Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 Course Offerings

You are here

 

Comparative Literature Course Offerings

Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 Course Offerings

(as of May 14, 2021, subject to updates)

 

Department Chair: Tracy McNulty

Director of Graduate Studies: Patricia (Patty) Keller

Director of Undergraduate Studies: TBA

Graduate Course Leader (FWS): Debra Castillo

 

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

Please note: Organizational meeting for RUSSA TBA Language courses:  http://russian.cornell.edu/

https://classes.cornell.edu/browse/roster/FA21

Please note: Bracketed courses/Next offered: year is an estimation.

 

Comparative Literature (COML)

First-Year Writing Seminars:

COML 1104 - FWS: Reading Films

3 credits. Letter grades only.

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

3 credits. Letter grades only.

What do Frankenstein and Things Fall Apart have in common? What lies behind the fantastical stories of Aladdin? Do we have to like Garcia Márquez and Shakespeare? These texts and authors re-imagine the human experience at its most intriguing level. In this course, we will discuss human rights, intimacy, joy, isolation, and other controversies at the heart of these books. Throughout the semester, students will learn how to articulate an informed and nuanced position on these issues via formal practices in analytical readings, drafting, peer review, and self-editing. Actual selection of readings may vary depending on the instructor’s focus.
 

COML 1106 - FWS: Robots

3 credits. Letter grades only.

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

3 credits. Letter grades only.

Explore the culinary tradition and culture of Russia in broad historical, geopolitical and socioeconomic context through the lens of Russian folklore, short stories of Gogol, Chekhov, and Bulgakov, works of contemporary Russian-American writers, visual art, and international film. The literary journey will take you from the lavish tables of the XVIII century aristocracy, to the hardship and austerity of GULAG prison, to the colorful and savory regional fare of the former Russian Empire and Soviet Union, to the fridge and pantry staples in the everyday life of Russian family. Your writing assignments will help you develop critical thinking and argumentative skills, precision and clarity of expression, ability to write with discipline, creativity, and sense of style.

COML 1134 - FWS: Reading Poetry

3 credits. Letter grades only.

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.
 

COML 1135 – FWS: Loneliness and the City

Fall only. 3 credits. Letter grades only.

The theme of urban loneliness has elicited some of the best work in cinema history. This course asks: why are loneliness and the city so well suited for cinematic representation? Tackling the work of American mainstream directors, European arthouse masters as well as "global cinema" auteurs, we reflect on issues of belonging, longing, (digital) connectivity, and the pursuit of happiness in the modern city. Possible selection of films by Sean Baker, Coppola, Jonze, Kaurismäki, Kieslowski, Kim Ki-Duk, Loach, Gaspar Noe, Ulrich Seidl, Scorsese, Truffaut, and Wong Kar-Wai, among others. Course puts emphasis on close-reading and revision of writing.
 

Pending EPC Approval COML 1136 – FWS: Rhetorics of Race

Spring only. 3 credits. Letter grades only.

The racial violence against people of color in the United States over the past few years has broken a popular contemporary narrative that we are living in a post-racial age. We often look to spectacular events like police brutality in order to confirm what we already know: that the effects of racism are ongoing. But racial violence is not merely spectacular, that is, limited to what we can see. Nor is it merely limited to extreme forms of violence.  In this course, we examine how race penetrates language use through analyzing racial rhetoric in various genres, including news reportage, film, literature, media, and institutional rhetoric. By the end of the course, students will learn how to identify, navigate, analyze, and produce writing in diverse genres and rhetorical forms and develop the critical capacity to identify and respond to raced language.
 

COML 2000 Introduction to Visual Studies (LA-AS, ALC-AS, ETM-AS)

(crosslisted) AMST 2000, ARTH 2000, VISST 2000

Spring. 4 credits. Student option grading.

J. Rickard.

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

COML 2008 - The Aesthetics of Displacement (GB) (CA-AS, ALC-AS)     

(crosslisted) ENGL 2908, NES 2008, SHUM 2008

Fall. 3 credits. Letter grades only.

E. Ghanayem.

This course analyses autobiographical writings by authors who experienced settler colonialism, forced removals, and historical erasure. The course is intended to help answer questions around voice, indigeneity, and literary resistance in response to settler colonial violence. In its larger scheme, it asks: What are the shared aesthetics and themes of these writings? How do their authors relay generational and personal trauma? What are some of their literary and political interventions? Students will primarily read verse and prose memoirs by American Indian and Palestinian authors. The course takes a comparative turn as it engages with possible intersections between Palestinian and Native stories, especially those that are written within or about turbulent historical moments. Class discussions and assignments will have critical and creative components, and students are expected to write analytical pieces about the readings and fulfill a creative project that requires a more intimate engagement with the class's themes.

COML 2020 [Great Books: The Great Short Works] (LA-AS, ALC-AS)  

Next offered: 2022-2023

COML 2030 - Comparative Literature, Film, and Media (LA-AS, ALC-AS)

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Permission of instructor required. Open to incoming freshmen. Students must apply in writing to chair of the department of Comparative Literature, complit@cornell.edu . Students can submit a petition to the Knight Institute to request that this course fulfill the first-year writing requirement.

A. Bachner, D. Castillo.

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 will explore how different media represent and stage encounters with the other.  Authors, artists, and directors whose work we will study include people like: Rodrigo Bellot, Carmen Maria Machado, Amanda Gorman, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Hao Jingfang, Franz Kafka, and Yoko Tawada.

 Topics may include: postcolonial theory, translation, BIPOC studies, gender and sexuality studies, environmental studies, and media studies. Writing assignments will include a range of forms, genres, and media that help us hone our analytical, critical, and creative understanding, reflection, and expression.
 

COML 2032 - Contemporary Narratives by Latina Writers (LA-AS, ALC-AS, SCD-AS)     

(crosslisted) FGSS 2460, LSP 2460, SPAN 2460

Spring. 3 credits. Student option grading.

Castillo, D.

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

 

COML 2034 [Black Holes: Race and the Cosmos] (LA-AS, ALC-AS, PHS-AS)  

Next offered: 2022-2023.
 

COML 2035 - Science Fiction (GB) (CA-AS, ALC-AS)     

(crosslisted) BSOC 2131, ENGL 2035, STS 2131

Spring. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Enrollment limited to: undergraduates.

A. Banerjee.

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.

COML 2036 [Literature and the Elements of Nature] (GB) (CA-AS, ALC-AS, GLC-AS) (EC-SAP)  

Next offered: 2022-2023.

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

Spring. 4 credits. Student option grading.

N. Pollak.

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.
 

Pending EPC Approval COML 2051 - Writing about Poetry on Wikipedia

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

N. Pollak.

The primary work of this course is researching, editing, and writing articles about poetry on Wikipedia.  The course follows two related tracks: studying poetry and learning how to make it accessible to others.  Verse analysis and research and writing skills will be emphasized.  Students will be responsible for expanding or creating three Wikipedia articles about poetry.  At least one new article should be submitted for publication on Wikipedia.  As a background to our work, we will consider Wikipedia in the context of both the history of encyclopedias and the digital humanities.  A particular focus of our reading and writing will be under-represented poets and poems. The goals of the course are to write about poetry with a broad audience in mind and to contribute to the world's body of knowledge about poetry

COML 2235 [New Visions in African Cinema] (GB) (CA-AS, ALC-AS, GLC-AS)

Next offered: 2022-2023.

 

COML 2241 - Game of Thrones: Multi-Media Fantasies (CA-AS, ALC-AS)     

(crosslisted) SHUM 2241

Spring. 4 credits. Student option grading.

A. Bachner.

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] (HA-AS, ALC-AS)

Next offered: 2022-2023.  
 

COML 2271 - Reading for the End of Time (LA-AS, GLC-AS)

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

N. Melas.

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

COML 2580 - Imagining the Holocaust (LA-AS, ALC-AS)     

(crosslisted) ENGL 2580, JWST 2580

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

D. Schwarz.

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 2630 - Brazil to Brooklyn: Jewish Cultures of the Americas (CA-AS, ALC-AS)     

(crosslisted) AMST 2630, ENGL 2630, JWST 2630, RELST 2620

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

J. Branfman.

Jewish cultures in the New World are far more diverse than most Americans realize. Some know the history of Ashkenazi (German and Eastern European) Jews, most of whom immigrated to the U.S. between 1880-1920. In addition to Ashkenazi cultures, our course introduces the Sephardi (Spanish/Portuguese), Mizrahi (Arab), Persian, and Ethiopian Jews who have immigrated to the Americas since the 16th century. Students will learn how Jews of all origins have built communities across the Americas, from Jamaica, Bolivia, and Brazil to Mexico, the U.S., and Canada. We will focus on the resources that diverse Jewish communities drew on to face challenges in creating new Jewish American cultures, such as how to navigate assimilation, religious observance, legal discrimination, and gender and sexual reform.
 

COML 2700 [Race and Sex: Arabian Nights] (GHB) (LA-AS, ALC-AS, SCD-AS) (CU-ITL)   

Next offered:  2023-2024.
 

COML 2754 - Wondrous Literatures of the Near East (GHB) (LA-AS, ALC-AS) (CU-ITL)    

(crosslisted) JWST 2754, NES 2754, SHUM 2754

Fall. 3 credits. Student option grading.

D. Starr.

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.

 

COML 3001 - Methods of Comparison (LA-AS, ALC-AS)

Fall. 4 credits. Letter grades only.

Intended for: current majors and minors and those who intend to declare. Non-majors are welcome if space allows.

J. Monroe.

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.

 

COML 3010 - Hispanic Theatre Production (CU-CEL, EC-LASP)    

(crosslisted) LATA 3010, LSP 3010

Spring. 1-3 credits, variable. Student option grading.

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.

 

COML 3021 - Literary Theory on the Edge (LA-AS, ALC-AS)     

(crosslisted) ENGL 3021, FREN 3921, PMA 3421

Spring. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Designated theory course for Comparative Literature majors.

Co-meets with COML 6159/PMA 6421. No previous knowledge of theory required.

C. Caruth, P. Lorenz.

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 3042 - Tragedy and Colonial Rupture: On the Question of Irremediable Pasts

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

N. Melas.

This course will examine tragedy in the context of colonialism in the Caribbean and Africa, both as an important genre of anticolonial and decolonial writing and as a frame for inquiring into the consequences of historical rupture and the remediability or irremediability of the colonial past.  Authors may include (in chronological order) Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Shakespeare, Nietzsche, CLR James, Aimé Césaire, Wole Soyinka, Ousmane Sembene, Derek Walcott, David Scott, Raoul Peck, Edwidge Danticat, Toni Morrison.

 

COML 3115 - Video and New Media: Art, Theory, Politics (LA-AS)     

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

Spring. 4 credits. Letter grades only.

Enrollment limited to: undergraduates.

T. Murray.

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 3240 [Blood Politics: Comparative Renaissance Drama] (HB) (CA-AS, ALC-AS)

Next offered: 2022-2023.

COML 3261 - Global Cinema I (GB) (LA-AS, ALC-AS)     

(crosslisted) PMA 3550, VISST 3175

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Co-meets with PMA 6550.

S. Haenni.

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 the 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 the studio system; Italian Neorealism; the post-war avant-garde. (HTC)

COML 3262 - Global Cinema II (GB) (CA-AS, ALC-AS) (EC-SAP)  

(crosslisted) PMA 3551, VISST 3176

Spring. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Co-meets with PMA 6551.

Staff.

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 3264 [Poetrics, Economies, Ecologies] (CA-AS, GLC-AS)  

Next offered: 2022-2023.
 

COML 3300 - Political Theory and Cinema (CA-AS, ALC-AS, ETM-AS)     

(crosslisted) GERST 3550, GOVT 3705, PMA 3490

Fall or Spring. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Weekly film screening, TBA.

G. Waite.

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.
 

COML 3336 - Border Environments

(crosslisted) LSP 3336, SPAN 3335

Spring. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Co-meets with COML 6336/LSP 6336/SPAN 6335.

A. Banerjee, D. Castillo.

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

COML 3485 [Cinematic Cities] (LA-AS, ALC-AS, GLC-AS)

Next offered: 2022-2023.
 

COML 3486 - Ruined Landscapes and the Visual Archive (SBA-AS, SCD-AS)     

(crosslisted) SPAN 3970

Spring. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Conducted in English.

P. Keller.

A visually-based study of rural and urban landscapes of decay and overgrowth, ruin and resilience through film and photography. This course begins with works from the contemporary Iberian context (Spain, Galicia and Portugal) that visualize the phenomenological affinities between place and experience, as well as the tensions between overdevelopment and underdevelopment. We’ll explore the concept of landscape as a mode of representation and as a complex multi-layered archive of traces, memories and histories. Bridging key works from the slow cinema movement emerging from the Iberian Peninsula with films and select photographic works from other geographies including Italy, UK, Latin America, China and the US, the course will offer a uniquely comparative approach to media and culture.
 

COML 3541 - Introduction to Critical Theory (LA-AS, ALC-AS, ETM-AS)     

(crosslisted) ENGL 3920, GERST 3620, GOVT 3636

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Taught in English.

P. Fleming.

Shortly after the last election, The New Yorker published an article entitled ”The Frankfurt School Knew Trump was Coming.” This course examines what the Frankfurt School knew by introducing students to Critical Theory, beginning with its roots in the 19th century (i.e., Kant, Hegel, and Marx) and then focusing on its most prominent manifestation in the 20th century, the Frankfurt School (e.g., Kracauer, Adorno, Benjamin, Horkheimer, Marcuse), particularly in its engagement with politics, society, culture, and literature (e.g. Brecht, Kafka, and Beckett).  Established in 1920s at the Institute for Social Research, the assorted circle of scholars comprising the Frankfurt School played a pivotal role in the intellectual developments of post-war American and European social, political, and aesthetic theory: from analyses of authoritarianism and democracy to commentaries on the entertainment industry, high art, commodity fetishism, and mass society. This introduction to Critical Theory explores both the prescience of these diverse thinkers for today’s world (“what they knew”) as well as what they perhaps could not anticipate in the 21st century (e.g., developments in technology, economy, political orders), and thus how to critically address these changes today.
 

COML 3542 [Fables of Capitalism] (CA-AS, ALC-AS, ETM-AS)     

Next offered: 2022-2023.

COML 3580 - Imagining Migration in Film and Literature (CA-AS, ALC-AS, GLC-AS)     

(crosslisted) AMST 3581, GERST 3581, PMA 3481, VISST 3581

Fall or Spring. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Taught in English.

L. Adelson, S. Haenni.

What role should imaginative arts play in debates about transnational migration, one of the principal factors re-shaping community and communication today?  Focusing on literature and film from the late 20th and early 21st centuries, with primary examples drawn from Germany, France and the United States—in relation to Turkey, Hungary, Tunisia, Iran, Nigeria, China, Mexico, and Japan—this course explores how creative arts rework the fabric of social life affected by migration.  Seminar-style discussion of assigned readings and viewings, with occasional lectures on other arts and regions.  Thematic units organized around key concepts such as borders and movement, ethnoscapes and citizenship, reading and viewing, labor and leisure, cityscapes and place-making, mediascapes and personhood, lawfulness and illegality, language and speech, art and perception.

 

COML 3636 - Ancient Beginnings of The Enlightenment: Lucian of Samosata (HB) (LA-AS, ALC-AS)     

(crosslisted) CLASS 3636

Spring. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Prerequisite: no prior experience with the ancient world is necessary, but some familiarity with Greek mythology, Socrates, Plato, Epicureanism, or the Bible would be helpful.

M. Fontaine.

Lucian of Samosata (in modern-day Turkey) is one of the most influential and interesting but least read authors of the classical world. Lucian lived in an age of superstition and bunkum and he saw through it all. Instead of getting angry, he trolled his targets in satirical essays that are shot through with unmistakable irony, but that make a serious point. Accordingly, this course is devoted to reading the great majority of Lucian’s own writings. Special attention will be given to the most influential pieces, namely A True History (the world’s first science/speculative fiction novel), Death of Peregrinus, Zeus Rants, Momus, Alexander the False Prophet, and Slander: A Warning. These pieces are fascinating and their influence is profound. Moreover, this course situates students in the crossroads of intellectual, spiritual, and multicultural life in the high Roman Empire in which Lucian lived and moved. Students will be exposed to selected portions of relevant classic texts from Plato, the Bible, and Epicurus and Lucretius, as well as a range of Renaissance and Enlightenment thinkers—Erasmus, Voltaire, Swift, Schopenhauer, and others—whose works are written in the Lucianic mode.  All texts will be read in English.
 

COML 3655 - Epidemics, Plagues, Contagions (HB) (LA-AS, HST-AS)     

(crosslisted) FREN 3655

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

L. Dubreuil.

For dozens of millennia before COVID 19, humans lived with epidemics and contagious diseases.  Plagues occurred throughout history, and, as we all know too well, viruses do exist.  But, until very recently, literary descriptions (often tied to religious considerations and philosophical determinations) also played a central role in the way population faced and envisioned epidemics.  Moreover, the notion of contagion is not limited to the medical sphere: fear, ideas, and cultural forms are apt to become contagious, in this class, we will focus on the representation of epidemics in modern French and ancient Greek literary texts, ranging from Homer and Sophocies to Maupassant, Camus, Guibert, or Cixous.  In a comparative way, we’ll also interrogate other key texts, from authors such as Boccaccio or Mary  Shelley.
 

Pending EPC Approval COML 3660 Exiles: History, Creations, Identities

(crosslisted) ROMS 3660

Spring.

E. Traverso.

Exile is a fundamental dimension of twentieth-century intellectual life.  Being out of place, banished from one's own homeland, usually means loss, uprootedness, and material and psychological unsettlement. In many cases, however, it also means unexpected forms of epistemic displacement and cultural transfer, thus becoming the realm of new ideas and aesthetic creations.  Emigres look at the world with different eyes.  This course will explore some moments of their production in philosophy, political theory, literature and film, by considering a very diverse corpus of works from Jewish, European and Latin American authors including Hannah Arendt, Edward Said, Victor Serge and Roberto Bolano, among others.

 

COML 3707 - Hidden Identities Onscreen (CA-AS, ALC-AS)     

(crosslisted) AMST 3707, ENGL 3707, FGSS 3707, JWST 3707, PMA 3507

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

J. Branfman.

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.
 

Pending EPC Approval COML 3744 Sephardic and Mizrahi Identities

(crosslisted) JWST 3717, NES 3717

Spring.

D. Starr.

This class examines modern articulations of identity by and about two distinct Jewish diasporas: Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews. Sephardic Jews trace their origins to the Iberian Peninsula prior to the end of the 15th century. Mizrahim are Jews who lived in the Middle East and North Africa until the mid-20th century, and their descendants. We will explore Sephardic and Mizrahi identities in works of fiction, memoirs, essays, poetry, and films produced from the mid-twentieth century to the present. We will trace routes of migration across generations, paying particular attention to how texts construct identity in relation to language and place. Works will be drawn from wide geographic distribution including the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and the Americas, and produced in Arabic, English, French, Hebrew, Ladino, and Spanish.

 

COML 3780 - What is a People? The Social Contract and its Discontents (CA-AS, ETM-AS, GLC-AS)     

(crosslisted) FREN 3780, GOVT 3786

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Conducted in English.

T. McNulty.

When Jean-Jacques Rousseau introduced the concept of the “general will” in his classic text The Social Contract, he made what was then an unprecedented and scandalous claim: that the people as a whole, and not an individual agent, could be the subject of political will and self-determination. This claim was all the more revolutionary in that historically “the people” [ie peuple] named those poor masses who had no political representation, and who were subjects of the state only to the extent that they were subject to the will of a sovereign monarch. What then is “the people,” and how is it constituted as a collective subject?  How does a people speak, or make its will known? Can that will be represented or institutionalized? Do all people belong to the people? How inclusive is the social contract? This course will examine crucial moments in the constitution of the people from the French Revolution to the present day, considering the crisis of political representation they have alternately exposed or engendered and the forms of the social contract to which they have given rise. Our discussions will range from major political events (the French and Haitian Revolutions, the Paris Commune, colonialism and decolonization, May ‘68) to contemporary debates around universalism, secularism, immigration, and “marriage for all”. Readings by Rousseau, Robespierre, L’Ouverture, Michelet, Marx, Freud, Arendt, Balibar, and Rancière.

 

COML 3781 [Freud and the Invention of Psychoanalysis] (KCM-AS, ETM-AS, SSC-AS)

Next offered: 2022-2023.

 

COML 3800 [Poetry and Poetics of the Americas] (LA-AS, ALC-AS) (EC-LASP)

Next offered: 2022-2023.

 

COML 3811 - Theory and Practice of Translation (HB) (LA-AS, ALC-AS)     

Spring. 4 credits. Student option grading.

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.

N. Pollak.

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 theorists 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.

 

COML 3891 - Occupied France Through Film (LA-AS, ALC-AS, HST-AS)     

(crosslisted) FREN 3840

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Conducted in English. There will be weekly film viewings.

M. Greenberg.

The Second World War and the Occupation of France by German forces had a traumatic impact on the nation’s identity. We will examine the way France has tried to deal with this conflicted period through a series of films that each deal, directly or indirectly with the major questions posed by history to French “memory” of the Occupation. What was the role of collaboration, resistance, anti-Semitism, of writers and intellectuals during this traumtic period? How has film helped to define and re-shape the ways in which France has come to terms with its conflicted past?

 

COML 3921 [Apes and Language] (CA-AS, SCD-AS)

Next offered: 2022-2023.

COML 3977 [Body Politics in African Literature, Cinema, and New Media] (GLC-AS, LA-AS, SCD-AS)

Next offered: 2022-2023.

 

COML 4008 - Literature and Relationality (CA-AS, ALC-AS)     

(crosslisted) ENGL 4928, NES 4008, SHUM 4008

Spring. 4 credits. Letter grades only.

E. Ghanayem.

In recent years, scholars in Indigenous studies, Black studies, Asian American studies, Latinx studies, and Arab American studies have discussed variant dispossessions that influence their own cultural contexts and implicate the United States and the world at large. This course brings critical concerns in comparative ethnic studies to the field of comparative literature to study the patterns that underlie the former and their insights about national violence, race and racism, and contemporary forms of social control and marginalization. The course’s secondary purpose is to craft “relationality,” a theory of cultural and geographic relatability, as a comparative methodology that illuminates the similarities and affinities between Indigenous, refugee, and people of color narratives. In class discussions and assignments, students will rehearse a relational analysis as they connect the assigned readings to each other while crafting overarching observations about the dispossessive and exclusionary nature of the nation-state today.

COML 4056 [Surrealist Solidarities and Spontaneous Associations] (LA-AS, GLC-AS)     

Next offered: 2023-2024

 

COML 4060 [Modern Poetry in and out of World Systems] (LA-AS, ALC-AS)

Next offered: 2023-2024.

 

COML 4190 - Independent Study (CU-UGR)

Fall. 1-4 credits, variable. Student option grading.

Permission of instructor required. To apply for independent study, please complete the on-line form at https://data.arts.cornell.edu/as-stus/indep_study_intro.cfm

Staff.

COML 4190 and COML 4200 may be taken independently of each other. Undergraduate student and faculty advisor to determine course of study and credit hours.  

COML 4200 - Independent Study (CU-UGR)

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.

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, ALC-AS, SCD-AS)

Next offered: 2023-2024.

COML 4229 - Culture, Cognition, Humanities (KCM-AS, ALC-AS, ETM-AS)     

(crosslisted) COGST 4150, PSYCH 4150

Fall. 3 credits. Student option grading.

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

M. Christiansen, L. Dubreuil.

Seminar on the essential features and qualities of culture and how it impacts human endeavors.  Because understanding culture necessarily requires interaction across multiple areas of study, this interdisciplinary seminar will be based on discussions of recent research at the interface of cognitive science and the humanities.  Topics may include: animal cultures, the evolution of language, the symbolic revolution, knowledge acquisitions, play, rituals and the arts. 

 

COML 4260 - Rethinking Boundaries of the Human: Crip Ecology, Disability, and Otherness (CA-AS, ALC-AS)     

(crosslisted) FGSS 4661, SHUM 4661

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Co-meets with COML 6260/SHUM 6661.

E. Kim.

This course draws on feminist, queer, and crip theories; animal studies; disability studies; indigenous studies; and environmental studies to examine anthropocentrism and various forms of violence that target groups of people and the environment. How has the definition of the human variously aided or challenged oppressions and violence? How does the otherness of certain humans relate to nonhuman existence and its conditions of being “neither alive nor dead”? Through the representations of death, violence, animals, plants, ghosts, objects, and environments in animated and documentary films, novels, art, nonfiction, as well as history and material culture, the course will rethink the functions of the parameters—ethical, legal, aesthetic, emotional, and political—of the human and of human rights. For longer description and instructor bio visit the Society for the Humanities website.

 

COML 4261 - Utopia Lost? Failure and its Aftermaths (CA-AS, ALC-AS)     

(crosslisted) ANTHR 4493, NES 4663, SHUM 4663

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Co-meets with ANTHR 7493/COML 6261/NES 6663/SHUM 6663.

S. Golestaneh.

What does it mean to consider something a failure? What happens when a movement or campaign never quite gets off the ground, never got the traction they wanted, when a dream never comes to fruition? This class will consider the question of failure through analyzing thwarted sociopolitical, artistic, religious movements across disparate global sites and historical moments, with a particular focus on what comes after, and how failure is determined, and by whom.  Case studies will include diverted leftist campaigns, millenarian movements past and present (what happens when the end of the world never comes), artistic initiatives that came and went, and filmic and literary interpretations of failures.  For longer description and instructor bio visit The Society for the Humanities website.

COML 4262 - Female Complaints: Gender in Early Modern Lyric & Modern Theory (HB) (LA-AS, ALC-AS)     

(crosslisted) ENGL 4965, FGSS 4665, ROMS 4655, SHUM 4665

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Co-meets with COML 6262/ROMS 6655/SHUM 6665.

K. Kadue.

This course asks how Renaissance lyric poetry (including Petrarch, Labé, Ronsard, Shakespeare, Wroth) negotiates questions of gender through poetic innovation and, just as often, through the use of poetic commonplaces. We will read this poetry in conversation with modern and contemporary theory (including Cixous, Sedgwick, Ngai, Berlant) to help us understand Renaissance lyric’s particular fascination with women’s bodies. We will ask how male poets’ cliché-ridden poems about women offer us ways to think about the persistence and flexibility of misogynist tropes. We will also ask how feminist and queer theory—as well as female poets’ responses to their male predecessors and contemporaries—variously diagnose, subvert, and internalize those tropes. For longer description and instructor bio visit the Society for the Humanities website.

 

COML 4281 - Human-Centered Design and Engaged Media (CA-AS, ALC-AS)     

(crosslisted) ENGL 4705

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Co-meets with INFO 4940.

J. McKenzie.

 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 4352 [Race and Slavery, Old and Modern] (GHB) (CA-AS, ALC-AS, SCD-AS) (CU-ITL)

Next offered: 2022-2023.

 

COML 4353 [Race and Critical Theory] (CA-AS, ALC-AS) 

Next offered: 2022-2023.

COML 4368 [Reading Édouard Glissant] (LA-AS, ALC-AS, ETM-AS)

Next offered: 2023-2024.

COML 4423 - The City: Asia (GB) (CA-AS, ALC-AS, HST-AS) (EC-SAP, EC-SEAP)    

(crosslisted) ASIAN 4423, FGSS 4504, PMA 4504

Spring. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Co-meets with ASIAN 6623/COML 6623/ FGSS 6504.

A. Fuhrmann.

This course uses the lens of temporality to track transformations in notions of urban personhood and collective life engendered by recent trans-Asia economic shifts. We will develop tools that help unpack the spatial and cultural forms of density and the layered histories that define the contemporary urban fabric of cities such as Hanoi, Bangkok, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. The course combines the investigation of the cinemas and literatures of the region with the study of recent writing on cities from Asian studies, film studies, queer theory, urban studies, political theory, religious studies, cultural geography, literary theory, and anthropology. (SC)

COML 4451 - Gender and Sexuality in Southeast Asian Cinema (GB) (LA-AS, ALC-AS, SCD-AS) (EC-SEAP)    

(crosslisted) ASIAN 4451, FGSS 4451, LGBT 4451, PMA 4451, RELST 4451

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Co-meets with ASIAN 6631/COML 6651 /FGSS 6331/LGBT 6331.

A. Fuhrmann.

Examines the new cinemas of Southeast Asia and their engagement with contemporary discourses of gender and sexuality. It pays special attention to the ways in which sexuality and gendered embodiment are at present linked to citizenship and other forms of belonging and to how the films draw on Buddhist and Islamic traditions of representation and belief. Focusing on globally circulating Southeast Asian films of the past 15 years, the course draws on current writings in feminism, Buddhist studies, affect theory, queer studies, postcolonial theory, and film studies to ask what new understandings of subjectivity might emerge from these cinemas and their political contexts. Films are drawn from both mainstream and independent cinema and will include the work of directors such as Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Danny and Oxide Pang, Yau Ching, Thunska Pansittivorakul, Garin Nugroho, and Jean-Jacques Annaud. (SC)

 

COML 4463 - Modes of Jewish Textuality (CA-AS, ALC-AS)     

(crosslisted) ANTHR 4463, JWST 4463

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Co-meets with ANTHR 7463/COML 6463/JWST 7463.

J. Boyarin.

From the Bible to the Babylonian Talmud to a graphic novel edition of the Book of Esther, texts–their composition, transmission, study and debate—have been at the core of Jewish culture for millennia, whether in diaspora or in the Land. They remain a central technology for the continuation and transformation of an identity that is rich, multiform, unique, and yet open to new influences and interactions. Approaching the varieties of textuality is one way to contemplate the broad sweep of Jewish cultural history. In this course we will consider questions of canonicity, differential access to textual authority by class and gender, the relation between alphabetical and graphic representation, and by no means least, the perenniality of Jewish humor.

 

COML 4575 [Migration in the Americas: Engaged Research Methods and Practice] (SBA-AS, SSC-AS) (CU-CEL, CU-ITL)

Next offered: 2022-2023.

 

COML 4704 [Written on the Body] (LA-AS, ALC-AS)

Next offered: 2022-2023.

 

COML 4860 - Contemporary Poetry and Poetics (LA-AS, ALC-AS)

(crosslisted) AMST 4880, SPAN 4880, ENGL 4960

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Enrollment limited to: 15 students.

Co-meets with COML 6865/ROMS 6860.

J. Monroe.

What gives contemporary poetry and poetics its resonance and value? What are its dominant features, audiences, and purposes? What does 21st-century poetry’s textual environment look like, and how does it situate itself among other genres, discourses, disciplines, media? How would we describe its ambient noise and how does that noise shape, inform, inflect its particular concerns and motivated forms? How does contemporary poetry resist, engage, respond to, sound out that noise? How are we to understand its relation to the pivotal cultural, economic, historical, philosophical, political developments of our time? This seminar will explore these and related questions in a wide range of works that open onto the rich interplay of contemporary poetry and poetics with questions of personal and collective identity and language in contexts at once local and global. Poets include Armantrout, Bernstein, Collins, Espada, Gander, Fitterman, Goldsmith, Hong, Osman, Place, Rich, Smith, and Waldrop.

COML 4861 [Genres, Platforms, Media] (CA-AS, GLC-AS)

Next offered: 2022-2023.

COML 4902 [Environmental Humanities: Theories and Methods (GB) (CA-AS, ALC-AS)

Next offered: 2022-2023.

 

COML 4930 - Senior Essay (CU-UGR)    

Multi-semester course: (Fall, Spring). 4 credits. First course: R grade only (in progress).

Staff.

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

 

COML 4940 - Senior Essay (CU-UGR)

Multi-semester course: (Fall, Spring). 4 credits. Letter grades only.

Prerequisite: COML 4930.

Staff.

Times TBA individually in consultation with director of Senior Essay Colloquium. Approximately 50 pages to be written over the course of two semesters in the student’s senior year under the direction of the student’s advisor. An R grade is assigned on the basis of research and a preliminary draft completed in the first semester.

COML 4945 [Body Politics in African Literature and Cinema] (GB) (CA-AS, ALC-AS, SCD-AS)

Next offered: 2023-2024.

COML 4948 [Pleasure and Neoliberalism] (HA-AS, GLC-AS, SCD-AS)

Next offered: 2023-2024.

COML 4996 [Critical Theory and Climate Change] (CA-AS, ALC-AS, ETM-AS)

Next offered: 2022-2023.

COML 6056 [Surrealist Solidarities and Spontaneous Associations]

Next offered: 2023-2024.

COML 6060 [Modern Poetry in and out of World Systems]

Next offered 2023-2024.

 

COML 6159 - Literary Theory on the Edge (EC-SAP)    

(crosslisted) PMA 6421

Spring. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Co-meets with COML 3021/ENGL 3021/FREN 3921/PMA 3421. No previous knowledge of theory required.

C. Caruth, P. Lorenz.

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, trangender 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 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 6200 - Independent Study

Spring. 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 6212 - Michel Foucault: Sovereignty to BioPolitics

(crosslisted) ASRC 6212, ENGL 6912, FREN 6212, GOVT 6215

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

G. Farred.

This course will explore the ways in which Michel Foucault’s oeuvre transitions from a concern with sovereignty to a preoccupation with biopolitics. Foucault’s early work (one understands that there is no absolute Foucaultian division into “sovereignty” and “biopolitics”), such as “Madness and Civilization,” attends to the structure, the construction and the force of the institution – the birth of asylum, the prison, while his later career takes up the question of, for want of a better term, “political efficiency.” That is, Foucault offers a critique of sovereignty insofar as sovereignty is inefficient (neither the sovereign nor sovereign power can be everywhere; certainly not everywhere it needs or wants to be; ubiquity is impossible, even/especially for a project such as sovereignty) while biopower is not. Biopower marks this recognition; in place of sovereignty biopower “devolves” to the individual subject the right, always an intensely political phenomenon, to make decisions about everyday decisions – decisions about health, sexuality, “lifestyle.” In tracing the foucaultian trajectory from sovereignty to biopower we will read the major foucaultian texts – “Madness and Civilization,” “Birth of the Prison,” “History of Sexuality” as well as the various seminars where Foucault works out important issues.

COML 6221 [Postcolonial Theory: Then and Now]

Next offered: 2023-2024.

 

COML 6260 - Rethinking Boundaries of the Human: Crip Ecology, Disability, and Otherness

(crosslisted) SHUM 6661

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Enrollment limited to: graduate students. Co-meets with FGSS 4661/COML 4260/SHUM 4661.

E. Kim.

This course draws on feminist, queer, and crip theories; animal studies; disability studies; indigenous studies; and environmental studies to examine anthropocentrism and various forms of violence that target groups of people and the environment. How has the definition of the human variously aided or challenged oppressions and violence? How does the otherness of certain humans relate to nonhuman existence and its conditions of being “neither alive nor dead”? Through the representations of death, violence, animals, plants, ghosts, objects, and environments in animated and documentary films, novels, art, nonfiction, as well as history and material culture, the course will rethink the functions of the parameters—ethical, legal, aesthetic, emotional, and political—of the human and of human rights. For longer description and instructor bio visit The Society for the Humanities website.
 

COML 6261 - Utopia Lost? Failure and its Aftermaths

(crosslisted) ANTHR 7493, NES 6663, SHUM 6663

 Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Enrollment limited to: graduate students. Co-meets with ANTHR 4493/COML 4261/NES 4663/SHUM 6663.

S. Golestaneh.

What does it mean to consider something a failure? What happens when a movement or campaign never quite gets off the ground, never got the traction they wanted, when a dream never comes to fruition? This class will consider the question of failure through analyzing thwarted sociopolitical, artistic, religious movements across disparate global sites and historical moments, with a particular focus on what comes after, and how failure is determined, and by whom.  Case studies will include diverted leftist campaigns, millenarian movements past and present (what happens when the end of the world never comes), artistic initiatives that came and went, and filmic and literary interpretations of failures.  For longer description and instructor bio visit The Society for the Humanities website.

COML 6262 - Female Complaints: Gender in Early Modern Lyric & Modern Theory

(crosslisted) ROMS 6655, SHUM 6665

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Enrollment limited to: graduate students. Co-meets with COML 4262/ENGL 4965/FGSS 4665/ROMS 4655/SHUM 6665.

K. Kadue.

This course asks how Renaissance lyric poetry (including Petrarch, Labé, Ronsard, Shakespeare, Wroth) negotiates questions of gender through poetic innovation and, just as often, through the use of poetic commonplaces. We will read this poetry in conversation with modern and contemporary theory (including Cixous, Sedgwick, Ngai, Berlant) to help us understand Renaissance lyric’s particular fascination with women’s bodies. We will ask how male poets’ cliché-ridden poems about women offer us ways to think about the persistence and flexibility of misogynist tropes. We will also ask how feminist and queer theory—as well as female poets’ responses to their male predecessors and contemporaries—variously diagnose, subvert, and internalize those tropes. For longer description and instructor bio visit the Society for the Humanities website.

COML 6285 [Early Modern Translations]

Next offered: 2023-2024.

COML 6336 - Border Environments

(crosslisted) LSP 6336, SPAN 6335

Spring. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Co-meets with COML 3336/LSP 3336/SPAN 3335.

A. Banerjee, D. Castillo.

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

COML 6352 [Race and Slavery, Old and Modern]

Next offered 2022-2023.

 

COML 6353 [Race and Critical Theory]

Next offered 2022-2023.

 

COML 6368 [Reading Édouard Glissant]

Next offered: 2023-2024.

 

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

Next offered: 2022-2023.

 

COML 6463 - Modes of Jewish Textuality

(crosslisted) ANTHR 7463, JWST 7463

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Co-meets with ANTHR 4463/COML 4463/JWST 4463.

J. Boyarin.

From the Bible to the Babylonian Talmud to a graphic novel edition of the Book of Esther, texts–their composition, transmission, study and debate—have been at the core of Jewish culture for millennia, whether in diaspora or in the Land. They remain a central technology for the continuation and transformation of an identity that is rich, multiform, unique, and yet open to new influences and interactions. Approaching the varieties of textuality is one way to contemplate the broad sweep of Jewish cultural history. In this course we will consider questions of canonicity, differential access to textual authority by class and gender, the relation between alphabetical and graphic representation, and by no means least, the perenniality of Jewish humor.

 

COML 6623 - The City: Asia

(crosslisted) ASIAN 6623, FGSS 6504

Spring. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Co-meets with ASIAN 4423/COML 4423/FGSS 4504/PMA 4504.

A. Fuhrmann.

This course uses the lens of temporality to track transformations in notions of urban personhood and collective life engendered by recent trans-Asia economic shifts. We will develop tools that help unpack the spatial and cultural forms of density and the layered histories that define the contemporary urban fabric of cities such as Hanoi, Bangkok, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. The course combines the investigation of the cinemas and literatures of the region with the study of recent writing on cities from Asian studies, film studies, queer theory, urban studies, political theory, religious studies, cultural geography, literary theory, and anthropology. (SC)

 

COML 6651 - Gender and Sexuality in Southeast Asian Cinema

(crosslisted) ASIAN 6631, FGSS 6331, LGBT 6331

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Co-meets with ASIAN 4451/COML 4451/FGSS 4451/LGBT 4451/PMA 4451/RELST 4451.

A. Fuhrmann.

Examines the new cinemas of Southeast Asia and their engagement with contemporary discourses of gender and sexuality. It pays special attention to the ways in which sexuality and gendered embodiment are at present linked to citizenship and other forms of belonging and to how the films draw on Buddhist and Islamic traditions of representation and belief. Focusing on globally circulating Southeast Asian films of the past 15 years, the course draws on current writings in feminism, Buddhist studies, affect theory, queer studies, postcolonial theory, and film studies to ask what new understandings of subjectivity might emerge from these cinemas and their political contexts. Films are drawn from both mainstream and independent cinema and will include the work of directors such as Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Danny and Oxide Pang, Yau Ching, Thunska Pansittivorakul, Garin Nugroho, and Jean-Jacques Annaud. (SC)

 

COML 6778 - Psychoanalysis and Historical Transmission

(crosslisted) FREN 6240, GOVT 6246

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

T. McNulty.

This seminar will study the problem of transmission in psychoanalysis, with an emphasis on its stakes for political history and theory. Freud’s Moses and Monotheism addresses the unconscious and intersubjective dimensions of the act that founds a people, which “imprints” itself on the people in ways that exceed the framework of allegiance. “How”, he asks of Moses, “did one single man come to stamp his people with its definite character and determine its fate for millennia to come?” This transmission is further remarkable in being non-linear, discontinuous, distorted by repression, skipping many generations and crossing continents, but imposing itself nonetheless. My hypothesis is that Freud’s argument might shed light on one of the central problems of political theory: the status of what Rousseau calls “the act by which a people is a people. “The act as psychoanalysis understands it is not something we can know, interpret, or anticipate, but something by which we are “struck” both psychically and in the body, where it leaves its traces or impressions. What then is involved in being “struck” by the act of another, and how might it help us to understand the stakes of the act for those who receive it? What role do the unconscious and the body play in the subjectivation of the people and the transmission of its legacy? We will read psychoanalytic texts alongside works of political theory by Rousseau, Marx, CLR James, Du Bois, Arendt, Derrida, Rancière, Zizek, and Badiou.

 

COML 6791 [Acoustic Horizons]

Next offered: 2022-2023.
 

COML 6798 [Labor and the Arts]

Next offered 2022-2023.

 

COML 6850 - Gramsci and Cultural Politics

(crosslisted) GERST 6850, GOVT 6750, ROMS 6855  

Spring. 4 credits. Student option grading.

G. Waite.

Intertwinement of Gramsci’s pre-prison and prison writings with his legacy in subsequent political theory & praxis, philosophy, linguistics, architecture, and cinema. Criticism of his work from the Right also the Left (Autonomia Operaia, Red Brigades), the communist critique (Althusser) and anarchist Nihilist Communism (Monsieur Dupont). Situation of Gramsci in “Western Marxism” (Perry Anderson). Gramsci’s Politics of Language as “engaging the Soviet Bakhtin Circle and the German Frankfurt School” (Peter Ives). Concepts of ‘hegemony,’ ‘civil society,’ ‘war of position & war of maneuver,’ ‘organic vs. traditional intellectuals’—all via less Machiavelli than the “Modern Prince” (Gramsci) and “Machiavelli and Us” (Althusser). Gramsci’s “little discovery” in Dante’s Inferno as origin of Cultural Politics: Gramscian Architecture (Manfredo Tafuri), Painting Political Expressionism (Leonardo Cremonini), and international cinema.

 

COML 6861 [Genres, Platforms, Media]

Next offered: 2022-2023.

 

COML 6865 - Contemporary Poetry and Poetics

(crosslisted) ROMS 6860

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Enrollment limited to: 15 students. Co-meets with AMST 4880/COML 4860/ENGL 4960/SPAN 4880.

J. Monroe.

What gives contemporary poetry and poetics its resonance and value? What are its dominant features, audiences, and purposes? What does 21st-century poetry’s environment look like, and how does it situate itself among other genres, discourses, disciplines, media? How would we describe its ambient noise and how does that noise shape, inform, inflect its particular concerns and motivated forms? How are we to understand its relation to the pivotal developments of our time? This seminar will explore these and related questions in a range of works from the past two decades that open onto the rich interplay of contemporary poetry and poetics with questions especially of language, aesthetics, and politics.

 

COML 6866 [Global Avant-Gardes]

Next offered: 2022-2023.

 

COML 6895 [Critical Theory and Climate Change]

Next offered: 2022-2023.

 

COML 6902 [Environmental Humanities: Theories and Methods

Next offered: 2022-2023.

 

COML 6948 [Pleasure and Neoliberalism]

Next offered: 2023-2024.

 

COML 6960 - Rites of Contact: Emergent German Literatures and Critical Method

(crosslisted) GERST 6960, NES 6960

Fall. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Graduate-student status and good reading knowledge of German and English required; exceptions require instructor approval.

L. Adelson.

New forms of German literature emerged in the wake of transnational labor migration, especially after 1989. Taking leave of a sociological model that interprets this literature only in terms of intercultural dialogue, this course juxtaposes prose fiction about cultural contact and critical theories of difference with two primary goals in mind. Students will be introduced to representative examples of contemporary German literatures of migration, and critical modes of conceptualizing cultural contact in Germany will be compared in relation to each other and in tension with the literary field. Focus on German literature of Turkish migration complemented by readings reflecting other transnational phenomena such as postsocialism, postcolonialism, globalization, refugees, world literature.

 

Russian Literature (RUSSL)

RUSSL 2150 - Russian Culture, History, and Politics through Film (CA-AS, ALC-AS)

Spring. 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.

 

RUSSL 2157 [Tolstoy: History and Counter-Culture] (HA-AS, ETM-AS, HST-AS)

Next offered 2022-2023.

 

RUSSL 2158 [St. Petersburg and the Making of Modern Russia] (HB) (HA-AS, HST-AS)

Next offered: 2022-2023.

 

RUSSL 2500 [Demons and Witches in Russian Literature and Film] (HB) (CA-AS, ALC-AS)

Next offered: 2022-2023.

 

RUSSL 3331 [Introduction to Russian Poetry] (HB) (LA-AS, ALC-AS) 

Next offered: 2023-2024.

 

RUSSL 3333 - Twentieth Century Russian Poetry (LA-AS)     

Fall. 3 credits. Student option grading.

Prerequisite: proficiency in Russian or permission of instructor. Satisfies the Russian minor requirement for Russian literature with reading in the original. Reading is in Russian (poems) and English (essays and critical works), discussion in English.

N. Pollak.

The early twentieth century – the three decades preceding and following the Russian Revolution – was a great period of Russian poetry.  The focus of this course is short lyrics by early twentieth century Russian poets: Blok, Annenskii, Akhmatova, Mandel’shtam, Pasternak, Tsvetaeva, and others.  In this course you’ll 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. The course work will be adjusted to the language proficiency of the class.

RUSSL 3341 [Short Russian Fiction (The Nineteenth Century)] (HB) (LA-AS, ALC-AS)

Next offered: 2022-2023.

 

RUSSL 3351 [Pushkin’s Fictions] (ALC-AS, LA-AS)

Next offered: 2023-2024.

 

RUSSL 4492 - Supervised Reading in Russian Literature (CU-UGR)

Permission of instructor required. To apply for independent study, please complete the on-line form at data.arts.cornell.edu/as-stus/indep_study_intro.cfm.

Staff.

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

 

RUSSL 6611 - Supervised Reading and Research

Fall or Spring. 2-4 credits, variable. Student option grading.

Prerequisite: proficiency in Russian or permission of instructor. Times TBA with instructor.

Staff.

Independent study.

 

Russian Language (RUSSA)

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