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Current Courses

Fall 2016


CMLIT 501: Comparative Method in Literary Studies Seminar:  Mondays, 2:30 p.m.- 5:30 p.m.

  (Jonathan E. Abel/ Caroline D. Eckhardt/ Shuang Shen).

These three one-credit micro-seminars (or one aggregate 3-credit seminar) introduce students to crucial aspects of literary study and  praxis.  While based on the discipline of comparative literature, these five-week seminars also explore interdisciplinary topics and methods of interest to students in other literary fields. Unit 1 focuses on close reading, unit 2 on research method and design, and unit 3 on genres of academic writing.

CMLIT 508: (Global Visual Culture) Tuesdays 3:00-6:00p.m.

 (Charlotte Eubanks).

This course is situated at the convergence of two recent “turns” in literary and cultural studies. The first of these is the material turn, one result of which has been a concerted effort to think through visual images, not as mere supplements to text, but as meaning-making objects in their own right. The second of these turns has yet to receive a name, but comprises a shift toward recognizing multiple varieties of literacy (oral, visual, haptic, literate), which may or may not depend upon a relation to the written word. The goals of the course are threefold: to trace these conceptual turns, to learn to analyze and theorize visual objects as such, and to situate visual cultures in relation to globalizations past and present .Over the semester we’ll move through several units: an initial focus on graffiti, a lengthy exploration of global graphic narratives (satire, manga, comics, commix, graphic novels), and a final examination of museum and exhibition culture, interrogating the visualities of (for example) violence, war, globalization, sovereignty, race, immigration, and gender norming. Conceptual readings will likely include Nicholas Mirzeoff, Cara Finnegan, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, WJT Mitchell, Pramod Nayar, Hillary Chute, Arjun Appadurai, Lisa Nakamura, Shu-Mei Shih, Will Eisner, Marita Sturken, Scott McCloud, Keith Moxey, and Frances Gateward.

CMLIT 522: (Comparative Asias) “Remnants of History in Postcolonial Asia.”  Wednesdays 6:00p.m.-9:00p.m.

(We Jung Yi).

This seminar engages with issues of history, memory, and reconciliation in postcolonial Asia by exploring how the experiences of colonization and resistance, followed by civil and international wars, have been remembered, contested, and commemorated. By applying an interdisciplinary approach to unresolved and ongoing controversies among the countries in the Asia-Pacific region—the Nanjing Massacre, the comfort women system, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the inter/national wars in Korea and Vietnam during the Cold War, to name a few landmarks—we will examine the contested terrain of traumatic memories claimed by multiple subjects at the various levels of the personal, familial, local, national, and transnational. As we trace the long-lasting and multi-directional affects of those catastrophic events, we will uncover points of intersection that exist among dissimilar representations and conflicting interpretations of violent histories. For this much larger theoretical project, our investigation will begin with a critical study of the trauma literature found in Holocaust scholarship. Rather than taking for granted its universal validity, however, we will consider how trauma theory may become more complicated when placed in a comparative and transnational context. By cross-referencing atrocities perpetrated across the globe, we will ultimately seek new ways of meeting various challenges that traumatizing experiences entail, along with their psychic, political, and judicial consequences. Areas, linguistic cultures, and materials covered in the syllabus will be determined through consultation with the expertise of seminar participants. Readings may include work by Andreas Huyssen, Cathy Caruth, Dominick LaCapra, Michel Foucault, Mikhail Bakhtin, Lisa Yoneyama, Rey Chow, Shoshana Felman, Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Tzvetan Todorov, and Walter Benjamin.

CMLIT 597: “Experimental Forms.” Wednesdays 11:15a.m.-2:15p.m.

(Jonathan Eburne). Concurrent with ENGL 597.

This course will fashion a history of experimentalism in literature and the other arts.  In addition to discussing general theories of experimentalism from Friedrich Nietzsche (The Gay Science) and Alfred North Whitehead (Process and Reality) to Avital Ronnel (The Test Drive) and Isabelle Stengers (Thinking with Whitehead), readings will focus on works from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.  From experiments in synaesthesia and the "total work" to sound poetry, documentary film, asemic writing, music and noise, performance, and concrete poetry, the course will begin with writing that tests the parameters and limits of the literary as a set of ideological and material as well as sensory and conceptual conventions. Continuing through 20th century avant-garde movements such as Dada, Surrealism, Negritude, Oulipo, Fluxus, and the Black Arts Movement, it will conclude with a survey of ongoing contemporary experimentalisms. The course design will enable students to tailor the final weeks of the course to their own projects: the course readings for the final weeks of the class will reflect selected texts from students' research. General readings may include works by Guillaume Apollinaire, Kathy Acker, Amiri Baraka, Samuel Beckett, Augusto Boal, Jorge Luis Borges, Christine Brooke-Rose, John Cage, Augusto and Haroldo de Campos, Maya Deren, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Dick Higgins, Laura Riding Jackson, Alfred Jarry, Mina Loy, Haryette Mullen, Susan-Lori Parks, Georges Perec, Raymond Queneau, Brian Kim Stefans, Ali Smith, Robert Walser, Monique Wittig, Unica Zürn, and others.  Readings will be in English translation, though students are encouraged to pursue research topics on sources in their original language(s).

CMLIT 597/602: “Pedagogy.” Thursdays 6:00p.m.-9:00p.m.

  (Carey Eckhardt).

The standard pedagogy course for all CMLIT graduate students, offered each fall. Can be taken in year 1 (required if you are teaching) or year 2.