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Fall 2016

C L. 80100 – Existentialism/Phenomenology: Philosophy, Literature and Critique – GC: Th, 2:00 – 4:00pm, 2/4 Credits, Prof. Vincent Crapanzano
 
C L. 80100 – The Faust Legend – GC: Th, 6:30 – 8:30pm, 2/4 Credits, Prof. Paul Oppenheimer
 
C L. 80700 – Cross-Cultural Encounters in Medieval Italian Literature (XIV and XV Centuries) – GC: M, 4:15 – 6:15pm, 2/4 Credits, Prof. Karina Attar
 
C L. 80900 – Cervantes’s Don Quixote – GC: Th, 4:15 – 6:15pm, 2/4 Credits, Prof. Lía Schwartz
 
C L. 85000 – Neorealism and Beyond: The Golden Age of Italian Cinema – GC: W, 6:30 – 10:00pm, 2/4 Credits, Prof. Giancarlo Lombardi
 
C L. 85500 – Travel Literature from the Medieval and Early Modern Islamic World – GC: W, 4:15 – 6:15pm, 2/4 Credits, Prof. Anna Akasoy
 
C L. 89100 – History of Literary Theory & Criticism I – GC: W, 2:00 – 4:00pm, 4 Credits, Prof. Monica Calabritto
 
 
 
Cross-Listed Courses
 
PHIL 77800 – Philosophy of Motion Pictures – GC: T, 11:45am – 1:45pm, 4 Credits, Prof. Noel Carroll
 
HIST 72400 – The Political Thought of Hannah Arendt – GC: M, 6:30 – 8:30pm, 2/4 Credits, Prof. Richard Wolin
 
FREN 87100 – Feminist Theories and their Differences – GC: T, 4:15 – 6:15pm, 2/4 Credits, Prof. Donna Stanton
 
ENGL88000 – Postwar Women Writers and Intellectuals – GC: Th, 4:15 – 6:15pm, 2/4 Credits, Prof. Nancy Miller
 
FSCP 81000 – Film Art: Visual / Verbal Interrelations – GC: W, 2:00 – 4:00pm, 2/4 Credits, Prof. Mary Ann Caws

ENGL76000 – Modernism, Nihilism, and Belief GC: W, 4:15 6:15pm, 2/4 Credits, Prof. John Brenkman


Course Descriptions

C L. 80100 – Existentialism/Phenomenology: Philosophy, Literature and Critique – GC: Th, 2:00 – 4:00pm, 2/4 Credits, Prof. Vincent Crapanzano

This seminar will be devoted to readings in the philosophy, literature, and literary criticism influenced by phenomenology and existentialism. We will consider such questions as intentionality of consciousness, the priority of consciousness over existence or existence over consciousness, other minds, being/Being, nonbeing, bad faith, guilt, freedom, commitment, ethical responsibility, care, and despair. Particular attention will be given to the problem of language in phenomenological description and existential hermeneutics.  Readings will include selections from Husserl, Sartre, Heidegger, Binswanger, and Merleau-Ponty, Bachelard, and Poulet as well as (but not limited to) novels by Blanchot, Sartre, Sarraute, Camus, and Robbe-Grillet.” Students will be encouraged to consider the relationship between phenomenology,  existentialism and social and cultural description.
 
 

C L. 80100 – The Faust Legend – GC: Th, 6:30 – 8:30pm, 2/4 Credits, Prof. Paul Oppenheimer
 
Few figures in Western literature have attracted as much continuous interest from as many important writers, artists, composers and film-makers as that of Doctor Faustus, the mysterious sixteenth-century physician and necromancer whose legendary pact with the devil granted him superhuman powers. Starting with the earliest published version of the story, the famous Faust Book dating from 1587 in Frankfurt (also available in translation), the course will explore strikingly different treatments of Faust's career by Christopher Marlowe, Goethe, and Thomas Mann, and the conflicting views of humanity's relations to nature and the divine implied by their masterpieces. Also investigated will be the influence of the Faust story on writers as diverse as Byron, Carlyle, Dostoyevski, Pushkin, Hawthorne, Paul Valéry, and Lawrence Durrell. Films such as Mephisto, Hanusen, and Bedazzled, which approach the story and its motif of the devil pact in modern ways, will be considered and, where possible, shown; operatic and other musical treatments will be considered, along with the Faust legend's impact on painting.   One brief in-class presentation and One research paper.



C L. 80700 – Cross-Cultural Encounters in Medieval Italian Literature (XIV and XV Centuries) – GC: M, 4:15 – 6:15pm, 2/4 Credits, Prof. Karina Attar

This course focuses on the representation of cross-cultural encounters in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Italian novellas and romance epics. More specifically, we will read novellas by Boccaccio, Sercambi, Salernitano, and Cornazano, and selections from La Spagna in rima, Andrea da Barberino’s prose Guerrin Meschino, Pulci’s Morgante, and Boiardo’s Orlando Innamorato that dramatize Christian-Muslim diplomatic, military, mercantile, and amorous encounters. We will consider the philological, generic, socio-cultural, and historical contexts that contributed to producing a variety of cross-cultural encounters across both traditions and address questions such as: How do the contexts of travel, slavery, piracy, and war inflect portrayals of Christian-Muslim encounters in each text? How did authors writing at different times, and in different genres, engage social anxieties about real and imagined contacts with Muslims circulating in their day? What kinds of rhetorical strategies and cultural fantasies did novellas and romance epics exploit in fashioning Muslim protagonists who share ideas, values, blows, and intimacy with their Christian counterparts? We will conclude the semester with a brief review of Christian-Muslim encounters in sixteenth-century novellas and romance epics. Throughout the course, students will also have opportunities to reflect on the present-day relevance of images, ideologies, contexts, and terminologies embedded in earlier eras and works. The course approaches these themes and works from an interdisciplinary perspective and is open to students in any specialization. Coursework will include a “conference” abstract and presentation, an annotated bibliography, and a final research paper.
 


C L. 80900 – Cervantes’s Don Quixote – GC: Th, 4:15 – 6:15pm, 2/4 Credits, Prof. Lía Schwartz

This course will focus on the study of Cervantes’s Don Quijote (1605-1615) as a text that recreates early modern literary forms, while questioning the writing of fiction, from the perspective of Aristotle’s Poetics and related Italian theories of the novel. Cervantes’s work will be also analyzed in relation to its literary models - romances of chivalry, pastoral, picaresque and Moorish novels, Boccaccio’s Decameron and other stories of adventures – and their philosophical contexts. The function of madness as a fictional device will be also examined in connection with Erasmus’s The Praise of Folly. Other aspects of this complex narrative to be considered include its rhetorical and ethical background, as well as the treatment of popular discourses and of classical adages. Among the works to be read, in addition to Don Quijote, are Sannazaro’s Arcadia, Lazarillo de Tormes, The Praise of Folly, and some novelle of the Decameron.
 
 

C L. 85000 – Neorealism and Beyond: The Golden Age of Italian Cinema – GC: W, 6:30 – 10:00pm, 2/4 Credits, Prof. Giancarlo Lombardi
 
This course will examine the flowering of Italian cinema after World War II and its transformation in the 1960s by focusing initially on the production of Rossellini, De Sica, Visconti, Antonioni, and Fellini. It will explore the historical, social, and theoretical roots of Neorealism and the different ways each of these directors participated in this movement and was in turn influenced by it. The course will then show some of the directions they took in their later work, which focused more on the malaise of the middle class, and was often more personal, more psychological, more historical, more operatic, or more theatrical. Later, the course will also explore the work of important younger directors who first emerged in the 1960s, including Pasolini, Olmi, Bertolucci, Bellocchio, and Scola, and will briefly conclude with a discussion of the legacy of the masters of Italian cinema in contemporary film directors such as Gianni Amelio, Paolo Virzì, Matteo Garrone, and Paolo Sorrentino. Readings will include essays by theorists of Neorealism, such as Zavattini and Lizzani, and by a range of film critics spanning from André Bazin, James Agee, and Peter Brunette to Millicent Marcus, David Forgacs, and Sam Rohdie. 
 
Course requirements: Students will watch one film at home and one in class. They will be expected to submit a 25-page research paper at the end of the course.
 
 

C L. 85500 – Travel Literature from the Medieval and Early Modern Islamic World – GC: W, 4:15 – 6:15pm, 2/4 Credits, Prof. Anna Akasoy

This course introduces students to prominent examples of travel writing from the medieval and early modern Islamic world and to the historical, religious, political, literary and intellectual contexts of these texts. We will explore issues of geography (imaginary geography, mathematical and human geography, geographical views of ancient Greece and Persia which informed geographical literature in the Islamic world), the history of travelling and networks (including aspects such as long-distance trade, pilgrimages and travelling for the purpose of education), diversity within the medieval and early modern Islamic world, and imperial views of the world. We will also be taking into consideration visual, including cartographic, representations of the world and its distant parts and discuss the relationship between texts and images. Texts discussed in the class include the tenth-century Ibn Fadlan who wrote an account of his visit to the Volga Bulgars (which inspired Michael Crichton’s Eaters of the Dead and the film The 13th Warrior); the twelfth-century Andalusi Ibn Jubayr who travelled during a pilgrimage to Mecca and his contemporary, the Jewish traveler Benjamin of Tudela who visited some of the same Middle Eastern regions; the fourteenth-century Ibn Battuta (often compared to Marco Polo on account of the extent of their travels); and the Ottoman Evliya Celebi.
 
 

C L. 89100 – History of Literary Theory & Criticism I – GC: W, 2:00 – 4:00pm, 4 Credits, Prof. Monica Calabritto
 
With readings from Plato, Aristotle, and Longinus to Dante, Sidney, Boileau, Dryden, and Lessing, this course will examine the history and evolution of literary theory in the classical, medieval, and early modern periods. It will also examine such fundamental terms as truth, beauty, nature, and artifact with which pre-Romantic Western critics have attempted to understand literary works of art. This course will also explore the legacy and limitations of these and other terms and their impact on criticism today


 
Cross-Listed Courses
 
PHIL 77800 – Philosophy of Motion Pictures – GC: T, 11:45am – 1:45pm, 4 Credits, Prof. Noel Carroll

This course will explore the fundamental question in the philosophy of motion pictures including: what is the moving image, medium specificity, the nature of the cinematic image, cinematic sequencing, nonfiction cinema, movie genres, cinema and affect, cinema and morality, cinema and knowledge cinema as philosophy and related topics. Grading is based on class participation, a class presentation, and a research paper. There are no prerequisites.
 


HIST 72400 – The Political Thought of Hannah Arendt – GC: M, 6:30 – 8:30pm, 2/4 Credits, Prof. Richard Wolin

In the annals of twentieth-century political thought, Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) carved out a unique and enduring niche. Today, some 40 years after her death, her political philosophy seems more relevant than ever. In 1951, she wrote the first important book on totalitarianism, perhaps the central political problem of the twentieth century. Seven years later, Arendt published her landmark contribution to European political thought, the Human Condition, in which she seeks to probe and to delineate the existential bases of human freedom. Avoiding the liberal political idiom of "rights," Arendt broaches this theme in terms of the ontological values of "plurality" and "action" – constituents of human distinctiveness that Arendt traces back to the glories of Periclean Athens. Nevertheless, she also found important modern political corollaries to "action" in the fleeting experience of direct (that is, non-representative) democracy: in the notion of "local democracy" that flourished in pre-revolutionary America and in the emergence of "workers consuls" in the course of the European revolutions of 1905, 1918, and 1956.

Our main thematic focus will concern Arendt’s central contributions to twentieth century political thought: The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), The Human Condition (1958), and On Revolution (1962). However, as preparation for this encounter, attention to Arendt’s formative philosophical and political influences is indispensable. Therefore, in conjunction with these works, we will also selectively read a number of background texts that will assist us in clarifying the conceptual framework that Arendt develops in her mature political works. Essential in this regard are key texts by Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics) and by Arendt’s legendary and controversial German mentor, Martin Heidegger (Being and Time). At specific junctures, Arendt’s fascinating and voluminous correspondence with another celebrated mentor, Karl Jaspers, will also guide us.

Finally, the “Arendt renaissance” of recent years has been punctuated by important cinematic representations of her life and thought – a dimension of the international Hannah Arendt reception story that we will analyze and reflect upon in conclusion.

 
 

FREN 87100 – Feminist Theories and their Differences – GC: T, 4:15 – 6:15pm, 2/4 Credits, Prof. Donna Stanton

This course will examine the various strains of feminist thought since the l970s, and strains within feminist theoretical positions.  Beginning with conflicts around poststructuralism and postmodernism, we will analyze the women's studies/gender studies issue; the paradigm shift that writing of women of color represented (and the invisibility of whiteness); the sex wars; écriture féminine; the essentialist debates;  postcolonial and transnational feminisms and (im)migration studies; women's rights as human rights; material feminisms, class and social inequalities; and queerness and transgenderism.  The course will end with summary readings of some of the theories we did not discuss: ecocriticism, disability studies, the posthuman and technoscience. Our last session will debate the necessary but problematic connections between advocacy and activism to theoretical work (praxis); the relation of feminist theories to other oppositional practices.
 
Work for the course: Whether the course is taken for 2, 3, or 4 credits, all students will  be responsible for doing the readings closely and for engaging consistently in class discussion.
a.  Students who take the course for 2 credits will present in class a critical reading of one theoretical text,  a reading that will also be submitted in writing (c 5-7 pp); these students will also take the final exam.
b.  Students who take the course for 3 credits, will do all of the above and in addition, they will do a 10-page paper on a topic they select, in consultation with the instructor. They will also submit a thesis statement, a bibliography and an outline (the schedule will be indicated on the syllabus).
c.  Students who take the course for 4 credits will do all of the above, but instead of a 10-page paper, they will do a 20-25 page paper on a topic they select, in consultation with the instructor; they will also submit a thesis statement, a bibliography and an outline (the scheduled will be indicated on the syllabus).
All readings and the syllabus for the course will be posted on Blackboard by August 20, 2016 at the latest.
 
Goals of the course:
1. to  become conversant in the various theoretical strains in feminist thought from 1970s to today.
2. to develop a capacity to read feminist theoretical texts critically.
3. to write analyses and critiques of theoretical texts (for the final exam; for the class presentations; and either in the 10 -page paper for 3 credits or the 20-25 page paper for 4 credits.)
 
Please address all questions to Domna Stanton (dstanton112@yahoo.com).
 
 

ENGL88000 – Postwar Women Writers and Intellectuals – GC: Th, 4:15 – 6:15pm, 2/4 Credits, Prof. Nancy Miller

Virginia Woolf’s Between the Acts was published posthumously in 1941. Beginning here, with the death of this author, we will read the work of women writers who produced essays, novels, and poetry from the war years through the advent of second-wave feminism: Hannah Arendt, Simone de Beauvoir, Carolyn Heilbrun, Julia Kristeva, Audre Lorde, Mary McCarthy, Adrienne Rich, Susan Sontag, Simone Weil, Virginia Woolf. As intellectual figures and cultural icons, they also have often played an important role in public debate. Of special interest to the seminar will be the relations among these women, who sometimes admired, sometimes detested one another. We will conclude with work by contemporary women writers, including Claudia Rankine and Rebecca Solnit.
 
Work for the course: one oral presentation, weekly responses, and one term paper, due at the end of the semester.
 
 

FSCP 81000 – Film Art: Visual / Verbal Interrelations – GC: W, 2:00 – 4:00pm, 2/4 Credits, Prof. Mary Ann Caws
 
We will be especially dealing with diverse applications and interrelations of various ways in which the fields of art and literature have entered into the universe of film. Among our investigations some of the following will be included, depending on the interests of the participants,  the time  slots and the availability of the DVD’, videos, and so on:
 
1.     novel, story, poem, and dance as they can be related to film  -- certain questions of omission and deformation will arise
2.     performance art (dance, drama, musical concert)  and film (poetic readings, opera,  ballet) -- videos
3.     paintings and film (artist biographies, video and exhibition films, gustatory visuality)
4.     marginal  and “poetic” film creations  (such as those by Joseph Cornell, Jerome Hill, Brakhage, Jean Cocteau, and the surrealists)
 
Each participant will present at least once an interrelation between some work of art and some film, and write on another interrelation for a final paper, so that each person will have a minimum of two investigations, preferably in two very different fields. Museum visits encouraged. How we speak and write about the cinematic along with the pictorial and the literary is the point of this seminar. Readings and viewings will include selections such as the following: 1) novels and stories --Henry James (The Golden Bowlin its two versions, the Altar of the Dead), Edith Wharton ( Age of Innocence), Virginia Woolf ( To the Lighthouse); various  versions of Melville’s including the recent one, In the Heart of the Sea 2)  reading of Stéphane Mallarmé’s essays on dance and versions of dance films: Russian Ark, The Black Swan, Frederick Wiseman’s film La Danse, the Russian  ballet film, and so on; 3) films of Joseph Cornell and readings from his letters and source files together with Stan Brakhage’s Wonder Ring (backwards), Jerome Hill’s films overpainted  4)  surrealist films including Le Chien Andalou and writings by Dali, such as his novel Hidden Faces ; Jean Cocteau’s Les Parents Terrible, Les Enfants Teribles and the plays associated  with the films, and his Blood of a Poet;  5) Peter Greenaway’s presentations of Veronese  and his films with Tom Phillips,  such as  The Tempest; and Rembrandt’s “J’accuse” and “Nightwatching” ; biographies of Gauguin and his writings, Van Gogh, and his letters to Theo 6) Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air and the film Everest (How to film and speak of extremes?) What kinds of very different questions are elicited by these interrelated concepts, works, and materials?
 
Readings will include, among the obvious ones listed above, George Bluestone’s Novel into Film – and reference books on the relations of art and text, such as those by W.J.T. Mitchell on the side of theory, and on the visionary side: novels and stories by Henry James, Joseph Conrad,  Edith Wharton, Herman Melville, and Virginia Woolf; Joseph Cornell’s Theatre of the Mind: Selected Diaries, Letters and Files: (ed. M.A. Caws) and other writings on Cornell and his relation to surrealism; and readings from my The Eye in the Text and the Surrealist Look,: an Erotics of Encounter; Tom Phillips’ the Humument and other art books.



ENGL76000 – Modernism, Nihilism, and Belief  GC: W, 4:15  6:15pm, 2/4 Credits, Prof. John Brenkman

The once widely accepted equation of modernity and secularization has been more and more thrown in doubt. The seminar will examine several facets of this controversy through various thinkers and through the poetry of T.S. Eliot, Jorie Graham, and Anne Carson. The conceptual framework will derive from theorists who address the complex relation of the secular and the sacred, nihilism and belief, symbols and ideas, as a problem in the theory and practice of interpretation: Paul Ricoeur, Emmanuel Lévinas, Julia Kristeva, Peter Sloterdijk, and Gianni Vattimo.

Texts: T.S. Eliot, The Complete Poems and Plays, 1909-1950 and Christianity and Culture; Jorie Graham, From the New World: Poems 1976-2014; Anne Carson, Glass, Irony & God; Paul Ricoeur, Figuring the Sacred; Emmanuel Lévinas, Beyond the Verse; Julia Kristeva, The Incredible Need to Believe; Peter Sloterdijk, God’s Zeal; Gianni Vattimo, After Christianity.