Spring 2020 Course Offerings

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Department of Comparative Literature

Spring 2020 Course offerings (as of October 28, 2019 - subject to updates)

  • COML Core Course for the Major: COML 3115 (Spring)
  • COML Theory Courses: COML 3021 (Spring) and COML 4996 (Spring)

New courses: COML 3006 Race and Slavery, Old and Modern (updated title), COML 4353/COML 6353 Race and Critical Theory, COML 6784 The Case of the Perversions, RUSSL 2150 Russian Culture, History, and Politics Through Film

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

MWF 12:20pm – 1:10pm, Tian, K.

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 1106 FWS: Robots

MWF 9:05am – 9:55am, Aas, O.

TR 11:40am – 12:55pm, Lambert, M.

MWF 10:10am – 11:00am, Zappa, J.

MW 7:30am – 8:45am, Karmin, H.

In 2015, Japan’s SoftBank Robotics Corporation announced the world’s first robot with feelings. Many people were excited, many more disturbed. If robots are simply, as the dictionary suggests, machines “designed to function in the place of a living agent,” then what is so disturbing about them? Since robots are designed to replace human labor (first economic, and now also emotional), do they represent a threat as much as they do an aid? What happens when robots exceed their purpose, and become more humanlike? How do robots read, write, and feel? How do the activities of coding and writing, or decoding and reading differ? Students will be equipped with the vocabulary and writing strategies to rigorously analyze, compare, and debate the meaning of robots in the human imagination from different epochs, countries, languages, and media. In doing so, they will write in a variety of registers about works such as the play R.U.R. by Karel Čapek, who invented the term “robot”. Other materials may include philosophical texts, fiction, videogames, films, graphic novels, and hip-hop concept albums.

  • COML 1119 FWS: A Taste of Russian Literature

TR 2:55pm – 4:10pm, Krivitsky, R.

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.


Comparative Literature (COML)

COML 2000 Introduction to Visual Studies

(crosslisted) AMST 2000, ARTH 2000, VISST 2000

(LA-AS)

Requirement for Visual Studies minor. Required sections.

Moisey, A.

TR 10:10am – 11:25am

This course introduces the field of Visual Studies.  Visual Studies seeks to define and improve our visual relationship to nature and culture after the modern surge in technology and knowledge.  It contains objects, images, and problems that lie beyond the Art History and experimental science, yet is grown from both cultures.  It teaches the physical and legal limits of human, animal, and machine vision, how knowledge and power get into images, how spectacle drives the economy, and techniques of analysis that can deliver fresh perspectives across disciplines.

 

COML 2036 Literature and the Elements of Nature

(GB) (CA-AS)

Enrollment limited to: undergraduates.

Banerjee, A.

MWF 9:05am – 9:55am

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 2580 Imagining the Holocaust

 

(crosslisted) ENGL 2580, JWST 2580

(LA-AS)

Schwarz, D.

MW 8:40am – 9:55am

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

 

COML 2703 Thinking Media

(crosslisted) ENGL 2703, GERST 2703, MUSIC 2703, PMA 2703

(CA-AS) 

3-4 credits.

Moseley, R.

MWF 12:20pm – 1:10pm

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.

From hieroglyphs to HTML, ancient poetry to audiotape, and Plato’s cave to virtual reality, “Thinking Media” offers a multidisciplinary introduction to the most influential media formats of the last three millennia. Featuring an array of guests from across Cornell, including faculty from Communication, Comparative Literature, English, German Studies, Information Science, Music, and Performing & Media Arts, the course will present diverse perspectives on how to think with, against, and about media in relation to the public sphere and private life, archaeology and science fiction, ethics and aesthetics, identity and difference, labor and play, knowledge and power, expression and surveillance, and the generation and analysis of data.

 

COML 2728 Modern Middle East Literature in Translation

(crosslisted) JWST 2728, NES 2728

(GB) (LA-AS) (CU-ITL)

Starr, D.

MWF 10:10am – 11:00am

In their acceptance speeches for the Nobel Prize in Literature, both the Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz (1988) and the Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk (2006) situate their work between Eastern and Western literary traditions. Pamuk elaborated: “To write, to read, was like leaving one world to find consolation in the other world’s otherness, the strange and the wondrous.” In this class, we seek the strange and wondrous otherness, along with the familiar and wondrous sameness in modern literature from the Middle East. We proceed thematically across the literary traditions of the Middle East, with a focus on works written in Arabic, Turkish, Persian, and Hebrew. The thematic organization permits us to approach critical issues comparatively. In addition to exploring the tension between Eastern and Western influences in this literature, we will also investigate other issues writers confront: How do literary heritage and religious tradition inflect modern texts? What is the relationship between politics and aesthetics? How does literature represent traumatic memories and violence, past and present? All readings are in English.

 

COML 2760 Desire

(crosslisted) ENGL 2760, FGSS 2760, LGBT 2760, PMA 2680

(LA-AS)

Hanson, E.

MW 7:30pm – 8:45pm

“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.

 

New! COML 3006 Race and Slavery in the Middle East

(crosslisted) NES 3691

(CU-ITL)

Vaziri, P.

TR 10:10am – 11:25am

Long before the inception of the Transatlantic slave trade, slave trading fueled the reproduction and expansion of early Islamic societies in Southwest Asia. This course engages the history of these trades from the early centuries of Islam up until their late abolitions in the 20th century. Reading across vast swathes of time and space, we ask how the study of slavery and so-called “racial formation” in the long durée poses epistemological problems for contemporary approaches to periodization in race studies specifically, and for the humanistic disciplines more broadly.
 

COML 3021 Literary Theory on the Edge

(crosslisted) ENGL 3021, PMA 3421

(LA-AS)

Co-meets with COML 6159/ENGL 6021. Designated theory course for Comparative Literature Majors. No previous knowledge of theory required.

Bachner, A., Caruth, C.

MW 10:10am – 11:25am Updated meeting times

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

 

COML 3115 Video and New Media: Art, Theory, Politics

(crosslisted) ENGL 3115, FREN 3115, PMA 3515, VISST 3115

(LA-AS)

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

Please email Professor Murray (tcm1@cornell.edu) with the following information: Your name and Cornell email address, course code and number you wish to be enrolled (example: COML 3115), if you are a current COML Major, graduation month/year. When you are approved, you will receive a permission number for the pre-enrollment period. Thank you.

Murray, T.

M 7:30pm – 10:30pm

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

 

COML 3150 Literature and Media in Japan

(crosslisted) ASIAN 3318, VISST 3318

(GB) (CA-AS)

de Bary, B.

MW 10:10am – 11:25am

Beginning with the mid-nineteenth century, the course traces dynamic relays and reciprocal influences among woodblock prints, maps, fiction, films, anime, comics, and digital arts in Japan. We will consider the extensive cultural commentary that has surrounded the emergence of new media in an attempt to assess their transformative aesthetic, social, and political implications. The course will use materials with translations or subtitles in English. (LL)

 

COML 3262 Global Cinema II

(crosslisted) PMA 3551, VISST 3176

Co-meets with PMA 6551.

Fitzpatrick, V.

TR 1:25pm – 4:25pm

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

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

 

COML 3440 The Tragic Theatre

(crosslisted) CLASS 3645, PMA 3724

(HB) (LA-AS)

Ahl, F.

MWF 12:20pm – 1:10pm

Enrollment limited to: 40 students

Tragedy and its audiences from ancient Greece to modern theater and film. Topics: origins of theatrical conventions; Shakespeare and Seneca; tragedy in modern theater and film. Works studied will include: Aeschylus’ Agamemnon; Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus, Philoctetes; Euripides’ Alcestis, Helen, Iphigeneia in Aulis, Orestes; Seneca’s Thyestes, Trojan Women; Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Titus Andronicus, Othello; Strindberg’s The Father; Durrenmatt’s The Visit; Bergman’s Seventh Seal; Cacoyannis’ Iphigeneia.

 

COML 3512 No Rest: The Exhausted Self

(crosslisted) GERST 3512, ROMS 3512

(CA-AS)

Taught in English.

Siegel, E.

TR 10:10am – 11:25am

The search for the active, good, or just life has increasingly come under pressure by the socio-political and economic conditions in late Capitalism or, in Deleuze’s term, the “society of control.” The individual and society seem to not flourish but disintegrate. In this class, we will examine interdisciplinary scholarly work and literary texts dealing with various concepts used to critically engage with the current state, among them: speed, rest and restlessness, sleep deprivation, exhaustion, weariness, intensity, and burnout. Authors include: Ottessa Moshfegh, Kathrin Röggla, Hartmut Rosa, Byung-Chul Han, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Jonathan Crary, Kathi Weeks.

 

COML 3550 Decadence

(crosslisted) ENGL 3550, FGSS 3550, LGBT 3550

(HB) (LA-AS)    

Hanson, E.

MWF 2:55pm – 4:10pm

“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.

 

COML 3800 Poetry and Poetics of the Americas

(crosslisted) 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.

Monroe, J.

TR 10:10am – 11:25am

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

 

COML 4200 Independent Study (Spring) (CU-UGR) 

1-4 credits. Variable. Student option grading.

Permission of instructor required. 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. 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 4290 Postcolonial Poetry and the Poetics of Relation

(crosslisted) ENGL 4981, FREN 4350, SPAN 4350

(LA-AS)

Enrollment limited to: 15 students. Co-meets with COML 6350/ENGL 6850/FREN 6350/SPAN 6350.

Monroe, J.

R 12:20pm – 2:15pm

What kinds of poetry might be usefully characterized as “postcolonial” and what are the stakes of such a designation? How common, variable, translatable are values deemed “postcolonial” for particular poetics across cultures? Is there such a thing as a transnational, transcultural, “Postcolonial Poetics?” What relation(s) do specific textual/poetic features or strategies have to geopolitical, cultural, historical, economic circumstances, and to the condition(s) of what has come to be called the “postcolonial” in particular? With special reference to Edouard Glissant’s influential concept of a “poetics of relation,” attending as well to our own situatedness as readers - perhaps also, though not necessarily, as writers - of poetry within U.S. (and) academic context(s), this seminar will focus on Caribbean poetry as an especially fruitful site for exploring a diversity of approaches to these and related questions concerning postcoloniality, poetry, community, language, culture, and identity.

 

New! COML 4353 Race and Critical Theory

(crosslisted) GOVT 4356

Co-meets with COML 6353/GOVT 6356

Vaziri, P.

R 2:30pm – 4:25pm

Enrollment limited to: 15 students.

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.

 

COML 4624 Tradition and Modernity: The Jewish Case and Beyond

(crosslisted) GERST 4649, ​JWST 4649, ​SHUM 4649

Enrollment limited to: 15 students. Co-meets with GERST 6649/​JWST 6649/​SHUM 6649.

Redfield, J. A.

TBA

The concept of tradition often takes a back seat to modernity, but what does it mean to be part of a tradition? How does tradition revitalize and challenge received views and stimulate individual talent? This course explores three diverse bodies of material: twentieth-century Yiddish poetry and prose; ancient Jewish literature; and mid-twentieth-century German theology, philosophy, and criticism (by both Jews and Christians). As these thinkers reflect on their intellectual and poetic traditions, we will explore tradition as a source of collective energy in spite–and sometimes because!–of the constraints that it places upon self-expression. Tradition as a source of creativity is a strong theme in Jewish culture but has implications for other fields. For longer description and instructor bio visit http://societyhumanities.as.cornell.edu/courses.

 

COML 4930 Senior Essay

Multi-semester course (Fall, Spring). 4 credits. First course: R grade only (in progress).
Staff.
Times TBA individually in consultation with director of Senior Essay Colloquium. Approximately 50 pages to be written over the course of two semesters in the student’s senior year under the direction of the student’s advisor. An R grade is assigned on the basis of research and a preliminary draft completed in the first semester. A letter grade is awarded on completion of the second semester, COML 4940.

 

COML 4940 Senior Essay

Multi-semester course (Fall, Spring). 4 credits. First course: R grade only (in progress).
Staff.
Times TBA individually in consultation with director of Senior Essay Colloquium. Approximately 50 pages to be written over the course of two semesters in the student’s senior year under the direction of the student’s advisor. An R grade is assigned on the basis of research and a preliminary draft completed in the first semester. A letter grade is awarded on completion of the second semester, COML 4940.

 

COML 4945 Body Politics in African Literature and Cinema

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

(GB) (CA-AS)

Enrollment limited to: 15 students.

Diabate, N.

TR 10:10am – 11:25am.

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 Critical Theory and Climate Change

(crosslisted) GERST 4351

(CA-AS)

Co-meets with COML 6895/GERST 6351.

Fleming, P.

M (updated meeting day - 11/1/2019) 2:30pm – 4:25pm

This seminar explores what German literature and thought, especially the tradition of Critical Theory, can teach us about living in the anthropocene. Taking off from Kant’s four questions for framing enlightened man around 1800 – What can I know? What do I have to do? What can I hope for? What is the human being? – this seminar re-explores these questions in light of climate change in the 21st century. Of particular interest is not only the rhetoric of climate change and a critique of its denial in word and deed, but also narration: how does one narrate the singularity of this catastrophe? Different narrative structures from trauma and tragedy to the 19th century novel and 20th century surrealism will be examined.
 

COML 6159 Literary Theory on the Edge

(crosslisted) ENGL 6021

Co-meets with COML 3021/ENGL 3021/PMA 3421. No previous knowledge of theory required.

Bachner, A., Caruth, C.

MW 10:10am – 11:25am Updated meeting times

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

 

COML 6160 Translation, in Theory

(crosslisted) ASIAN 6619, VISST 6619

de Bary, B.

TBA

The course provides an introduction to various aspects of translation theory, and emphasizes relations between translation theory and trauma theory, post-structuralism, post-colonial theory, and debates on comparative literature, “world literature,” and area studies. (LL)

 

COML 6200 Independent Study

1-4 credits, variable. Student option grading.
Permission of instructor required. 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. COML 6190 and COML 6200 may be taken independently of each other.
Staff.
This course gives students the opportunity to work with a selected instructor to pursue special interests or research not treated in regularly scheduled courses. After getting permission of the instructor, students should enroll online in the instructor’s section. Enrolled students are required to provide the department with a course description and/or syllabus along with the instructor’s approval by the end of the first week of classes.

 

COML 6221 Postcolonial Theory: Then, Now

Melas, N.

W 2:30pm – 4:25pm

Enrollment limited to: 15 students.

“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 the manifold 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, Ranjana Khanna, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Rob Nixon.

 

COML 6350 Postcolonial Poetry and the Poetics of Relation

(crosslisted) ENGL 6850, FREN 6350, SPAN 6350

Enrollment limited to: 15 students. Co-meets with COML 4290/ENGL 4981/FREN 4350/SPAN 4350.

Monroe, J.

R 12:20pm – 2:15pm

What kinds of poetry might be usefully characterized as “postcolonial” and what are the stakes of such a designation? How common, variable, translatable are values deemed “postcolonial” for particular poetics across cultures? Is there such a thing as a transnational, transcultural, “Postcolonial Poetics?” What relation(s) do specific textual/poetic features or strategies have to geopolitical, cultural, historical, economic circumstances, and to the condition(s) of what has come to be called the “postcolonial” in particular? With special reference to Edouard Glissant’s influential concept of a “poetics of relation,” attending as well to our own situatedness as readers - perhaps also, though not necessarily, as writers - of poetry within U.S. (and) academic context(s), this seminar will focus on Caribbean poetry as an especially fruitful site for exploring a diversity of approaches to these and related questions concerning postcoloniality, poetry, community, language, culture, and identity.

 

New! COML 6353 Race and Critical Theory

(crosslisted) GOVT 6356

Co-meets with COML 4353/GOVT 4356

Vaziri, P.

R 2:30pm – 4:25pm

Enrollment limited to: 15 students.

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.

 

COML 6460 Pan-Africanism and Feminism: Theoretical Intersections

(crosslisted) ASRC 6510, FGSS 6510

Boyce Davies, C.

TBA

This course examines the particular theoretical intersections of panafricanism and feminism through a study of works which address the lives of activist women and men who lived political lives which demanded an articulation of this intersection. It will examine representative texts in each of these broad fields, paying particular attention to those works which explicitly address the intersection. Students will select and study the work of one thinker in either category and examine the written life from a few angles. In particular, we will address the conflicts, disjunctures and slippages between these positions; the possibilities and limitations as expressed by these thinkers; and the issues of collaboration, erasure articulated. Students will also have the opportunity to identify and discuss popular culture which addresses these themes.

 

New! COML 6784 The Case of the Perversions

(crosslisted) FREN 6580

McNulty, T.

T 12:20pm – 2:15pm

This seminar will offer a critical examination of the literature of perversion (sadism, masochism, fetishism), with readings drawn from major texts of the libertine or S/M traditions (Sade, Sacher-Masoch, Lautréamont, Réage, Flanagan), as well as recent works of philosophy that share with these writers an investment in what I will term “writing the real.” We will consider works of perversion not merely as literary or clinical cases, therefore, but as illuminating how the discourse of perversion, broadly understood, posits or constructs the real—its cases or modes of postulation or figuration. We will focus our attention on three modes of construction that purport to straddle the alleged gap between language and its real—figure, fetish, and formalization—considering in each case their relation to the problematic of the drive. In addition to the authors mentioned above, readings will include selections from Badiou, Freud, Deleuze, Ferenczi, Foucault, Lacan, Lyotard, Meillassoux, Perniola, and Zizek. Conducted in English.

 

COML 6895 Critical Theory and Climate Change

(crosslisted) GERST 6351

Co-meets with COML 4996/GERST 4351.

Fleming, P.

M (updated meeting day - 11/1/2019) 2:30pm – 4:25pm

This seminar explores what German literature and thought, especially the tradition of Critical Theory, can teach us about living in the anthropocene. Taking off from Kant’s four questions for framing enlightened man around 1800 – What can I know? What do I have to do? What can I hope for? What is the human being? – this seminar re-explores these questions in light of climate change in the 21st century. Of particular interest is not only the rhetoric of climate change and a critique of its denial in word and deed, but also narration: how does one narrate the singularity of this catastrophe? Different narrative structures from trauma and tragedy to the 19th century novel and 20th century surrealism will be examined.

 

Russian Literature (RUSSL)

 

RUSSL 2150 Russian Culture, History, and Politics through Film

Krivitsky, R.

3 credits.

TR 10:00am – 11:25am

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.

 

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/