Comparative Literature Graduate Course Offerings

Fall 2012

CPLT 750R 000 Literary Theories
Geoffrey Bennington

Max 8
Th 1-4PM
[Crosslisted with FREN 780]

Content: The course explores some of the ways in which an influential way of thinking about language has affected ways of thinking about literature.  After investigating the main tenets of structuralist theory, as derived from Saussure¿s Cours de linguistique générale, we shall go on to see how the internal logic of structuralism led to the rather different positions often referred to as `post-structuralism¿ and/or `post-modernism¿, and to a questioning of the position of theory itself.

Texts: TBA

Particulars: TBA

CPLT 751 000 "Heidegger and Hölderlin"
Andrew Mitchell
M 6-9PM
Max 6
[Cross-listed with PHIL 540R]

Content: Heidegger reads Hölderlin as a poet of promise. His work offers an alternative to the metaphysical tradition that culminates in Nietzsche¿s notion of the will to power. Where Nietzsche pronounces the death of God, Hölderlin proposes a flight of the gods and poetizes the consequences of this departure for the conduct of our lives. Across numerous lecture courses and essays, Heidegger grappled with the language and thought of Hölderlin, shaping his own thinking and understanding of our times in conversation with him.
In this course, we will read the poems, plays, essays, and letters of Hölderlin in conjunction with Heidegger¿s interpretations. The course begins with a consideration of the task of poetry as envisioned by both Hölderlin and Heidegger. We will then follow an itinerary through Hölderlin¿s work emphasizing the way in which his poetic thinking escapes a metaphysics of ¿presence¿ in favor of a thinking of relation, whether with nature, the gods, the foreign, or our fellow human beings. Themes thus include: nature, art, poetry, the foreign and one¿s own, return and recollection, the national, mortality, dwelling, and festival.

Hölderlin, Friedrich:
Hymns and Fragments. Ed. and trans. Richard Sieburth.
         Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984.
Essays and Letters on Theory. Ed. and trans. Thomas Pfau.
         Albany: SUNY Press, 1988.
Death of Empedocles: A Mourning Play. Ed. and trans. David Farrell Krell
         Albany: SUNY Press, 2008.

Heidegger, Martin:
Elucidations of Hölderlin¿s Poetry. Trans. Keith Hoeller.
         Amherst, NY: Humanity Books, 2000.
Hölderlin¿s Hymn ¿The Ister.¿ Trans. William McNeill and Julia Davis.
         Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1996.

Poetry, Language, Thought. Trans. Albert Hofstadter.
         New York: Harper & Row, 1971.

Particulars: A screening of the film, The Ister (Barison and Ross, 2004) will also be arranged for the course

in class presentation
short paper
final term paper

Additional Heidegger translations will be provided in class:
Heidegger, Martin. Hölderlin¿s Hymns ¿Germania¿ and ¿The Rhine,¿ trans. William McNeill and Julia Ireland. Indiana UP (in preparation)
Heidegger, Martin. Hölderlin¿s Hymn ¿Remembrance,¿ trans. William McNeill and Julia Ireland. Indiana UP (in preparation)
Heidegger, Martin. ¿The Shining of Nature is a Higher Appearing.¿ Trans. Andrew J. Mitchell.

Hölderlin, Friedrich. Poems and Fragments. 4th ed. Ed. and trans. Michael Hamburger.
         London: Anvil Press, 2004.

CPLT 751 001 "Augustine and Spinoza"
Jill Robbins

W 1:00-4:00PM
Max 6
[Cross-listed with RLTS 750]

Content:This seminar centers on two figures central to the history of hermeneutics, or the interpretation of interpretation, Augustine and Spinoza. Both figures pose questions about the relationship between biblical and philosophical hermeneutics and the complex relationship between Judaism and Christianity, especially around the figure of election. But more often than not, they are opposed. Todorov contrasts Augustine¿s dogmatic perspective, in which the end result (equivalent with Christian doctrine), is given in advance, and the only question is the path or way to get there, with Spinoza¿s, in which it is the path or method that is given in advance (a method that does not differ from the interpretation of nature), and the end result or the meaning that is in question. The establishment of this meaning has to be carried out independently of any reference to the truth of the text.

Such a contrast has legitimacy, to the extent that Spinoza inaugurates the modern historico-critical approach to biblical study when he proposes understanding as the result of a methodical and critical effort. Yet such a trajectory--from medieval dogmatism to Spinoza¿s proto-Enlightenment position¿ricks occluding what Gadamer calls the dogmatic basis for this kind of position, namely, the belief in reason.  

Moreover, what would it mean to consider Augustine, ¿after¿ Heidegger, namely in the wake and style of the lectures from 1919 to the early twenties during what van Buren calls his ¿free Protestant mystical phase¿? In his lectures on the phenomenology of religion, Heidegger seeks an access to Augustine¿s texts ¿behind¿ and ¿before¿ their doctrinal or dogmatic meaning. His ¿historically actualizing¿ approach to religious texts allows him to discover, in primal Christianity, ¿factic life¿ in its concrete historicity. Significantly, such an access, however positive, is also necessarily a ¿destruction¿ of the Greek philosophical conceptuality underlying theology.

The Confessions of St. Augustine
, trans. Rex Warner (Signet Classics, 2009) (Please, no substitutions) 
Augustine,  On Christian Doctrine, trans. D. W. Robertson (Prentice Hall, 1958)
Spinoza, Theologico-Political Treatise, Second Edition, trans. Samuel Shirley (Hackett, 2001)
Heidegger, The Phenomenology of Religious Life (Indiana Unversity Press, 2010)
Augustine, City of God, trans. Henry Bettenson  (Penguin Classics, 2003)
Arendt, Love and Saint Augustine (Chicago, 1998)
Erich Auerbach, ¿The Arrest of Peter Valvomeres¿ (from Mimesis)
Dilthey, selections from Introduction to the Human Sciences
Heidegger, ¿Critical Comments on Karl Jaspers¿  `Psychology of World Views¿¿ from Pathmarks.

Particulars: TBA

CPLT 751 002 "Foundations in Interdisciplinary Inquiry"
Elizabeth Goodstein & Robert Paul
Th 9:30AM-12:30PM
Max 3
[Cross-listed with ILA 790, PHIL 789]

Content: In the modern era, the notion that there are or could be dependable (epistemological, ethical, ontological) foundations has been rendered problematic. Neither as citizens nor as scholars do we seem to have a secure, shared starting point for inquiry and action. This course thus begins from what is at once a practical and a theoretical problem: Can or should there be ¿foundations¿ for interdisciplinary scholarship? What could possibly supply a reliable conceptual and methodological basis for work in and across diverse fields in the human and social sciences when the very possibility of locating or establishing such foundations been radically called into question?

This course will neither attempt to overcome this difficulty by reestablishing an authoritative beginning in a new, interdisciplinary mode nor abandon the task of grounding our knowledge practices. Instead, it will prepare students for specific and individual courses of interdisciplinary study through inquiry into the problem of knowledge itself. The class will trace a trajectory through key texts of major intellectual traditions that have shaped present day thought, drawing on a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives to explore the question of what knowledge is and how its social and cultural construction has been understood. That is to say, its instructors understand ¿foundations¿ to mean a grounding in texts ¿ and the ideas and approaches contained in them ¿ that will help students orient and set the course for their own explorations.
A required course for first-year graduate students in the Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts, this class is addressed to students in all fields of investigation in the ¿human sciences,¿ broadly conceived. We aspire to an interdisciplinary dialogue in which students come to reflect on how the assumptions and expectations they bring to the table both limit and enable their thinking. By fostering conversation across disciplinary boundaries, this course will help you refine your ideas, incorporate new perspectives, and think more flexibly about the ends of scholarship.

Texts: Possible readings include: Fleck, Kuhn, Latour, Berger & Luckmann, Hacking, Foucault, Peirce, James, Mead, Simmel, Mannheim, Scheler, Schutz

Particulars: Oral presentations, a prospectus, and a seminar-length paper

CPLT 751 003 "Seminar in Film Theory: What is Film Style?"
Karla Oeler
W 2:30-5:30PM (lectures); M 6-8PM (screenings)
Max 10
[Cross-listed with FILM 504]

Content: This course asks how critics define/describe film style and how stylistic analysis connects to theories of authorship, genre, and narration. Filmmakers considered include Hitchcock,Godard, and Bresson. We will read work by such critics as D.A. Miller, William Rothman, and David Bordwell.

Texts: David Bordwell, The Way Hollywood Tells It: Story and Style in Modern Movies (University of California Press, 2006); David Bordwell, On the History of Film Style (Harvard University Press, 1998); D.A. Miller, 8 1/2 (BFI, 2008); Paul Schrader, The Transcendental Style in Film(Da Capo Press, 1988); Robert Bresson, Notes on the Cinematographer (Green Integer, 1997)

Particulars: Mandatory film screening.

CPLT 752R 000 "Revolutionary Perversions: Literary Sex Acts 1789-1848"
Elissa Marder
T 1-4
Max 10
[Cross-listed with FREN 775]

Content: In this course, we shall examine how representations of ¿non-normative¿ sexuality in several major nineteenth-century works relate to the problem of representing history in the aftermath of the French revolution. Many of the canonical literary texts written between 1789 and 1848 are organized around explicit or implicit depictions of impotence, lesbianism, hysteria, cross dressing, masturbation and prostitution. By focusing on these figures (as they appear in literary form) we shall explore how these nineteenth-century literary inscriptions of `perverse¿ forms of sexuality enable us to read changing conceptions of the relationship between language, history, gender and power.

Texts: Possible texts include: La Philosophie dans le boudoir (Sade); René (Chateaubriand); Armance (Stendhal); Le Père Goriot and La Fille aux yeux d¿or (Balzac); L¿Education sentimentale (Flaubert), La Curée (Zola) and selections from Baudelaire¿s prose poems. Critical readings may include works by Freud, Marx, Benjamin and others.

Particulars: TBA

CPLT 752R 001 "Classical Film Theory"
Karla Oeler
MWF 9:35-10:25AM (lectures); Tu 6-8PM (screenings)
Max 15
[Cross-listed with CPLT 389, FILM 381, & FILM 581]

Content: This course considers key methodological approaches that have shaped contemporary thinking about film and media.  These include semiotics, narratology, psychoanalysis, feminist and critical theory.

Objectives:  By the end of this class you will be able to:

  • Identify and describe key trends of Western film theory and criticism written after 1960
  • Use, and critique, the methods of semiology, narratology, psychoanalysis, critical and cultural theory as ways of understanding contemporary film and media.

Texts: Roland Barthes, Image/Music/Text (Noonday Press, 1978); Stanley Cavell, The World Viewed (Cambridge, MA:  Harvard UP, 1980); Christian Metz, Film Language:  A Semiotics of the Cinema (Chicago:  U of Chicago P, 1991); ---.  The Imaginary Signifier:  Psychoanalysis and the Cinema (Bloomington:  Indian UP, 1977); Robert Stam et al.  New Vocabularies in Film Semiotics:  Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, and Beyond (London:  Routledge, 1992). All other texts will be on electronic reserve or on book reserve.

Particulars: Mandatory Film Screening. Tuesday classes will be primarily lecture-based. Thursday classes will entail some lecture, but students should also be prepared to discuss the readings and the film. This means that you should complete the week's reading by Thursday 10:00 am. Attendance at all lectures and screenings is mandatory. Absences will adversely affect your grade. If you absolutely cannot attend a class or a screening, you should contact me beforehand. You must submit a film-and-theory response paper (described below) on a bi-weekly basis. In addition there will be a midterm exam that will consist of short identifications and essay questions, and a final paper 12-15 pages in length.

CPLT 752R 00P "Studies in Romanticism"
Deborah Elise White

W 1-4
[Cross-listed with ENG 730]

Content: This seminar explores poetry and prose of British romantic writers.  We will give special attention to debates concerning literary history and literary modernity, the specificity of literary language and the relation between literature and philosophy.  More generally, we will consider how the authors we study pursue a ¿defense of poetry¿ (P. B. Shelley) in the context of modernization¿that is, in the context of urbanization, industrialism, and utilitarianism. The romantic defense of what it calls poetry or, more expansively still, ¿imagination¿ serves not only as a springboard for philosophical aesthetics, but also for an engagement with performative and material dimensions of language that aesthetics often obscures. Our readings will therefore attend to the fault lines exposed within aesthetics by romantic writers precisely when they are most urgently engaged in an aesthetic project.

Texts: Readings to be drawn from the works of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Hazlitt, Byron, Tigh, Shelley, and Keats. Additional critical and theoretical readings from Chandler, Chase, Christensen, De Man, Hartman, McGann, Levinson, Rajan, Wang, Wimsatt and others. 

Particulars: TBA

CPLT 752R 0?? "Anticolonial Thought"
Sean Meighoo

Th 1-4
Max 6
[Cross-listed with ILA 790]

Content: The various struggles that were directed against European colonialism during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were globally informed by a critical and diverse intellectual practice.  In this course, we will read some key texts by thinkers, writers, activists, and militants who were involved in these struggles.

Since it is impossible, however, to treat the global scope of anticolonial thought adequately over the course of one semester, we will focus our attention on the Spanish-, English-, and French-speaking Caribbean.  Our course readings will address the following themes: Colonialism and Culture; Slavery and Race; Migration and Identity; Nationalism and Independence.

Although it is not a prerequisite, this course is intended as an introduction to ILA 790, Postcolonial Theory which will be offered in Spring 2013.

Texts: The following required texts will be made available for purchase at the Emory University Bookstore:

  • José Martí, Our America: Writings on Latin America and the Struggle for Cuban Independence;
  • Fernando Ortiz, Cuban Counterpoint: Tobacco and Sugar;
  • Eric Williams, Capitalism and Slavery;
  • C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L¿Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution;
  • Aimé Césaire, Notebook of a Return to the Native Land;
  • Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks;
  • Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth.

Particulars: Student evaluations will be based on the following:

  • Five (5) response papers (3-4 pp. each, 40% total);
  • Final essay (15-20 pp., 40%);
  • Attendance and participation (20%).

CPLT 797R 00P  Directed Readings

By permission of the Director.  Please contact the Program Office (N101 Callaway) for more information.

CPLT 798R 000  Supervised Research

For independent research aimed primarily at preparation for graduate exams and dissertation prospectus. Please contact the Program Office (N101 Callaway for more information).

*Must be taken S/U

Content: Variable Credit 1-12

CPLT 799R 000  Dissertation Research

By permission of the Director.  Please contact the Program Office (N101 Callaway) for more information.