Fall 2024 Courses


**No prerequisites; all CMLT courses below are GH courses. CMLT 10 and 100 are requirements for the CMLT Major and WLIT Minor. For more info visit, https://complit.la.psu.edu/undergraduate/major.


CMLIT 001— Introduction to Western Literatures Through the Renaissance 

TuTh 3:05PM – 4:20PM                                              TuTh 3:05PM – 4:20PM                  Dr. John Ochoa

Satisfies General Education (GH), International Cultures (IL), Other Cultures (BA) requirements. This course provides a survey of Western literary tradition and considers a variety of genres — such as epic, drama, sonnet, essay, saga, chronicle, folktale, and novel — with attention to the literary and historical contexts which these works reflect in the Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance (Early Modern) periods. Universal themes and cultural values, along with individual differences, will be discussed and compared in works from such authors as Homer, Dante, Chaucer, Cervantes, and Marguerite de Navarre. Comparative study focuses on the understanding and appreciation not only of the individual works, but also of their influence on other literary works and artistic forms and the ways in which they relate to their cultures. You will articulate and compare interpretations of texts spanning 2500 years of Western literary history. The variety of the Western tradition will lead you to an understanding and critical discussion of the process by which certain works become regarded as “great.” This course will also allow you the pleasure of encountering a wide variety of creative literary expressions from three distinct periods. This course also fulfills the General Education Humanities requirement, the Bachelor of Arts Humanities requirement, and International Cultures requirement.

CMLIT 004 —Introduction to Asian Literatures*

TuTh 10:35AM – 11:50AM                                       Willard Bldg 165                          Dr. Jooyeon Rhee

            *this is a combined section course (ASIA 004)

Satisfies General Education (GH), International Cultures (IL), Other Cultures (BA) requirements. This course is designed to act as a gateway to Asian literatures and cultures – through English translation – of selected fictional and cinematic texts from Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Asian diaspora literature (our main focus is on literature of modern Asia). Exploring the historical and cultural contexts of each work, we will pay attention to the ways in which each text depicts the diversities within geographical areas (for instance, “Japanese culture” is not monolithic than “U.S. Culture” is, and writers might see the same social reality in quite differently). The cross/inter-cultural approach used in this course invites students to acquire a global perspective on the rich traditions of Asian cultures and literatures. Students are expected to develop the ability to comparatively analyze and express, in speech and writing, their views through the reading of literary texts and watching of films.

CMLIT 005— Introduction to Literatures of the Americas*

MoWeFr 3:35PM – 4:25PM                                   Elec Eng West 109                Elena Quiñones

           *this is a combined section course (CMLIT 153, Section 001: Film and Literature)

(GH;US;IL)(BA) This allows you to explore the great variety of literatures of the Americas, including translations of texts written in Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Amerindian languages, as well as texts originally written in English. Readings include many genres and artistic forms dealing with histories and accounts of “American” issues, such as conquest, nationalism, slavery, diaspora, and immigration. You will also consider the various influences among these traditions in terms of time period and genre. This course investigates the literary and cultural notion of “America,” and what it means to be “American,” in terms of the entire hemisphere. We will deal with issues of race, ethnicity, class, religion, as well as other vital concerns of identity and “Americanness” as reflected in both oral and written literary traditions through the history of the Americas. At the conclusion of this course, you should be able to understand and make – comparisons among the many “American” literary traditions. This course fulfills requirements for the Comparative Literature major, the World Literature minor, General Education Humanities, Bachelor of Arts Humanities, and General Education United States and International Competency.

CMLIT 007— Introduction to Middle Eastern Literatures*

TuTh 12:05PM – 1:20PM                                  Willard Bldg 351                           Hanan Alalawi

           *this is a combined section course (CMLIT 153, Section 002: Film and Literature)            

This course provides an introduction to the diverse literatures of the region known as the Middle East. Through a study of translations of works from Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Hebrew and other languages as well as Anglophone Middle Eastern literatures, students will study Middle Eastern literatures and cultures in their diversity. Approaching works from the modern period in the context of shared histories of modernization, secularization, postcolonial nation-building, and globalization, this course will emphasize important thematic continuities across modern literatures of the region. Though the focus will be on the modern period, students will also be introduced to the rich literary networks of the so-called premodern era, exploring past literary connections and their legacies for the present. The relationship between literature, film, and other media may also be explored. Topics to be discussed may include Orientalism, Middle Eastern refugee and migration literatures, cross-cultural encounters, women’s and minority writings, prison and protest literatures, petrofiction and climate fiction. This course fulfills the General Education Humanities requirement, the International Cultures requirement, and the Bachelor of Arts Humanities and Other Cultures requirement.

CMLIT 10 – Introduction to World Literatures 

  1. Section 001 TuTh 12:05PM – 1:20PM          Hammond Bldg 220          Linda Istanbulli
  2. Section 002 TuTh 3:05PM – 4:20PM            Willard Bldg 373 Nicolai Volland
  3. Section 003  Web                                                                       Henry Morello

Satisfies General Education (GH), United States (US), International Cultures (IL), Other Cultures (BA) requirements. As a one-semester introduction to the range and diversity of world literature from the ancient past to the present, CMLIT 10 is intended to help you read (or listen to) a work of literature from any time or place and to appreciate it more fully – whether it belongs to the more familiar types of literature you may have read in the Western tradition or is a fable, folktale, hero story, play, or narrative from another cultural tradition. You will practice expressing your ideas through written exams and in-class and on-line discussions/activities. Discussion sessions allow interaction with the instructor and with other students in the class. This course presents a global sampling of masterpieces of world literature. Students will become familiar with various literary genres and become proficient in the analysis of the similarities and differences between texts from many different time periods and cultures. CMLIT 10 is a prerequisite for the Comparative Literature major and the World Literature minor.

CMLIT 11 – The Hero in World Literature 

TuTh 1:35PM – 2:50PM                  Ag Engineering 113                      Dr. Justin Halverson

This course fulfills the General Education Humanities requirement, the Bachelor of Arts Humanities requirement, or the United States and International requirement. This course will examine the concept of heroism and of heroes throughout the world in different time periods and different literary genres. We will examine different types of heroes and theories of heroism, as well as gender relations involved in concepts of heroes/heroines, and the roles of anti-heroes, villainous heroes, and the enemies of heroes. Heroes represent the most ideal values of a particular society. By examining heroes revered by a variety of societies, a greater awareness of values both specific to individual cultures and universal across cultures can be reached. Through comparisons of a variety of heroes, literary and social roles in the formulation and manipulation of heroic types can be assessed. The objectives of this course include expanding students’ awareness of the values of different cultures, examining the consequences of value systems as explored in literature, and increasing their skills of critical analysis on a body of literature designed to encourage the student to accept, reject, or question specific ideas of good and evil, proper behavior, and appropriate action within cultural contexts. CMLIT 11 is one of the many choices of survey courses which count towards the Comparative Literature major and the World Literature minor.

CMLIT 13 – Virtual Worlds: Antiquity to the Present 

MoWeFr 9:05AM – 9:55AM           Hammond Bldg 305                      Ming En Joshua Tee

 (GH;IL) (BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements. What are virtual worlds? And why do they speak so intensely to us about the present? This course puts immensely popular online virtual worlds like World of Warcraft into a historical perspective. Beginning with Homer, students will work through some of the major imaginative worlds of literary history, including those of the Bible, Dante, Shakespeare, Goethe, Lu Xun, Basho, Balzac, and others. We will conclude by reading and discussing about the meaning and value of contemporary online virtual worlds. We will analyze the ways in which virtual worlds represent/reflect on the cultures from which they emerge; their ethical stances and structures; and the alternative imageries they embody.

CMLIT 19N – Being in the Universe*

TuTh 10:35AM – 11:50AM            HUB-Freeman Auditorium 117       Dr. Eric Hayot, Dr. Derek Fox

*this is a combined section course (ASTRO 19N )

“Being in the Universe” considers three fundamental questions of human existence from both humanistic and scientific perspectives: (1) What is the nature of our universe, and to what extent are creatures like ourselves a predictable consequence of it? (2) What is the nature of time, and what does it mean to be a conscious being living our lives through time? (3) What would it mean for humans to be alone in the Galaxy or the universe, or alternatively, not alone? “Being in the Universe” is an integrative GH+GN GenEd course.

The course’s three major units cover the following topics: (1) We discuss cosmology and religion as human enterprises, as well as the history of science; (2) We study the basic scientific theory of the Big Bang universe, and consider its implications for human life; (3) We address contemporary theories of the multiverse from scientific, philosophical, and literary perspectives; (4) We consider the thermodynamic and relativistic theories of time, and the basic philosophical approaches to time, and discuss the implications of these for our ordinary human experience of the past, present, and future; (5) We discuss the history of life in the universe, the possibility of life on other planets, and the social, religious, and imaginative reactions to those possibilities in literature and film.

CMLIT 100 – Reading across Cultures

  1. Section 001 TuTh 9:05AM – 10:20AM                        Willard Bldg 370          Anna Ziajka Stanton
  2. Section 002 MoWeFr 3:35PM – 4:25PM                    Willard Bldg 268          Merve Sen

CMLIT 100, Reading Across Cultures, is an introductory course to the discipline of Comparative Literature. The course is generally based upon a central theme (or series of themes) around which the reading assignments are chosen. Through a range of traditional (poems, short stories, drama, novellas, novels) and non-traditional (film, multimedia, hypermedia) texts from around the world, students will develop the ability to analyze literature in a variety of ways. Students will examine works both within their individual and diverse cultural contexts, and in relation to broader themes that transcend the boundaries of time and place. As an introductory course, CMLIT 100 is intended to lay a solid foundation for further study in any college-level courses on cultures and/or literature. Through an examination of a wide range of world literature, we will explore the practical aspects of what it means to deal with literary works in a comparative global context. The course is intended to help you develop your analytical and comparative skills and to simultaneously introduce you to a wide variety of interesting world literatures. The course is a prerequisite for the CMLIT major and the World Literature minor.

CMLIT 101 – Race, Gender, and Identity in World Literature 

  1. Section 001 TuTh 9:05AM – 10:20AM                    Ford Building 201        Andrea Martinez Teruel
  2. Section 002 TuTh 10:35AM – 11:50AM                   Willard Bldg 373           Elizabeth Gray

GH;US;IL (BA)This course examines issues of race, gender, religions, and ethnicity as expressed in literary, social, and cultural contexts. We will address these questions in works from a variety of traditions and time periods. Literary works from around the world show a wide range of response to the “other” — idealization of difference as exotic, fear of difference as threat, the desire to suppress difference or force it into conformity, the recognition of difference within ourselves, etc. The scope includes authors who are themselves members of racial, sexual or ethnic groups with which you may be less familiar. You will also consider the question of who and what constitutes identity as perceived by oneself and by others.

CMLIT 106: The Arthurian Legend

MoWeFr 11:15AM – 12:05PM                      Sackett Bldg 108                             Dr. Caroline Eckhardt

(GH;IL)(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements. This course is designed to familiarize students with the legends about and surrounding King Arthur and the Round Table fellowship. Through a series of readings, students will survey the development of the legends of Arthur from their beginnings in early medieval Europe to their modern adaptations in many cultures around the world. The Arthurian legend is an ideal vehicle for showing the ways in which literary works capture and express changing value systems in different cultural and historical situations, and thus the course is a good example of comparative (international) approaches to literary study. Classes will discuss the changing cultural’ ideals represented, the different characterizations of the central figures, and the literary, techniques employed. Lectures and discussions will be supplemented by overheads, slides, music, and films or film clips dealing with Arthurian themes. Throughout, the course will ask why and how the stories of Arthur and the Round Table fellowship have captured the imagination of artists, political and religious leaders, and readers throughout the ages and around the world. Finally, it will ask how the practical concerns of daily life are developed in this literature-for example, how does this highly imaginative literature address practical concerns such as striking a balance between one’s short-term goals and personal gratifications, and one’s long-range obligations to other people? This course fulfills the General Education Humanities requirement, the Bachelor of Arts Humanities requirement, and the IL requirement.

CMLIT 107: The Literature of Exploration, Travel, Migration, and Exile

MoWeFr 2:30PM – 3:20PM                                         Wagner Bldg 214                        Instructor TBA

CMLIT 107 examines the notions of exploration, travel, migration, and exile through the lenses of time, space, language, and genre. We will consider questions of home, of place, of identity, and of belonging through literary and cultural productions that depict crossings both real and imaginary, voluntary and forced, geographic and personal. Through reading, discussion, and writing, we will examine and compare the different roles that travel can play in the imaginations of both the individual writers and the cultures from which they come. We will not only explore recurrent themes and timeless topics, but also the ways in which travel writing can both reinforce and subvert the basic value-systems, stereotypes, or other assumptions present in its cultural context. To that end, we will consider how literature of travel, migration, and exile address questions of gender, race, class, colonialism, human rights, the environment, social institutions, and political organization. Throughout our study, we will ask the following questions: What are the historical, social, and psychological conditions under which a person embarks on a journey, and what does a person search for in other places? How does the experience of travel transform one’s relation to oneself, one’s home culture, and the world at large? How are people understood, or misunderstood, during encounters made in the context of journeying? How is literature and language itself a space of traversal? This course fulfills requirements for the Comparative Literature major, the World Literature minor, General Education Humanities, Bachelor of Arts Humanities, and General Education International/Intercultural Competency.

CMLIT 108 – Myths and Mythologies*

*this is a combined section course (RLST 108)

  1. Section 001. MoWe 4:00PM – 5:15PM                    Reber Building 135           Justin Halverson
  2. Section 002. MoWeFr 2:30PM – 3:20PM                 Sackett Bldg 107 Justin Halverson
  3. Section 003. TuTh 10:35AM – 11:50AM                   Sackett Bldg 318 Instructor TBA

(GH;IL)(BA) World mythology: myths primarily of non-Western cultures, based on selected areas and traditions around the world. This course offers a survey of several different cultural traditions as expressed in myth, as well as discussion of myth in its literary, social, geographical, political, and religious contexts. Various theories of the evolution and analysis of myth will be examined. Mythological traditions from around the globe will be compared in order to determine qualities which they share and examine ways in which they are unique. This course will help you see the world in new and exciting ways, based on the wide variety of global myths. At the same time, you will consider the permanent human issues which connect all of these traditions to each other, to the modern world, and to you. CMLIT 108 is one of the choices of survey courses, which count toward the Comparative Literature major and the World Literature minor. This course also fulfills the General Education humanities requirement, the Bachelor of Arts humanities requirement, and the International Cultures requirement.

CMLIT 112N – Introduction to Global Drama, Theatre, and Performance 

  1. Section 001. TuTh 9:05AM – 10:20AM Willard Bldg 351 Henry Morello
  2. Section 002. TuTh 10:35AM – 11:50AM Willard Bldg 067 Henry Morello
  3. Section 003. TuTh 1:35PM – 2:50PM Sackett Bldg 117 Instructor TBA

 (IL) (US) (GA) (GH) (Integrative: Interdomain). Introduction to Global Drama, Theater, and Performance will enable students to discover the power and excitement of drama in a global context. Students will encounter a variety of cultural contexts as they observe how playwrights portray local histories and lifestyles, in settings from many parts of the world. The course will offer (1) an introductory overview of concepts and terms associated with understanding drama and the technical aspects of theater. It will present (2) traditional dramatic forms such as tragedy, comedy, history play, allegory, Noh, etc., as seen in plays prior to the twentieth century; and (3) the dramatic contributions of multiple cultural groups in the U.S., with African American, Asian American, Latino, and other U.S. plays seen not in isolation, but in relation to world drama. (4) the course will consider ways in which drama, as a form of world literature, can have an international and intercultural impact, both in earlier periods and recently, when global circulation and international collaboration are increasingly frequent. Finally, (5) this course will look at world drama and theater from a design and performance perspective. Class work may include lectures or presentations by the instructor, presentations by students, web based activities, and focused discussions.

CMLIT 122 – Global Science Fictions 

  1. Section 001 TuTh 10:35AM – 11:50AM               Willard Bldg 370                        Bangce Cheng
  2. Section 002 MoWeFr 9:05AM – 9:55AM        Willard Bldg 268                             Tembi Charles

(GH;US;IL) (BA) A study of the relationships between science, literature, and film, from an international and interdisciplinary perspective. This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements. This course examines science fiction and the fictions of science from an international and interdisciplinary perspective. Course content includes a history of the idea of science, of its engagement with and by fictional, filmic, dramatic, and poetic narratives, within an explicitly comparative framework that includes material from Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Africa. Students will develop a theory of genre and its development over time; they will recognize regional, cultural, and historical differences and forms of change that affect the intellectual development of the arts and sciences.

CMLIT 128N – The Holocaust in Film and Literature*

          *this is a combined section course (GER/ENG/JST 128N)

  1. Section 001. TuTh 4:35PM – 5:50PM Health and Hum Dev  005  Lisa Sternlieb
  2. Section 002. TuTh 3:05PM – 4:20PM Willard Bldg 158             Sabine Doran
  3. Section 003 TuTh 9:05AM – 10:20AM                      Reber Building 135                       Kobi Kabalek

This class studies how art, literature, film, and other media can help us to gain a perspective on one of the most horrific events in human history, the Holocaust: the genocidal murder of more than six million men, women, and children (mostly Jewish) under the Nazi regime during World War II. We will also examine the theoretical questions involved in any attempt to capture what appears to be beyond our comprehension, in terms of moral outrage and the sheer scale, inhumanity, and bureaucratic efficiency. To this end we will study literary works, such as Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz, films such as Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, Roman Polanski’s The Pianist, and Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautiful, as well as photographs, poems, artworks, installations, museum architecture, the design of monuments and other artifacts. We will also examine questions of memorialization (Holocaust museums and memorials), national guilt, survivor’s guilt, stigmatization, and the ethics of historical representation.

CMLIT 130 – Banned Books

TuTh 1:35PM – 2:50PM                                              Willard Bldg 260                          Dr. Jonathan Abel

(GH;IL)This course examines one of the most documented events in the history of book reception – the banning of books. Bannings provide a useful window onto the myriad functions of culture in social identity formation. In order to understand how and why offense is given and taken, students will learn to place texts in a specific context of their historical production and reception and also to extrapolate connections between disparate moments when taboos were named. Incorporating examples from a range of global systems of censorship, the course examines differences in the modes and effects of repression and the sometimes surprising connections between church and monarchy, fascism and democracy. This course raises the following questions: How has censorship been justified? When, if ever, is censorship justifiable? What are the grounds on which censorship can be judged successful or incomplete? Who censors? Who is censored? What are local categories of censorship? Though books are banned for reasons of blasphemy, sedition, and obscenity in various guises in several cultures, are these global categories? How do writers write against a ban? How do they write within it? What are the roles of importation, technologies of circulation, and geography in the censorship of texts? How do border-crossings and forms of miscegenation offend? Is there a unifying aesthetics to books that offend? The course will help students understand value systems and historical contexts in which they were produced and in which they caused offense. It will also ask students to draw connections between seemingly unrelated moments of offense in order to assist students in developing both analytical and expressive abilities. The course is designed to be suitable for all students, whether or not they have previously studied literature or comparative literature.

CMLIT 131 – Crime and Detection in World Literature

MoWeFr 11:15AM – 12:05PM                                     Hammond Bldg 215         Dr. Magali Armillas-Tiseyra

(GH;IL)This course studies the origins and development of crime and detective literature from an international and interdisciplinary perspective. Beginning with early Greek tragedies, the course traces literature’s investment in issues of crime, violence, detection, forensics, and social justice through a variety of historical and cultural contexts; this may include the classical era, the early modern period, the Enlightenment, the industrial era, and the modern/contemporary world. Some of the questions addressed may include reigning myths about law and order; the rise of urban societies and mass culture; the construction of the detective figure, the witness, the criminal, and the victim as models of subjectivity; issues of gender and sexual violence; and the nature of justice. Students will learn about the history of the idea of crime and its relationship with literary form. They will develop ideas about the contribution of literary thinking to ideas of social justice, as well as a theory of genre and its development over time; they will recognize regional, cultural, and historical differences and forms of change that affect the intellectual development of literature and detection alike.

CMLIT 133N – Global Satire and Modern Politics 

TuTh 12:05PM – 1:20PM                                             Willard Bldg 360         Dr. Sophia Mcclennen

Across cultures and across history, people have used political satire to call out abuses of power, manipulation, deception, and absurdity. While there are examples of political satire everywhere, its growth is a form of political resistance and as a source of political behavior has been on the rise since the turn of the 21st century. Drawing on examples from Stephen Colbert to Bassem Youssef to Charlie Hebdo and studying a range of different types of satirical media this course examines the role that satire has played in shaping political discourse and advancing democracy. Possible topics include the use of satire to bring down Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic, the attacks on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the political comedy of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, the street art of Banksy, and the use of political cartooning in Africa. Students will hone their analytical skills through critical response papers, cross-cultural assessment of satire, comparative analysis of satirical forms, group projects, assessment of the effects of satire on shaping political debates, and quizzes on readings from the social sciences and humanities. This class is a GenEd inter-domain course for GH/GS; and International Cultures (IL) course.

CMLIT 140 – Literature and the Other Arts*

            *this is a combined section course (CMLT 191, Section 002: Intro to Video Game Culture)

TuTh 9:05AM – 10:20AM                                            Willard Bldg 268                    Instructor TBA

 (GH;IL) (BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements. All around the world, literature and other forms of creative expression are related in many fascinating ways. Writers and artists often find inspiration from each other, and some artists work across a wide spectrum of genres and embody several identities at once. In different times and places, how have writers and artists reacted to critical events or lifecycle experiences? What techniques have writers, artists, composers, and choreographers shared? In examining a broadly international range of materials, in this course we will consider (1) how artists and writers depict common themes such as nature, death, aging, love, and more; (2) ways in which art and literature relate to each other; and (3) how literature and other arts are influenced by, and in turn exert influences upon, their cultural and social contexts. Using a global perspective, we will examine relationships between literature and a variety of artistic forms, such as painting, photography, comics, film, theatre, opera, music, sculpture, and more. Students will practice enabling skills for reading across genres, media, and cultures, and for expanding their skills in analyzing and synthesizing information, their awareness of a wide variety of value systems and cultural traditions in different times and places, and their horizons of literature in global contexts.

CMLIT 143 – Human Rights and World Literature 

MoWeFr 2:30PM – 3:20PM                         Willard Bldg 258                           Dr. Rosemary Jolly

(GH;US;IL)(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements. “Human rights” refers to basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled, often held to include the right to life and liberty, freedom of thought and expression, and equality before the law. But these ideas have not always been a part of human thought and some scholars believe that without certain forms of literature today’s understanding of human rights would not exist. Through comparative analysis of a variety of human rights storytelling genres that reflect a range of contexts, this course will suggest that it is impossible to understand human rights without also thinking about the stories that create and sustain their idea. One main premise of this course is that the representation of human rights violations is always a vexed undertaking. It is both urgent and necessary, while also incomplete and inadequate. In order to explore this dilemma, this course focuses on the intersection between human rights advocacy and the various cultural forms that explicitly attempt to participate in human rights discourse. The course will cover a variety of cultural forms such as comic books, movies, photography, novels, testimonials, poetry, plays, etc. that reflect on human rights atrocities such as slavery, the Holocaust, war, dictatorships, apartheid, genocide, and more. At the center of the course are questions about aesthetics and ethics. What are the risks and obligations of human rights storytelling and how are these linked to specific cultural forms and aesthetic practices? This course examines a range of human rights stories through a balance of context and close reading, where stories are studied both for what they say and how they say it.

CMLIT 153 – International Cultures: Film and Literature*

  1. Section 001  MoWeFr 3:35PM – 4:25PM        Elec Eng West 109                Elena Quinones

*this is a combined section (CMLIT 005: Intro to the Literature of the Americas)

  1. Section 002 TuTh 12:05PM – 1:20PM            Willard Bldg 351                  Hanan Alalawi

*this is a combined section  (CMLIT 007: Intro to Middle Eastern Literatures)

This course will compare narrative and artistic techniques employed by literature and film in portraying different social and cultural environments, which will range widely around the globe and may include Africa and the Middle East, East Asia, and South America, as well as European and North American examples. Students will view films and read novels or other texts such as short stories, plays, and poems. The purpose of this course is to have students examine how the selected artists have developed their intentions and their subject matter in their respective medium, literature or film, and to allow students to study modes of narration across different cultures and media. Through a combination of lectures and comparative discussions, students will examine how components, including plot, genre, environment, character, and point of view are developed in films and fiction from diverse cultures. The course will also discuss techniques that are exclusive to each medium such as editing and cinematography. The comparative nature of the course allows students to understand, evaluate, and appreciate both the universal and unique qualities of the human condition. The study of narrative technique will help students develop analytical skills in discussing and writing about the literary and cinematic expression of cultural values.

CMLIT 184 – The Short Story

TuTh 3:05PM – 4:20PM                                             Willard Bldg 169                       Sam Otieno

This course is designed to introduce students to the art of the short story and to acquaint them with some of its most talented writers. During the semester we will read short stories from various cultures and countries, ranging from stories written in the early nineteenth-century to those written within the last few years. Readings will include works from authors like Hawthorne, Melville, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Gogol, Bierce, Chekhov, Kafka, Chopin, Crane, Gilman, James, Cather, Joyce, Woolf, Faulkner, Hemingway, Lawrence, Orwell, O’Connor, Baldwin, Olson, Silko, Erdrich, Ondaatje, Barth, Barthelme, Atwood, Mukherjee, Walker, Tan, Calvino, Garcia Marquez, and Cortazar. All readings will be in English. This course is intended to help one learn how to read fiction, how to understand it, and how to talk about it. The desire to tell stories and to be told stories is one of the most basic human needs, and all cultures have been defined in part by the stories they hear and the stories they tell. We are not born knowing how to read the short story or any fiction for that matter. Rather it is a skill that one acquires, and the more one does it, like playing tennis or any other activity, the better one becomes at it, for we learn what to look for. We will explore the historical development of the short story genre, and examine how historical contexts relate to the content and style of the stories under discussion. We will become familiar with how stories are put together and with the vocabulary that is used to discuss fiction–terms such as plot, narrative, character, tone, language, closure, irony, imagery. and so forth. CMLIT 184 is not required for the CMLIT major but may be selected to fulfill one of the course requirements for the major or the World Literature Minor. This course also fulfills the General Education Humanities requirement, the Bachelor of Arts Humanities requirement, and International Cultures requirement.

CMLIT 191N – Introduction to Video Game Culture*

  1. Section 001 TuTh 4:35PM – 5:50PM                Willard Bldg 173                       Vasilije Ivanovic
  2. Section 002 TuTh 9:05AM – 10:20AM             Willard Bldg 268                       Instructor TBA

*Section 002 is a combined section (CMLIT 140: Literature and the Other Arts)

This course is a comparative introduction to the nature and history of video games as cultural artifacts, from Pong to online role-playing. It introduces students to academic discussion on and creative work in new digital forms including hypertexts, video games, cell phone novels, machinima, and more. Students will survey major debates over the meaning and value of video games, and study some of the major theoretical terms and perspectives developed to elaborate the cultural and sociological value of video games. The course extends students’ skills in literary interpretation to a variety of new objects, and makes them aware of the role medium plays in aesthetic development and production. Students will leave with a far sharper understanding of how the interpretive tools used in the humanities can be extended to include new media, and with a sense of the historical role video games have played and will continue to play in global cultural production. Because the course is historically focused, it will spend significant time looking at the differential development of video games in three major regions: the United States, Europe, and East Asia (especially Japan).



** open to first-year students with instructor permission and/or anyone with 3 prior credits in the study of literature. 400-level courses are especially useful for, but not restricted to, students considering the CMLT Major or WLIT Minor. CMLIT 400Y is a required course for the CMLIT Major and World Literature Minor. For more info: https://complit.la.psu.edu/undergraduate/major


CMLIT 400Y — Seminar in Literary Criticism and Theory

MoWeFr 11:15AM – 12:05PM                                Willard Bldg 351             Dr. Nergis Erturk

This advanced seminar in criticism and theory will examine modern and contemporary practices of literary and cultural “theory” in ways that highlight the moral, psychological, and political interests that guide cultural analysis. This course considers theory to be a form of thought- at once analytical and speculative- that is practiced by writers, philosophers, scientists, and critics alike. Our readings will thus include literary texts that engage in abstract thought as well as critical studies whose relationship to literature is central to their analytical or social/scientific methods. Throughout the semester we will focus on Marxist, psychoanalytic, feminist, and postcolonial theory, examining their conceptualization of language and representation as fundamentally political acts and pursuing new topics concerning commodity fetishism, the culture industry, Orientalism, and the historical construction of race, gender, and sexuality. We will conclude the course by exploring new directions in contemporary theory, addressing questions concerning posthumanism and environmental criticism. This is a writing-intensive course (“writing across the curriculum”) and thus of interest for anyone exploring ways to incorporate cultural and literary analysis within their writing. This course counts toward the Comparative Literature major and the World Literature minor.

CMLIT 404Y — Topics in Asian Literature*

            *this is a combined section course (ASIA 404Y)

TuTh 10:35AM – 11:50AM                 Huck Life Sciences Bldg 301D                   Dr. Kathlene Baldanza

CMLIT 404 / ASIA 404 Topics in Asian Literature (3) (IL)(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.  This course focuses on Asian literature in a comparative and international frame. Different iterations of this course will have different topics as well as different historical or geographic foci, but may include literatures from the countries of East Asia (China, Japan, Korea), Southeast Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia, Cambodia), or South Asia (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan). Because the course is comparative it will highlight relationships between and among literary traditions of Asia, or between Asia and the rest of the world, whether in the fields of poetry, drama, or fictional and non-fictional prose.

CMLIT 408 — Heroic Literature

TuTh 10:35AM – 11:50AM                                          Willard Bldg 169                        Dr. Patrick Cheney

Traditional heroes, their traits and adventures; typical themes and examples chosen from the epics and sagas of world literature. This course counts toward the Comparative Literature major and the World Literature minor.

CMLIT 415 — World Graphic Novels 

TuTh 3:05PM – 4:20PM                                              Willard Bldg 268                        Dina Mahmoud

This course considers the graphic novel (also known as graphic fiction, comics, or sequential narrative) as an emergent literary medium and global phenomenon. The course focuses on texts that engage issues of contemporary identity, ethnicity, sexuality, technology, and/or history (personal, family, and national). These graphic novels engage these issues through the medium of text joined with image. This course explores the aesthetic of sequential narrative, its methods of production and consumption, and its place in a contemporary culture of reading. Assigned texts include titles from the United States, France, Japan, Italy, Canada and Norway. All texts will be read in English translation. This course counts toward the Comparative Literature major and the World Literature minor.

CMLIT 424 — Transnational Korean Literature*

            *this is a combined section course (ASIA/KOR 424)

TuTh 12:05PM – 1:20PM                                            Hammond Bldg 214                     Hyun Jung Kong

This course provides a comprehensive overview of modern Korean literature within a transnational context. As we learn how to critically analyze seminal Korean texts, we will locate them in the social, political, economic, and cultural conditions under which they were produced and received. In grappling with some of the fundamental issues they raise, including colonialism, migration, national division, war, gender relations, developmentalism, urbanization, democratization, and contemporary consumer culture. We will also seek to situate these writings in the Korean vernacular within the larger context of global modernity. Rather than take Korean literature and global modernity as given or apart from each other, we will attend to their intersections by raising such questions as: How did modern experiences, constructed through the interface with unfamiliar Others, change preexisting ways of writing and reading? How did foreign occupations affect the formation of a national literature? In what ways do Korean writers’ representations of the inter/national events and phenomena on and beyond the Korean peninsula at once enrich and complicate empirical investigations into modern histories of Korea, East Asia, and the world? In an increasingly borderless world, can we draw a boundary around what is called “Korean” literature? In parallel with these questions, we will further discuss why and how to engage in literary practices in the current age of digital reproduction.
            Instruction and all materials will be in English. No preliminary knowledge of Korean history or language is required for taking this course. This course counts toward the Comparative Literature major and the World Literature minor.

CMLIT 429 – New Media and Literature*     

            *this is a combined section course (ENGL 429)

TuTh 1:35PM- 2:50PM                               Business Building 105                                Dr. Brian Lennon

An introduction to new media in liaison with literature, literariness, and literary study, with a focus on new media’s digital and computational character. We will consider the novelty of electronic screen media, in a print culture of newspapers, magazines, and the simulation and remediation of older by newer media, and of newer by older media; the residuality of modern print culture in a “postmodern” technocratic society; and the broader questions of technology, temporality, and modernity that shape these concepts.

Beginning with a tour of literary uses of computational media, we will look at early examples of computer-generated literary writing; learn about the importance of randomness in expressive or creative uses of computing; examine new media poetry produced as an extension of ongoing work in traditional paper-based print literature; study the literary and cultural history of password authentication and discuss a poem encrypted and embedded in an artist’s book; and examine examples of time-based or streaming electronic or digital literature. Subsequently, we will turn from literary uses of computational media to conventional literary depictions of technologically extended literary cognition– in other words, new media as literary experience — in contemporary speculative fiction, and to literary depictions of cultures of new media in the contemporary novel. This course counts toward the Comparative Literature major and the World Literature minor.

CMLIT 435 — Cultures of Globalization

TuTh 1:35PM – 2:50PM                              Willard Bldg 370                         Instructor TBA 

This course focuses on the cultural and literary effects of the process of globalization, with an emphasis on world literatures and transnationalism. It invites students to think about the ways in which the globalization of culture, politics, and/or the economy affects literary production, and the ways in which such literary features as genre, form, medium, style, and theme in turn reflect and attempt to shape our understanding of the global and its becoming. The course will have a significant focus on primary material (literature, film, other media) and secondary material (philosophy, journalism, criticism, and so on). It will introduce students to the main theoretical concepts that govern thinking about globalization and global culture, as well as to important literary and cultural texts that articulate those values. It will prepare them for further research in comparative literary studies and in the critical history of globalization. This course counts toward the Comparative Literature major and the World Literature minor.

CMLIT 440 – War Stories: The Literature of War

MoWeFr 11:15AM – 12:05PM                    Willard Bldg 169             Dr. Scott Smith

This course considers how war is represented in a variety of cultural artifacts including literature, film, television, video games, music, art, etc. What stylizations, omissions, and blindnesses are necessary in order to represent the reality or the surreality of war? Readings are from the Classical period (the Iliad) to the current wars. Issues of memory, of traumatic reconstruction after the fact, and of the glorification of war as a necessary aftermath will complement some specific readings and films about (and often against) war. Texts and focus may vary but can include novels, film, video games, television, comics, social media, music, art, and more.

Some of the major objectives of this course are to identify formal and aesthetic aspects of literary texts dealing with the topic of war and its aftermath including genre, period, style, theme, language, and narrative structure as well as analyze those texts and other artistic media within a comparative or global context. We will also compare written and visual texts from different cultures, regions, languages, time periods, and genres that deal with the concept of war. This course counts toward the Comparative Literature major and the World Literature minor.

CMLIT 446 – Postcolonial Literature and Culture

            *this is a combined section course (CMLIT 453: Film and Literature)

MoWeFr 1:25PM – 2:15PM                        Hammond Bldg 214                      Tembi Charles 

This course examines ecological aspects of postcolonial literature and culture. Focusing largely, although by no means exclusively, on regions of the globe colonized by European powers in the 15th-20th centuries, we will explore how nature features in literary works and films produced in and about these regions, during and after the colonial period, whether as a backdrop to the unfolding dramas of colonial conquest and its aftermath; as a witness to, and participant in, events of violence, remembrance, recovery, and survival involving colonized peoples; as manifesting forms of alterity and difference that resist normative European inscriptions of history, geography, and selfhood; and as an inspiration for ways of knowing, feeling, being, and creating that affirm the human as a planetary subject inescapably entangled with other animate and inanimate things on the Earth. Primary texts will be contextualized by readings in postcolonial theory, ecocriticism, theories of animality and the more-than-human, Anthropocene theory, and indigenous theory. No prerequisites; counts toward the Comparative Literature major and the World Literature minor.

CMLIT 453 — Narrative Theory: Film and Literature

            *this is a combined section course (CMLIT 446: Postcolonial Literature and Cuilture)

MoWeFr 1:25PM – 2:15PM                       Hammond Bldg 214                      Tembi Charles

This course explores the relationships between language and the medium of film through analysis of adaptations between other mediums and the cinema, and by analysis of the influences between the discourses of literature(s) and the cinema. The course has broad applicability not only to students of literature and students of the cinema, but to all students who need to understand ways to compare relationships between disparate communications and artistic media.

Students begin by understanding techniques and theories of both cinematic and literary analysis. Then they explore theories of adaptation between media, including general theories of artistic and cultural influence. Among the media students may encounter in addition to literary fiction and narrative cinema are the graphic novel, creative nonfiction, drama, poetry, journalism, video games, the documentary cinema, and the experimental cinema. Students work through case studies of adaptation in literal terms, such as the transformation of graphic novels into narrative cinema. Students also work through case studies in influence, in which distinct art and media discourses affect one another, as in the relationship between videogames and the cinema. Students study transmedia storytelling, in which core narratives are expressed in different media. Students also study transcultural and transnational storytelling, in which adaptation and influence are conducted across borders. Students study questions of representation, particularly of difference (race, class, sexuality/gender) and cultural specificity. As advanced scholars in the disciplines of literary and cinematic studies, students are expected to synthesize previous learning in these fields in their summary projects. This course counts toward the Comparative Literature major and the World Literature minor.

CMLIT 496 – Independent Studies 

If you are interested in pursuing an Independent Study in Comparative Literature/ World Literature, please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Jonathan Eburne (eburne@psu.edu).