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Course Offerings

Fall 2015

CMLT-C523 (13997): Medieval Literature: Performance/Identity/Community
TR 1-2:15, WH 108
Professor Rosemarie McGerr
4 credit hours, meets with MEST-M502

This semester, we will explore what medieval lyrics, plays, and narratives can reveal to us about the role of performance in constructing identity and community in medieval European cultures.  We will examine such topics as the relationship of musical and dramatic performance to verbal texts, visual signs of identity (badges and seals), the representation of reading as performance, and the construction of gender, social class, and faith as performance.  Our common readings will include lyrics poems by Yehuda Halevi, Hildegard von Bingen, Lombarda de Toulouse, Walther von der Vogelweide, Alfonso X, and Guillaume de Machaut; plays such as Abraham, The Play of St. Nicholas, Aucassin and Nicolette,  and The Second Shepherds’ Play; and narratives such as The Song of the Cid, The Romance of Silence, The Decameron, The City of Ladies, and The Book of Margery Kempe.  Students will prepare two class presentations on critical or theoretical readings and complete a comparative research project on the role of performance in two medieval texts.

CMLT-C 581 (14013): Workshop in Literary Translation
MW 2:30-3:45pm, WH 204
Professor Bill Johnston

In this introduction to the art and craft of literary translation, you’ll look closely at the work of literary translators, and try your hand at translating short texts in various genres. This workshop will focus on practical issues of literary translation. We will consider the problems of translating poetry, prose, drama, and other genres. Class time will be devoted to the analysis of existing translations, workshops on translation issues, and to work on our own translations. A strong emphasis will be placed on professional aspects of literary translation such as publication and representation. Evaluation will be by a series of practical assignments revolving around short translation projects in different genres. A wide range of languages will be represented in class, though we will always be translating into English. You will need a thorough knowledge of English and at least one other language. No prior experience of literary translation is required.

CMLT-C 603 (30683): Topics in Comparative Literature: Africa in the History of Ideas and Discourses of Representation
T 4:00-6:15, PY 113
Professor Eileen Julien

What role has Africa played in the elaboration of the concepts of slavery, race, freedom, and modernity? And how has Africa been represented in more recent discourses of primitivism and modernism, postcolonialism and cosmopolitanism?  We will focus on classic and contemporary critical and creative works, beginning in the 18th century and spanning several fields, including literature, music, film and visual arts.  One or several weeks will be devoted to each topic or pairs of topics.  Possible authors and artists are Phllis Wheatley, Olaudah Equiano, Herman Melville, Steven Spielberg, Orlando Patterson, Simon Gikandi, Conrad, Achebe, V.S. Naipaul, W.E. B. DuBois, Aimé Césaire, Richard Wright, Alex Haley, Maryse Condé, Anthony Appiah, Elizabeth Harney (on art and the avant-garde in Senegal) and Teju Olaniyan (on Fela, art and politics). Other resources we may exploit are the IU Art Museum,  the Archives of Traditional Music, and a symposium sponsored by the Black Film Center/Archive on D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation (1915).  Participants will be encouraged to tie issues and texts to their specific research topics or regions of study.

CMLT-C647 (31296): Literary Studies & Philosophy: Aesthetic Education – Learning to Live
T 2:30-5, LI851
Professor Eyal Peretz

What is the role of art in life? This is, this course suggests, the main question animating, whether implicitly or explicitly, the major artistic creators as well as the fundamental thinkers and theoreticians of art from the second half of the 18th century to our own days. Perhaps the most fundamental intuition all these writers share - paradigmatically expressed, from the side of literature, by the growing significance of the Bildungsroman, and, from the side of theory, in Schiller's project of aesthetic education-  is that a third term needs to be introduced in order to understand the relation of art to life, and this term is education. Art somehow involves, these writers seem to feel, an education; an education in, or perhaps, into, life. It is as if there is a special kind of education that only the passage through art can be responsible for - a learning to live. This would seem to mean that until we have not fully experienced, until we have not been educated into, what art is, or could be, we do not yet know what life is, or could be. Yet, a fundamental intuition of these modern thinkers is that we precisely have never yet fully known what art is, have never yet been fully educated into it, and that as such, we have never yet fully known what life is, have never fully been alive. The education called aesthetic is therefore extremely mysterious since it is an education into something that is yet unknown, life, with the means of something that is equally unknown, art. This class will try understand the nature of this mysterious education through two unknowns, and will also try to understand why precisely these terms - art, education, life- have received a new and prominent place at a certain moment of the Western experience. Readings may include: Plato, Plotinus, Saint Augustine, Descartes, Diderot, Rousseau, Kant, Goethe, Dickens, Schiller, Wagner, Nietzsche, Bergson, Beuys, Chaplin, Heidegger, Foucault, Hadot, Deleuze, Derrida


Courses from previous semesters

  • Spring 2015
  • Fall 2014
  • Spring 2014
  • Fall 2013
  • Spring 2013
  • Fall 2012
  • Spring 2012
  • Fall 2011
  • Spring 2011
  • Fall 2010
  • Spring 2010
  • Fall 2009
  • Spring 2009
  • Fall 2008