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Fall 2020

For all registration dates and deadlines, see the GC academic calendar.

Please note that this schedule is subject to change. Course descriptions are forthcoming, and there is a possibility that more cross-listed courses will be added.

2-4 Credit Grading System
2 credit courses= Pass or Fail option
4 credit courses= Letter grade


CL 79500: Theory and Practice of Literary CriticismGC; Thursdays, 4:15pm-6:15pm, Prof. Bettina Lerner, 4 credits

CL 80900: The Past Viewed through the Binocular of the Present: 20th and 21st Century Narrative Perspectives of Early Modern ItalyGC; Wednesdays, 4:15pm-6:15pm, Prof. Monica Calabritto, 2/4 credits

CL 85000: Writers Behind Bars: Prison Narratives in Russia and beyond, GC, Tuesdays, 6:30pm-8:30pm, Prof. Yasha Klots, 2/4 credits

CL 85500: Caribbean Fiction and Film Since 1945, GC, Wednesdays, 6:30pm-8:30pm, Prof. Jerry Carlson, 2/4 credits/cross-listed with FSCP 81000 (please note FSCP 81000 section of this course is 3 credits)

CL 88000: Italy’s Dialect Through Time, Space and SocietyGC; Wednesdays, 6:30pm-8:30pm, Prof. Hermann Haller, 2 credits

CL 89100: History of Literary Theory & Criticism IGC; Tuesdays, 4:15pm-6:15pm, Prof. Andre Aciman, 4 credits
 
CTCP 71088: Critical Theory:  Foundations and Practices, GC,Thursdays, 2:00pm-4:00pm, Prof. Leo Coleman, 3 credits. This course is not open to first year students and requires permission from Prof. Brenkman

Cross listed courses
FSCP 81000/CL 85500: Carribean Fiction and Film Since 1945, Prof. Jerry Carlson, Wednesdays, 6:30pm-8:30pm, (Film studies section, 3cr./Comp Lit section, 2/4 credits)

HIST 72800/CL 80100: Neofascism: from the New Right to the Alt-Right, Prof. Richard Wolin, Mondays, 6:30pm-8:30pm, (History section, 3cr./Comp Lit section, 2/4 credits, M.A students will need permission to enroll from the Instructor.)

SPAN 85000​/CL 86500: The City in Contemporary Spanish Literature, Cinema and Visual Arts, Prof. Paul Julian Smith, Wednesdays, 4:15pm-6:15pm, (CL version of this course, 2/4 credits, SPAN version of this course, 3 credits)

FREN 83000/CL 80100: The Nation and Its Others: France and Frenchness in The Age of Louis XIV, Prof. Domna C. Stanton, Tuesdays, 4:15-6:15 p.m., (CL version of this course, 2/4 credits, FREN version of this course, 3 credits)

ENGL 81000/FREN 87500/CL 89800: Independent Study: Translation/Interpretation/Omission/Obsession, GC; Mondays, 4:30pm-6:00pm, Prof. Mary Ann Caws, 1 credit. (The course will meet every 2 weeks for five weeks in the late afternoon)

Codes for Registering on Record/WIU
Registered on Record: 52905
Weight Instructional Unit 1: 52906
Weight Instructional Unit 2: 52908
Weight Instructional Unit 3: 52909
Weight Instructional Unit 4: 52910
Weight Instructional Unit 5: 52913
Weight Instructional Unit 6: 52914
Weight Instructional Unit 7: 52915


Course Descriptions

 

CL 79500: Theory and Practice of Literary CriticismGC; Thursdays, 4:15pm-6:15pm, Prof. Bettina Lerner, 4 credits


Over the last three decades, the field of Comparative Literature has gone through a period of rapid and radical expansion. What we study as comparatists is commonly (if problematically) held to be world literature, but now also includes a wide array of non-traditional media and new forms of self-expression. At the same time, how we study and interpret these texts has moved away from a well-established hermeneutics of suspicion toward distant, surface, reparative and other forms of reading, while increasingly embracing affects, objects and ecologies that exert significant pressure on discourses of race, gender, and sexuality. What defines the work that comparatists do and how might we continue to think about relationality when faced with modes of storytelling that seem unrelatable, untranslatable or illegible? This course considers what it means to read and write critically as comparatists today by engaging with current debates about the state of the discipline, the fate of the humanities in our universities, and the place and purpose of criticism and interpretation in our social and political landscapes as a whole. Through its written assignments and oral presentations, it also provides a space from within which to practice some of the key rhetorical exercises that have become, for better or worse, the benchmarks of professionalization including abstracts, conference presentations, project proposals, and a 20-25 page paper.


CL 80900: The Past Viewed through the Binocular of the Present: 20th and 21st Century Narrative Perspectives of Early Modern ItalyGC; Wednesdays, 4:15pm-6:15pm, Prof. Monica Calabritto, 2/4 credits


Many twentieth-century Italian authors have written novels, short stories, and theatrical plays inspired by and taking place in the past. This choice allows writers to explore bygone eras and, at the same time, to express implicitly their ideas and opinions on the period in which they live. The events narrated in the texts we will read during this seminar happen more or less over a century, between the end of the fifteenth century and the beginning of the seventeenth century in Italy. These are accounts of well known historical figures, such as Artemisia Gentileschi, Vincenzo Gonzaga, and Isabella D’ Este, and fictional figures, like Antonia, accused of witchcraft, whose life develops in the accurately detailed historical context of late sixteenth-century Novara.
We will start our exploration of historical fiction by reading sections of Manzoni’s I promessi sposi, to which many of the authors whose texts are featured in the seminar allude. While exploring and interpreting in these texts the relationship that the present entertains with the past and with history, we will also investigate issues of gender and identity related to the events narrated in these works and to the authors’ lives, since Anna Banti and Maria Bellonci, who wrote three of the texts we will read, created compelling female protagonists. 
Some questions addressed in this course will be: Why write a literary work that takes place in a remote past? How accurately can a writer reproduce the past that she/he is recounting in her/his text? In which way does the author insert her/his presence, the atmosphere, and mode of the present in her/his text?​
 

CL 85000: Writers Behind Bars: Prison Narratives in Russia and beyond, GC, Tuesdays, 6:30pm-8:30pm, Prof. Yasha Klots, 2/4 credits


For as long as modern Russian literature has existed, incarceration has been one of its central themes. In the nineteenth century, Dostoevsky described the prison world he got to know first-hand as “a world apart, unlike everything else, with laws of its own, its own dress, its own manners and customs” (The House of the Dead). Yet it was not until the period of high Stalinism that political imprisonment was so firmly engraved onto these dark pages of Russian history that it formed a separate genre: Gulag narratives. This course explores representations of prison and hard-labor camp experience across different artistic media, languages, and cultures. By looking at different aspects of life behind bars through the lens of both documentary and fictional accounts, we will compare the legacy of the Gulag to other historical and geographical contexts from around the world, thinking more broadly about prison as a semiotic space, and incarceration as an existential experience. Readings will be drawn from a variety of primary and secondary sources, including Fedor Dostoevsky, Varlam Shalamov, Primo Levi, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Michel Foucault, and others. Throughout the course, we will address the function of art as a means of survival and analyze what permutations our life’s key concepts undergo in a world behind bars. All reading and discussions are in English.

 

CL 85500: Caribbean Fiction and Film Since 1945, GC, Wednesdays, 6:30pm-8:30pm, Prof. Jerry Carlson, 2/4 credits/cross-listed with FSCP 81000 (please note FSCP 81000 section of this course is 3 credits)
 


An Archipelago of Stories: Caribbean Fiction and Film Since 1945
For the Caribbean the period since 1945 has been the most joyous, turbulent, and traumatic since the “discovery” by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Recent historical events include independence, decolonization, revolution, civil war, invasion, rapid modernization, and massive emigration to Europe and North America. It has also been 75 years of robust artistic activity in response to the region’s social, cultural, and political history. Our course will investigate how novels and feature films have contributed to that artistic wealth. We will study works from the three imperial language groups: English, French, Spanish. Our scope will consider the greater Caribbean that includes continental territories (for example, Cartagena. Colombia) and cities of diasporic concentration (most obviously, New York). We will examine how Caribbean storytelling has rendered three chapters common to all the territories: plantation economies supported by slavery; agrarian post-abolition colonial societies; and urban cultures in the region and its diaspora. What makes these works Caribbean? We will not be looking for the one true story of origin. Eschewing essentialism, we will try to describe the many entangled aspects that exist as a dynamic system of relations. Prose fiction may include works by, among others, Alejo Carpentier, Patrick Chamoiseau, Jean Rhys, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Maryse Conde, V. S. Naipaul, and Leonardo Padura. Films may include, among others, The Other Francisco (Cuba), Sugar Cane Alley (Martinique), The Harder They Come (Jamaica), Strawberry and Chocolate (Cuba) and Cocoté (Dominican Republic). Critical writings will be drawn from theorists such as Paul Gilroy, Edouard Glissant, Sylvia Winter, and Antonio Benitez Rojo.
 

CL 88000: Italy’s Dialect Through Time, Space and SocietyGC; Wednesdays, 6:30pm-8:30pm, Prof. Hermann Haller, 2 credits

In the Western European context Italy offers one of the most stratified linguistic and cultural landscapes, with a great number of dialects that have been used across geographical and social space through time side by side with the Tuscan-based standard. These regional languages are present also in a pervasive literary tradition that parallels and interacts with the classical literature in Tuscan, reflecting Italy’s historically significant tension between unity and disunity. Following a linguistic description and illustration of major dialect areas, the course will focus on the spoken uses of Italian language and dialects in contemporary society and their presence outside of Italy. The literary dialects will be sampled and discussed through the nineteenth-century poetry of the Milanese Carlo Porta and the Roman Giuseppe Gioachino Belli. The tension and interplay between standard Italian and dialects will be studied also in 20th-century theatrical productions and cinema, as well as in contemporary prose In Italian. 7 meetings, from October 21 through December 9. 2 cr.

 

CL 89100: History of Literary Theory & Criticism IGC; Tuesdays, 4:15pm-6:15pm, Prof. Andre Aciman, 4 credits 


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.

 

CTCP 71088: Critical Theory:  Foundations and Practices, GC,Thursdays, 2:00pm-4:00pm, Prof. Leo Coleman, 3 credits. This course is not open to first year students and requires permission from Prof. Brenkman


Every interpretive act requires a set of interpretive standards and assumptions.  To say that an artifact is beautiful, to offer but one example, implies that there is such a thing as beauty, that the critic knows what it is and can identify its constitutive elements in a way that is defensible. “Theory” names the critical sophistication that comes of making the interpretive act knowledgeable and reflexive: carefully to select the lens through which we view a text, to know the clarifying and distorting properties of that lens, and to grind it into a fit for the frames of our own critical and intellectual aims.
 
The critical enterprise is especially fraught, and so especially fascinating, when it contemplates that genre placing interpretation, choice, and misapprehension at the center of its concerns: tragedy. Throughout the European tradition, tragedy emerges time and again as the most compelling object of philosophically-inflected inquiry into literature.  We shall mirror that focus in this course by looking at philosophical takes on tragedy, and the various critical movements with which they might be associated, ranging from Aristotle, to Hegel, to Nietzsche, to Walter Benjamin, to Julia Kristeva.  The course will end with The Incident at Antioch, a tragedy composed by the most important living philosopher, Alain Badiou.
Students will be responsible for a conference-style presentation, which will give rise to a formal paper and final research paper of approximately sixteen pages.

 

Cross-listed Courses

 

FSCP 81000/CL 85500: Caribbean Fiction and Film Since 1945, Prof. Jerry Carlson, Wednesdays, 6:30pm-8:30pm, (Film studies section, 3cr./Comp Lit section, 2/4 credits)


An Archipelago of Stories: Caribbean Fiction and Film Since 1945
For the Caribbean the period since 1945 has been the most joyous, turbulent, and traumatic since the “discovery” by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Recent historical events include independence, decolonization, revolution, civil war, invasion, rapid modernization, and massive emigration to Europe and North America. It has also been 75 years of robust artistic activity in response to the region’s social, cultural, and political history. Our course will investigate how novels and feature films have contributed to that artistic wealth. We will study works from the three imperial language groups: English, French, Spanish. Our scope will consider the greater Caribbean that includes continental territories (for example, Cartagena. Colombia) and cities of diasporic concentration (most obviously, New York). We will examine how Caribbean storytelling has rendered three chapters common to all the territories: plantation economies supported by slavery; agrarian post-abolition colonial societies; and urban cultures in the region and its diaspora. What makes these works Caribbean? We will not be looking for the one true story of origin. Eschewing essentialism, we will try to describe the many entangled aspects that exist as a dynamic system of relations. Prose fiction may include works by, among others, Alejo Carpentier, Patrick Chamoiseau, Jean Rhys, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Maryse Conde, V. S. Naipaul, and Leonardo Padura. Films may include, among others, The Other Francisco (Cuba), Sugar Cane Alley (Martinique), The Harder They Come (Jamaica), Strawberry and Chocolate (Cuba) and Cocoté (Dominican Republic). Critical writings will be drawn from theorists such as Paul Gilroy, Edouard Glissant, Sylvia Winter, and Antonio Benitez Rojo.

 

HIST 72800/CL 80100: Neofascism: from the New Right to the Alt-Right, Prof. Richard Wolin, Mondays, 6:30pm-8:30pm, (History section, 3cr./Comp Lit section, 2/4 credits, M.A students will need permission to enroll from the Instructor.)


How did the far-right reestablish political legitimacy after its crushing defeat in 1945? How did it recertify the discredited ideas of race, hierarchy, anti-parliamentarism, autocracy, and patriarchy after seemingly hitting rock bottom? To what extent – and by what methods –   have its efforts to counteract the intellectual hegemony of left-wing thought by popularizing a “Gramscism of the right” been successful? To what extent have New Right ideas influenced the political self-understanding of the leading authoritarian populist parties, whose proliferation has been one of the hallmarks of twenty-first century global politics? Finally, to what extent have the depredations of “neo-liberalism” prepared the terrain for the New Right’s success?
Here, it is important to note that the slogan, the “Great Replacement,” which was invoked by the mass murderers in Utoya, Norway, Christ Church, NZ, El Paso, and Pittsburgh, was originally a New Right slogan.
 
One explanation for the New Right’s success pertains to its successful rehabilitation of German conservative revolutionary thought from the 1920s: the political doctrines of Carl Schmitt, Martin Heidegger, Oswald Spengler, etc., while cleansing their work of its ties to interwar fascism.
 
Finally, at what point in time did the New Right worldview cross the Atlantic to provide ideological support for the Alt-Right? In what ways do the New Right and the Alt-Right differ from the traditional right?  Did the Alt-Right contribute to Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election? Is the Alt-Right still a force in contemporary American politics, or was it merely a passing political fad?
 
Readings:
 
C. Schmitt, The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy
M. Heidegger, Nature, History, and State
A. de Benoist, View from the Right
A. Dugin, The Fourth Political Theory
T. Bar-On, Where Have All the Fascists Gone?
Y. Camus and N. Lebourg, Far-Right Politics in Europe
Woods, Germany’s New Right as Culture and as Politics
K. Belew, Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement
T. Mann, The Rise of the Alt-Right
Boggs, Fascism: Old and New
 

SPAN 85000​/CL 86500: The City in Contemporary Spanish Literature, Cinema and Visual Arts, Prof. Paul Julian Smith, Wednesdays, 4:15pm-6:15pm, (CL version of this course, 2/4 credits, SPAN version of this course, 3 credits)


This course, which is taught in Spanish, examines the modern Spanish city. It addresses the media of novel (Martín Santos, Laforet, Goytisolo), visual art (painter Antonio López, web artist Marisa González), and, especially film (Almodóvar, Amenábar, Alex de la Iglesia, Montxo Armendáriz, Ventura Pons) and television (TVE’s classic serials Fortunata y Jacinta and La Regenta, El Deseo's urban dramedy Mujeres, Antena 3's sitcom Aquí no hay quien viva).
Each class examines an urban theorist (e.g. Henri Lefebvre, Michel de Certeau, Manuel Castells), a work of criticism by a scholar of Spanish urbanism, and one or more creative works.
The learning goals of the course are thus to familiarize students to the representation of the Spanish city in visual media; to train them in textual and formal analysis; and to integrate urban theory into media studies.
Grading is by written exam (25%), student oral participation, weekly web posting, and presentation (25%) and final paper (50%).

FRE 83000/CL 80100: The Nation and Its Others: France and Frenchness in The Age of Louis XIV, Prof. Domna C. Stanton, Tuesdays, 4:15-6:15 p.m., (CL version of this course, 2/4 credits, FREN version of this course, 3 credits)
Course taught in English; Readings in English

This course will begin by questioning the view that the nation is born after l789. We will consider a set of criteria for nationhood and examine the efforts of Louis XIV and his ministers to transform France into a nation state with one monarch, one law and one faith; a centralized political and cultural structure; physical boundaries/borders, and a dominating linguistic idiom.

However, our principal focus will be the idea that a nation forges an inside by creating an outside, that is, by excluding a set of groups or people. To be sure, that enterprise is doomed to fail since the outside (the other) invariably mixes with or constitutes the necessary supplement to the inside, contrary to proclaimed ideology.  Moreover, in late 17th-century France, even insiders, such as members of the  noblesse d’épée, felt marginalized in an absolutistic monarchy, and invoked the idea of the nation over and against tyrannical Louis XIV.

The seminar will be devoted to considering five different others: the others within – a religious other (Jews); the gendered other (women); a sexual other (the sodomite) in a nation of reputedly virile Franks. The two others outside we will study are the oriental/Ottoman Turk; and the African slave transported to the French Caribbean.
Readings will include work on the nation by Anderson, Foucault and Balibar; on the early modern nation by Hampton, Bell, Sahlins and Yardeni;  historical documents, such as Salic Law and the Black Code; and primary readings by Corneille, Molière, Louis XIV, Perrault, Picard, Racine, Saint Simon;  Prideaux, Baudier and Tavernier on the Ottomans; Dufour, du Tertre, and Labat on slaves; and relevant critical texts.

Over and beyond readings and class participation, work for the course will include a presentation in class on a primary text. Those taking the course for 4 credits will also produce a 25-page research paper on some aspect of early-modern nationhood and othering to be determined in consultation with the instructor. For those taking the course for 3 credits, the paper will be no longer than 10-13 pp. Those taking the course for two credits will prepare a written version of the presentation they do in class (5-7 pp.). All students will take the final exam.
For any questions, please contact Domna Stanton (dstanton112@yahoo.com)

ENGL 81000/FREN 87500/CL 89800: Independent Study: Translation/Interpretation/Omission/Obsession, GC; Meeting Day and Time TBA, Prof. Mary Ann Caws, 1 credit.

This course will run via Zoom. The course will meet every 2 weeks for five weeks in the late afternoon. In the fall and spring we will be meeting as an independent study and small reading group. As independent study and discussing the general topics of translation/interpretation and also omission/obsession. Let me know at maryanncaws@gmail.com. If you would like to participate as enrolled or just joining in a reading group about whatever we are reading or composing or looking at or just absorbing.