Comparative Literature Graduate Course Offerings

Fall 2014

CPLT 750R 000 "Literary Theories"
John Johnston

Max 10
Th 1-4PM
Content: TBA
Texts: TBA
Particulars: TBA

CPLT 751 000 "Introduction to Posthumanism, or Farewell to Humanities"
Sean Meighoo
M 1-4PM
Max 12
Content: This course provides a critical introduction to ¿posthumanism,¿ a new field of interdisciplinary scholarship that problematizes the classical philosophical tradition of humanism.  As a field of scholarship, posthumanism is composed of a very diverse body of texts, many of which bear little relation to each other beyond their apparent rejection of humanism.  Some posthumanist texts stress the inadequacy of classical humanism in addressing the social, political, and ethical issues that have been raised by various new technologies.  Other posthumanist texts address the normative function of humanism by which the concept of the human itself is conditioned by concepts of class, race, gender, sexuality, age, and ability.  Still other posthumanist texts call attention to the metaphysical distinction between the human and the animal that grounds all forms of humanism, whether implicitly or explicitly so.  One general point of agreement among all these texts, however, is that the very idea of being human has always depended on our shifting notions of the nonhuman, the subhuman, and the inhuman.
We will read selected texts by an interdiscipinary range of scholars who have made significant contributions to the field of posthumanism, as well as some significant criticisms against it: Ihab Hassan, Donna J. Haraway, Robert Pepperell, Judith Halberstam and Ira Livingston, N. Katherine Hayles, Neil Badmington, Cary Wolfe, and Rosi Braidotti.  Although class discussions will focus on our assigned readings, we may also draw on literature, film and television, visual and plastic arts, and music and performing arts from outside our course in critically reassessing both humanism and posthumanism.
  • Donna J. Haraway, Simians, Cyborgs, and Women (New York: Routledge, 1991), ISBN 978-0-415-90387-5
  • N. Katherine Hayles, How We Became Posthuman (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1999), ISBN 978-0-226-32146-2
  • Cary Wolfe, Animal Rites (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2003), ISBN 978-0-226-90514-3
  • Donna J. Haraway, When Species Meet (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008), ISBN 978-0-8166-5046-0
  • Cary Wolfe, What Is Posthumanism? (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010), ISBN 978-0-8166-6615-7
  • Rosi Braidotti, The Posthuman (Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2013), ISBN 978-0-7456-4158-4
  • Four (4) response papers (10% each, 40% total)
  • Long essay (40%)
  • Attendance and participation (20%)

CPLT 751 001 "Romanticism: Self-consciousness and Anti-self-consciousness"
Deborah Elise White

T 1-4PM
[Cross-listed with ENG 730R]
Content: As Geoffrey Hartman has argued, self-consciousness strikes writers in the romantic tradition as at once a crisis of subjectivity and the (potential) resolution of that crisis.  A sense of paralyzing, at times morbid self-awareness haunts their aesthetic, ethical, and political writings even as the power of a founding ¿I Am,¿ as Coleridge calls it, seems to offer a way through paralysis that arrives at creative agency.  But the apparent dialectic in which ¿the hand that inflicts the wound is also the hand that heals it¿ (Hegel)--or consciousness frees itself of its own fixations--suffers repeated breakdowns that suggest the fictive or allegorical status of that dialectic in relation to acts of inscription for which the concept of self-consciousness -- or subjectivity -- remains inadequate. This seminar takes the problems posed by self-consciousness and the struggle to overcome it as leading, but not exclusive, motifs for readings of major works of British romanticism alongside selections from the German tradition. (It will also give  with some attention to nineteenth-century writers working in the immediate wake of romanticism.) Readings to draw from works by Wordsworth, Coleridge, Hazlitt, Shelley, Keats, and Carlyle as well as Fichte, Novalis, Kleist, and Marx. Additional theoretical and critical readings to draw from works by Abrams, Chandler, Chase, Christensen, Derrida, De Man, Hartman, Hogle, Liu, Jacobus, Levinson, McGann, Pfau, Rajan, Swann, Wang, and Wimsatt.
Texts: TBA
Particulars: TBA

CPLT 751 002 "Sacrifice and Gift"
Jill Robbins

W 1-4PM
Max 10
[Cross-listed with RLTS 700]
Content: In the tradition of the sociology of religion of Emile Durkheim, Marcel Mauss, and Robert Hertz, the conceptual figures of sacrifice and gift received remarkable immanent readings as ¿total social facts¿. This course explores the relation between the pre-war French sociological and the post-war French philosophical approaches to sacrifice and gift on the part of Emmanuel Levinas, Jacques Derrida, and Jean-Luc Nancy. Through intensive close readings of texts, we will consider the specifically ethical significance of generosity and sacrifice, the tension between their economic and aneconomic interpretations, and the ¿sacrifice¿ of sacrifice in the philosophical tradition in the West. Additional readings by Emile Benveniste, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Pierre Bourdieu, and Georges Bataille.
Texts: Marcel Mauss and Henri Hubert, Sacrifice: Its Nature and Functions (Chicago); Marcel Mauss, The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies (Norton); Jacques Derrida, Given Time (Chicago); Jacques Derrida, The Gift of Death (Chicago); Alan D. Schrift, ed. The Logic of the Gift: Towards an Ethic of Generosity  (Routledge); Emmanuel Levinas, Collected Philosophical Papers  (Duquesne); Fred Botting and Scott Wilson ed. The Bataille Reader (Blackwell)
Particulars: One class presentation and one 15-20 page paper due at end of term

CPLT 751 003 "Mapping Memory: History, Culture, and the Brain"
Angelika Bammer & Hazel Gold
T 1-4PM
Max 5
[Cross-listed with ILA 790, MBC 700]
Content: This seminar explores the relationship between history (events that happened) and memory (how we remember those events) to explore the complex dynamics between past and present. How does the past shape how we live our present and how does the present, in turn, affect how we know the past? Why do we remember some aspects of the past and forget others? Is there an ethics to remembering and forgetting that we control? How are memories passed across generations and are they still memories when they become stories? We will explore questions like these through a range of diverse materials from the arts (film, literature, photography, music), humanities (history, cultural studies), social sciences (sociology, anthropology), and the biological and medical sciences (psychology, cognitive neuroscience). Through dialogue and collaboration across these different fields students will engage one another in discussions about methods, materials, rules of evidence that are normative in their fields, but don¿t necessarily translate easily into the work of other disciplines. In this way, this course will function as a kind of virtual lab for the kind of interdisciplinary and collaborative work that the study of memory arguably calls for.
Texts: Daniel Schacter¿s Searching for Memory: The Brain, the Mind, and the Past will serve as a framework for our inquiry. All other materials will be made available online through Emory¿s library reserve system. They will involve selections from among the following: (1) Memory and Trauma Studies (P. Connerton, C. Caruth, F. Yates, J. Young, R. Terdiman, M. Hirsch, N. Fresco, F. Nietzsche, J. Derrida, A. Margalit, P. Nora, M. Halbwachs); (2) Literature and the Arts (J.L. Borges, C. Friedman, P. Levi, D. DeLillo, J. Cercas, M. Mellibovsky, H. Kore-eda, G. del Toro, A. Folman, G. Kofman, S. Reich, J. Adams, D. McCullin, L. Saltzman, Sh. Attie, K. Walker, M. Lin, J. Gibbons, Z. Libera, D. Levinthal); (3) Psychology and Neuroscience (L. Barsalou, R. Fivush, S. Freud, D. Laub, R. Buckner & M. Wheeler, Ch. Menzel, S. Zola, L. Carver & P. Bauer).

A. Each week, students will submit a brief (c. 250 word) response to that week¿s materials, identifying the primary issue at stake and focusing on one of the texts to define (a) the problem addressed; (b) the methods and materials used to address it; (3) the findings/outcome that result. The response will include the student¿s assessment of the usefulness and/or success of the study in question.

B. Once during the semester, students will team up with others in the class to prepare a framework for that week¿s discussion, drawing on the materials assigned for that week.

C. Over the course of the semester, students will work collaboratively to design an interdisciplinary research project that addresses a problem of memory pertinent to the framework of the class. Each team will identify the problem their project addresses (which should be of sufficient scope and/or complexity to sustain a team-based, collaborative inquiry), the methods and materials used to address it (including how and why this particular problem calls for, and stands to benefit from, an interdisciplinary approach), and the projected outcome (including a critical assessment of the range of methods and materials used). Each student will contribute to the project from the vantage point of her/his particular field of specialization and will be responsible for executing a discrete part of the project in line with their training and expertise. This contribution can take any number of forms, from a scientific experiment through a creative art work or podcast to a conventional research paper. The course will conclude with a public presentation of these research projects.

CPLT 751 005 "Cannibalism in Caribbean Literature"
Valerie Loichot

W 1-4PM
Max 6
[Cross-listed with FREN 785 & ENG 789]
Content: In Martinican Creole, Mwen ké mangéw, ¿I¿m going to eat you,¿ refers both to the action of ingesting food, and to the sexual act. The seminar will examine the intersection between the primal act of eating, sexuality, and acts of colonization (of land, persons, and language), in a series of texts and films from or about the Caribbean in a Black Atlantic perspective. The following will be addressed: repercussions of slavery and colonialism on eating and sexuality; representations of black subjects as edible products (e.g. banania) or as deviant eaters (e.g. cannibals); culinary and erotic responses to colonial or racialist violence; food metaphors and nationalism; consumption and sexual tourism; closeted and reclaimed sexualities; literary cannibalism and textual authority; and ecocritical agencies.
Primary Texts (to be purchased):
  • Aimé Césaire. Notebook of a Return to the Native Land. Or Cahier d¿un retour au pays natal.
  • Suzanne Césaire. Great Camouflage. Or Le grand camouflage.
  • Maryse Condé. Story of the Cannibal Woman. Or Histoire de la femme cannibale.
  • Frantz Fanon. Black Skin, White Masks (2008 Philcox¿s translation only). Or Peau noire, masques blancs.
  • Jamaica Kincaid. A Small Place.
  • Dany Laferrière. How to Make Love to a Negro. Or, Comment faire l¿amour avec un Nègre sans se fatiguer.
  • Marie Vieux-Chauvet. Love, Anger, Madness. Or Amour, Colère, Folie.
Additional texts by Edwidge Danticat, Jack Forbes, Gobineau, Lafcadio Hearn, Édouard Glissant, Jean-Baptiste Labat, Audrey Lorde, Montaigne, Saint-Méry, among others, will be available on electronic reserve.
Films: Vers le Sud / Heading South (Cantet/Laferrière); Mange, ceci est mon corps / Eat, For This is my Body (Quay) / How Tasty Was my Little Frenchman (Pereira Dos Santos) / Bouillon d¿Awara/ Awara Soup (Paes) will be on reserve at the Woodruff Multimedia Library.
Particulars: The seminar will be taught in English. No knowledge of French is required. However, students reading French will be encouraged to do the readings and to write their papers in French. Students working on different linguistic zones of the Caribbean and the African Diaspora will have the opportunity to write their final paper on their respective linguistic area of studies in English or French. All texts will be available in English and French (if French is the text¿s original language).
Sustained participation, 3 1-2 page response papers on Blackboard, an in-class presentation, a 12-page research paper with annotated bibliography

CPLT 752R 000 "The Platonic Tradition: Ancient to Medieval"
Kevin Corrigan

W 10AM-1PM
Max 5
[Cross-listed with ILA 790 & PHIL 789]
Content: This course will examine some of the sources for the study of Plato, read several of the major middle Platonic dialogues, from the Symposium and Republic to the Timaeus, look at some passages from the later dialogues, examine Aristotle¿s Metaphysics Book 12 as a condensed introduction to Aristotle¿s thought in the context of its relation to Plato, and then show some of the power of ¿Platonic¿ thought, broadly conceived, in some late ancient authors, both pagan and Christian (such as Plotinus, Porphyry, Iamblichus,  Gregory of Nyssa, Proclus and Pseudo-Dionysius)  before concluding with an in-depth reading of selected passages from Bonaventure and Aquinas in the 13th Century.
Texts: TBA
Particulars: TBA

CPLT 752R 001 "Theories of Subjectivity"
Dalia Judovitz

T 1-4PM
Max 6
[Cross-listed with FREN 770, PHIL 789, PSP 789, & ILA 790]
Content: This course examines the emergence and consolidation of modern notions of subjectivity. It traces the radical shift from notions of self to subject, based on a new understanding of truth which also implies a new way of being in the world. Combining philosophical and literary approaches, we consider Montaigne¿s and d¿Urfée¿s elaborations of selfhood in terms of multiplicity, embodiment and embeddedness in the world. We follow with an analysis Descartes¿s elaboration of rational consciousness as a foundational moment for the development of modern metaphysics. At issue will be the relation of subjectivity to representation, the mind-body dualism, and the analogy of the body to a machine along with attendant philosophical critiques by Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, and Benveniste. We conclude with an examination of the literary manifestations of the Cartesian rationalist worldview as outlined through the crisis of signs and the problems implied in attempts to secure and master representation in Mme de Lafayette¿s La Princesse de Clèves.
Texts: Montaigne, ¿Of Experience,¿ and ¿On Some Verses of Virgil¿ in  Essays; d¿Urfée, L¿Astrée (selections); Descartes, The Discourse on the Method;  Heidegger, ¿The Age of the World Picture;¿ Merleau-Ponty, ¿The Cogito,¿ and ¿The Body as Expression and Speech¿ in The Phenomenology of Perception; Benveniste, ¿Of Subjectivity in Language;¿ Georges Canguilhem, ¿Machine and Organism;¿ Foucault, ¿The Prose of the World¿ and ¿Representing¿ in The Order of Things and ¿Technologies of the Self,¿ in Ethics; Mme de Lafayette¿s La Princesse de Clèves.
Particulars: TBA

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.