Comparative Literature Graduate Course Offerings

Spring 2014

CPLT 735 00P "Composition Theory"

David Fisher

W 10-1PM
Max 4
[Cross-listed with ENG 790]

Content: This course offers a sustained introduction to composition theory and current scholarship in writing studies. Required of all graduate students scheduled to teach any section of first-year composition (English 101/181, CPLT 110). 3 credit hours, graded only; exemption for equivalent coursework by permission of the Director of College Writing.

Texts: TBA

Particulars: TBA

CPLT 751 000 "Exemplary Novels: A Comparative Literature Colloquium"

Walter Reed & Deepika Bahri

Th 1-4PM
Max 6
[Cross-listed with ENG 789]

Content: This graduate course, originating in Comparative Literature, is designed as a colloquium:  a gathering of Emory¿s literature faculty and students from a number of departments.  Faculty who will make presentations on exemplary novels, in their conception of the genre, include Bracht Branham (CPLT and Classics), Nick Jones (Spanish and Portuguese), Salman Rushdie (English/Distinguished Professor), Munia Bhaumik (CPLT), Elissa Marder (CPLT and French), Elena Glazov-Corrigan (CPLT and Russian) and Andrew Mitchell (CPLT and Philosophy), as well as the two conveners, Walt Reed and Deepika Bahri (both CPLT and English).

The novels featured in the course/colloquium are Petronius¿ Satyrica, Cervantes¿ Don Quixote, Sterne¿s Tristram Shandy, Bronte¿s Jane Eyre, Melville¿s Moby-Dick, Flaubert¿s Madame Bovary, Dostoevsky¿s Crime and Punishment, Joyce¿s Finnegans Wake, and Rushdie¿s Midnight¿s Children. The course will also include selected readings in the history and theory of the novel, as well as literary theories exemplified by these novels of world-historical significance.

Texts: Individual novels will include The Golden Ass, Don Quixote, Tristram Shandy, Moby-Dick, Crime and Punishment, To the Lighthouse and Midnight's Children

Particulars: Critical theorists will include those named above, along with interpreters of particular novels that are featured in the colloquium.

CPLT 751 001 "Black Cultural Theory"

Sean Meighoo

Th 1-4PM¿
[Cross-listed with ILA 790]

Content: Although a critical black intellectual tradition may be traced at least as far back as the slave narratives, this course will focus on one relatively recent moment within this critical tradition ¿ a moment that is marked by what Stuart Hall has called ¿the end of the essential black subject.¿  In this course, we will read selected texts by Black British and African American intellectuals and cultural critics who have broached the meaning of ¿blackness¿ itself in their work.  Drawing from postmodernism, feminism, and queer theory, we will approach the concepts of race, ethnicity, and culture in their critical interplay with gender and sexuality, nation and generation, calling into question many current articulations of black identity in literature, art, film, and music along the way.


  • David Morley and Kuan-Hsing Chen (eds.), Stuart Hall: Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies (ISBN 978-0415088046);
  • Hazel V. Carby, Cultures in Babylon: Black Britain and African America (ISBN 978-1859842812);
  • Kobena Mercer, Welcome to the Jungle: New Positions in Black Cultural Studies (ISBN 978-0415906357);
  • Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (ISBN 978-0674076068);
  • bell hooks, Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics (ISBN 978-0896083851);
  • Cornel West, Keeping Faith: Philosophy and Race in America (ISBN 978-0415910286);
  • Houston A. Baker Jr., Blues, Ideology, and Afro-American Literature: A Vernacular Theory (ISBN 978-0226035383);
  • Henry Louis Gates Jr., The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism (ISBN 978-0195060751).


  • Five (5) response papers (3-4 pp. each, 40% total);
  • Long essay (15-20 pp., 40%);
  • Attendance and participation (20%).

CPLT 751 002 "French Hegel"

Geoffrey Bennington

Tu 1-4PM
[Cross-listed with FREN 780]

Content: This course does not aim to cover the history of Hegel reception in France, but to identify and analyze the formation of a specifically "French Hegel" in the work of some major twentieth-century French thinkers. We shall begin from Hegel¿s Phenomenology of Spirit as influentially (mis-)read by Alexandre Kojève in lectures from the 1930¿s subsequently  published as Introduction à la lecture de Hegel, and initially follow the traces and effects of this reading in Georges Bataille, Jacques Lacan and Maurice Blanchot.  In the second part of the course we shall consider the non-Kojevian readings of Hegel proposed by Jacques Derrida, Jean-François Lyotard and Jean-Luc Nancy.  No prior knowledge of Hegel is required.  All readings will be available in English.

Texts: TBA

Particulars: TBA

CPLT 751 003 "Literature and War: The Two Congos"

Subha Xavier

W 1-4PM
[Cross-listed with FREN 785]

Content: In his 1956 poem ¿Congo¿, Léopold Sédar Senghor sings of his love for the Congo River, praising the mythical beauty of the Congolese landscape as the embodiment of a beloved Africa he wishes to restore to its former glory. Located in the center of the African continent, traversed by one of the world¿s largest rivers and home to some of the earth¿s most precious natural resources, the Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo-Kinshasa, formerly Zaire) were once the pride of Africa. However, in the wake of the Berlin Conference of 1885, which signed over one Congo to the personal property of Belgian King Léopold II and the other to the French colonial empire, the remains of the region¿s riches became the object of one of the world¿s deadliest wars.

This course investigates the representation of Africa in the works of Congolese poets, novelists and playwrights. Indeed, if one can even speak of viable national literature in Francophone Africa, it would have to be that of the DRC and its neighboring Congo. Seemingly against all odds, an unrivaled literary production rises from the chaos of two countries torn apart by dictatorships, poverty, social unrest, ethnic wars, racial massacres and forced migrations. In tackling the socio-political realities of this conflict-ridden region, the works of Tchicaya U Tam¿si, Emmanuel Dongala, Henri Lopès, V. Y. Mudimbe, Sony Labou Tansi, Marie Léontine Tsibinda, Clémentine Madiya Faïk-Nzuji and Alain Mabanckou offer a formal ingenuity and thematic forcefulness that have made them classics of the African literary canon. Analysis of these authors focuses on the poetics of place and the ethics of war and displacement through theories of postcolonialism, cosmopolitanism and human rights.

Texts: TBA

Particulars: TBA

CPLT 751 004 "Addressing Love: Medieval Literature and Psychoanalysis"

Claire Nouvet

Th 4-7PM
[Cross-listed with FREN 520 & PSP 789]

Content: How do psychoanalysis and literature address ¿ each in its own way- the question of love? And to whom or to what is love addressed? Starting with courtly love, we will focus on what Lacan has called ¿the inhuman partner¿ of courtly love through close readings of selected poems by troubadours. We will also examine the relation of love to idealization, narcissism (both in Ovid¿s version of the myth of Narcissus and Echo, and in Guillaume de Lorris¿s Romance of the Rose), the inscription of feminine desire in the letters of Heloise to Abelard as well as the ¿love of philosophy¿ as it is staged in Abelard¿s autobiography.  This course will be taught in English.

Texts may include selected poems by troubadours such as Guillaume IX, Rudel; Guillaume de Lorris Romance of the Rose; Freud ¿On Narcissism;¿ Ovid ¿Narcissus and Echo¿ in Metamorphosis; Lacan ¿Courtly Love as Anamorphosis¿ in Seminar VII The Ethics of Psychoanalysis; Zizek ¿Courtly Love, Or, Woman as Thing¿ in The Metastases of Enjoyment: On Women and Causality; Béroul Tristan and Iseut; Abelard The Story of My Misfortunes; The letters of Abelard and Heloise Correspondance.  

Texts: TBA

Particulars: TBA

CPLT 751 005 "Kierkegaard: Literature, Religion, Philosophy"

Jill Robbins

W 1-4PM
Max 10
[Cross-listed with RLTS 700]

Content: How do literary and religious texts pose questions within and to Continental philosophy? In this seminar, we will consider Soren Kierkegaard's hybrid genre of writing  and the distinctive way in which he deploys biblical texts, such as "the binding of Isaac" (Gn. 22), the Book of Job, and Ecclesiastes, in developing his philosophy of existence. The "trembling" to which the narrator of Fear and Trembling refers is experienced not only by the biblical Abraham, who is in a religious relation to the absolute, and whose orders from God are sealed in secrecy, but also by Kierkegaard's narrator,  himself brought to the point of inexpressibility in the face of Abraham's ordeal. In Repetition, the fictional protagonist offers an intensely personal reading of the Book of Job. The book's formulation of the problem of theodicy, the theological justification of suffering, and the example of Job's legendary patience, provide the protagonist with a means of making sense of his broken engagement. The disenchanted and ironic voice of Qoheleth may be heard in Either/Or's first-person description of aesthetic existence and Judge William's ethical diagnosis of it.

In addition to reading closely primary texts from Kierkegaard and the Bible, we will consider Kierkegaard's legacy, in the form of the decisive critical readings he has received from Maurice Blanchot, Georges Bataille, Emmanuel Levinas, Jacques Derrida and others.

Texts: Soren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling/Repetition, trans. Hong and Hong (Princeton); Kierkegaard, Either/Or, Part I, trans. Hong and Hong (Princeton); Kierkegaard, Either/Or, Part II, trans. Hong and Hong (Princeton); The Wisdom Books, trans. Robert Alter (Schocken); Kierkegaard: A Critical Reader, eds. Ree and Chamberlain (Blackwell).

Recommended: The Oxford Annotated Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Oxford).

Particulars: One term paper (15-20pp.) and one in-class presentation.

CPLT 751 006 "Literature, Film, and Justice: Writers on Trial"

Shoshana Felman

Max 4
M 4-7PM
[Crosslisted with LAW 703, ENG 789, FREN 780, PHIL 789, & ILA 790]

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 Art in Justice? More generally: what is the role of literature (and film) as a political actor in the struggles over ethics, and the struggles over meaning?

Texts: Plato; Oscar Wilde; Flaubert; Baudelaire; Emile Zola; E. M. Forster; Melville; Dostoyevsky; Chekhov; Bertolt Brecht; Walter Benjamin; Hannah Arendt; Spinoza; Jacques Lacan; Kafka; Virginia Woolf.

Particulars: Regular attendance; two short papers; brief oral presentations; intensive weekly reading and active  (annotated) preparation of texts for class discussion; ongoing participation.

CPLT 751 007 "Shame and Necessity in Greek Philosophy and Literature"

Bracht Branham

Max 9
W 2-5PM
[Crosslisted with PHIL 500]

Content: How great is the distance serparating our moral world from that of the ancient Greeks? In this course we will investigate this question by examining the ideas of self, freedom, necessity, responsibility and shame articulated by Homer, Sophocles, Euripides, Plato, Aristotle, Diogenes and Nietzche. How is it that Classical literature can still be a touchstone of moral and aesthetic experience given the cultural and social gap separating us from the ancients? Was Nietzche right to find and celebrate a pre-Christian (or anti-Christian) ethic in Homer? Was Diogenes' rejection of shame-based morality of heroic Greece a mistake or a greate step forward, freeing us from primitive notions of the self? In short, what does Greek literature and philosophy have to say to us as moral agents in a secular modernity?

Texts: TBA

Particulars: TBA

CPLT 751 009 "Aesthetics: Hegel and his Heirs"

John Lysaker

Wed 6-9PM
[Crosslisted with PHIL 572]

Content: The first half of this course will explore Hegel's lectures on the fine or beautiful arts. Rather than try to read large swaths of its more than 1,000 pages, we will spend 7 sessions working with shorter segments drawn from various parts of the text, after an initial encounter with bits of the Preface and Introduction from *The Phenomenology of Spirit.* At that point, we will read three other thinkers in the context of Hegel's contention that beautiful works are sensuous ideas of spirit that come about through the integration of their subject matter and the manner in which that subject matter is presented: Heidegger, Adorno, and Danto.  Our goal will be to consider each as an heir of Hegel's conception of art, but one who contests or even refines Hegel's spiritualization of art, often in conversation with works of art that Hegel could not have considered, e.g. Van Gogh, Beckett, and Warhol. For these discussions, we will read larger chunks of material. In addition to our weekly seminar, I would also like to plan an excursion or two that will allow us to view and discuss a range of works, using them as occasions for thinking about the power and limits of Hegel's conception of beautiful art.

Texts: TBA

Particulars: TBA

CPLT 751 0P "Discerning Psychoses in Literature, Culture, and Society"

Walter Kalaidjian

Max 2
W 1-4PM
[Crosslisted with ENG 789]

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), Lucille Clifton (MARBL Archive), Rivka Galchen (Atmospheric Disturbances), and A.M. Holmes (May We Be Forgiven).  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 contemporary theorists such as Michel Foucault, Jacques-Alain Miller, Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, Willy Apollon, Françoise Davoine, Jean-MaxGaudillière, and Jodi Dean among others.  Finally, we will investigate contemporary popular narrative, film, and recent societal symptoms of delusion and psychosis in the public sphere.

Texts: Please see above.

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

*NOTE: Permission of instructor only.

CPLT 751 008 "Consciousness and Its Vicissitudes"

Elizabeth Goodstein & Bobby Paul

Th 10-1PM
Max 5
[Cross-listed with ILA 790 & PHIL 789]

Content: This course will investigate the vicissitudes of the idea of consciousness in western culture. It will take the form of an interdisciplinary exploration of strategies by which consciousness has been represented and understood in philosophical, psychoanalytic, scientific, and literary texts from antiquity through the twenty-first century.


Aristotle, De Anima
Bernard Baar, In the Theater of Consciousness: The Workspace of the Mind
Karel Çapek, R.U.R.
Sigmund Freud, The Ego and the IdThe Interpretation of Dreams
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit (Sel.)
William James, Writings 1902-10William James Writings 1878-1899
Henrich Kleist, Selected Prose of Heinrich von Kleist
Robert Musil, The Confusions of Young Törless
Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False
Wolfgang Prinz, Open Minds: The Social Making of Agency and Intentionality
Philippe Rochat,Others in Mind: Social Origins of Self-Consciousness
John Searle, The Mystery of Consciousness
Georg Simmel, The View of Life: Four Metaphysical Essays with Journal Aphorisms
August Strindberg: Dream Play Virginia Wolff, Mrs. Dalloway

Particulars: TBA

CPLT 752R 000 "Architecture and Literature of Al-Andalus (1200-1600)"

Marian Carrion

W 1-4PM
Max 3
[Cross-listed with SPAN 530, MESAS 570, & RLR 700R]

Content: This course traces correspondences of architecture and literature, and the role that such correspondence played in the development of what has come to be known as Al-Andalus in Medieval Iberia and Renaissance Spain (1200-1600).  Class discussions will be based on comparative representations of space, time, characterization, imaging, proxemics, ornamentation, rhetoric, and style in printed and built texts; the question of religious and ethnic branding of traditional aesthetic categories ('Moorish narrative,' 'Jewish ornamentation,' 'Christian style,' for instance) will be a critical axis for all discussions.  Through the use of theoretical and historical materials the class will examine the role played by ethnicity and religion in the process of development and production of architectural and literary texts in the Peninsula between 1200 and 1600.

Buildings: Synagogues: El Tránsito and Santa María la Blanca, Toledo. Mosque: La Mezquita, Córdoba.  Palaces: La Aljafería, Zaragoza; La Alhambra, Granada; Alcázar, Segovia and Madrid; El Escorial, Madrid.  Castles: Buen Amor, Salamanca; La Calahorra, Granada; Simancas, Valladolid.  Convents: San José de Ávila and Alba de Tormes (Discalced Carmelites); Sancti Spiritus, Toro (Dominicans); Santa María, Tordesillas (Clarisas); Descalzas reales, Madrid (Discalced Franciscans).  Houses: Ribad al-Bayyazin; Casa de Lorenzo el Chapiz; Casa de Hernán López el Feri.  Monasteries: Hyeronimite, San Lorenzo de El Escorial; Discalced Carmelites, Úbeda.  Prisons: galleys; Almadén, Toledo; secret inquisitorial prisons.  Theatres: El corral del Príncipe; Alcázar de Madrid; Coliseo de Madrid; Coliseo de Valencia.

Written Texts: Architecture: Vitruvius, De architectura (On Architecture); Alberti, De re aedificatoria (Ten Books on Architecture); Antonio Averlino "Il Filarete," Trattato di architettura (Treatise on Architecture); Sagredo, Medidas del Romano (Measurements of the Roman); de Herrera, Discurso de la figura cúbica (Discourse on the cubic figure); Vandelvira, Libro de traças de cortes de piedras (Book of Traces to Cut Stone); López de Arenas, Breve compendio de la carpintería de lo blanco y tratado de alarifes (Brief compendium on wood roofing and treatise for wood builders).  Literature: al-Magribi, El libro de las banderas de los campeones (Banners of the Champions): Ibn Hazm, El collar de la paloma (The Dove¿s Necklace); Nizami, The Story of Layla and Manjun; Ibn 'Arabi, Tarjuman al-Ashwaq (Interpreter of Desires); Ibn 'Abbad of Ronda, Letters on the Sufi Path; de Leon, Sefer Zohar; Llull, Llibre de Amic e Amat (The Book of the Lover and the Beloved); de San Pedro, Cárcel de amor (Prison of Love); Giulio Camillo, L'Idea del Theatro (The Idea of Theatre); Colonna/Aldus, Hypnerotomachia Poliphilii (The Dream of Poliphilus); Boscán (traductor), El libro del Cortesano (Book of the Courtier); de Jesús, Castillo interior (Interior Castle);  Anónimo, Historia del Abencerraje y la hermosa Jarifa (Story of the Abencerraje and Lovely Jarifa).  Poetry by Judah Halevi, Moses Ibn Ezra,Ibn Zaydun, and Ibn Quzman.

Particulars: TBA

CPLT 752R 001 "La Renaissance / Ailleurs / Autrement"

Vincent Bruyere

Th 1-4PM
Max 3
[Cross-listed with FREN 550R]

Content: Ailleurs et autrement, c¿est à dire comme le point focal d¿une série ouverte de décentrements et d¿anachronismes qui réalisent et déréalisent la Renaissance, comme période, dans ces domaines du savoir qui prennent en charge les paradoxes de l¿énonciation et la formation des effets de perspective. Dans ce séminaire je vous propose donc de travailler sur la notion de périodisation elle-même comme catégorie critique, c¿est-à-dire en tant qu¿elle autorise des interventions et en interdit d¿autres, en tant qu¿elle exemplifie et qu¿elle généralise ; en tant qu¿elle humanise aussi, et ce faisant, sur fond de ce qui découpe le temps humain, en tant qu¿elle donne lieu à l¿émergence d¿un corrélat ¿ je n¿ose pas dire encore de son corrélat ¿ dans la notion d¿extinction. La liste des textes à l¿étude comprend entre autres, Jean de Léry (Histoire d¿un Voyage) Marguerite de Navarre (Heptaméron), Hubert Damisch (Origine de la perspective), Alexandre Koyré (Du monde clos à l¿univers infini),  Montaigne, Rabelais, Michel de Certeau, Tom Conley, Stephen Greenblatt, Paul Rabinow, Walter Mignolo, José Rabasa, Claire Colebrook et Carla Freccero.

Texts: TBA

Particulars: TBA

CPLT 752R 002 "Affect in Aesthetic Theory"

Munia Bhaumik

T 4-7PM
Max 10
[Cross-listed with ENG, FREN, & WGSS]

Content: This seminar will undertake the dual task of returning to seminal writings on ¿aesthetics¿ in order to trace and probe recent theories of affect. As a result, students will be asked to closely read for passages and textual moments in writings on aesthetics that also deliberate on representations of affect in works of art. We will consider, for example, how questions of critique and judgment in aesthetic philosophy have always invoked the questions of feeling, sensation, perception and recognition, as well as quotidian life now central to the ¿affective turn.¿ Rather than presume that aesthetics is a theory of art alone, students will consider how writings from Hegel¿s introductory lectures, Kant¿s notions of critique and judgment, as well as Adorno¿s writings on attention offer ethical reflections on topics that extend beyond an inquiry into the status of the art object or beautiful and sublime alone. Aesthetic theory coincides with critiques of violence, narratives of sexual difference, concepts of embodiment and autonomy, reflections on exile and ethics, as well as theories of power and globalization. This course will not be a survey of aesthetic theory but rather practice techniques of interpretation and exegesis that open questions about how affect has figured in the writing of philosophy.


Hegel, Introductory Lectures on Aesthetics
Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful
Immanuel Kant, Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime
Theodor Adorno, Aesthetic Theory
Frederich Schiller, On the Aesthetic Education of Man
Gayatri Spivak, Aesthetic Education in the Age of Globalization
Gilles Deleuze, Francis Bacon
Lauren Berlant, Cruel Optimism

Selected Readings to be made available in a reader:

Hannah Arendt, Lectures on Kant and ¿The Permanence of the World and the Work of Art¿
Ralph Waldo Emerson, ¿Nature¿George Bataille, ¿The Phaedra Complex¿ and ¿Desire Horrified at Losing and at Losing Oneself¿ from The Bataille Reader
Michel Foucault, Selections from the Lectures on Aesthetics
Edward Said, Selections from Reflections on Exile
Brian Massumi, ¿The Future Birth of the Affective Fact¿
Sara Ahmed, ¿Happy Objects¿

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.