Fall 2019 Course Offerings

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Department of Comparative Literature

Fall 2019 Course Offerings (and, spring 2020)

As of July 1, 2019 -subject to updates

 

  • COML Core Course for the Major: COML 3041 (Fall) and COML 3115 (Spring)
  • COML Theory Courses: COML 3021 (Spring) and COML 4996 (Spring)

 

New courses are: COML 2251 Poetry’s Image, COML 2700 Forbidden Sex: Arabian Nights, COML 3041 Modern Primitives, COML 4709/6709 Thinking Sameness, COML 4902 Environmental Humanities: Theories and Methods,  RUSSL 3386 Life, Love, and Death in the Twentieth-Century Russian Prose

 

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

MW 2:55pm - 4:10pm, Monroe, J.

MWF 12:20pm – 1:10pm Tian, K.

MW 7:30pm – 8:45pm, Huang, J.

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

TR 10:10am – 11:25am, Un, J.

TR 11:40am – 12:55pm, Un, J.

MWF 9:05am – 9:55am, Karmin, H.

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

TR 8:40am – 9:55am, Lambert, M.

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.

 

  • COML 1125 FWS: Stories of Empires (2019 Buttrick-Crippen Runner Up)

TR 1:25pm – 2:40pm, Pham, V.

TR 2:55pm – 4:10pm, Pham, V.

What is an empire? Could we compare the Romans to the Incas, or the French to the Chinese? How have the ways in which we have represented empires affect our understanding of it? Furthermore, is it possible to connect our current global refugee crisis, or the popularity of the film Avatar (2009) to any previous and contemporary imperial formations? To answer these questions, one must not only address what makes these political entities similar or different, but also consider whether any theoretical proposition predicated solely on military and economic might would be adequate. In this FWS, the question of empire will be addressed through historical, theoretical, and representational perspectives by looking at films, music, and literary texts. Throughout the semester, students will learn how to articulate and craft nuanced positions on the topic via formal practices in class discussion, close readings, drafting, peer-review, and self-editing.

 

  • COML 1127 FWS: Cannibal Cultures

TR 10:10am – 11:25am

Bachner, A.

The cannibal is always the other. Eating human flesh as a practice or a ritual always happens in the remote past or in far-away places. And yet, the cannibal lives among us. In spite of real cases of cannibalism, most of these cannibals inhabit our reality only in books, films, songs, or artworks. Nevertheless, they form an important part of our cultural imaginary. This course investigates figures of the cannibal in contemporary aesthetic texts (and some of their influential predecessors) with a focus on different cultural contexts. Issues that will be at the center of our attention are cannibalism’s deployment to mark cultural differences, as well as for political and ideological purposes, its relation to sensationalism and (spectatorial) pleasure, and its varying configurations in different cultural contexts and media. As we engage with a wide range of texts, from novels to television series, from films to video clips, from art to philosophical reflections, we will use them as models and inspirations for different writing exercises.

       

This course deals with cannibalism—explicitly violent content will be part of the class.

 

  • COML 1134 FWS: Reading Poetry

MWF 11:15am – 12:05pm, Pollak, N.

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

 

 

Comparative Literature (COML)

 

COML 2030 Introduction to Comparative Literature

(LA-AS)

Permission of instructor required.

Open to incoming freshmen

  • Students must apply in writing to chair, Department of Comparative Literature, complit@cornell.edu.
  • This course does not fulfill the Freshmen Writing requirement.

MWF 9:05am – 9:55am

Castillo, D.

Take your love for literature into uncharted waters. “Introduction to Comparative Literature” journeys beyond national and disciplinary borders to explore the far-reaching implications of our increasingly globalized world. In this fast-paced survey of the field, you’ll be exposed to the cutting-edge of the discipline as we survey debates in world literature, literary theory and philosophy. Exploring a range of literatures from across the globe, we’ll read authors including Ovid, Aimé Césaire, Jorge Luis Borges, Franz Kafka, and Kazuo Ishiguro. Punctuated by special guest lectures by innovative scholars in the field, this course will expose you to a wide array of topics: postcolonial literature, literary theory, animal studies, ecocriticism, and media studies.  Students will emerge from this course with new awareness of the global literary scene and with the ability to read critically and write with clarity.

 

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

(GB) (CA-AS)

TR 10:10am – 11:25am

Banerjee, A.

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

 

COML 2050 Introduction to Poetry

(LA-AS)

MWF 12:20pm – 1:10pm

Pollak, N.

Could a meter have a meaning?  Could there be a reason for a rhyme?  And what is lost and gained in translation?  We’ll think about these and other questions in this introduction to poetry.  We’ll see how poems are put together and we’ll learn how to figure them out.  Poets may include Herbert, Hardy, Hopkins, Housman, Dickinson, Frost, W. C. Williams, G. Brooks, Heine, Pushkin, Lermontov, Akhmatova.  All reading is in English; we’ll make use of non-English originals when possible. 

 

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

(GB) (CA-AS)

TR 11:40am – 12:55pm

Diabate, N.

Enrollment limited to: 20 students.

This undergraduate course introduces the formal and topical innovations that African cinema has experienced since its inception in the 1960s. Sections will explore, among others, Cowboy movies, sci-fis, musicals, courtroom films, and Nollywood. Important topics that contribute to a deeper understanding of African cinema include African audiences, the role of cinema in the construction of contemporary African identities, edutainment, Hollywood and/in Africa, and funding and production challenges. We will enter these debates by critical viewing of and writing about movies. To do so, we will read the most important scholarship in film criticism from around the world.

 

New! COML 2251 Poetry’s Image (ENGL 2951)

(HA-AS)

MWF 11:15am – 12:05pm

Monroe, J.

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

 

COML 2523 Islamophobia and Judeophobia (GOVT 2523, JWST 2523, NES 2523, RELST 2523)

(GHB) (CA-AS) (CU-ITL) 

TR 10:10am – 11:25am and required discussion sections.

Brann, R.

Islamophobia and Judeophobia are ideas and like all ideas they have a history of their own. Although today many might think of Islamophobia or Judeophobia as unchangeable—fear of and hatred for Islam and Muslims or Judaism and Jews—these ideas and the social and political practices informed by them have varied greatly over time and place. They even intersected during the Middle Age and in Ottoman times when “the Jew” was frequently represented as allied with “The Muslim”. The first part of this course traces the history, trajectory, and political agency of Judeophobia and Islamophobia in texts and other forms of culture from late antiquity through the present. The second part of the course is devoted to modernity and the present especially in Europe and the United States focusing on representational practices—how Muslims/Islam and Jews/Judaism are portrayed in various discourses including the media, film and on the internet. We will investigate how these figures (the Muslim, the Jew) serve as a prism through which we can understand various social, political and cultural processes and the interests of those who produce and consume them.

 

New! COML 2700 Forbidden Sex: Arabian Nights (ENGL 2917, FGSS 2701, NES 2700)

(GHB) (LA-AS) (CU-ITL)

MW 2:55pm – 4:10pm

Vaziri, P.

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

 

New! COML 2750 Introduction to Humanities (Energy) (SHUM 2750)

Limited to 18 students.

Topic for 2019-2020: Energy

Pinkus, K.

TR 11:40am – 12:55pm

This seminar offers an introduction to the humanities by exploring the historical, cultural, social and political stakes of the Society for the Humanities annual focal theme. Students will consider novels, films, short stories and historical texts as they explore the theme in dialogue with literature, cinema, art, media, and philosophy. Guest speakers, including Cornell faculty and Society Fellows, will present from different disciplines and points of view. Students will make field trips to local sites relevant to the theme, and visit Cornell special collections and archives. Students enrolled in this seminar will have the opportunity to participate in additional programming related to the Society’s theme and the Humanities Scholars Program for undergraduate humanities research. For more information, visit https://societyhumanities.as.cornell.edu/humanities-scholars.

Important texts: Italo Calvino, "The Petrol Pump"; Upton Sinclair, Oil!; Hermann Scheer, "The Visible Hand of the Sun: Blueprint for a Solar World"; Duncan  Jones, Moon (film); Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will be Blood (film); selections from Aristotle, De Anima; selections from Homer, The Odyssey; selected writings of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. 

 

New! COML 3041 Modern Primitives

MWF 12:20pm – 1:10pm

Melas, N.

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

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

 

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

TR 1:25pm – 4:25pm

Fitzpatrick, V.

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.

 

COML 3310 Afro-Asia: Futurism and Feminisms (ASRC 3310, FGSS 3310)

TR 2:55pm – 4:10pm

Goffe, T.

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

 

COML 3485 Cinematic Cities (FREN 3485, ITAL 3485, SPAN 3485)

(LA-AS)

MW 2:55pm – 4:10pm

Keller, P. and Lawless, C.

Beginning in the early days of silent cinema, a rich tradition of what are called “city symphony films” combined technological innovation with the exploration of urban spaces. Students in this class will learn how to think about the possibilities and limits of cinema as a way of knowing a city and its cultures. The focus will be on the relationship between cinema and the development of urban centers, including Barcelona, La Havana, Madrid, Mexico City, New York City, Paris and Rome. This course is offered in English; students can opt to do select course readings and assignments in the original language. Films will be shown outside of regular class meetings, in the original language with English subtitles.

 

COML 3541 Introduction to Critical Theory (ENGL 3920, GERST 3620, GOVT 3636)

(LA-AS)

TR 11:40am – 12:55pm and required Friday sections.

Fleming, P.

Taught in English.

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, Marx, and Nietzsche) 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 3780 The Social Contract and Its Discontents (FREN 3780, GOVT 3786)

(CA-AS)

MW 2:55pm – 4:10pm

McNulty, T.

Taught in English.

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 3815 Reading Nabokov (ENGL 3790, RUSSL 3385)

(LA-AS)

TR 1:25 – 2:40pm

Shapiro, G.

This course offers an exciting trip to the intricate world of Nabokov’s fiction. After establishing himself in Europe as a distinguished Russian writer, Nabokov, at the outbreak of World War II, came to the United States where he reestablished himself, this time as an American writer of world renown. In our analysis of Nabokov’s fictional universe, we shall focus on his Russian corpus of works, from Mary (1926) to The Enchanter (writ. 1939), all in English translation, and then shall examine the two widely read novels which he wrote in English in Ithaca while teaching literature at Cornell: Lolita (1955) and Pnin (1957). 

 

COML 3891 Occupied France Through Film (FREN 3840)

(LA-AS)

TR 2:55pm – 4:10pm

Greenberg, M.

Conducted in English.  There will be weekly film viewings.
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 4190 Independent Study (Fall) (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 4211 Beyond the Limits of the Human: Explorations in German Literature (ENGL 4972, GERST 4211)

(LA-AS)  

TR 1:25pm – 2:40pm

Gilgen, P.

This course focuses on literature as a model and harbinger of posthumanism. The German tradition in particular is rich in literary texts that offer posthuman constellations and experiences avant la lettre. Other texts, which often show a significant German literary or philosophical influence, will also be included. In addition to analyzing specific historical contexts and developments that encouraged literary sorties beyond the limits of the human, we will closely examine literature as a privileged medium of such transgression.

 

COML 4229 Culture, Cognition, Humanities (COGST 4150, PSYCH 4150) 

(KCM-AS)

T 1:25pm – 4:25pm

Christiansen, M., Dubreuil, L.

Understanding the essential features and qualities of culture and how it impacts human endeavors necessarily requires interaction across multiple areas of study. This interdisciplinary seminar will be based on discussions of recent research on culture at the interface of cognitive science and the humanities. Topics may include: animal cultures, the evolution of language, the symbolic revolution, knowledge acquisition, play and pretense, rituals, and the arts—painting, movies, music, or poetry.

 

COML 4250 Marx, Freud, Nietzsche (GERST 4250, GOVT 4735)

(HB) (CA-AS)

TR 2:55pm – 4:10pm

Waite, G.

This is an introduction to the three ‘master thinkers’ who have helped determine the discourses of modernity and post-modernity. We consider basic aspects of their work: (a) specific critical and historical analyses; (b) theoretical and methodological writings; (c) programs and manifestos; and (d) styles of argumentation, documentation, and persuasion. This also entails an introduction, for non-specialists, to essential problems of political economy, continental philosophy, psychology, and literary and cultural criticism. Second, we compare the underlying assumptions and the interpretive yields of the various disciplines and practices founded by Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud: historical materialism and communism, existentialism and power-knowledge analysis, and psychoanalysis, respectively. We also consider how these three writers have been fused into a single constellation, ‘Marx-Nietzsche-Freud,’ and how they have been interpreted by others, including L. Althusser, A. Badiou, A. Camus, H. Cixous, G. Deleuze, J. Derrida, M. Foucault, H.-G. Gadamer, M. Heidegger, L. Irigaray, K. Karatani, J. Lacan, P. Ricoeur, L. Strauss, S. Zizek.

 

COML 4471 Premodern/Postmodern (GERST 4471, MEDVL 4471)

(CA-AS)

M 2:30pm – 4:25pm

Co-meets with GERST 6471/MEDVL 6471.

Taught in English.

Born, E.

The premodern world played a crucial role in the formation of postmodern theory. ‘Biblical exegesis’, ‘negative theology’, ‘inner experience’, and other premodern concepts and practices were taken up by modern and postmodern authors including Ingeborg Bachmann, Georges Bataille, Italo Calvino, Michel de Certeau, Jacques Derrida, Martin Heidegger, Jean-François Lyotard, and Robert Musil. Each week we will read one modern or postmodern author in dialogue with one premodern author, such as Origen, Pseudo-Dionysius, Meister Eckhart, Angelus Silesius, Hildegard of Bingen, and Mechthild of Magdeburg, among many others. The aim of our comparisons will be to interrogate the legacy of what Bruce Holsinger calls the “premodern condition.”  Discussion in English.

 

COML 4575 Migration in the Americas: Engaged Research Methods and Practice (DSOC 4312, ILRIC 4312, LSP 4312)

(SBA-AS) (CU-CEL, CU-ITL)  

TR 11:40am – 12:55pm

Enrollment limited to: juniors, seniors, and graduate students.  Permission of instructor required.

Co-meets with COML 6375/DSOC 6312/ILRIC 6312/LSP 6312.  
D. Castillo.
This course will introduce students to basic concepts and developments related to migrants and migration in Central America, Mexico, and the United States via engaged learning and research. The course will be organized around core themes such as the challenges and ethics of working with vulnerable populations, workplaces and working conditions, oral histories/testimonios, and immigration policy and enforcement practices. Students will learn qualitative methodologies for field research. All students will practice their skills through collaboration with the Cornell Farmworker Program on priority projects identified by immigrant farmworkers. This can be taken as a stand-alone course, but it is also a prerequisite for an optional winter intersession practicum and for ILRIC 6311/LSP6110 in the spring.

 

COML 4640 Racial Ecologies of Transpacific Nuclearism (AAS 4640, AMST 4640, FGSS 4641, SHUM 4640)

(CU-ITL, CU-SBY)

R 10:10am – 12:05pm

Co-meets with FSGG 6641/SHUM 6640.

Cho, Y.

This course examines the emergence of nuclear energy in Asia and the Pacific after World War Two as a transpacific settler colonial institution and discourse. Building on current environmental humanities scholarship on the nuclear Pacific, this course uses transpacific nuclearism as an anchoring point to explore ways that theories of biopolitics, necropolitics, and comparative racialization can productively inform scholarly approaches to contemporary ecological crises. For longer description and instructor bio visit http://societyhumanities.as.cornell.edu/courses.

 

COML 4642 Energetic Expression, Manic Defense, Psychotic Foreclosure: Psychoanalytic and Literary Portraits (ENGL 4962, SHUM 4642)

T 10:10am – 12:05pm

Enrollment limited to: 15 students.

Co-meets with SHUM 6642.

Soros, E.

This course addresses psychoanalytic understandings of psychic energy, its sources and functions, and its manifestations as mania or psychosis. Students will be introduced to the work of foundational psychoanalysts: Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Melanie Klein, Wilfred Bion, Jacques Lacan, Hortense Spillers, Christopher Bollas. We will also study literary portraits of madness, considering how these portraits correspond or diverge from psychoanalytic frameworks. We will discuss how to apply psychoanalytic theory to literature, but also how to challenge the theory with a literary lens. Through collective dialogue and private reading, we will think about the energy of own minds, our constitutions and possibilities and breaking points. These investigations will be both intellectual and intimate, both troubling and reparative. For longer description and instructor bio visit http://societyhumanities.as.cornell.edu/courses .

 

New! COML 4709 Thinking Sameness

(CA-AS)

Co-meets with COML 6709/GERST 6709.

TR 1:25p – 2:40pm

Bachner, A.

Enrollment limited to: 15 students.

Co-meets with COML 6709/GERST 6709.

Recent theory has tended to focused on difference. What if we looked at its complementary or supplementary others instead? This course will analyze a range of theoretical concepts that hinge on sameness in a range of different discourses and disciplines (literature, theory, economy, art, biology, computing etc.), such as mimesis, mimicry, equivalence, passing, fake, shanzhai, clone, twin, similarity, commensurability, simulacrum, copy, analog/y and more. Readings include texts by Foucault, Benjamin, Derrida, Deleuze, Didi-Huberman, Caillois, Baudrillard, Han, Irigaray, Butler and others.

 

New! COML 4902 Environmental Humanities: Theories and Methods

(crosslisted) STS 4902.

W 12:20pm – 2:15pm

Banerjee, A.

Enrollment limited to: 15 students.

Co-meets with COML 6902/STS 6902.

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

 

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. 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 4944 Biopolitics: New Directions (AMST 4944, FGSS 4944, LGBT 4944, ROMS 4944)

(HB) (CA-AS)

R 2:30pm – 4:25pm

Diabate, N.

Co-meets with COML 6944/FGSS 6944/GOVT 6946/LGBT 6944/ROMS 6944.

This course explores the philosophical concept of biopolitics and its diverse translations and/or adaptations across multiple disciplines and across the globe. We will trace the concept of biopolitics and its attendant notions—Sovereignty, Governmentality, Neoliberalism— as they emerge in the work of Michel Foucault. Relatedly, we will analyze the multiple disciplinary and geographical directions in which the concepts have travelled. Throughout the semester, we shall also examine negative/ affirmative, biopolitics, necropolitics, digital biopolitics, and postcoloniality, race, gender, and sexuality and their intersection with biopolitics.

 

COML 6190 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 6285 Early Modern Translations (ENGL 6285)

T 2:30pm – 4:25pm

Lorenz, P.

Translation is a cultural, conceptual, and political problem. It lies at the heart of the literary itself. Methodological discussions of “world” literature hinge on it, and Renaissance culture is unthinkable apart from it. The Renaissance—defined in terms of transmission and reception of ancient texts—is itself, in a way, translation. Tied to philosophical and theo-political problems of origin and copy, Truth and falsehood, fidelity, heresy and betrayal (as the Italian maxim traduttore, traditore attests), translation raises questions of sameness and identity, originality, authority, property, sacredness and evil. The seminar explores these questions in texts from Luther, Cervantes and Montaigne, through Benjamin, Derrida and Agamben. Particular focus is on the early modern as template and groundwork for the complexity and centrality of translation to life. 

 

New! COML 6369 Expanded Practice Seminar (ARCH 6308, ARCH 6408, SHUM 6308)

  • Limited to successful applicants.

Tao DuFour and Natalie Melas

R: 2:30 – 4:25 p.m.

Mellon Collaborative Studies in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities

 Atmospheric Pressures: 

Climate Imaginaries and Migration in the Caribbean

 Call for Applications:

 The Fall 2019 Expanded Practice Seminar, “Atmospheric Pressures: Climate Imaginaries and Migration in the Caribbean,” is an innovative traveling seminar for graduate students in the humanities and design disciplines. Expanded Practice Seminars are offered under the auspices of Cornell University’s Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Collaborative Studies in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities grant and are organized by the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning and the Society for the Humanities.

 Selected students receive a $1,500 stipend and a funded, week-long travel program to Trinidad in Fall 2019.

 Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the Expanded Practice Seminar, a wide range of skills and backgrounds are welcome. Advanced undergraduate students may apply, but preference will be given to students in their first three years of graduate study. Applications require a recent CV and a 500 – 700-word statement of interest describing your background interest in the seminar topic. No letters of recommendation are required. Questions should be directed to Rebecca Elliott (re255@cornell.edu).

 Applications must be submitted via http://urbanismseminars.cornell.edu/apply by June 15, 2019.

 Atmospheric Pressures: Climate Imaginaries and Migration in the Caribbean

This seminar explores the significance of climate imaginaries for forms of urban and hinterland migration and mobility in the Caribbean as these relate to colonial and postcolonial histories, and in contemporary contexts defined by the urgencies of environmental hazards. Taking “climate” in a wider sense, the seminar situates climate imaginaries – as mediated through literature, film, landscapes, and spatial forms – as intersubjective horizons within which understandings of climate change and the experience of its effects are enmeshed.

 For postcolonial Caribbean thinkers the horizon of the natural world is at the same time constitutive of a form of historicity. Édouard Glissant proposes a non-foundational postcolonial Caribbean imaginary in which the archipelago is a “multi-relation” where “this sea is here within us with its load of islands finally discovered.” The seminar is particularly concerned to explore relations between the more tangible effects of climate on urban, infrastructural, and ecological landscapes in the Caribbean and intersubjective experiences of climate as mediated through literary and mytho-poetic forms: from historical accounts of climate as ‘catastrophe’ – the effects of hurricanes, volcanoes, earthquakes on insular urbanities – to climate as a more general, atmospheric horizon in the constitution of Caribbean worlds. Guyanese writer Wilson Harris frames the urban environmental question as an ontological one: “Cities have come to nestle in branches of clay or stone in valleys or mountains. […] Their hope is born of the life of imagination’s tree in which sculptor and painter and architect and carpenter and mystic sensitize and re-sensitize themselves to rhythms and pulses orchestrated through being and apparent non-being.” Thematically, the seminar draws on the work of anthropologist Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, interpreting the industrialized-urbanized ecological territory in terms of “capitalist ruination” which, nonetheless, holds possibilities for other modes of environmentality and subject formation, as the hazards effected by climate change fundamentally disrupt and transform the very urbanity constituted through colonial and later resource extractive appropriations.

 The seminar will explore the migratory effects of climate imaginaries in the Caribbean from a variety of perspectives: mytho-poetic senses of migration such as interspecific morphoses – the becoming animal, plant or ‘spirit’ of the human – and the persistence of Amerindian horizons; the historicity of forcible deportations (slavery, indenture, etc.) as forms of colonial violence; the ecological constitution of the region as migratory formation; urban-hinterland and inter-island migration as a consequence of environmental hazards and catastrophes; rural-urban migration and the expansion and planning of cities as a function of modernizing and industrializing processes; and migration as a metaphorical schema in the generative constitution and literary and artistic articulation of Caribbean world-horizons.

The seminar will be structured along thematic lines, including: philosophies of relation and postcolonial theory; the anthropology of ‘nature’; phenomenologies of the ‘natural’ world and corporeity; philosophies of ‘atmosphere’; political ecology and feminist environmental theories; landscape theory; theories of urbanization and philosophies of territory. In exploring these themes, we will consider the Caribbean’s multiple linguistic and creole contexts, including those of Trinidad & Tobago, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Cuba and Guyana.

Course instructors: Tao DuFour, assistant professor of architecture, and Natalie Melas, associate professor of comparative literature

 

COML 6375 Migration in the Americas: Engaged Research Methods and Practice (DSOC 6312, ILRIC 6312, LSP 6312)

TR 11:40am – 12:55pm

Enrollment limited to: juniors, seniors, and graduate students.  Permission of instructor required.

Co-meets with COML 4575/DSOC 4312/ILRIC 4312/LSP 4312
D. Castillo.
This course will introduce students to basic concepts and developments related to migrants and migration in Central America, Mexico, and the United States via engaged learning and research. The course will be organized around core themes such as the challenges and ethics of working with vulnerable populations, workplaces and working conditions, oral histories/testimonios, and immigration policy and enforcement practices. Students will learn qualitative methodologies for field research. All students will practice their skills through collaboration with the Cornell Farmworker Program on priority projects identified by immigrant farmworkers. This can be taken as a stand-alone course, but it is also a prerequisite for an optional winter intersession practicum and for ILRIC 6311/LSP6110 in the spring.

 

COML 6481 Literature, Media, Form (GERST 6481, PMA 6481, ROMS 6481)

T 12:20pm – 2:15pm

McBride, P.

This seminar investigates the productive relationship that ties literary criticism to media studies in the North-American and European humanities—for the latter we will especially focus on the German-language context. We will trace the exchange that in recent decades has drawn on literature as a heuristic point of reference for appraising the rhetorical performativity and ideological effects of communication in both analog and digital media. In so doing we will develop a cross-disciplinary framework for examining the evolving relation between literary practices, technological developments, and conceptions of media within significant historical junctures and by drawing on influential methodological paradigms. Topics include reading and writing as cultural techniques and as spatialized processing of text/image dynamics; literary practice, materiality, and embodiment; Critical Theory and the digital humanities.

 

COML 6600 Visual Ideology (ARTH 6060, GERST 6600)

T 2:30pm– 4:25pm

Waite, G.

Some of the most powerful approaches to visual practices have come from outside or from the peripheries of the institution of art history and criticism.  This seminar will analyze the interactions between academically sanctioned disciplines (such as iconography and connoisseurship) and innovations coming from philosophy, psychoanalysis, historiography, sociology, literary theory, mass media criticism, feminism, and Marxism.  We will try especially to develop: (1) a general theory of "visual ideology" (the gender, social, racial, and class determinations on the production, consumption, and appropriation of visual artifacts under modern and postmodern conditions); and (2) contemporary theoretical practices that articulate these determinations.  Examples will be drawn from the history of oil painting, architecture, city planning, photography, film and other mass media.

 

New! COML 6709 Thinking Sameness (GERST 6709)

Co-meets with COML 4709.

TR 1:25p – 2:40pm

Bachner, A.

Enrollment limited to: 15 students.

Co-meets with COML 4709.

Recent theory has tended to focused on difference. What if we looked at its complementary or supplementary others instead? This course will analyze a range of theoretical concepts that hinge on sameness in a range of different discourses and disciplines (literature, theory, economy, art, biology, computing etc.), such as mimesis, mimicry, equivalence, passing, fake, shanzhai, clone, twin, similarity, commensurability, simulacrum, copy, analog/y and more. Readings include texts by Foucault, Benjamin, Derrida, Deleuze, Didi-Huberman, Caillois, Baudrillard, Han, Irigaray, Butler and others.

 

COML 6791 Acoustic Horizons (ENGL 6791)

T 1:25pm – 3:15pm

Murray, T.

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

 

COML 6793 Theory and Analysis of Narrative (ENGL 6155)

T 10:10am – 12:05pm

Culler, J.

Study of short stories and a novel that self-consciously foreground questions of narrative form and technique and the process of reading. Authors to be read include Balzac, Borges, Calvino, Coover, Cortazar, Kafka, Kincaid, and others selected by the students. We will also read theoretical essays on the analysis of narrative by Barthes, Bakhtin, Genette, Fludernik, Pratt, Altman, Lanser, and others, focusing on questions about relations between plot and narrative discourse, the discrimination of narrators, the role of gender, and interpretive frameworks for thinking about narrative. Short exercises, an oral report and a longer paper.

 

COML 6902 Environmental Humanities: Theories and Methods (STS 6902)

W 12:20pm – 2:15pm

Banerjee, A.

Enrollment limited to: 15 students.

Co-meets with COML 4902/STS 4902.

Designed for an interdisciplinary audience, this seminar explores the theoretical and methodological potentials of a broad range of scholarship in the environmental humanities. Together we will discuss a number of foundational texts in this rapidly emerging field, which will in turn facilitate and develop students' own research projects. The course will feature visits from prominent scholars and end with a mini-symposium.

 

COML 6944 Biopolitics: New Directions (FGSS 6944, GOVT 6946, LGBT 6944, ROMS 6944)

R 2:30pm – 4:25pm

Diabate, N.

Co-meets with AMST 4944/COML 4944/FGSS 4944/LGBT 4944/ROMS 4944.

This course explores the philosophical concept of biopolitics and its diverse translations and/or adaptations across multiple disciplines and across the globe. We will trace the concept of biopolitics and its attendant notions—Sovereignty, Governmentality, Neoliberalism— as they emerge in the work of Michel Foucault. Relatedly, we will analyze the multiple disciplinary and geographical directions in which the concepts have travelled. Throughout the semester, we shall also examine negative/ affirmative, biopolitics, necropolitics, digital biopolitics, and postcoloniality, race, gender, and sexuality and their intersection with biopolitics.

 

COML 6970 Cosmopolitianism and Post-Enlightenment (ENGL 6970, GOVT 6779)

T 12:20pm – 2:15pm

Saccamano, N.

This course will examine cosmopolitanism as a cultural, moral, and political concept both historically, with reference primarily to the eighteenth century, and theoretically, in contemporary debates. The aim will be to elaborate critically the universalist and egalitarian premises of the Enlightenment notion of cosmopolitical subjects and to evaluate what progressive or ideological functions this notion continues to play in discourses on sovereignty, human rights, religious tolerance, and cultural dissemination and aesthetic community. Works by Cicero, Hobbes, Adam Smith, Rousseau, Kant, and Marx will be read with those by Arendt, Balibar, Derrida, Habermas, Honig, and other contemporary theorists.

 

Russian Literature (RUSSL)

 

RUSSL 2157 Tolstoy: History and Counter-Culture (HIST 2157)

TR 8:40am – 9:55am

Litvak, O.

Tolstoy is impossible. An aristocrat who renounced his wealth. A man of titanic appetites who repeatedly swore off meat, alcohol and sex. A Christian who didn't believe in God. An anarchist who ruled his own estate like an ancient patriarch. A writer of genius who thought literature was evil and a waste of time and referred to his greatest book as "garbage." An inexhaustible skeptic who wanted nothing but mere faith. In Tolstoy's imaginative universe, we may find the origin of many modern contradictions and anxieties, about money, about sec and about power. But Tolstoy's modern consciousness was not created in Paris or New York. Tolstoy was made in late imperial Russia - notoriously, the least modern country in nineteenth-century Europe. How, then, did Tolstoy happen? How can we account historically for his epic project of self-fashioning? In this seminar, we will see Tolstoy at work in the creation of an heroic counter-cultural persona, writing against the social and political currents of his own time.

 

RUSSL 3385 Reading Nabokov (COML 3815, ENGL 3790) (LA-AS)

TR 1:25 – 2:40pm

Shapiro, G.

This course offers an exciting trip to the intricate world of Nabokov’s fiction. After establishing himself in Europe as a distinguished Russian writer, Nabokov, at the outbreak of World War II, came to the United States where he reestablished himself, this time as an American writer of world renown. In our analysis of Nabokov’s fictional universe, we shall focus on his Russian corpus of works, from Mary (1926) to The Enchanter (writ. 1939), all in English translation, and then shall examine the two widely read novels which he wrote in English in Ithaca while teaching literature at Cornell: Lolita (1955) and Pnin (1957). 

 

New! RUSSL 3386 Life, Love, and Death in the Twentieth-Century Russian Prose

TR 2:55pm – 4:10pm

Shapiro, G.

This course maybe counted toward the Russian Minor.

Enrollment limited to: 15 students.

For over a century now, the Soviet/Russian regime has been one of the foremost adversaries of the American democracy. In order to interact with the country successfully, it is imperative to become familiar with it as a sociopolitical and cultural entity. To this end, this course provides a vital lens through which one may look at Russia’s modern history and comprehend its contemporary mentality. We shall discuss the works by classics of twentieth-century Russian prose, such as Chekhov, Bunin, Bulgakov, Nabokov, Solzhenitsyn, Shalamov, and Voinovich. In translation.

 

RUSSL 4492 Supervised Reading in Russian Language (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.
 

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 1131 Elementary Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian I

(Fall)

MWF 10:10 am – 11:25am

Staff.

By the end of this course, you will be able to carry on basic conversations in Bosnian/ Croatian/Serbian on many topics from your daily life. You 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. You 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. You will master the writing systems of the languages, and you should be able to write notes or simple letters and keep a journal.

 

BCS 1132 Elementary Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian II

(Spring)

MWF 10:10am – 11:25am

Staff.

 

BCS 1133 Intermediate Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian I

(Fall)

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.

 

BCS 1134 Intermediate Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian II

(Spring)

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 1121 Elementary Finnish I

(Fall)

TR 4:10pm – 6:00pm

Staff.

The Elementary Finnish I course is designed for students without prior knowledge of Finnish. Students have an opportunity to practice listening, speaking, reading and writing in Finnish. Students learn to provide information about their opinions and feelings, their families, their immediate environment and their daily activities. The course is taught in Finnish.

FINN 1122 Elementary Finnish II

(Spring)

TR 4:10pm – 6:00pm

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 1133 Intermediate Finnish I

(Fall)

TR 2:10pm – 4:00pm

Staff.

The Intermediate Finnish I 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. The course is taught in Finnish.

FINN 1134 Intermediate Finnish II

(Spring)

TR 2:10pm – 4:00pm

Staff.

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. The course is taught in Finnish.

 

UKRAN 1121 Elementary Ukrainian I

(Fall)

MWR 11:35am – 12:55pm

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 should be able to:

- have Ukrainian pronunciation and grammatical accuracy sufficient 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 1122 Elementary Ukrainian II

(Spring)

MWR 11:35am – 12:55pm

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 1133 Intermediate Ukrainian I

(Fall)

MWR 10:10am – 11:25am

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.

 

UKRAN 1134 Intermediate Ukrainian II

(Spring)

MWR 10:10am – 11:25am

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

Spring 2020 Course Offerings

As of June 17, 2019 -subject to updates

 

Department Chair: Professor Tracy McNulty

Acting Director of Undergraduate Studies: Professor Naminata Diabate

Director of Graduate Studies: Professor Patricia Keller

 

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

 

New courses are: COML 3005 Black Holes: From Race to the Cosmos, COML 3006 Race and Slavery

 

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 1105 FWS: Books with Big Ideas

TR 1:25pm – 2:40pm, Huang, K.

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

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 1107.101 Writing the Environment

MWF 9:05am – 9:55am, Banerjee, A.

The state of the planet is one of the most urgent issues of our time, yet communicating environmental concerns and engaging the public on environmental issues is never easy. By studying and emulating how scientists, activists, philosophers, anthropologists, religious leaders, journalists, and last but not least creative writers connect us with our increasingly threatened world, this course aims to provide tools to students from all disciplines on writing the environment. Assignments will include analyzing and mapping the templates of different kinds of environmental writing; comparing writing from different periods and parts of the world aimed toward diverse audiences; and trying out writing voices and styles within and across the students' divergent knowledge, interests, and skills.

 

  • 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 2036 Literature and the Elements of Nature

(GB) (CA-AS)

Enrollment limited to: undergraduates.

Banerjee, A.

MWF 11:15am – 12:05pm

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.

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)     

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.

Born, E.

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.

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.

“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 3005 Black Holes: From Race to the Cosmos

Vaziri, P.

This course examines the turn to physics in Black studies discourse. Terms like “event horizon,” “black holes,” and quantum particle physics provide scholars of blackness with a lexicon with which to understand blackness as positionality that describes the destroyed origins of the Human. Texts may include Afrofuturist literary texts, music videos, films, and critical literature by scholars like Michelle Wright and Denise Ferreira da Silva.

 

New! COML 3006 Race and Slavery in the Middle East (crosslisted) NES 3691

(CU-ITL)

Vaziri, P.

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.

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.

Murray, T.

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

 

COML 3150 Literature and Media in Japan

(crosslisted) ASIAN 3318, VISST 3318

(GB) (CA-AS)

de Bary, B.

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.

Villarejo, A.

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 3512 No Rest: The Exhausted Self

 

(crosslisted) GERST 3512, ROMS 3512

(CA-AS)

Taught in English.

Siegel, E.

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.

“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.

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 3840  The Art of the Historical Avant-Garde

(crosslisted) ARTH 3672, GERST 3770, ROMS 3770, VISST 3672

(LA-AS)

McBride, P.

At the height of modernism (1910-1930), avant-garde artists and intellectuals began arguing that art could be employed to “reconstruct the universe,” as one Futurist manifesto put it. They joined forces with the most radical political movements of their day and created innovative artistic practices -ranging from collage, montage, and the found object to the installation and the happening -that continue to shape our perception of art and popular culture. This course will focus on strategies for politicizing art as well as formulating a new relation between high and popular culture in Germany, Italy, and France in the first half of the twentieth century. Our investigation of avant-garde art will include original documents of Italian Futurism, Expressionism, Dada, and Surrealism.

 

COML 3976 Pleasure and Neoliberalism

Diabate, N.

This comparative seminar is open to both undergraduate and graduate students from all disciplines.  It explores pleasure and its relation to neoliberalism, one of the most important political concepts of our time. In the course, we will adopt an interdisciplinary approach to pleasure and a historical trajectory, including the Ancient world and the contemporary. Several Cornell professors will contribute to our investigation through guest lectures. Artistic and theoretical reflections on pleasure and neoliberalism will focus on important ideas such as human nature, science, pornography, race, sexuality, and the market. We will rethink how new/old media, literary, and other artistic productions facilitate the expression, the search for, and the achievement of pleasure. Through public speaking (class discussions, student presentation) and deep attention to writing (reaction papers, an abstract + annotated bibliography, and a final paper), you will refine your understanding of pleasure and neoliberalism and their mutual imbrication.

 

COML 3985 Literature of Leaving China

(crosslisted) ASIAN 3329, CAPS 3329

(GB) (LA-AS)

Admussen, N.

Ever since the creation of the concept of a culturally and geographically stable center in China, people have been intentionally excluded from that center. Disgraced officials are sent to far-flung provinces, loyalists to past regimes hide out across China’s borders, and dissidents have their entry visas revoked, making it impossible for them to return home. The experiences of these people, and the poems and stories they write, tell us a great deal about what it means and how it feels to be included and excluded. What is the difference between the way China looks from the inside and the way it looks from the outside? Who has the power to decide who gets to live in China, and how and why do they use it? What is the relationship between our identities and our homes? Texts studied will range from 300 BCE to the present; all will be read and discussed in English.  (LL)

 

COML 4251 Existentialism or Marxism

(crosslisted) GERST 4210, GOVT 4015, ROMS 4210

(CA-AS)

Waite, G.

The most intense public encounter between Existentialism and Marxism occurred in immediate post-WWII Europe, its structure remaining alive internationally. Existentialist questions have been traced from pre-Socratic thinkers through Dante, Shakespeare, and Cervantes onward; just as roots of modern materialism extend to Epicurus and Lucretius, or Leopardi. This course will focus on differing theories and concomitant practices concerned with “alienation,” “anxiety,” “crisis,” “death of God,” “nihilism,” “rebellion or revolution.” Crucial are possible relations between fiction and non-fiction; also among philosophy, theology, psychoanalysis, and political theory. Other authors may include: Althusser, de Beauvoir, Beckett, Büchner, Camus, Che, Dostoevsky, Fanon, Genet, Gide, Gramsci, O. Gross, Hamsun, Heidegger, Husserl, Jaspers, C.L.R. James, Kafka, Kierkegaard, Lagerkvist, Lacan, Lenin, Marx, Merleau-Ponty, Mishima, G. Novack, Nietzsche, Ortega, Pirandello, W. Reich, Sartre, Shestov, Tillich, Unamuno. There is also cinema.

 

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.

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.

 

COML 4429 Walter Benjamin

(crosslisted) ANTHR 4413, GERST 4413, JWST 4913, NES 4913

(CA-AS)

Co-meets with ANTHR 7413/GERST 6413/JWST 7913/NES 7913.

Boyarin, J.

This extraordinary figure died in 1941, and his death is emblematic of the intellectual depredations of Nazism. Yet since World War II, his influence, his reputation, and his fascination for scholars in a wide range of cultural and political disciplines has steadily grown. He is seen as a bridging figure between German and Jewish studies, between materialist critique of culture and the submerged yet powerful voice of theology, between literary history and philosophy. We will review Benjamin’s life and some of the key disputes over his heritage; read some of the best-known of his essays; and devote significant time to his enigmatic and enormously rich masterwork, the Arcades Project, concluding with consideration of the relevance of Benjamin’s insights for cultural and political dilemmas today.

 

COML 4623 Animal Power

(crosslisted) CLASS 4604, ENGL 4964, SHUM 4644, STS 4644

Enrollment limited to: 15 students. Co-meets with SHUM 6644/STS 6644.

Kirk, A.

The modern world relies on a vast array of natural resources to drive its activities, but for most of human history, animals have provided energy to people. Animals were, and often still are, the energy fueling human transportation, agriculture, nutrition, and even entertainment. This course examines Classical and modern representations of animals as workpower, food and fuel, and raw materials for manufacture. We will read a wide array of sources that depict the work of animals in Classical antiquity and the modern world; we will also look at texts that attempt to describe how the animal body creates energy. For longer description and instructor bio visit http://societyhumanities.as.cornell.edu/courses.

 

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.

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 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.

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.

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 6137 Violence in Literature

(crosslisted) GERST 6525

Schwarz, A.

What are the emotive forces that drive, inform, enable, disrupt, violate or energize narrative structures and the stories we tell? Critics from Sorel, Benjamin, Schmitt, Arendt to Derrida, Zizek and Balibar have elaborated the complex spectrum of violence in theory, literature, philosophy and politics. Topics of discussion include: is violence geared to specific literary genres? What are violent emotions? Can violence ever be positive? Can violence ever be legitimate? What is the relationship between violence, power and cruelty? How can we delineate the semiotics and contexts of violence: from war to medicine, from pain to pleasure? Theoretical texts will be accompanied by literature: Kafka, Kleist, Sebald et al; literatures of war, crisis and uproar.

 

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.

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 6160 Translation, in Theory

(crosslisted) ASIAN 6619, VISST 6619

de Bary, B.

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 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.

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.

 

COML 6370 Contemporary Aesthetic Theory and its Discontents

(crosslisted) ARTH 6510, GERST 6510, GOVT 6517, VISST 6500

Gilgen, P.

After having been reduced to a mere ideological formation of bourgeois origin, aesthetics has recently made a strong comeback in the field of theory. This course probes the reasons for this historical change. From the arguments of the critics we will derive a catalogue of criteria for a viable aesthetics in order to examine how contemporary aesthetic theory relates to cognitive theories, the historicity of art and taste (including specific practices and institutions), and the emancipatory potentials of ethics and politics. Readings may include Adorno, Berger, de Bolla, Bourdieu, Noël Carroll, Cavell, Danto, Derrida, Dickie, Eagleton, Goodman, Guillory, Gumbrecht, Halsall, Luhmann, Lyotard, de Man, Walter Benn Michaels, Obrist, Ohmann, Scarry, Seel, Shustermann, Barbara Herrnstein Smith, Williams and others.

 

COML 6460 Pan-Africanism and Feminism: Theoretical Intersections

(crosslisted) ASRC 6510, FGSS 6510

Boyce Davies, C.

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.

 

COML 6631 Marx and Marxisms

(crosslisted) GERST 6100, GOVT 6706, SPAN 6100

Waite, G.

The terms “Marx” and “Marxisms” have meant different things to different people, beginning with Marx himself and continuing in his legacy today.  As obviously, this legacy remains global (Europe, North and Latin America, India and Pakistan, Vietnam, Africa, Near East and Far East)—all still including imagined allies, neutrals, and foes.  This seminar is an approach to this otherwise bewildering complexity: we focus on two things: (1) a possible Marxist (or Communist or Anarchist) theory of all language and any semiotics; alongside (2) its equally possible inter-action with manuals of guerrilla warfare.

 

COML 6895 Critical Theory and Climate Change

(crosslisted) GERST 6351

Co-meets with COML 4996/GERST 4351.

Fleming, P.

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.

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

 

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

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

Staff.

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. The course is taught in Finnish.

 

UKRAN 1122 Elementary Ukrainian II

MWR 11:35am – 12:55pm

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

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/