Comparative Literature Graduate Course Offerings

Spring 2012

CPLT 751 000 "Contemporary Film & Media Theory"
Karla Oeler

Max 3
MWF 9:35-10:25AM (lectures); Tu 8-10PM (screenings)
[Crosslisted with FILM 582]

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 screenings, short paper (5-7-page), final exam.


CPLT 751 001 "Primal Scenes: Psychoanalysis, Literature, and the Limits of the Human"
Elissa Marder
W 1:00-4:00
Max 15
[Cross-listed with FREN 780, PSP 789]

Content: In this course, we shall examine how psychoanalysis both establishes and challenges the boundaries of the human.  Beginning with a close reading of Freud¿s The Interpretation of Dreams, we shall explore how Freud¿s derives the specificity of the human unconscious (via the complex operations of the dream-work) by turning to literary language, theatrical spaces and events, and technological operations.  Throughout the course, we will focus on the Freudian conception of the `primal scene¿ as a way of examining how psychoanalytic theory challenges traditional conceptions of temporality, repetition, sexuality and desire, writing, mourning, cruelty, and the status of the historical event. Texts may include: The Interpretation of Dreams (Freud); Freud¿s case histories (including `Dora,¿ `The Wolf-Man¿, `The Rat-Man,¿ `Little Hans¿, and `Schreber¿) Phèdre (Racine); Le Ravissment de Lol V. Stein (Duras); Moderato cantabile (Duras); La Chambre claire (Barthes); Selections from: Combray and A l¿ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs (Proust); La Bête humaine (Zola); To the Lighthouse (Woolf) Muriel (dir. Alain Resnais).  Additional readings may include works by: Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Avital Ronell, Samuel Weber, Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok, Hélène Cixous, & Sarah Kofman.


CPLT 751 002 "Philosophies of Religion: Bataille and Kierkegaard"
Jill Robbins

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

Content: In this seminar we will read closely selected texts by Georges Bataille and Soren Kierkegaard in order to follow out the conceptual figures of sacrifice, gift and patience. The commonality between the two thinkers lies in their engagement with the conceptuality of Hegel, their effort to reach a certain beyond of philosophy, and their recourse to the category of existence. But while Bataille¿s ¿theory of religion¿,  in which a virulent, violently disruptive sacred is said to serve as the basis for social formations, draws largely from the sociology of religion of Durkheim and Mauss, Kierkegaard¿s philosophy of religion is riveted intensively to particular places in scripture¿the ordeals of Abraham and Job¿and to questions about the New Testament diction.

Texts: Georges Bataille, Theory of Religion (Zone), The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge (Minnesota); Botting and Wilson, eds. The Bataille Reader (Routledge); Jacques Derrida, ¿From Restricted to General Economy,¿ in Writing and Difference (Chicago); Soren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling/ Repetition (Princeton), ¿Ultimatum: The Upbuilding That Lies in the Thought That in Relation to God We Are Always in the Wrong¿ from Either/Or Part II, Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits (Princeton); Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses (Princeton); selections from Maurice Blanchot, The Writing of Disaster (Nebraska).


CPLT 751 003 "Burning the Stage: Sex and Gender in Hispanic Theatre, Film, and Performance Art"
María M. Carrión
T 1:00-4:00
Max 15
[Cross-listed with SPAN 530]

Content: This course traces the passing of sex and gender in the stages of theatre, film, and performance art, and from one media to another.  Class discussions will be based on comparative representations of sex and gendered bodies and scenes in these three media.  The class will focus on the act of burning the stage as emblem of transgression, violation, rupture, and other kinds of audiovisual engagement of sex and gender.  Through the use of theoretical and historical materials the class will examine the role played by these bodies / scenes in the processes of design, writing, delivery, and evolution of these audiovisual media in Spain and Latino America.

Theater: Lope, Dog in the Manger; Tirso, Don Gil of the Green Breeches; Calderón, The Surgeon of His Dishonour; Zorrilla, Don Juan Tenorio; García Lorca, Blood Wedding; Díaz, The Orgástula and Other Texticles; Boal, Theatre of the Opressed and Exercises for Actors and non-Actors; Sánchez, Quintuplets.

Film and video: Buñuel, Un chien andalou; Gutiérrez Alea, Memorias del subdesarrollo; Saura, Bodas de sangre: Miró, El perro del hortelano; Aranda, Juana la Loca; Amenábar, Tesis; Medem, Lucía y el sexo; Gilpin y Bernaza, Mariposas en el andamio; Pérez, Suite Habana; Borchmeyer, Arte nuevo de hacer ruinas; Cuarón, Y tu mamá también; Martel, La Ciénaga; del Toro, El laberinto del fauno; González Iñárritu, 21 Gramos; Ospina, Un tigre de papel; Troyano, Your Kunst Is Your Waffen; clips from Gutiérrez Alea, Fresa y chocolate; Torres, Mecánica celeste; Medem, Los amantes del círculo polar; Leigh, Topsy-Turvy; Martín, I Like It Like That; Gatlif, Latcho Drom; Subiela, Hombre mirando al sudeste; Almodóvar, La  flor de mi secreto; Coixet, Cosas que nunca te dije; Keedron, To Wong Foo.  Music videos by Celia Cruz, Maná, Ricky Martin, Jennifer López, Shakira, and others.

Performance Art: Pieces by Carmelita Tropicana, Laurie Anderson, Holly Hughes, Ana Mendieta, Monica Palacios, Vaginal Crème Davis, Dinasty Handbag, Marga Gomez, Guillermo Gomez-Peña, Astrid Hadad, and Ximena Cuevas.

Particulars: Attendance and class participation (40%), a presentation (20%), and a research project (40%).


CPLT 751 004 "Philosophical Problems: Philosophical Form"
John Lysaker
W 2:00-5:00
Max 18
[Cross-listed with PHIL 589R & ENG 789R]

Content: How should philosophers present their thoughts? This will be our central concern, one that is philosophical insofar as philosophy takes seriously the manner of its elaboration and presentation. To that end, we will explore some of the forms used to present philosophical work, and some of the issues those forms (and their justifications) generate. Our principal questions will be: {a} how should philosophers raise and address questions of form; {b} how should one evaluate the forms of philosophical presentation; and {c} are any forms of presentation particularly suitable for contemporary philosophy? In pursuing these questions, we will engage a range of philosophical forms including the dialogue, the essay, the aphorism, the fragment, autobiography, the journal article, and at least one hybrid form, what we might call the aphor-essay, which collects entries whose interaction under one cover produces a whole larger than the sum of its parts that nevertheless lacks the unity of an essay. Authors such as Bacon, Hume, Lichtenberg, Franklin, Hegel, Schlegel, Novalis, Emerson, Nietzsche, Karl Kraus, Lukcas, Du Bois, Benjamin, Adorno, and Iragary will be considered. Questions regarding language¿s assertoric, expressive, and performative dimensions will recur, as will the issues of philosophy¿s relation to literature and theory¿s relation to practice. Finally, we will close with some considerations of the space and praxis of philosophy in an increasingly digital age.


CPLT 751 005 "Literature and Justice: Writers on Trial"
Shoshana Felman
M 4:00-7:00PM
Max 5
[Cross-listed with FREN 780, ENG 789, ILA 790, LAW]

Content: History has put on trial a series of outstanding thinkers.  At the dawn of philosophy, Socrates drinks the cup of poison to which he is condemned by the Athenians for his influential teaching, charged with atheism, and corruption of the youth.  Centuries later, in modernity, similarly influential Oscar Wilde is condemned by the English for his homosexuality, as well as for his provocative artistic style.  In France, Emile Zola is condemned for defending a Jew against the state, which has convicted him.  E. M. Forster writes about a rape trial /race trial of an Indian by the colonizing British Empire.

However different, all these accused have come to stand for something greater than themselves: something that was symbolized  -- and challenged ¿ by their trials.  Through the examination of a series of historical and literary trials, this course will ask:  Why are literary writers, philosophers and creative thinkers, repetitively put on trial, and how in turn do they put culture and society on trial?  What is the role of literature as a political actor in the struggles over ethics, and the struggles over meaning?

Texts: Selected readings, chosen among: Plato; Oscar Wilde; Flaubert; Baudelaire; Zola; Melville; E. M. Forster; Bertolt Brecht; Virginia Woolf; Hannah Arendt; Kafka; Spinoza; Jacques Lacan.


CPLT 751 01P "Foucault"
Lynne Huffer
T 10:00AM-1:00PM
Max 3
[Cross-listed with WGS 589, 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.

Texts: History of Madness, Abnormal, Discipline and Punish, History of Sexuality Volume One, and Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth, as well as other selected essays. Because of its length and difficulty, students are strongly encouraged to read History of Madness before the start of the semester.

Particulars: Assignments include a heavy reading load, two short writing exercises, and a final paper.

*NOTE: Permission of instructor only.


CPLT 751 02P "Research Design and Interdisciplinary Scholarship"
Kevin Corrigan & Elizabeth Goodstein

Th 9:30AM-12:30PM
Max 3
[Cross-listed with ILA 782, HIST 585]

Content: Are you planning or hoping to write an interdisciplinary dissertation? This course is designed to help you think creatively, concretely, and systematically about the theoretical and practical aspects of turning your ideas into a manageable, focused project.

Rather than asking what interdisciplinarity ¿is¿ or should be, we will take up particular cases of pathbreaking interdisciplinarity scholarship. Students will develop their own projects in dialogue with these exempla and with one another, learning to reflect on how the assumptions and expectations they bring to the table both limit and enable their work. 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.

By the end of the semester, you will have 1) become acquainted with a variety of innovative approaches to interdisciplinary scholarship; 2) clarified your own research goals and explored possible research strategies; and 3) developed and presented a draft project proposal and research plan. You will also gain experience as an editor and critic by responding to the work of your fellow students.

Both seminar and workshop, this course is required for all ILA graduate students and is open to graduate students in the humanities and social sciences or elsewhere whose orientation is primarily analytic, critical, or interpretive.


CPLT 751 03P "Discerning Psychoses in Literature, Culture, and Society"
Walter Kalaidjian
Th 10:00-1:00PM
Max 15
[Cross-listed with ENG 789R]

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 The Sword Went Out To Sea), Djuna Barnes (Nightwood), Nella Larsen (Quicksand and Passing), Robert Lowell (Selected Poems), James Merrill (The Changing Light at Sandover), Patrick McGrath (Spider and Ghost Town), Robert Lindner, ¿The Jet-Propelled Couch,¿ Rivka Galchen (Atmospheric Disturbances), Mohsin Hamid, (The Reluctant Fundamentalist), and Jennifer Egan (A Visit from the Goon Squad).  We will begin by exploring foundational theories, case studies, and controversies that bear on the psychoanalysis of both florid and ¿ordinary¿ psychoses including psychoanalytic readings of Daniel Paul Schreber¿s Memoirs of My Nervous Illness in Freud¿s Psycho-Analytic Notes on an Autobiographical Account of a Case of Paranoia (Dementia Paranoides) and excerpts from Lacan¿s The Psychoses (Seminar III), and ¿On a Question Prior to Any Possible Treatment of Psychosis.¿ In addition, we will examine essays on psychosis by Melanie Klein and D. W. Winnicott, up through such contemporary theorists as Michel Foucault, Jacques-Alain Miller, Eric Laurent, Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, Willy Apollon, Françoise Davoine, Jean-MaxGaudillière, and Emily Martin among others.  Finally, we will consider cultural and ethnographic accounts of psychoses, examining contemporary popular narrative, 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 752 000 "Jean-Jacques Rousseau"
Geoffrey Bennington

T 1:00-4:00PM
Max 4
[Cross-listed with FREN 550]

Content: Plus qu¿un autre, peut-être, c¿est Jean-Jacques Rousseau qui aura signé le dix-huitième siècle français.  Que ce soit en matière de philosophie politique, de théorie pédagogique, d¿écriture littéraire ou autobiographique, tout change là où Rousseau écrit et signe de son nom.  Nous essayerons, à travers la lecture de grands textes en tous genres, de mieux cerner la place et les enjeux de cette signature qui se veut unique, garant présumé d¿une vérité qui se révélera de plus en plus fabuleuse.

Texts: Les Confessions ; Emile, ou de l¿éducation ; Discours sur l¿origine de l`inégalité ; Du Contrat social ; Les rêveries du promeneur solitaire ; Rousseau juge de Jean-Jacques.

Particulars: The course will be taught in French.


CPLT 752 001 "Bakhtin and His Circles: Dialogues Across the Disciplines"
Walter Reed & Mikhail Epstein

Th 12:00-3:00PM
Max 4
[Cross-listed with ILA 790, ENG 789]

Content: This seminar will study the major writings of the 20th c. Russian thinker Mikhail Bakhtin, placing them in dialogue with writings of others--those on whom he drew most deeply and those on whom he has been most influential. In some cases, as with his close associates in the 1920s, Voloshinov and Medvedev, or with the Russian Formalists, these "circles" are historically immediate. In other cases, as with Bakhtin's studies of Dostoevsky and Rabelais, or his influence on Western cultural studies and Russian postmodernism, they are culturally mediated. The course will focus on the most innovative and cross-disciplinary aspects of Bakhtin's work, including his theories of dialogue, authorship, metalinguistics, and philosophical anthropology, as well as on his own dialogical engagements with Marxism and Existentialism. In addition to the two instructors, who will lead the weekly discussions together, several other faculty from Emory and beyond will join the seminar at various points in the semester.

Texts: Bakhtin, Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics, trans. Emerson;
Bakhtin,  The Dialogic Imagination, trans. Holquist
and Emerson;
Bakhtin, Rabelais and His World, trans. Iswolsky;
Bakhtin, Speech Genres and Other Late Essays, trans.McGee;
The Bakhtin Reader, ed. Morris;
Morson and Emerson, Mikhail Bakhtin: Creation of a Prosaics;
Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground, trans. Pevear and Volokhonsky;
Friedman, ed. The Worlds of Existentialism:  A Critical Reader;
Felch and Contino, ed. Bakhtin and Religion:  A Feeling for Faith;
assorted essays by others.

Glossaries of Bakhtin's terms can be found in Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination, pp. 423-434 and in The Bakhtin Reader, 245-252.


CPLT 753 000 "Teaching of Literature"
John Johnston

W 9:30AM-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.


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.