Comparative Literature Graduate Course Offerings

Spring 2010

CPLT 751R 006 Phenom & Concept of Experience

Elizabeth Goodstein and David Carr
W 6:00-9:00PM
[Cross-listed with ILA 790 and PHIL 789]

Content: What is experience? The concept of experience has played an important role in modern thought¿in  philosophy, but also in literature and culture more generally. Within philosophy, appeals to experience have defined diverse currents from British Empiricism through American Pragmatism to Phenomenology. But the term has been used to mean many things, from sensation to practical wisdom or even mystical visions. This ambiguity appears to call into question the philosophical value of appealing to ¿experience.¿

Yet this ambiguity is itself of considerable philosophical interest. By tracing a genealogy of phenomenological approaches to experience, we will ask whether a core meaning might be found that could provide a way out of this difficulty. At the same time, we will consider whether the nature of experience itself changes historically. If modern experience is importantly different from what preceded it, what are the philosophical implications?

Treating the meaning of experience historically will expose significant tensions within phenomenology. But understanding how historical and cultural circumstances have shaped experience also underlines the vitality and importance of the concept. Historical and philosophical inquiry may help us to explain why appeals to experience¿so important in philosophy up until the early twentieth century¿all but disappeared for several generations.

Texts: Readings will be chosen from the writings of thinkers such as Aristotle, Benjamin, Descartes, Dilthey, Freud, Hegel, Heidegger, Hume, Husserl, James, Kant, Koselleck, Montaigne, Musil, Simmel.

Particulars: One class presentation, a term-paper prospectus, and a term paper.

CPLT 751R 007 Introduction to Derrida

Geoffrey Bennington
T 1:00-4:00PM
Max 8
[Cross-listed with FREN 780 and PHIL 789]

Content: In this course we shall attempt to reconstruct the general movement of Derrida¿s thought.  In the first part of the course, we shall concentrate on texts from the 60s and 70s, with the aim of understanding fundamental Derridean notions such as différance, écriture, dissemination, texte and trace. In the second part, we shall look at some more recent work bearing on questions of ethics, politics and religion.  Although the class aims at a reasonably philosophical (rather than, say, `literary¿) understanding of Derrida, it also assumes that Derrida¿s thinking is not philosophy in any usual sense.  Prior knowledge of Derrida¿s work (or indeed of any other philosophy) is not necessary for this course.

Particulars: The course will be taught in English, and readings will be available in both French and English

CPLT 751R 008 Koltès

Claire Nouvet
M 1:00-4:00PM
Max 5
[Cross-listed with FREN 780]

Content: Bernard-Marie Koltès preferred the language of the deal to the language of feelings. Why? What does the language of the deal outline that the language of feelings covers up? As we shall see, Koltès uses the notion of the deal to problematize the very possibility of an exchange, to bring out the non-relation that subtends our so-called relationships. We will trace this problematic in Dans la solitude des champs de coton, Sallinger, and Roberto Zucco. Students will also be asked to attend the performance of Le jour des meurtres dans l¿histoire d¿Hamlet that will be given next semester by Seven Stages. The
course will be taught in English.

Texts: TBA

CPLT 751R 009 Subjectivity and Truth: Autobiography, Fate, Loss, and Literary Writing

Shoshana Felman
M 4:00-7:00PM
Max 9
[ENG 789, FREN 780 and ILA 790]

Content: ¿Death,¿ wrote Walter Benjamin, ¿is the sanction of everything that the storyteller can tell.  He has borrowed his authority from death.¿  In a different context, Paul de Man writes: ¿And to read is to understand, to question, to know, to forget, to erase, to repeat¿that is to say, the endless prosopopeia by which the dead are made to have a face and a voice...¿

The course will be reflecting on literary writing as bearing testimony to our lives, our losses, and our destinies, thus addressing why we write and why we read.  How, in creating a literary signature, do we (indirectly or directly) give an account of ourselves, in literature and criticism alike?

Texts: Studied texts will span, deliberately, across different literary genres, and will be selected from the following: Poems by Percy B Shelley, William Blake, Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud; Plays by Shakespeare (Hamlet), Oscar Wilde (An Ideal Husband), Bertolt Brecht (Life of Galileo); Novels by Mary Shelley (Frankenstein). Autobiographical Memoirs by Jean¿Jacques Rousseau (Confessions), Henry David Thoreau (Walden), Oscar Wilde (De Profundis), Plato (Apology).  Critical works by Walter Benjamin (¿The Storyteller¿), Michel Foucault, Barbara Johnson, and Paul de Man.

CPLT 751R 010 Rethinking Bakhtin

Bracht Branham
W 1:00-4:00PM
Max 4
[Cross-listed with PHIL 789, ILA 790 and ENG 789]

Content: For those students who are familiar enough with Bakhtin (and the Bakhtin Circle) to be interested in using them in their own research, this course is ideal.  For those who have no idea why Bakhtin (1895-1975) is considered one of the leading thinkers of the 20th century outside of the natural sciences, this is a chance to find out.  We will not attempt to survey all of the philosophical and literary terrain that he covered: e.g., Marxism and Russian Formalism; the critique of Freud; the Marburg School; Marxism and the Philosophy of Language; the studies of Dostoyevsky and Rabelais; ancient Menippea; the essays on the theory and history of the novel in The Dialogic Imagination; focal concepts such as those of the utterance, polyphony, the dialogic, the chronotope, carnival, etc.  Instead we will focus on key texts and passages and explore their ramifications with reference to the research projects developed by students.

I. Books by Bakhtin

Bakhtin, M. M. 1981. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays.Ed. M. Holquist. Trans. C.
Emerson and M. Holquist. University of Texas Press Slavic Studies, 1. Austin.
        1984a. Problems of Dostoeyevsky¿s Poetics. Trans. C. Emerson. Minneapolis.
        1984b. Rabelais and his World. Trans. H. Iswolsky. Bloomington.
        1986a. ¿K filosofii postupka¿ [¿Toward a Philosophy of the Act¿]. In Filosofiia i sotsiologiia nanki i tekhniki, Yearbook 1984-85, 80-160. Moscow.
         1986b. Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. Ed. C. Emerson and M. Holquist.
Trans. V. W. McGee. Austin.
Bakhtin, M. M., and P. N. Medvedev. 1985. The Formal Method in Literary Scholarship.
Cambridge, Mass.
Holquist, M., ed. 1990. Art and Answerability: Early Philosophical Essays by M. M. Bakhtin.
Voloshinov, V. N., 1973.  Marxism and the Philosophy of Language.  Trans. Ladislav Matejka
            and I. R. Titunik.  New York.
         1987.  Freudianism: A Critical Sketch. Trans. I. R. Titunik.  Bloomington, IN.

II. Books on Bakhtin and the Bakhtin Circle

Brandist, Craig. 2002. The Bakhtin Circle: Philosophy, Culture and Politics. London.
Clark, K., and M. Holquist. 1984. Mikhail Bakhtin. Cambridge, Mass.
Morson, G. S. and C. Emerson, eds. 1989. Rethinking Bakhtin: Extensions and Challenges.
               . 1990. Mikhail Bakhtin: Creation of a Prosaics. Stanford.
Shepherd, David, Craig Brandist, and Galin Talinov, eds. 2004  The Bakhtin Circle: In the
Master¿s Absence.  Manchester.

Todorov, T. 1984. Mikhail Bakhtin: The Dialogical Principle. Trans. Godzich. Minneapolis.

CPLT 751, Postwar French Writing: Blanchot, Bataille, Levinas

Jill Robbins

W 1:00-4:00PM
Max 18
[Cross-listed with FREN 780]




CPLT 751R Discerning Psychoses in Literature, Culture, and Society

Walter Kalaidjian
W 4:00-7:00PM
Max 3
[Cross-listed with ENG 789, ILA and WS]

Content: For this seminar, we will attend to representations of gender, race, and sexuality inflected by literary narratives of psychosis, delusion, and magical thinking in modern American fiction and poetry.  In particular, we will analyze and interpret such figures as Ernest Hemingway (The Garden of Eden), Hilda Doolittle (Tribute to Freud and Majic Ring), Djuna Barnes (Nightwood), Nella Larsen (Quicksand and Passing), Robert Lowell (Selected Poems), James Merrill (The Changing Light at Sandover), Patrick McGrath (Spider), Brenda Marie Osbey (All Saints), and Rivka Galchen (Atmospheric Disturbances).  Toward that end we will begin by exploring foundational theories, case studies, and controversies that bear on the psychoanalysis of both florid and ¿ordinary¿ psychoses including Freud¿s reading of Daniel Paul Schreber¿s Memoirs of My Nervous Illness, excerpts from Lacan¿s The Psychoses (Seminar III), essays by Melanie Klein and D. W. Winnicott, up through such contemporary theorists as Michel Foucault, Jacques-Alain Miller, Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, Willy Apollon, Françoise Davoine, Jean-Max Gaudillière, and Emily Martin among others.  Finally, we will consider cultural and ethnographic accounts of psychoses, examining contemporary popular narrative, graphic novels (David Small¿s Stitches), film, and recent societal symptoms of delusion in the public sphere.

Particulars: Requirements for this seminar include a short response paper, a research essay, and a presentation.

CPLT 751, Foucault

Lynne Huffer
T 9:00-12:00PM
Max 3
[Cross-listed with WS 585 and PHIL 789]

Content: For some decades now, it has been much easier to have a passionate opinion about Michel Foucault than a careful reading of him. He is a saint or a demon, a liberator or a desecrator, the heroic promoter of an agenda or the debauched prophet of despair. This seminar will be less concerned to foster impassioned uses of Foucault, or even to analyze his remarkable susceptibility to abuse, than it will be to think with and about some texts that bear his name. We will be particularly concerned with his Œethical¹ and Œpolitical¹ texts texts about the consequences of medicalizing madness or normalcy, about the powers coded into the category Œsexuality,¹ about ancient or contemporary alternatives to contemporary management of human life. Members of the seminar will be encouraged to connect their readings in Foucault with their own intellectual projects.

Particulars: Members of the seminar will be expected to read the assigned texts attentively and to discuss them constructively. They will also be asked to write two short exercises (5 pp. each) during the course of the semester and then a final paper (15-20 pp.) at its conclusion. There will be no examinations ¬ except for those imposed by Foucault.

Texts: The seminar will concentrate on texts by Foucault rather than by his interpreters. The major texts will include History of Madness, Abnormal, Discipline and Punish, History of Sexuality 1, and Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth.

CPLT 753 00P Teaching of Literature

Deborah Elise White
W 9:30-12:30PM
Max 10

Content: A seminar in pedagogy that meets the requirement of the graduate School's TATTO program for graduate students in Comparative Literature, this course prepares graduate students to teach comparative literature to undergraduates, particularly in Emory's Literature 110, Literature 201 and Literature 202. This seminar will focus on practical aspects of teaching as well as offering some consideration of theoretical questions surrounding pedagogy and controversies that have influenced the academy in recent years.  Our aim will be to achieve a balance between a pragmatic, `workshop¿ approach and more philosophical reflection on what it means to teach.  Topics covered may include: constructing a syllabus, technology in the classroom and the specific dynamics of teaching writing, poetry, literature in translation, novels, and literary theory. 

Texts: Readings to be made available through electronic reserve and the Comparative Literature Department. They will be drawn from works by (among others) Aronowitz, Barthes, De Man, and Readings.

Particular: Students will have several writing assignments geared to specific demands of teaching:  practice syllabi, paper topics, exam questions etc.  Each student will also offer a short ¿class¿ to the rest of the seminar.

*** Permission of instructor required for enrollment

CPLT 797R 01P  Directed Readings

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

CPLT 797R 02P  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.