Comparative Literature Graduate Course Offerings

Spring 2011

CPLT 751 000 Seminar in Genre/Criticism: Problems of Adaptation
Karla Oeler

W 1:00-4:00
Max 9
[Cross-listed with FILM 502]

(Screenings for this course will be held on Monday from 6:00-8:00PM)

Content: From the time of D.W. Griffith to that of Gilles Deleuze, filmmakers, critics, and theorists have sought for ways to show interiority on film.  For Griffith, this meant the unspoken thoughts and feelings of his characters.  For others¿Eisenstein, Astruc, Godard¿it also means conceptual thought independent of character and narrative, ¿film that thinks,¿ in Godard¿s words.  To Paul Valéry, who argued that cinema takes us away from the life of the mind, Siegfried Kracauer countered that it has the potential return us there, with renewed insistence on our particular placement in the world rather than in an abstract realm outside and above.  This class approaches the questions and problems surrounding inwardness and film by looking at the ways in which cinema has ¿adapted¿ not specific texts, but literary genres (lyric poetry, autobiography, the essay) and devices (free indirect discourse, interior monologue, soliloquy) that were developed to realize interiority.  Attention to these forms will open onto a discussion of cinematic, and intellectual history.  We will watch films by Aleksandr Dovzhenko, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Sergei Parajanov, Stan Brakhage, Derek Jarman, John Cassavetes, Andrei Tarkovsky, Bill Douglas, and Jean-Luc Godard among others.   

Texts: Roland Barthes, Mythologies (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1972);
Everything else will be on online reserve

Paticulars: Students are required to attend all seminars and screenings.  Grades will be based on seminar participation, one 30-minute in-class presentation, and a final research paper of approximately 15 pages.

CPLT 751 001 Phenomenology of Jean-Luc Marion
Andrea White
W 1:00-4:00
Max 3
[Cross-listed with RTLS 740 FREN 780]

Content: Jean-Luc Marion (1946-), an historian of modern philosophy, phenomenologist and a philosopher of religion, ¿has secured his place among the top rank of twentieth-century philosophers.¿  Scholars of French phenomenology, literature and theology will find his work in the philosophy of disclosure compelling as he rethinks the nature of selfhood and the human-divine relation.  His philosophy of the third way revises, redirects and goes beyond metaphysics, onto-theology and Husserlian phenomenology to offer a philosophy of givenness, a phenomenology of revelation and the erotic reduction.  The course will investigate the relationship between deconstruction and phenomenology as it examines Marion¿s phenomenology of love as a critique of Levinasian ethics and his philosophy of givenness as a critique of Derrida¿s economy of the gift.  The course will address Mairon¿s phenomenology of the other along with its accompanying questions of intersubjectivity, the flesh that eludes all relation, and the saturated phenomenon in all its everydayness.  The course will explore the themes of givenness and God and the ¿counter-experiences¿ of gift, excess and love.  A study of Marion¿s major works will give special consideration to the relationship between discourses of phenomenology and theology: theology at the limits of phenomenology; the possibility of ¿religion without religion¿ that does not reduce religion to ethics (as in Kant, Levinas and Derrida); the question of God and the so-called ¿theological turn¿ in French phenomenology; and the ¿postmetaphysical¿ critique in postmodern religious thought.

CPLT 751 002 Figures of Interpretation: Augustine and Spinoza
Jill Robbins
W 1:00-4:00
Max 10
[Cross-listed with RLTS 700]

Content: This seminar is concerned with questions in hermeneutics and the relationship between biblical, philosophical and literary theories of interpretation.  It centers on two figures central to the history of the interpretation of scripture, Augustine and Spinoza. Todorov has contrasted 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.
Todorov¿s contrast has a certain legitimacy, particularly 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 also occludes what Gadamer calls the dogmatic basis for this kind of position, namely, the belief in reason. How close indeed is Spinoza to the contemporary interpreter of scripture, especially to one who is interested in literary textuality? What would it mean to look for resources in Augustine beyond the onto-theological tradition? The seminar seeks throughout to make explicit the implicit assumptions about the hermeneutical task underlying particular interpretations of scripture, including our own.

Texts: Include Augustine, Confessions, Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, Heidegger, The Phenomenology of Religious Life, Spinoza, Treatise on the Reform of the Understanding, Spinoza, Theologico-Political Treatise.  Supplementary readings by Ricoeur, Bultmann, Dilthey and Derrida.

CPLT 751 003 The Philosophy and Literature of Cynicism: Ancient and Modern
Bracht Branham
F 1:00-4:00
Max 4
[Cross-listed with PHIL 789, ILA 790 and ENG 789]

Content: The purpose of this seminar is to investigate the origins and nature of the Cynic movement in antiquity and its reception in Renaissance and modern Europe. We will focus initially on the primary sources for the Dog-philosophers (e.g., Diogenes Laertius, Lucian, Plutarch, Dio Chrysostom, et al.), the most influential figures in the movement (Antisthenes, Diogenes, Crates, Menippus) and the peculiar place of the Cynics within Greek culture (including its role in the invention of Stoicism). The rest of the course will be devoted to exploring the ideological, literary and cultural ramifications of Cynicism in a variety of contexts from the Renaissance to the twentieth century: 1) the response to Cynicism in the works of the Renaissance Humanists, Diderot, Nietzsche and Foucault; 2) Cynic literary forms such as Menippean satire, satiric dialogue and aphorism; and 3) the Cynic philosophy of laughter will provide central points of reference. In general we will be asking: What made Cynicism the most influential branch of the Socratic tradition in antiquity? Why has it become an object of contemporary interest in Nietzsche, Sloterdijk and Foucault? No previous knowledge of Greek philosophy is required. Greek, Latin, French, German or Italian is useful, but the basic texts are available in bilingual editions. D. R. Dudley's A History of Cynicism (recently re-issued in paperback by Ariel) provides a good introduction to the ancient traditions.

Texts: D. R. Dudley, A History of Cynicism (Cambridge 1937) rpt. Duckworth; R. B. Branham and M. O. Goulet-Caze, eds., The Cynics: The Cynic Movement in Antiquity and Its Legacy (Berkeley 1996);
M. Foucault, Fearless Speech (ed. J Pearson; Semiotext[e]); Diogenes Laertius, Loeb Classical Library vol. II (Cambridge, Mass. 1970); Diderot, Rameau¿s Nephew (Penguin)

CPLT 751 004 Modern Theories of Mind: From Austin to Autism
and A.I.
Michael Moon/Elizabeth Wilson
W 1:00-4:00
Max 4
[Cross-listed with ILA 790 and WS 585]

Content: The goal of this course is to equip students with a clearer understanding, both historically and methodologically, of several different ways in which embodied mental life has been represented, described, and analyzed in the modern era.  The course will canvass a variety of disciplines and genres ranging from literary fiction (Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Jack London) to evolutionary theory (Charles Darwin), psychology, philosophy (William James, Pierre Janet) and AI, as well as recent studies of the education of such celebrated figures as the two blind-and-deaf women Helen Keller and Laura Bridgman.  Theory of mind is a domain of study most closely associated with the work of Anglo-American analytic philosophy.  The topics and readings in this course bring other traditions of mind to the fore; setting the stage for theories of mind that are more expansively embodied, that consider mind beyond the limits of cognition or adulthood or human flesh, and that take culture and interpersonal relatedness to be a necessary part of the formation of mind.

CPLT 751 005 From Simmel to Adorno
Elizabeth Goodstein
TH 9:00-12:30
Max 4
[Cross-listed with PHIL 789 and ILA 790]

Content: In recent years, the sociologist and philosopher of culture Georg Simmel (1858-1918) has been discovered and rediscovered by scholars in a wide range of fields. He has been lauded as a theorist of modernity¿and as post-modernist avant la lettre. His writings provide a seemingly inexhaustible source of brilliant aperçus for literary scholars, philosophers, and social scientists in search of insightful observations from the previous fin-de-siècle, and his remarks on fashion, on femininity, on the intricacies of social life, on the metropolis, are ubiquitous. However, the oft-touted Simmel renaissance has not necessarily resulted in sustained engagement with his work. His magnum opus, the Philosophy of Money, remains high on the list of famous yet unread books, and his considerable influence on twentieth-century thought remains largely invisible. Simmel¿s own prediction that his legacy would be ¿like one in cold cash,¿ invested ¿according to the nature of the heirs¿ in diverse undertakings that rendered its origin unrecognizable, proved all too accurate. In this seminar, we will, therefore, read Simmel and his more famous students and interlocutors¿Lukács, Kracauer, Benjamin, Adorno¿in an attempt to discern Simmel¿s influence and to understand the reasons he has remained on the margins of intellectual history.

As a writer, Simmel was a modernist in the broadest sense, an elegant stylist with intellectual interests that spanned the full range of high and low modern culture. His highly aesthetic mode of theorizing in essayistic tours de force that leap dizzyingly from idea to idea embodies a modernist commitment to self-reflection upon the significance of form. Simmel conceived of modern ¿forms of life¿ as both empirical objects and manifestations of more profound realities. Through theoretical syntheses centered on topoi such as sociability, travel, and urban life, he developed a modernist philosophical perspective that links the historical process of objectification to the modes of experience it produces. His approach¿as much style of thought as hermeneutic method¿brought the concerns of the German philosophical tradition into conversation with modern cultural realities. It is an approach that resonates in the writings of the better-known philosophers and cultural critics who were his students and readers. The goal of this seminar is both to give Simmel his rightful place in the intellectual history of modern thought and to explore the potential of his interdisciplinary method for integrating symbolic and empirical dimensions in the analysis of cultural phenomena in our own time.

CPLT 751 006 Ecocriticism and Ecological Thought
John Johnston
W 1:00-4:00
Max 8
[Cross-listed with ENG 789]

Content: An acute awareness that human actions are seriously damaging the earth's basic life support systems --and the consensus in the scientific community is that this damage will soon become irreversible-- gives new weight and urgency to current reflections on how American society and indeed the human species can and even must learn to live responsibly within the complex mesh of living beings that inhabit the planet.  Ecocriticism and green studies have emerged in large part as a response to this mounting sense of ecological crisis.
The purpose of this course is to explore not only ecocritical and related interdisciplinary perspectives like animal studies but what Tim Morton calls ecological thought.  We shall first become acquainted with the basic terms and concepts of ecology and the typical themes (like the representation of nature) taken up in ecocriticism and green studies; we then will consider a selection of short literary texts chosen by the seminar participants (obvious examples are Shakespeare, romantic poetry, nature writing) within an ecocritical frame.  Our readings will then expand across additional institutional frameworks, from anthropology, philosophy and holistic science to questions of the viability of our economic system and what role new technologies can play in reversing current environmentally destructive practices. Throughout the course, however, we shall be mindful of the overriding question of sustainability:  what course of action can lead to a more viable future for life on this planet? 

Texts: The Ecocriticism Reader, ed. Glotfelty and Fromm  
The Green Studies Reader, ed. Laurence Coup
Ecology: Key Concepts in Critical Theory, ed. Carolyn Merchant
The Future of Environmental Criticism: Environmental Crisis and Literary Imagination, Lawrence, Buell
Ecology without Nature: Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics, Timothy Morton
Sense of Place and Sense of Planet: The Environmental Imagination of the Global, Ursula Heise
When Species Meet, Donna Haraway
The Revenge of Gaia, James Lovelock
Whole Earth Discipline, Stewart Brand
The Sustainability Revolution: Portrait of a Paradigm Shift, Andres R. Edwards

Particulars: Every student will be expected to present a short ecocritical analysis of a text in class. A critical essay of 18-20 pages will also be due at the end of the semester.

CPLT 751 007 Topics in Philosophy
John Lysaker
W 2:00-5:00
[Cross-listed with PHIL 789]

Content: We will focus on the ¿work¿ of art, exploring its operations and import from the perspectives of Emerson, Heidegger, Adorno, and Dewey. Much of the course will involve close, textual work towards the end of sorting through the different views espoused by these thinkers. (The course is more or less an agon wherein these views can contest one another.) Simultaneously, we will explore the ways in which philosophy accesses and thematizes art works and, more generally, aesthetic experience. Taking a cue from Adorno, we will consider whether aesthetic theory should also be aesthetic theory. (In this sense, the course is an extended meditation on how aesthetics as a kind of inquiry should be practiced.)

Texts: Emerson, ¿The Poet¿ (any unabridged version will do; number the ¶¶); Heidegger, ¿The Origin of the Work of Art¿ (from Basic Writings: revised edition); ¿What Are Poets For?¿ & ¿¿poetically man dwells¿¿ (from Poetry, Language, and Thought);
Adorno, Aesthetic Theory;
Dewey, Art as Experience

Particulars: Each student will be asked to give two presentations, one of which must be written up as a short paper. Students must also write a term paper on a topic approved by the instructor. Full participation in all discussions is also expected.

CPLT 751 008 Exile and Flight
Jose Quiroga
T 4:00-7:00
Max 7
[cross-listed with ILA 790, SPAN 597, WS 585]

Content: This course is an open inquiry on the notion of escape from the conflicting norms of writing and representation, taking as a point of departure certain ¿Latin American¿ texts that have dismantled categories of representation  that could deterritorialize the notion of ¿Latin American¿ literature in itself¿whether in terms of content, context and form, or by focusing on gender and marginalities.   By themselves, each of these texts exercise their right to interrupt the discourse of tradition by positing a new beginning. As a whole, they defy any attempt at placing them withing a common geographical canon. They are episodes of a cosmopolitanism that always validates uprootedness within the very notion of a sense of place.

Texts: Borges. A Universal History of Iniquity. (Trans. Andrew Hurley) Penguin Classics, 2004), ISBN: 978-0142437896

Arenas. Singing from the Well. Trans. Andrew Hurley [New York: Penguin Press, ) ISBN: 0-14-00.9444 X]

Arenas, Reinaldo. The Color of Summer. (Trans. Andrew Hurley), (New York, Penguin, 2000) (ISBN: 0-14-01.5719-0)

Sarduy, Severo. Cobra and Maitreya: Two novels. Trans. Suzanne Jill Levine (Dalkey Archive Press, 1995) ISBN: 1-56478-076-7.

Sarduy, Severo. Written on a Body (Trans. Carol Maier),  (New York: Lumen Books, 1989) (ISBN: 0-930829-04-2)

Manuel Puig. Betrayed by Rita Hayworth (Dalkey Archive Press, 2009) Trans. Suzanne Jill Levine,  (ISBN: 978-1-5678-530-5)

Mario Bellatin. Beauty Salon [Trans. Kurt Hollander] (San Francisco: City Lights, 2009) ISBN: 978-0-87286-473-3

Diamela Eltit. The Fourth World (Trans. Dick Gerdes) (University of Nebraska Press, 1995), ISBN 978-0803267237)

Bolaño, Nazi Literature in the Americas.  (Chris Andrews, trans.) San Francisco: New Directions, 2009) (ISBN: 978-0811217941

Bolaño, Roberto: The Last Interview. Trans. Sybil Perez) (Melville House, 2009) ISBN: 978-1933633831)

José Donoso. Hell Hath no Limits. (Suzanne Jill Levine, Trans.) (Green Integer Press, 1999), (ISBN: 978-1892295149).

CPLT 751 00P The Body and The Stage: From Tragedy to Comedy and Back
Shoshana Felman
M 4:00-7:00
Max 5
[Cross-listed with FREN 780, ENG 789, PSP 789 and ILA 790]

This course is for permission only by the department.

Content: The course will try to pose the question:  What does it mean to be a player (in life, and in the world)?  How is the question staged differently in Tragedy, and in Comedy? We will view the stage as a space of intersection between the private and the public, between the individual and the collective, between the sacred and the secular, as well as a space of exchange between illusion and reality, reason and madness, consciousness and the unconscious (¿the other scene¿, in Freudian terms). 

We will examine thus the interactions among space, language and gesture, and the use of the speaking body on the stage, in investigating the relationship between the theatrical and the historical/ political/ / psychoanalytic drama. 

Texts: Theories of theater, world stage and bodily performance (selected texts among: Aristotle, Freud, Marx, Antonin Artaud,  Walter Benjamin, Jean-Paul Sartre, Roland Barthes, Michail Bakhtine), and close reading of seminal and epoch-making playwrights (Aeschylos, Sophocles, Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Bertolt Brecht, Beckett).

CPLT 752R 00P Studies in Twentieth-Century American Literature: Archives of Modernity
Walter Kalaidjian
TH 1:00-4:00
[Cross-listed with ENG 752R]

Content: What is an archive? Where is it located?   How do archives operate retrospectively and prospectively to shape modern  literary textuality?  In taking up such questions, this seminar will  review archival theory, practices, and institutions.  In particular, we  will consider recent recovery projects in American literary modernism that read  twentieth-century American verse against the historic and transatlantic  contexts of its material production.  Specifically, we will study the  roles that first editions, anthologies, little magazines, ephemera, broadsides,  exhibitions, avant-garde happenings, salons, galleries, bookstores, political  movements, and popular culture play in the makeup and reception of modern  American verse:  taking into account the nexus of aesthetic and social  production in the modern women¿s movement, the Harlem Renaissance, the American  labor movement, and other emergent countercultural tendencies such as the Beat  scenes in New York and San Francisco.  For example, we will examine the  formation of American modernism through the editorial collaborations of, say,  Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap, Hilda Doolittle and Annie Winifred Ellerman,  Alain Locke and Langston Hughes, Harriet Monroe and Ezra Pound, Max Eastman and  Claude McKay, Diane Di Prima and Amiri Baraka. Beyond engaging close readings  of canonical and emerging poetry, the seminar will employ the resources of the  Raymond Danowski Poetry Library and MARBL collections in the Harlem Renaissance  and African-American material culture generally.

Particulars: Assignments will include a short response essay, a research essay, and a short  presentation of the research essay.

CPLT 751 01P Freud's Interpretation of Dreams
Peter Rudnytsky
TH 9:00-12:00
Max 3
[Cross-listed with PSP 789, ENG 789 and ILA 790]

Content: This seminar will focus on the most pivotal period of Freud¿s intellectual development, the years following the death of his father in 1896 in which he undertook his self-analysis and wrote his magnum opus, The Interpretation of Dreams.  Using Joyce Crick¿s translation of the first edition, we will pursue a close reading of Freud¿s dream book in order to gain an understanding of his theory in its original conception and to explore its embeddedness in the subjective context of his life.  We will likewise read other key texts from this period, including Freud¿s autobiographical papers, ¿The Psychical Mechanism of Forgetfulness¿ and ¿Screen Memories,¿ On Dreams, and selected chapters of The Psychopathology of Everyday Life.  A particular concern of the seminar will be with the thesis of Peter Swales that Freud engaged in a love affair with his sister-in-law, Minna Bernays, in the summer of 1900, evidence for which can be found in Freud¿s texts as well as in the testimony of Carl Jung.  To situate Freud¿s creation of psychoanalysis in its cultural setting, we will rely principally on Larry Woolf¿s Child Abuse in Freud¿s Vienna: Postcards from the End of the World.

CPLT 751 Experimental Texts
Anna Grimshaw/Angelika Bammer
M 1:00-4:00
Max 1
[Cross-listed with ILA 790, WS, ENG, REL, ANT]

Content: Recent developments in American higher education¿the increasing emphasis on inter-disciplinarity, the so-called ¿crisis¿ of academic publishing, the call for more attention to public scholarship, and the emergence of new fields of scholarly inquiry¿have put pressure on the forms in which scholarship is presented. While such pressure is sometimes experienced negatively, as a problem, it also presents a productive occasion for innovation and creativity. New forms emerge from within given fields themselves as well as from encounters across fields. In this spirit of discovery and experimentation, we will explore challenges to established forms of academic representation. Drawing on a series of case studies, we will examine ways of pursuing intellectual inquiry that extend beyond the conventional academic text. In particular, we will consider experiments in writing (e.g. personal memoir, dialogue, the essay, diary) and in image-based forms (the photo-essay, film and CD Rom).

The goal of this course is twofold: 1. Students will learn to critically assess the possibilities and limitations of conventional forms of scholarly presentation in their own fields; 2. They will learn to explore new forms of scholarly presentation relevant to their work.

Texts: A selection will be made from the following list: Coover, Roderick. Cultures in Webs: Working in Hypermedia with the Documentary Image (1991-2003); Dwyer, Kevin. Moroccan Dialogues: Anthropology in Question (1982); Dyer, Geoff. Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling with D.H. Lawrence (1997); MacDougall, David. The Doon School Series [Doon School Chronicles: A Study in 10 Parts (2000) and The Age of Reason (2004)]; Said, Edward and Jean Mohr. After the Last Sky: Palestinian Lives (1999); Steedman, Carolyn. Landscape for a Good Woman: A Story of Two Lives (1986); Stewart, Kathleen, Ordinary Affects (2007); Trinh T. Minh-ha, When the Moon Waxes Red: Representation, Gender, and Cultural Politics (1991); Williams, Patricia L. The Alchemy of Race and Rights: Diary of a Law Professor (1991)

Particulars: Assessment will be based on class presentations, critical writing and an assignment that demonstrates the student¿s own experimentation with a non-conventional academic form.

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 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.