing, but rather as cultural tools that help audiences to manage ideological contradictions about race, gender, sexuality, and class. Students will finish the course by creating their own short films about passing.

 

FA COML 3811 Theory and Practice of Translation

(HB) (LA-AS) 

TBA

Pollak, N.

This course can be used to satisfy the literature requirement of the Russian Minor and can also be used to satisfy the COML Major Theory Course requirement. Knowledge of languages other than English is welcome but not required. 
The modern field of translation studies overlaps most closely with literary studies, but it intersects also with fields such as linguistics and politics. The intense work in translation studies in the last few decades follows a long history of thinking about translation. The activity of translation has been viewed over many centuries as betrayal, as an inferior form of literary production, as extending the life of the literary work, as a creative process equal to the original, In this course we will examine various approaches to the translation of literary texts, both prose and verse.  We will read texts by theorist and by translators, possibly including Cicero, Schleiermacher, Benjamin, Nabokov, Jakobson, Nida, Toury, Venuti, Bassnett and others.  We will also read and analyze translations of literary works, with a focus on classics of Russian literature.  Practical translation work will illuminate theoretical readings.

 

FA COML 3815 Reading Nabokov (RUSSL 3385, ENGL 3790)

(LA-AS)  

TBA

Shapiro, G.

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).

 

FA COML 3980/ Theorizing Gender and Race in Asian Histories and Literatures (ASIAN 3388/6688, COML 6680 FGSS 3580/6580)

(GB) (CA-AS) 

TBA

Sakai, N.

For a long time area studies have overlooked the over-determined links of gender, race/ethnicity, and social class in fields related to East Asia and the trans-Pacific regions. Little attention has been paid to how to conceptualize gender and race/ethnicity; how to analyze the mutual implication of sexism, racism, and class essentialism (some call it “class racism”), and how to understand the relationships of these topics to the broader contexts of colonialism, imperialism, and nationalism. This course is designed to offer a series of discussions about the following problems: (1) the historically specific modes of sexism and racism in social spaces related to Japan and other places in the trans-Pacific; (2) the mutual implication of sexism, racism, and social class in various contexts including those of colonialism, imperialism, and nationalism; (3) the roles of gender, race, and social class in the United States’ knowledge production about East Asia in general; and (4) the conceptions of gender and race in the social formations particular to East Asia. The assigned readings include both English and Japanese materials. However, those who register in ASIAN 3388 are exempt from reading the materials in Japanese. (SC)

 

FA COML 4015 Passion and Literary Enlightenment (ENGL 4315)

TBA

Saccamano, N.

Taking its inspiration from David Hume's famous remark that "reason ought only to be the slave of the passions," this course will consider the Enlightenment's "science of human nature" not as the triumph of rationality but as a drama of competing psychologies of the passions.  We will consider how the priority accorded the passion of self-preservation or life, the body, and the sexual and acquisitive drives subverted traditional ethics and was countervailed by compassion, sympathy, and other sentiments.  We will read a short story and novels as well as some moral and political philosophy (Margaret Cavendish, Hobbes, Defoe, Cleland, Rousseau, Laclos, and Nietzsche) to address such topics as the "marriage contract" and the gender politics of the family; love and benevolence in relation to law and obligation; pornography as materialist science and sentimental-sexual education; suffering, sympathy, and justice.   We will also read theoretical work by Althusser, Foucault, Butler, and Zizek to focus on narrative form and mechanisms of identity formation.

 

FA COML 4040 Fictions of Dictatorship (AAS 4040, AMST 4040, SHUM 4040)

TBA

Balance, C.

Fictions of dictatorship, as termed by scholar Lucy Burns, denote both the narratives and spectacles produced by authoritarian governments and the performances, events, and cultural objects that work against these states of exception. This course will critically examine histories of dictatorships, through both documentary & creative forms (i.e. novels, memoirs, and performance) and with a geographic focus on Asia and Latin America, in order to understand authoritarian returns in our present historical moment.

 

FA New! COML 4060 / Modern Poetry in and out of World Systems (COML 6060)

TBA

Enrollment limited to: 15 students.

Melas, N.

How can we think modern lyric on a world scale?   This seminar will attempt to articulate two world systems and one world republic:  the idea of the modern capitalist world system as a dynamic political- economic entity consisting of centers and peripheries in Immanuel Wallerstein’s sense, the modern imperial discursive world system that codified a hierarchy of human difference and finally the modern world republic of letters centered in 19th century Paris and for the purposes of this seminar, on Baudelaire’s creation of modern lyric. We will ask: how have poets  crafted their lyric modernity partly through a poetic engagement with those dimensions of European modernism and aestheticism that touch upon the civilizational and racial difference that fix them in their imperial peripheries?  Poets may include Cavafy, Aimé Césaire, Derek Walcott, Miraji, W.B. Yeats, Langston Hughes.

 

FA COML 4190 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 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 4221 - [Modern Primitives]

(LA-AS)      Fall. Not offered: 2020-2021. Next offered: 2022 -2023. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Enrollment preference given to: Comparative Literature majors. Enrollment limited to: 15 undergraduate students. Core Course for Comparative Literature majors.

N. Melas.

What is “modern”? What is “primitive”? Through the lens of contemporary debates, this course will examine the complex conjuncture of art, literature, anthropology and colonial racism in the early decades of the twentieth century, from Cubist painting to surrealism. Of central concern will be the figure of the “fetish” in its artifactual, economic and psychic dimensions and also the richly paradoxical position of artists and thinkers of color caught in the nexus of “primitivism” and “modernism.”  Authors may include Pablo Picasso, Josephine Baker, Lydia Cabrera, Claude McKay, Lucien Levy-Bruhl, James Clifford, Sigmund Freud, Joseph Conrad, Langston Hughes, Karl Marx, André Breton, Pierre Mabille, Wifredo Lam, Leopold Sédar Senghor.

 

COML 4229 - [Culture, Cognition, Humanities]

(crosslisted) COGST 4150, PSYCH 4150

(KCM-AS)      Fall. Not offered: 2020-2021. Next offered: 2021-2022. 3 credits. Student option grading.

Enrollment limited to: juniors and seniors or by permission of instructor.

M. Christiansen, L. Dubreuil.

For description, see COGST 4150.

 

FA COML 4281 Human-Centered Design and Engaged Media (ENGL 4705)

(CA-AS)  

TBA

Field component takes place in Dryden, NY. Co-meets with INFO 4940.

McKenzie, J.

What happens when Greta Thunberg tears into the EU? Or Banksy interrupts Disney World? Or Black Lives Matters confronts the justice system? How can we help local communities use media to address their concerns? This course mixes seminar, studio, and field activities to explore community-engaged media through hands-on study of media activism, human centered design, and project-based learning. Students combine cultural analysis and media production to study how artists and activists engage audiences in direct action and civic engagement. We’ll draw on fields of performance studies, human-computer interaction, and media theory to study how artists and activists use media to create social engagement. Working as critical design teams, we will work with local schools and community organizations on an on-going civic storytelling project.
 

COML 4368/6368 - [Reading Édouard Glissant]

(crosslisted) ASRC 4368, FREN 4368

(LA-AS)      Fall. Not offered: 2020-2021. Next offered: 2021-2022. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Enrollment limited to: 15 students. Co-meets with ASRC 6368/COML 6368/FREN 6368.

N. Melas.

This seminar will focus on the writings of the polymorphous Martinican poet and thinker, Édouard Glissant (1928-2011).  We will attend to the historical context of French colonialism, particularly in the Caribbean, that gives his writing part of its impetus and to the anticolonial intellectuals with whom he engages (chiefly Aimé Césaire and Frantz Fanon) as well as to his major self-professed influences (William Faulkner, Saint-John Perse, Hegel) and to an array of interlocutors and fellow-travelers as well as a few dissenters. The seminar will examine the main preoccupations of Glissant’s writing (world histories of dispossession and plantation slavery, creolization, Relation, opacity, flux, transversality, Caribbean landscapes as figures of thought, the All-World, etc.) but our focus will be on reading Glissant and attending carefully to the implications of his poetics and of his language for decolonial thought.

 

FA COML 4428/ Reading Derrida and Others (ANTHRO 4428/7428, JWST 4428/7428, GERST 4428/7428)

(CA-AS)    

TBA

Boyarin, J.

We will read together a wide range of modern European texts-mostly but not exclusively by at least nominally Jewish authors, many of them working in the German intellectual tradition–accompanied by a range of works by Jacques Derrida that engage those thinkers and their texts. Authors will likely include Theodor w. Adorno, Saint Augustine, Walter Benjamin, Paul Celan, Helene Cixous, Hermann Cohen, Sigmund Freud, Edmond Jabes, Emannuel Levinas, Claude Levi-Strauss, Karl Marx, and Gershom Scholem. We will thus be better able to participate in the current re-evaluation of Derrida’s legacy, including his Jewishness, and we will read him, among other things, as a proponent of dialogue, sometimes loving and sometimes fiercely agonistic.

 

COML 4575/6375- [Migration in the Americas: Engaged Research Methods and Practice]

(crosslisted) DSOC 4312, ILRIC 4312, LSP 4312

(SBA-AS) (CU-CEL, CU-ITL)     Fall. Not offered: 2020-2021. Next offered: 2021-2022. 4 credits. Letter grades only.

Enrollment limited to: juniors, seniors, and graduate students.  Permission of instructor required. Co-meets with COML 6375/DSOC 6312/ILRIC 6312/LSP 6312. 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.

D. Castillo.

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. 

 

FA COML 4625 Poetry in the Expanded Field (SHUM 4650/6650, ENGL 4982)

Enrollment limited to: 15 students.

TBA

Brown, J.

What does it mean to make a poem? How might the act of poetic making—poïesis—unfold on the canvas, on the letterpress bed, or within a graphics layout program like Adobe Illustrator? What choices, what innovations in form, become possible when the fabrication of poetry is an equally textual and material process? An interdisciplinary seminar and collaborative workshop, “Poetry in the Expanded Field” combines critical inquiry with sustained creative practice and experimentation. We will examine emergent practices at the intersections of drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, poetry, song, dance, performance, film, and digital technologies, while also engaging in archival research and practicing poetic composition and 2- and 3-D design in programs like Adobe Illustrator and InDesign.
 

FA COML 4700 Translation and Cultural Difference (ASIAN 4481)

(GB) (KCM-AS)

TBA

Sakai, N.

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.
 

COML 4704 - [Written on the Body]

(crosslisted) ASIAN 4407, FGSS 4607

(LA-AS)      Fall. Not offered: 2020-2021. Next offered: 2021-2022. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Enrollment limited to: 15 students.

A. Bachner.

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.

 

FA COML 4801/ Homer and Global Modernity (CLASS 4801/6801, COML 6801, SHUM 4801)

TBA

Umachandran, M.

This course examines how Homer’s epic poems, the Odyssey and the Iliad, have been read in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Homer has long been understood as important for defining and contesting European modernity  (as a ‘classic’ or as ‘universal’). We will be investigating what happens to Homer when writers and translators, such as Tariq Ali, CLR James, and Derek Walcott write back to Eurocentric ideas of modernity. Therefore we will trace the receptions in various media (popular film, critical theory, the novels of Toni Morrison) to understand how Homer articulates the concepts and crises of contemporary global culture.

 

FA New! COML 6060 / / Modern Poetry in and out of World Systems (COML 4060)

TBA

Enrollment limited to: 15 students.

Melas, N.

How can we think modern lyric on a world scale?   This seminar will attempt to articulate two world systems and one world republic:  the idea of the modern capitalist world system as a dynamic political- economic entity consisting of centers and peripheries in Immanuel Wallerstein’s sense, the modern imperial discursive world system that codified a hierarchy of human difference and finally the modern world republic of letters centered in 19th century Paris and for the purposes of this seminar, on Baudelaire’s creation of modern lyric. We will ask: how have poets  crafted their lyric modernity partly through a poetic engagement with those dimensions of European modernism and aestheticism that touch upon the civilizational and racial difference that fix them in their imperial peripheries?  Poets may include Cavafy, Aimé Césaire, Derek Walcott, Miraji, W.B. Yeats, Langston Hughes.

 

FA COML 6138 Literature and Psychoanalysis: Kindred Spirit (GERST 6535)

Open to graduate students only. 

TBA

Schwarz, A.

This course will examine the similarities and differences between literary and psychoanalytic approaches to works of fiction or criticism. Do these fields borrow techniques and methodologies from each other? Are they in competition? Do they suggest different practices of reading and writing? Do they both pursue therapeutic goals? Where and how do literature and psychoanalysis position the subject, the self, the individual? Does literature analyze? Authors will include: E.T.A. Hoffmann, Moritz, Goethe, Buechner, Kleist, Poe, Kafka, Goethe, Jung, Lipps, Freud, Lacan, Butler, Benjamin, Derrida, Felman, et al. Readings and Discussions in English.

 

FA COML 6190 Independent Study

Fall. 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 6285 - [Early Modern Translations]

(crosslisted) ENGL 6285

Fall. Not offered: 2020-2021. Next offered: 2022-2023. 4 credits. Student option grading.

P. Lorenz.

For description, see ENGL 6285.

 

FA COML 6314 Korean Literature & Performance: From P’ansori to K-Pop (ASIAN 3314/6614, COML 3314)

TBA

Yi, Y.

This course examines Korean literature and performance traditions from the Chosŏn dynasty (1392-1910) to the present. Through hands-on performance workshops, the course enables students to experience how Korean epic and lyric traditions were performed in the past and how they continue to flourish in the present across various media, including recorded music, written texts, and film. We will examine how Korean literature and performance traditions have transformed over time, with attention given to how these traditions speak to local and global audiences following the Korean Wave. The course concludes with recent developments in Korean popular music, including K-pop bands and K-hip-hop. Readings for the course will be in English or in English translation and no prior knowledge of Korean culture is necessary.

 

FA COML 6428 Reading Derrida and Others (ANTHRO 4428/7428, COML 4428, GERST 4428/7428, JWST 4428/7428)

TBA

Boyarin, J.

We will read together a wide range of modern European texts-mostly but not exclusively by at least nominally Jewish authors, many of them working in the German intellectual tradition–accompanied by a range of works by Jacques Derrida that engage those thinkers and their texts. Authors will likely include Theodor w. Adorno, Saint Augustine, Walter Benjamin, Paul Celan, Helene Cixous, Hermann Cohen, Sigmund Freud, Edmond Jabes, Emannuel Levinas, Claude Levi-Strauss, Karl Marx, and Gershom Scholem. We will thus be better able to participate in the current re-evaluation of Derrida’s legacy, including his Jewishness, and we will read him, among other things, as a proponent of dialogue, sometimes loving and sometimes fiercely agonistic.

 

FA COML 6551 Decadence and the Modern Novel (ENGL 6551, FGSS 6551)

TBA

Hanson, E.

As Théophile Gautier said of Decadent writing, "It is an ingenious, complex, learned style, full of shades and refinements of meaning, ever extending the bounds of language, borrowing from every technical vocabulary, taking colors from every palette and notes from every keyboard; a style that endeavors to express the most inexpressible thoughts, the vaguest and most fleeting contours of form, that listens, with a view to rendering them, to the subtle confidences of neurosis, to the confessions of aging lust turning into depravity, and to the odd hallucinations of fixed ideas passing into mania.”  We associate this aesthetic with Oscar Wilde in English, but we will explore it as a modernist innovation also for more recent canonical novelists, from Henry James to Thomas Pynchon.

The class will coincide with a conference being hosted by Ellis. Grad students will participate in the conference.
 

FA COML 6676 Critical Continental Thought (GOVT 6676, FREN 6676)

TBA

Rubenstein, D.

This seminar will focus on Nietzsche’s legacy on 20th/21st century French thought.

It is at once a mapping of the contours of French theory and an investigation of genealogical, deconstructive and feminist approaches to the political theory. We begin with the thought experiment of the Collège de Sociologie: Klossowski, Blanchot, Bataille. An alternative trajectory is formed out of the epistemological writings of Gaston Bachelard and includes Georges Canguilhem as well as some of his most illustrious students and colleagues: Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, Etienne Balibar, and Frantz Fanon. We conclude with an examination of femininity and eros: Sarah Kofman, Luce Irigaray, Hélène Cixous and Jean Baudrillard.

 

FA COML 6680/ Theorizing Gender and Race in Asian Histories and Literatures (ASIAN 3388/6688, COML 3980, FGSS 3580/6580)

TBA

Sakai, N.

For a long time area studies have overlooked the over-determined links of gender, race/ethnicity, and social class in fields related to East Asia and the trans-Pacific regions. Little attention has been paid to how to conceptualize gender and race/ethnicity; how to analyze the mutual implication of sexism, racism, and class essentialism (some call it “class racism”), and how to understand the relationships of these topics to the broader contexts of colonialism, imperialism, and nationalism. This course is designed to offer a series of discussions about the following problems: (1) the historically specific modes of sexism and racism in social spaces related to Japan and other places in the trans-Pacific; (2) the mutual implication of sexism, racism, and social class in various contexts including those of colonialism, imperialism, and nationalism; (3) the roles of gender, race, and social class in the United States’ knowledge production about East Asia in general; and (4) the conceptions of gender and race in the social formations particular to East Asia. The assigned readings include both English and Japanese materials. However, those who register in ASIAN 3388 are exempt from reading the materials in Japanese. (SC)

 

FA COML 6703 Biopolitics and COVID (ITAL 6480)

TBA

Campbell, T.

What does it mean to practice theory in the midst of a pandemic? And then what does it mean to return to biopolitics — a mode of theoretical reflection on the enmeshment of life and politics — in the time of Covid-19? These questions lie at the heart of a seminar dedicated to re-examining some of the central theoretical set pieces of biopolitics. Alongside seminal texts from Hannah Arendt and Michel Foucault, we will take up biopolitics in a number of philosophical works from Italy from the likes of Giorgio Agamben, Roberto Esposito, Toni Negri, and Simona Forti in order to think again some of the key words and concepts of biopolitics (states of exception, community, immunity, event) in the time of virus.

 

FA COML 6791 Acoustic Horizons (ENGL 6791)

TBA

Murray, T.

The course will explore the philosophy, psychoanalysis, and politics of sound along the artistic interface of cinema, video, performance, and new media art.  From analysis of synchronization of sound and image in the talking movie to its discruption in experimental music, video, new media and sound art, we will consider the prominence of sound and noise as carriers of gender, ethnic and cultural difference.  We also will explore the theory of sound, from tracts on futurism, feminism, new music, and sampling, to more recent acoustic applications of eco-theory in which sound merges with discourses of water and environment.  In addition to studying a wide range of artistic production in audio, sound, new media, and screen arts, we will discuss the dialogical impact of theoretical discussions of sound in psychoanalysis and aesthetics, as well as the phenomenal growth of digital acoustic horizons in the Pacific Rim.

 

FA COML 6801/ Homer and Global Modernity (CLASS 4801/6801, COML 4801, SHUM 6801)

TBA

Umachandran, M.

This course examines how Homer’s epic poems, the Odyssey and the Iliad, have been read in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Homer has long been understood as important for defining and contesting European modernity (as a ‘classic’ or as ‘universal’). We will be investigating what happens to Homer when writers and translators, such as Tariq Ali, CLR James, and Derek Walcott write back to Eurocentric ideas of modernity. Therefore we will trace the receptions in various media (popular film, critical theory, the novels of Toni Morrison) to understand how Homer articulates the concepts and crises of contemporary global culture.

 

Russian Literature (RUSSL)

 

RUSSL 2157 - [Tolstoy: History and Counter-Culture]

(crosslisted) HIST 2157, RELST 2157

(HA-AS)      Fall. Not offered: 2020-2021. Next offered: 2022-2023. 4 credits. Letter grades only.

O. Litvak.

For description see HIST 2157.

 

FA RUSSL 2158 St. Petersburg and the Making of Modern Russia (HIST 2158)

TBA

Litvak, O.

Founded by Peter the Great in the early eighteenth century, St. Petersburg was built expressly to advertise the triumph of enlightened absolutism at home and to display Russia’s status as a major European power abroad. But for all of its neo-classical splendor, the image of imperial St. Petersburg has been consistently invoked as a critical touchstone for the expression of political discontent, social unease and spiritual anxiety. The most modern and “intentional” of Russian cities, Russia’s northern capital has come to stand for everything that’s wrong with modern life. In this seminar, we will approach St. Petersburg as a cultural text composed by an illustrious trio of Russian writers who saw the complicated history of their country through Peter’s “window to the west” -- Nikolai Gogol, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Andrei Bely.

 

FA RUSSL 3331 Introduction to Russian Poetry

(HB) (LA-AS)

TBA

Pollak, N.

Prerequisite: proficiency in Russian or permission of instructor. Reading in Russian; discussion in English.
The nineteenth century was the first great age of Russian poetry – beginning with Pushkin's predecessors, continuing through Lermontov, and ending with Tiutchev and Fet and anticipations of modernism.  In this course, you will learn how to read short poems carefully, you'll expand and deepen your understanding of the Russian language, and you'll gain insight into one of the world's major literary traditions.  Reading in Russian, discussion in English.  Satisfies the Russian Minor requirement for Russian literature with reading in the original.

 

FA RUSSL 3385 Reading Nabokov (COML 3815, ENGL 3790)

(LA-AS)  

TBA

Shapiro, G.

In translation.

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).

 

RUSSL 4492 - Supervised Reading in Russian Literature

(CU-UGR)     Fall or Spring. 1-4 credits, variable. Student option grading.

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)

Please see website for course information: http://russian.cornell.edu/

 

Distant Learning Courses:

Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, Finnish and Ukrainian

  • 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.

 

BCS 1132 Elementary Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian II

MWF 10:10am – 11:25am

Letter grades only.
Prerequisite:
BCS 1131 or equivalent. This course is part of the Shared Course Initiative and will be taught from Columbia University using videoconferencing technology. Questions may be directed to Angelika Kraemer, ak2573@cornell.edu.
Taught via Synchronous Distance Learning
Staff.

 

By the end of this course, students will be able to carry on basic conversations in Bosnian/ Croatian/Serbian on many topics from daily life. They should be able to make polite requests, ask for information, respond to requests and descriptions, impart personal information, and have simple discussions on familiar topics. They will also acquire the skills to read and understand simple informational texts, such as newspaper headlines and menus, announcements and advertisements, and to extract the general idea of longer informational texts. They will master the writing systems of the languages, and should be able to write notes or simple letters and keep a journal.

 

BCS 1134 Intermediate Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian II

MWF 11:40am – 12:55pm

Staff.

 

The intermediate course in BCS is a continuation of the elementary course and is intended to enhance overall communicative competence in the language. This course moves forward from the study of the fundamental systems and vocabulary of the Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian to rich exposure to the spoken and written language with the wide range of speakers and situations. The goal of the course is to give students practice in comprehension, speaking, and composition, while broadening their vocabulary and deepening their understanding of grammar and syntax. The course will focus on the following skills: conversation, writing, role-playing, interviewing, and summarizing. To develop these skills the students will be assigned dialogues, language exercises, translations, descriptions, summaries, and a final independent project.

 

FINN 1122 Elementary Finnish II

TR 4:10pm – 6:00pm

Letter grades only.
This course is part of the Shared Course Initiative and will be taught from Columbia University using videoconferencing technology. Questions may be directed to Angelika Kraemer,
ak2573@cornell.edu.
Taught via Synchronous Distance Learning
Staff.

 

The Elementary Finnish II course is designed for students with some prior knowledge of Finnish. Students have an opportunity to practice listening, reading, writing and speaking in Finnish. Students learn to provide information about their opinions and feelings, their families, their immediate environment and their daily activities.

 

FINN 1134 Intermediate Finnish II

TR 2:10pm – 4:00pm

Letter grades only.
This course is part of the Shared Course Initiative and will be taught from Columbia University using videoconferencing technology. Questions may be directed to Angelika Kraemer,
ak2573@cornell.edu.
Taught via Synchronous Distance Learning
Staff.

 

The structure of the Finnish Studies Program at Columbia University ensures that students receive a solid grounding in both the language and the culture of Finland. The Program promotes the development of language ability through students’ participation in communicative activities and discussions. The Intermediate Finnish II course provides students a thorough and consistently structured revision of intermediate linguistic competence in Finnish including listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students learn to talk fluently about a wide range of topics from everyday life, speak about recent past, read and understand newspaper articles, and use appropriate grammatical structures.

 

UKRAN 1122 Elementary Ukrainian II

MWR 11:35am – 12:55pm

Letter grades only.
This course is part of the Shared Course Initiative and will be taught from Columbia University using videoconferencing technology. Questions may be directed to Angelika Kraemer,
ak2573@cornell.edu.
Taught via Synchronous Distance Learning.
Staff.

 

The purpose of this course is for the students to develop elementary proficiency in speaking, reading, listening, and writing in Ukrainian, while acquiring some basic knowledge of Ukrainian culture, history, geography, and way of life.
Upon completion of the course, students who have attended classes on a regular basis, successfully completed all assignments and all tests and exams with a minimum grade of B- should be able to:
- master Ukrainian pronunciation and grammatical accuracy well enough to be understood by a native speaker of Ukrainian.
- provide basic information in Ukrainian, both orally and in writing, about themselves, their family, likes and dislikes, everyday activities, studying, as well as some immediate needs, such as ordering food and making simple purchases;
- understand and participate in simple exchanges on everyday topics (e.g., meeting people, school, shopping, etc.) in most common informal settings;
- use and understand a range of essential vocabulary related to everyday life (e.g., days of the week, numbers, months, seasons, numbers, telling the time and date, family, food, transportation, common objects, colors, etc.).

 

UKRAN 1134 Intermediate Ukrainian II

MWR 10:10am – 11:25am

Letter grades only.
This course is part of the Shared Course Initiative and will be taught from Columbia University using videoconferencing technology. Questions may be directed to Angelika Kraemer,
ak2573@cornell.edu.
Taught via Synchronous Distance Learning
Staff.

The course starts with a review and subsequent reinforcement of grammar fundamentals and core vocabulary pertaining to the most common aspects of daily life. Principal emphasis is placed on further development of students’ communicative skills (oral and written) on such topics as the self, family, studies and leisure, travel, meals and others. A number of Ukrainian language idiosyncrasies like numeral + noun phrases, verbal aspect, impersonal verbal forms, verbs of motion and others receive special attention. Course materials are selected with the aim of introducing students to some functional and stylistic differences in modern Ukrainian as well as distinctions between the Kyiv and Lviv literary variant.

 

 

Department of Comparative Literature

240 Goldwin Smith Hall

Ithaca, NY 14853-3201

607-255-4155

https://complit.cornell.edu/

 

Comparative Literature Course Offerings

Spring 2021 (as of June 18, 2020, 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

 

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 1104 FWS: Reading Films

We live in an image-saturated world. How do we make sense of the moving image and its powerful roles in shaping culture and mediating our relationship with the world? This course will equip students with the tools to understand and decipher film language. It introduces and interrogates the basic notions, technologies, terminologies, and theories of film analysis. We will study visual and compositional elements, like mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, and sound. Films we discuss will include different geographies, genres, major directors, schools, and film movements. Through writing, students will learn to analyze films with accurate, medium-specific vocabulary, develop informed and nuanced arguments, and critically reflect on the position of the viewer.

 

SP COML 1104.101 MWF 12:20pm – 1:10pm Keyun Tian

SP COML 1104.102 MW 2:55pm – 4:10pm Pascal Schwaighofer

 

 

  • 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.

 

SP COML 1105.101 MW 7:30pm – 8:45pm, Nitzan Tal

SP COML 1105.102 MWF 11:15am – 12:05pm Tianyi Shou

SP COML 1105.103 TR 10:10am – 11:25am, Marie Lambert

 

  • 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.

 

SP COML 1106.101 MW 8:40am – 9:55am, Oliver Aas

SP COML 1106.102 TR 8:40am – 9:55am Marc Kohlbry

 

  • 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.

 

SP COML 1119.101 TR 2:55pm – 4:10pm, Raissa Krivitsky

 

 

  • 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).

 

SP COML 1134.101 MWF 9:05am – 9:55am, Didi Park

 

 

 

SP COML 2000 Introduction to Visual Studies (AMST 2000, ARTH 2000, VIST 2000)

LA-AS

TBA

Staff.

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.

 

SP COML 2036 Literature and the Elements of Nature

(GB) (CA-AS)      

TBA

Enrollment limited to: undergraduates.

Banerjee, A.

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 2041 - [World Literature in Question]

(LA-AS)      Spring. Not offered: 2020-2021. Next offered: 2021-2022. 4 credits. Student option grading.

N. Melas.

This course will explore the question: What is world literature?  Is it all the literature ever written everywhere in the world?  All the world’s greatest books? All the books a person needs to read to become a true citizen or denizen of the world?   But then, what is a world?  How does the labor of the imagination construct a world or the world? How can we relate the world of literature to other worlds such as that of history and historical experience?  Readings will range widely across time and world space and will include attention to contemporary theories of world literature.

 

SP COML 2050 Introduction to Poetry

(LA-AS)

TBA

Pollak, N.

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.

 

SP COML 2235 New Visions in African Cinema (ASRC 2235, ENGL 2935)

(GB) (CA-AS) 

TBA

Diabate, N.

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, Cowboy movies, sci-fis, musicals, courtroom films, and Nollywood. Important topics that contribute to a deeper understanding of African cinema include African audiences, the role of cinema in the construction of contemporary African identities, edutainment, Hollywood and/in Africa, and funding and production challenges. We will enter these debates by critical viewing of and writing about movies. To do so, we will read the most important scholarship in film criticism from around the world. 

 

SP New! COML 2271 Reading for the End of Time

TBA

Melas, N.

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.

 

SP COML 2293 Middle Eastern Cinema (JWST 2793, PMA 2493, VISST 2193)

(GB) (LA-AS) (CU-ITL) 

TBA

Starr, D.

Film industries in the Middle East, as in much of the rest of the world, emerged out of efforts at the national level. In the Arab world and Israel, the film industries reflect upon struggles of self-determination. The Iranian film industry underwent significant changes following the Islamic Revolution of 1979. By viewing a range of films from the Arab world, including North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as from Turkey, Israel, and Iran, we will consider the significance of these national rubrics and how they have shaped the work of filmmakers throughout the Middle East.   Films also reach beyond the boundaries of the nation, and so, we will consider how these films transcend national borders. On the one hand we will consider limit factors, like censorship, and the role of language and dialect on film viewership and distribution. And, on the other hand, we will consider the influence of external forces, such as the influence of foreign film markets in Europe and North America on filmmakers in the Middle East, as well as the effects of foreign financing—both from Europe and the Gulf States.  All films will be screened with English subtitles.

 

SP COML 2350 The Medieval Book: Objects and Texts (MEDVL 2350)

TBA

Ferri, L.

The course provides a survey of the book from ca. 1100 to 1500, with emphasis on the development of the book in Western Europe, especially France, Germany, Italy, the Low Countries, and Spain.  It focuses on the many roles of the book in medieval societies, with special attention paid to production, dissemination, and reading practices. The collection of manuscripts and incunabula in Kroch Library allows a "hands-on" approach to learning.  Along the way, we will read excerpts from some of the most influential texts of the Middle Ages, such as the Song of the Nibelungs: The Romance of Alexander; the Scvias of St. Hildegard of Bingen: Dante's Divine Comedy; Jacobus de Varagine's Golden Legend; and the travel narratives of Marco Polo or Bernhard von Breydenbach.
 

SP COML 2580 Imagining the Holocaust (ENGL 2580, JWST 2580)

(LA-AS)

TBA

Schwarz, D.

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.

 

SP COML 2703 Thinking Media (ENGL 2702, GERST 2703, MUSIC 2703, PMA 2703)

(CA-AS) 

TBA

Born, E.

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.

 

SP COML 2760 Desire (ENGL 2760, FGSS 2760, LGBT 2760, PMA 2680)

(LA-AS)

TBA

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.
 

SP COML 3006 Race and Slavery, Old and Modern (FGSS 3692, ILRLR 3691, NES 3691)

(GB) (CA-AS) (CU-ITL)

TBA

Vaziri, P.

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.

 

SP COML 3010 Hispanic Theatre Production (LATA 3010, LSP 3010)

(CU-CEL) 

TBA
D. Castillo.
Students develop a specific dramatic text for full-scale production. The course involves selection of an appropriate text, close analysis of the literary aspects of the play, and group evaluation of its representational value and effectiveness. All students in the course are involved in some aspects of production of the play, and write a final paper as a course requirement. Credit is variable depending upon the student's role in play production: a minimum of 50 hours of work is required for 1 credit; a maximum of 3 credits are awarded for 100 hours or more of work.

 

SP COML 3021/ Literary Theory on the Edge (COML 6159, ENGL 3021/6021, PMA 3421)

(LA-AS)

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

TBA

Caruth, C. and Lorenz, P.

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.

 

SP COML 3115 Video and New Media: Art, Theory, Politics (ENGL 3115, FREN 3115, PMA 3515, VISST 3115)

(LA-AS)  

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

TBA

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.

 

SP COML 3262 Global Cinema II (PMA 3551, VISST 3176)

TBA

Sheppard, S.

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)
 

SP COML 3440 The Tragic Theatre (CLASS 3645, PMA 3724)

(HB) (LA-AS)

TBA

Ahl, F.

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.
 

SP COML 3681 Slavery and Visual Culture (AMST 3506, ARTH 3506, ASRC 3506, VISST 3506)

(HB) (LA-AS)

TBA

Finley, C.

This interdisciplinary undergraduate lecture examines the visual culture of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade from the 16th century to the present. Lectures present artifacts, prints, paintings, photographs, sculpture, film and installation art that images the history of slavery and its profound contemporary resonance. Lectures and assignments consider the following themes: how does the gaze structure vision and influence the control of historical narratives? Which themes dominate the visual culture of slavery? How does visual culture encode memory, violence or racism? How did the visual culture of slavery produce and circulate new technologies of vision? Where is the history of slavery visible in the built environment or the local landscape? Students study artifacts in the May Anti-Slavery Collection at Kroch Library and artworks at the Johnson Museum. Field trip to nearby anti-slavery sites of memory.

 

SP COML 3781 Freud and the Invention of Psychoanalysis (FGSS 3651, FREN 3560, GERST 3561, ROMS 3560, STS 3651)

(KCM-AS)

TBA

McNulty, T.

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.
 

SP COML 3800 Poetry and Poetics of the Americas (AMST 3820, ENGL 3910, LATA 3800, SPAN 3800)

(LA-AS) 

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

TBA

Monroe, J.

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.

 

SP COML 3921 Apes & Language

TBA

Dubreuil, L. and Caruth, C.

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.”

 

SP COML 3976 Pleasure and Neoliberalism

TBA

Diabate, N.

This comparative seminar is open to both undergraduate and graduate students from all disciplines.  It explores pleasure and its relation to neoliberalism, one of the most important political concepts of our time. In the course, we will adopt an interdisciplinary approach to pleasure and a historical trajectory, including the Ancient world and the contemporary. Several Cornell professors will contribute to our investigation through guest lectures. Artistic and theoretical reflections on pleasure and neoliberalism will focus on important ideas such as human nature, science, pornography, race, sexuality, and the market. We will rethink 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 (reaction papers, an abstract + annotated bibliography, and a final paper), you will refine your understanding of pleasure and neoliberalism and their mutual imbrication.

 

SP New! COML 4056 / Surrealist Solidarities and Spontaneous Associations (COML 6056)

TBA

Melas, N.

"Beautiful as the chance meeting on a dissecting table of a sewing machine and an umbrella," the surrealist avant-garde in 1920s Paris militated against the depredations of rationalism and capitalist modernization through art built on dreams, on the marvelous, on obsolete and enchanted things, on the unconscious.  The surrealist disposition surfaced in different regions of the globe, many of which already had experienced the marvelous under colonial contradictions. This course will introduce European surrealism in visual art and writing but focus on allied manifestations in critically engaged art outside the immediate orbit of Europe with a particular emphasis on aesthetics and political solidarity.  Authors may include Apollinaire, Breton, Éluard, Léro, Suzanne Césaire, Aimé Césaire, De Chirico, Ernst, Bunuel, Picasso, Lam, Kahlo, Kossery, Nimr.

 

SP 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

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.

 

SP COML 4353/ Race and Critical Theory (COML 6353, GOVT 6356)

(CA-AS)

Enrollment limited to: 15 students.

TBA

Vaziri, P.

As a philosophical approach to culture and society emerging out of European contexts, Critical Theory has traditionally excluded questions about the history of racial difference. Yet Critical Theory’s insights into processes of subject formation, social relations, mass culture, and general emancipatory drive continue to inform and be of value to scholars of race concerned with the everyday production and transmission of ideas about normative humanity. This course explores contemporary critical scholarship on race, as defined by its relationship to anti-positivist epistemologies, theories of the subject, critiques of traditional ontology and of the aesthetic, and engagement with postcolonial theory, environmental humanities, indigenous studies, and the Black radical tradition. Some familiarity with key figures and ideas in postcolonial studies and Black studies is desirable, but not necessary. Readings will include Sylvia Wynter, Frantz Fanon, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Fred Moten, Kathryn Yusoff, Tiffany Lethabo King, Ronald Judy, Immanuel Kant, Martin Heidegger, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Derrida.

 

SP COML 4626 Medieval Technologies of the Self (SHUM 4660/6660)

Enrollment limited to: 15 students.

TBA

Lears, A.

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.
 

SP New! COML 4861/ Genres, Platforms, Media (COML 6861, PMA 4461/6461)
3 credits.

TBA

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 4902/6902 - [Environmental Humanities: Theories and Methods]

(crosslisted) STS 4902

(GB) (CA-AS)      Spring. Not offered: 2020-2021. Next offered: 2021-2022. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Enrollment limited to: 15 students. Co-meets with COML 6902/STS 6902.

A. Banerjee.

The environmental humanities pose a radically different set of questions to texts, materials, and contexts that were previously approached in terms of human intentions and actions alone. This seminar explores the theoretical and methodological potentials of this rapidly emerging and constantly evolving field from the interdisciplinary, comparative perspective that it also axiomatically demands. Together we will discuss seminal works that tackle four foundational concepts imperative for reframing the traditional concerns of the humanities under the sign of anthropogenic planetary change – scale, form, matter/ energy, and distribution. The seminar will develop ways to configure these focal points to the theoretical and practical concerns of various disciplinary approaches and, especially, to participants’ individual interests and research projects.

 

FA/ SP 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.

 

FA/ SP 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 4945 - [Body Politics in African Literature and Cinema]

(crosslisted) ASRC 4995, ENGL 4995, FGSS 4945, LGBT 4945, VISST 4945

(GB) (CA-AS)      Spring. Not offered: 2020-2021. Next offered: 2021-2022. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Enrollment limited to: 15 students.

N. Diabate.

The course examines how postcolonial African writers and filmmakers engage with and revise controversial images of bodies and sexuality–genital cursing, same-sex desire, HIV/AIDS, genital surgeries, etc. Our inquiry also surveys African theorists’ troubling of problematic tropes and practices such as the conception in 19th-century racist writings of the colonized as embodiment, the pathologization and hypersexualization of colonized bodies, and the precarious and yet empowering nature of the body and sexuality in the postcolonial African experience. As we focus on African artists and theorists, we also read American and European theorists, including but not certainly limited to Giorgio Agamben, Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes, and Joseph Slaughter, detecting the ways in which discourses around bodies in the African context may shape contemporary theories and vice versa.

 

COML 4996/6895 - [Critical Theory and Climate Change]

(crosslisted) GERST 4351

(CA-AS)      Spring. Not offered: 2020-2021. Next offered: 2021-2022. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Co-meets with COML 6895/GERST 6351.

P. Fleming.

For description, see GERST 4351.

 

SP New! COML 6056/ Surrealist Solidarities and Spontaneous Associations (COML 4056)

TBA

Melas, N.

"Beautiful as the chance meeting on a dissecting table of a sewing machine and an umbrella," the surrealist avant-garde in 1920s Paris militated against the depredations of rationalism and capitalist modernization through art built on dreams, on the marvelous, on obsolete and enchanted things, on the unconscious.  The surrealist disposition surfaced in different regions of the globe, many of which already had experienced the marvelous under colonial contradictions. This course will introduce European surrealism in visual art and writing but focus on allied manifestations in critically engaged art outside the immediate orbit of Europe with a particular emphasis on aesthetics and political solidarity.  Authors may include Apollinaire, Breton,  Éluard, Léro, Suzanne Césaire, Aimé Césaire, De Chirico, Ernst, Bunuel, Picasso, Lam, Kahlo, Kossery, Nimr.

 

SP COML 6159/ Literary Theory on the Edge (COML 3021, ENGL 6021/3021, PMA 3421)

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

TBA

Caruth, C. and Lorenz, P.

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.
 

SP 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 and Now]

Spring. Not offered: 2020-2021. Next offered: 2021-2022. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Enrollment limited to: 15 students.

N. Melas.

“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.

 

SP COML 6353/ Race and Critical Theory (COML 4353, GOVT 4356)

Enrollment limited to: 15 students.

TBA

Vaziri, P.

As a philosophical approach to culture and society emerging out of European contexts, Critical Theory has traditionally excluded questions about the history of racial difference. Yet Critical Theory’s insights into processes of subject formation, social relations, mass culture, and general emancipatory drive continue to inform and be of value to scholars of race concerned with the everyday production and transmission of ideas about normative humanity. This course explores contemporary critical scholarship on race, as defined by its relationship to anti-positivist epistemologies, theories of the subject, critiques of traditional ontology and of the aesthetic, and engagement with postcolonial theory, environmental humanities, indigenous studies, and the Black radical tradition. Some familiarity with key figures and ideas in postcolonial studies and Black studies is desirable, but not necessary. Readings will include Sylvia Wynter, Frantz Fanon, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Fred Moten, Kathryn Yusoff, Tiffany Lethabo King, Ronald Judy, Immanuel Kant, Martin Heidegger, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Derrida.

 

SP COML 6465 Critical Continental Thought (FREN 6676, GOVT 6676)

  • Topic for 2020-2021: Matters of Life/Death

TBA

Rubenstein, D.

The pandemic of Covid-19 urgently reframes philosophic concepts of life, death, the right to life, techniques of life management, the disposition of (one’s own) death with dignity, and the imbrication of parasite and host. One might argue that twentieth century French thought is a sustained critical engagement with the way society classifies and treats its dead, its “living dead » or excluded members (« the public enemy »), the political or symbolic economy of death, the death penalty and other death sentences (literary as well as political). To what extent do writers such as Jean Baudrillard, Simone de Beauvoir, Maurice Blanchot, Albert Camus, George Canguilhem, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Georges Perec, and Michel Serres contribute to our understanding of “le vivant” (the living)? How might some thinkers enable a critical resistance to the ecological catastrophe of pandemics and the resultant unequal distribution of life and death (e.g., Vinciane Despret, Didier Fassin, Isabelle Stengers)?

 

COML 6708 [Complex Narratives]

Spring. Not offered: 2020-2021. Next offered: 2021-2022. 4 credits. Student option grading.
Enrollment limited to: 15 students.
A. Bachner.
Why don’t we tell it straight? Instead of abiding by sequential order and linearity, narratives tend to branch out, loop into paradox, double back on themselves, invent new restraints. This is increasingly true for mainstream texts, no longer only the terrain of experimental literature and film. With the help of a range of narrative and media theories, we will work through different complex narrative forms, such as episodic (or networked) narratives, frames, forking paths and reverse narratives in this course. We will cover examples that range from “high” literature and art film to mainstream media, from Calvino’s and Perec’s experiments to Westworld (TV series), from Miike’s “Box” to Bellot’s Sexual Dependency, from Nolan’s Inception and Memento to Pavic’s Dictionary of the Khazars, among others.

 

COML 6778 [Psychoanalysis and Historical Transmission] (FREN 6240, GOVT 6246)

Spring. Not offered: 2020-2021. Next offered: 2022-2023. 4 credits. Student option grading.
T. McNulty.
For description, see
FREN 6240.

 

COML 6798 [Labor and the Arts] (ITAL 6710)

Spring. Not offered: 2020-2021. Next offered: 2021-2022. 4 credits. Student option grading.
Co-meets with
ITAL 4710.
K. Pinkus.
For description, see
ITAL 6710.

 

SP New! COML 6861/ Genres, Platforms, Media (PMA 6461, COML 4861, PMA 4461)
3 credits.

TBA

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.
 

Russian Literature (RUSSL)

 

RUSSL 2150 - [Russian Culture, History, and Politics through Film]

(CA-AS)      Spring. Not offered: 2020-2021. Next offered: 2021-2022. 3 credits. Student option grading.

R. Krivitsky.

This survey course will introduce you to various aspects of Russian culture as a formative force of national identity in a broad historical, geopolitical and socioeconomic context of 20-21st century post-imperial, Soviet, and post-soviet Russia. A selection of iconic works of Russian filmmakers will offer you a unique perspective of people’s lives, aspirations, hopes and struggles throughout the nation’s turbulent history - revolutions and Civil war, Stalin’s era and World War II, the political thaw and stagnation, perestroika, the breakdown of the USSR, and full of uncertainties post-soviet era. Reading assignments may include poetry, short stories, historical commentary, and film criticism. No knowledge of the Russian language is required: the course will be conducted entirely in English, and the films will be shown with English subtitles.

 

SP RUSSL 2500 - Demons and Witches in Russian Literature and Film

(HB) (CA-AS)      Spring. 3 credits. Student option grading.

R. Krivitsky.

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.

 

RUSSL 3341 - [Short Russian Fiction (The Nineteenth Century)]

(HB) (LA-AS)      Spring. Not offered: 2020-2021. Next offered: 2022 -2023. 4 credits. Student option grading.

N. Pollak.

The nineteenth century Russian novel had its beginnings in a period of short fiction; it ended in another one. When Tolstoy was preparing to write Anna Karenina, he reread Pushkin’s tales. Dostoevsky’s characters have roots in Lermontov’s fiction. The Russian novelists also wrote short works.  This course focuses on the stories and tales of Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, and others. It covers the nineteenth century and extends a decade or two in either direction, to the early years of modern Russian fiction in the late eighteenth century and to the final pre-revolutionary years in the early twentieth century.

 

RUSSL 4492 - Supervised Reading in Russian Literature

(CU-UGR)     Fall or Spring. 1-4 credits, variable. Student option grading.

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)

Please see website for course information: http://russian.cornell.edu/

 

Distant Learning Courses:

Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, Finnish and Ukrainian

  • 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.

 

BCS 1132 Elementary Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian II

MWF 10:10am – 11:25am

Letter grades only.
Prerequisite:
BCS 1131 or equivalent. This course is part of the Shared Course Initiative and will be taught from Columbia University using videoconferencing technology. Questions may be directed to Angelika Kraemer, ak2573@cornell.edu.
Taught via Synchronous Distance Learning
Staff.

 

By the end of this course, students will be able to carry on basic conversations in Bosnian/ Croatian/Serbian on many topics from daily life. They should be able to make polite requests, ask for information, respond to requests and descriptions, impart personal information, and have simple discussions on familiar topics. They will also acquire the skills to read and understand simple informational texts, such as newspaper headlines and menus, announcements and advertisements, and to extract the general idea of longer informational texts. They will master the writing systems of the languages, and should be able to write notes or simple letters and keep a journal.

 

BCS 1134 Intermediate Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian II

MWF 11:40am – 12:55pm

Staff.

 

The intermediate course in BCS is a continuation of the elementary course and is intended to enhance overall communicative competence in the language. This course moves forward from the study of the fundamental systems and vocabulary of the Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian to rich exposure to the spoken and written language with the wide range of speakers and situations. The goal of the course is to give students practice in comprehension, speaking, and composition, while broadening their vocabulary and deepening their understanding of grammar and syntax. The course will focus on the following skills: conversation, writing, role-playing, interviewing, and summarizing. To develop these skills the students will be assigned dialogues, language exercises, translations, descriptions, summaries, and a final independent project.

 

FINN 1122 Elementary Finnish II

TR 4:10pm – 6:00pm

Letter grades only.
This course is part of the Shared Course Initiative and will be taught from Columbia University using videoconferencing technology. Questions may be directed to Angelika Kraemer,
ak2573@cornell.edu.
Taught via Synchronous Distance Learning
Staff.

 

The Elementary Finnish II course is designed for students with some prior knowledge of Finnish. Students have an opportunity to practice listening, reading, writing and speaking in Finnish. Students learn to provide information about their opinions and feelings, their families, their immediate environment and their daily activities.

 

FINN 1134 Intermediate Finnish II

TR 2:10pm – 4:00pm

Letter grades only.
This course is part of the Shared Course Initiative and will be taught from Columbia University using videoconferencing technology. Questions may be directed to Angelika Kraemer,
ak2573@cornell.edu.
Taught via Synchronous Distance Learning
Staff.

 

The structure of the Finnish Studies Program at Columbia University ensures that students receive a solid grounding in both the language and the culture of Finland. The Program promotes the development of language ability through students’ participation in communicative activities and discussions. The Intermediate Finnish II course provides students a thorough and consistently structured revision of intermediate linguistic competence in Finnish including listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students learn to talk fluently about a wide range of topics from everyday life, speak about recent past, read and understand newspaper articles, and use appropriate grammatical structures.

 

UKRAN 1122 Elementary Ukrainian II

MWR 11:35am – 12:55pm

Letter grades only.
This course is part of the Shared Course Initiative and will be taught from Columbia University using videoconferencing technology. Questions may be directed to Angelika Kraemer,
ak2573@cornell.edu.
Taught via Synchronous Distance Learning.
Staff.

 

The purpose of this course is for the students to develop elementary proficiency in speaking, reading, listening, and writing in Ukrainian, while acquiring some basic knowledge of Ukrainian culture, history, geography, and way of life.
Upon completion of the course, students who have attended classes on a regular basis, successfully completed all assignments and all tests and exams with a minimum grade of B- should be able to:
- master Ukrainian pronunciation and grammatical accuracy well enough to be understood by a native speaker of Ukrainian.
- provide basic information in Ukrainian, both orally and in writing, about themselves, their family, likes and dislikes, everyday activities, studying, as well as some immediate needs, such as ordering food and making simple purchases;
- understand and participate in simple exchanges on everyday topics (e.g., meeting people, school, shopping, etc.) in most common informal settings;
- use and understand a range of essential vocabulary related to everyday life (e.g., days of the week, numbers, months, seasons, numbers, telling the time and date, family, food, transportation, common objects, colors, etc.).

 

UKRAN 1134 Intermediate Ukrainian II

MWR 10:10am – 11:25am

Letter grades only.
This course is part of the Shared Course Initiative and will be taught from Columbia University using videoconferencing technology. Questions may be directed to Angelika Kraemer,
ak2573@cornell.edu.
Taught via Synchronous Distance Learning
Staff.

The course starts with a review and subsequent reinforcement of grammar fundamentals and core vocabulary pertaining to the most common aspects of daily life. Principal emphasis is placed on further development of students’ communicative skills (oral and written) on such topics as the self, family, studies and leisure, travel, meals and others. A number of Ukrainian language idiosyncrasies like numeral + noun phrases, verbal aspect, impersonal verbal forms, verbs of motion and others receive special attention. Course materials are selected with the aim of introducing students to some functional and stylistic differences in modern Ukrainian as well as distinctions between the Kyiv and Lviv literary variant.

 

 

Department of Comparative Literature

240 Goldwin Smith Hall

Ithaca, NY 14853-3201

607-255-4155

https://complit.cornell.edu/