Comparative Literature Graduate Course Offerings

Fall 2019

CPLT 735 1P "Composition Practicum"
David Fisher
Max 6
[Crosslisted with ENG 791]
Content: This course provides an opportunity for you to design (and practice teaching) engaging writing courses that help students achieve the learning outcomes for Emory’s first-year writing program. You will participate in a number of activities central to post-secondary instruction in composition, including outcomes generation and customization, assignment and syllabus development, and scoring guide/rubric development and application. You will respond to sample student papers and conduct lessons and activities that integrate the texts you have selected. You will also observe and reflect on the classroom practices of a peer teaching a first-year course and your own teaching performance (via video capture). These activities are informed by praxis-oriented readings selected to broaden your knowledge of writing instruction in the first-year course and across the curriculum.

By the time you finish this course, you should be able to

* Describe the importance of “rhetorical conceptualization” and integrate a rhetorical lexicon into your course.
* Describe the significance of portfolio teaching and portfolio thinking for writing instruction and incorporate a semester-long portfolio project into your course.
* Develop assignments and lessons that enable multilingual speakers to leverage their language abilities and experiences.
* Practice traits of a reflective instructor by evaluating and improving upon what you learn from planning and delivering lessons.
* Develop process-oriented strategies for teaching students to write in various genres and modes about complex ideas and reading materials.
* Use writing to help students practice various critical thinking skills (e.g., analysis, synthesis, critique, interpretation, exemplification, definition, problem solving, and evaluation).
* Apply techniques that involve students in meaningful collaboration (e.g., peer review).
* Respond helpfully to student writing and develop valid grading tools (e.g., rubrics/scoring guides).
* Participate constructively in programmatic assessment activities.
* Develop short proposals for internally funded pedagogical grants.
Texts: TBA
Particulars: TBA
NOTE: Permission-only course.

CPLT 750R 1 "Literary Theories"
Geoffrey Bennington
Th 1-4PM
Max 10
[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 1 "The Work of Memory"
Angelika Bammer

T 10AM-1PM
Max 3
[Crosslisted with HIST 585 & PSP 789]
Content: This course will review some of the key texts and concepts in the emerging field of Memory Studies, with particular emphasis on the connections (and tensions) between history (what happened) and memory (what is remembered and how). In this context, we will explore some of the terms in which memory is talked about, including the distinctions between public, collective, social or cultural, memory, on the one hand, and private, personal, or autobiographical, memory, on the other hand. We will consider the political, ethical, social, aesthetic, and psychological dimensions of remembering – and its counterpart, forgetting – and consider some of the ways in which perspectives and approaches from the field of Memory Studies might offer useful analytical and hermeneutic tools for our work. Along the way, we will attend to some of the ways that the humanities and the natural sciences approach the study of memory differently to ask if and how dialogue across these fields can be generative.
  1. Connerton, Paul. How Societies Remember. Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 0-521-27093-6
  2. Nietzsche, Friedrich. On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life. Hackett Publishing Co. ISBN: 0-915144-94-8
  3. Loraux, Nicole. Mothers in Mourning. Cornell University Press. ISBN: 0-8014-8242-9
  4. Halbwachs, Maurice. On Collective Memory. University of Chicago Press. ISBN: 0-226-11596-8
  5. Schachter, Daniel. Searching for Memory: The Brain, the Mind, and the Past. Basic Books.ISBN: 0-465-07552-5
Recommended: Terdiman, Richard. Present Past: Modernity and the Memory Crisis. Cornell University Press. ISBN: 0-8014-8132-5
  • Weekly responses to readings (in either analytical or creative form).
  • A semester project will identify a problem in the field of Memory Studies of particular relevance to each student’s research interests. Students will select materials and methods conducive to an exploration of this problem and choose a meaningful form in which to present their findings.

CPLT 751 2 "Postcolonial Caribbean Thought"
Sean Meighoo
W 1-4PM
Max 12
Given the complicated history of colonialism in the Caribbean, it seems a rather futile attempt to identify a “postcolonial Caribbean” as such.  Some Caribbean nations have been “postcolonial” for a century or two, others have been postcolonial for a few decades, and some territories have never been postcolonial at all.  In this graduate seminar, we will focus on Caribbean thought from the closing decades of the twentieth century to the present.  Considering the significant intellectual contributions to postcolonial theory by various Caribbean thinkers, we will address the question of whether the Caribbean itself might be approached as a postcolonial, postmodern, or even “postcreole” cultural space.
  • Antonio Benítez-Rojo, The Repeating Island: The Caribbean and the Postmodern Perspective, trans. James E. Maraniss, 2nd ed. (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1996), ISBN 9780822318651
  • Coco Fusco, English Is Broken Here: Notes on Cultural Fusion in the Americas (New York: New Press, 1995), ISBN 9781565842458
  • Édouard Glissant, Poetics of Relation, trans. Betsy Wing (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997), ISBN 9780472066292
  • Richard D.E. Burton, Afro-Creole: Power, Opposition, and Play in the Caribbean (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997), ISBN 9780801483257
  • Carolyn Cooper, Noises in the Blood: Orality, Gender, and the “Vulgar” Body of Jamaican Popular Culture (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995), ISBN 9780822315957
  • David Scott, Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004), ISBN 9780822334446
  • Four (4) response papers (3-4 pp. each, 40% total)
  • Long essay (15-20 pp., 40%)
  • Attendance and participation (20%)

CPLT 751 3 "Fictions of Photography"
Elissa Marder

T 1-4PM
Max 20
[Crosslisted with FREN 775R & PSP 789]
Content: Since its invention in 1839, photography has been a source of fascination, reflection, inspiration, and revulsion for many nineteenth and twentieth century thinkers and writers.  Because the medium of photography has the capacity to record images that are not available to the naked eye and to preserve and repeat them indefinitely, photography has given rise to many powerful written reflections about mourning, memory, time, history, fantasy, ghosts, death, and desire.  In this course, we will examine a selection of literary, philosophical, and theoretical texts to help us think about how photographic writing affects our understanding of images, events, the imagination, and history.
Texts: Readings may include literary works by: Baudelaire, Balzac, Champfleury, Maupassant, Nadar, Edgar Allan Poe, Rodenbach, Villiers de L’Isle Adam, Proust, Cixous, and Marguerite Duras and philosophical/critical works by Roland Barthes, Walter Benjamin, Susan Sontag, and Jacques Derrida.
Particulars: TBA

CPLT 751 4 "Theories of Technicity: Marx, Heidegger, Derrida, Simondon, Kittler"
John Johnston

M 1-4PM
Max 10
Content: In this course we will explore four lines of thinking about technology, technicity, technics and biotechnology. We will begin with close readings of Heidegger’s key texts on technology, giving particular attention to his notions of Gestell (‘enframing”) and Bestand (“standing reserve”) and his critical (mis)understanding of cybernetics. We then turn to some of Derrida’s critical readings of Heidegger as well as to Derrida’s own concepts of “originary technicity”, “artifactualities” and “tele-technologies”. Next, we will explore a less known path opened by Gilbert Simondon in his two books, On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects and Psychic and Collective Individuation. As these titles suggest, Simondon considers individual technical objects and (human) identities as concretions in a dynamic, metastable process of becoming, rather than as static entities in themselves. A third path we will explore –that of Friedrich Kittler—interweaves the influences of Lacan, Foucault and Marshal McLuhan in order to define the subject of new media as a psychic apparatus constituted by processing information, thus anticipating the “subject” of Big Data. Finally, we will consider the inaugural founding of modern biotechnology and its marriage to capitalism in the formation of Genentech, a corporation which in 1976 began to sell insulin harvested from genetically modified bacteria. Finally, we examine the repercussions of CRSPR, a powerful new genome- editing tool that makes it possible not only to correct genetic deficiencies but to alter and even create new species.
Texts: TBA
Particulars: One class presentation and a 15-20 page essay. 

CPLT 751 5 "The Problem of Life & the Philosophy of Life"
Elizabeth Goodstein

T 1-4PM
Max 5
[Cross-listed with ENG ? & PHIL 789]
Content: Philosophical inquiries into the meaning of life are nothing new. But in modernity the category of life became a problem in new ways, and in the interim, the technoscientific developments that have transformed everyday life have altered our relations to life itself. In an era of artificial intelligence and synthetic biology, questions about life center less on its definition, interpretation, and proper conduct than on its malleability, manipulability, reproducibility, and indeed technological producibility. This course will inquire into the philosophical but also historical and cultural significance of this transformation in the meaning of life in the Anthropocene through a genealogy that begins with Aristotle’s epoch-making de Anima. Our principal focus will be the so-called “philosophies of life” that emerged in the latter part of the nineteenth century and the question of their proximity to and distance from contemporary modes of thinking life. We will also consider philosophical, historical, and cultural readings of both the problem of life and the philosophy of life.
Texts: Reading may include Adorno, Agamben, Arendt, Bachelard, Bergson, Canguilhem, Dilthey, Esposito, Foucault, Freud, Hayles, Heidegger, James, Klages, Lukacs, Nietzsche, Plessner, Rose, Simmel, and Thacker
Particulars: Presentations and substantial original paper.

CPLT 751 6 "Black Feminist Poethetics and Critical Imagination"
Calvin Warren
Max 6
[Crosslisted with WGSS 585 & PHIL 789]
Content: Can we imagine black existence without reason, the transparent subject, formalized schemes of knowledge, and being? What is the destructive and reconstructive potential of blackness—as contaminant, plenum, and para-ontology? Must blackness destroy mathematical formalism or perfect its operations to address the “mathematics of the unliving”? What is the function of (un)gendering in shattering time/space, displacing life/death, and reshaping scientific inquiry? How might black artistic production help us decolonize thought and confront epistemic warfare? Black Feminist Poethetics address these difficult inquiries with analytic rigor, capacious imagination, and eclectic methodologies. The seminar foregrounds black feminist poethetics’ contribution to black study and recent developments in continental philosophy. Black art, poetry, literature, and music will guide our exploration into the complexity, exorbitance, and joy of this field.
Texts: The seminar engages work from Denise Ferreira da Silva, Katherine McKittrick, Sylvia Wynter, Christina Sharpe, Amber Musser, Saidiya Hartman, Fred Moten, Nahum Chandler, David Marriott, Alain Badiou, Giorgio Agamben, Catherine Malabou, among others.
Particulars: Please note: this is not an introduction to theory. Prior knowledge of theory and/or philosophy is required.

CPLT 751 ? "Literature on the Alert"
Claire Nouvet
W 4:15-7:15PM
[Crosslisted with FREN 770]
Content: To be on the alert implies not only foreboding in the face of danger, but also vigilance, an awakening of sorts, a warning even. Literature can be on the alert in all of those senses insofar as it is attentive to a “mal,” an affliction, that confronts language to its very limits. As we shall see, the poetry of the troubadours alerts us to the presence of “something” that, as Lacan pointed out, is not an object, but something else entirely and much more terrifying, which turns poetry into an infinite address and romances into an endless quest. Elevated through idealization or degraded into comical obscenity, this “something” can also make its presence felt as an enigmatic sickness, a devastating malaise at the core of the literary space. As it attends to these afflictions, literature can become a strange wake-up call that breaks through everyday slumber to transmit what Julien Gracq called “something like a far-away alarm.”
-- Troubadours (selections)
-- Guillaume de Lorris: Le roman de la rose
-- Chrétien de Troyes: Perceval ou le Conte du Graal
-- Villon (selections)
-- Robert Desnos: A la mystérieuse
-- Gracq: Le rivage des syrtes-- Lacan: Ethique de la psychanalyse (selections)
Particulars: TBA.

CPLT 752 1 "Freud for the Liberal Arts"
Robert Paul

T 1-4PM
[Cross-listed with PSP 789, MBC 700, PHIL 789, & ENG 789]
Content: Freud created the theory and technique of psychoanalysis on the basis of his clinical treatment of the so-called “transference neuroses”, that is, hysteria, phobia, and obsessional neurosis.  It was not long, however, before this highly educated and well-read man turned his psychoanalytic gaze onto a wide range of human phenomena besides the neuroses.  Among the topics to which he turned his attention were such fields as art, literature, religion, anthropology, social critique, biography, everyday life, jokes, humor, creativity, and many more.   Rather than dealing with Freud’s well-known writings on clinical topics, his case studies, or is essays on aspects of psychology more generally, this course will instead focus on reading (some of) the very extensive and varied corpus of Freud’s contributions to what used to be called “applied psychoanalysis” but which may more accurately be described as “psychoanalysis and the liberal arts”.
Texts: TBA.
Particulars: TBA

CPLT 797R 1-SUP  Directed Readings
By permission of the Director.  Please contact the Program Office (N101 Callaway) for more information.

CPLT 798R 1  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 1  Dissertation Research
By permission of the Director.  Please contact the Program Office (N101 Callaway) for more information.