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Course Offerings



SPRING 2019

CMLT-C 110: Writing the World (9 sections, Johnson/staff)
Spring 2019 topic: Bad Company
Carries GenEd Foundations in Writing: EC and CASE EC credits.
Are you hanging out with the wrong people? Did someone come uninvited to your party and you never want to see them again? Terrible role models, bad influences, corrupt bosses, and misunderstood outsiders populate a wide range of stories from around the world and across centuries. We will examine how these characters impact the communities around them and how those communities react. Is there a way to avoid bad company, neutralize it, or transform it into something positive? All sections will read Euripides’ Medea and Helen, Pushkin’s Boris Godunov, and Alberto Moravia’s Agostino. Each section will read additional literature unique to that section. Individual sections may include television, art, music, and film. Assignments: 3 analytical essays, short papers, 3 quizzes, introduction to basic research skills.

CMLT-C 111: Reading the World (Staff)
Carries GenEd A&H, CASE A&H, and CASE GCC credits.
Fall 2018 topic TBA! From the Bulletin: Diverse literary genres and cultures from around the world explored through a comparative analysis of characters and themes in canonical and non-canonical texts, both ancient and modern.

CMLT-C 147: Images of the Self: East and West (Staff)
Carries GenEd A&H, GenEd WC, CASE A&H, and CASE GCC credits.
Fall 2018 topic TBA! From the Bulletin: Topics such as the individual in society, the outcast as hero, and artistic sensibility, examined in selected works of Western and Eastern literature from ancient to modern times.

CMLT-C 151: Introduction to Popular Culture (4 sections, Potapowicz/staff)
Carries GenEd A&H, CASE A&H, and CASE DUS credits.
This course defines the field of popular culture as central to how modern societies transmit and discuss key ideas. Across a range of media, genres, and styles, including film and television, music and song, theater, literature, and comics, students will become conversant with recent and contemporary forms of popular culture, and learn how to be active, critical, engaged, and media-literate readers. For individual Fall 2018 section topics, see descriptions below.

CMLT-C 151: Introduction to Popular Culture: Good Hair, Bad Hair (Potapowicz)
Carries GenEd A&H, CASE A&H, and CASE DUS credits.
From the mythical stories of Samson and Delilah or the tale of Rapunzel, to our contemporary concerns such as covering or uncovering, shaving or not shaving one's locks and fuzz, hair has consistently been used as a personal art form, a sign of belonging - always befalling social regulation and judgment. Why is hair so important? And what does its importance reveal to us about our own cultures?
Starting from historical and contemporary literary texts, films, art history, commercials, and news articles, we will question the significance of hair through the lenses provided by various cultural and theoretical approaches, engaging notions belonging to the fields of Sociology, Cultural Studies, Feminism, Occidentalism, African-American Studies, Religious Studies, etc.
Our readings will include stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Giovanni Verga, a novel from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and theoretical texts by Ingrid Banks, Karín Lesnik-Oberstein, etc.

CMLT-C 155: Culture and the Modern Experience (Staff)
Carries GenEd A&H, CASE A&H, and CASE GCC credits.
Fall 2018 Topic TBA! From the Bulletin: This course, which is interdisciplinary in method and international in scope, aims at introducing students to an inclusive study of major cultural parallels, contrasts and developments across the arts and beyond national and continental divides. Syllabi and selections of course materials will reflect the specialties of individual instructors.

CMLT-C 205: Comparative Literary Analysis: Human/Nature (Losensky)
Carries GenEd A&H, CASE A&H, and CASE IW credits.
This course introduces methods of textual analysis and interpretation through the close reading and comparison of works from around the world and across time. We will examine texts in a wide range of genres—epic and myth, the essay, lyric poetry, narrative fiction, and drama and film—to investigate how writers utilize language, imagery, character, setting, and plot to represent and comment on themselves, their society, and the world around them. To provide a basis of comparison between works from diverse times and cultures, we will focus this semester on representations of the relationship between human beings and the natural world. To what extent does civilization set humans apart from or above the natural world? How different are humans from other animals, and how are biological imperatives like sex and death integrated into culture? Because of the rich expressive resources of literary forms, creative writers are able to explore these questions in ways that defy simple paraphrase, and it will be our task to comprehend these resources in all their manifold complexity. Among the works that we will examine are texts and films from India, Africa, and the Middle East, as well as Europe and the Americas and from the ancient world to the present. Course requirements include two short quizzes, informal response papers, and three formal essays that will fulfill the College Intensive Writing requirement.

CMLT-C 217: Detective, Mystery, and Horror Literature (Messejnikov)
Carries GenEd A&H and CASE A&H credits.
Paranoia: the sense that there is more to life than is seen by the naked eye, a compulsion to scrutinize and distrust elements of our every-day existence, the feeling of being spied on or exploited by a malevolent force. Who or what is out to get me and why? Am I who I think I am? Am I trapped in a false, hostile reality (a mysterious island, a TV show, a labyrinthine museum), subject to a fate I cannot escape? Am I going insane? What can I do to resist? We will read works of mystery, horror and detective fiction that foreground the role of (re)interpretative acts in our lives. We will also consider what ideas and themes paranoia is paired with in each text, and how it as a literary device allows us to explore our understanding of ourselves and our relationships with a variety of environments and spaces.

CMLT-C 252: Literary and Television Genres (Potapowicz)
Carries GenEd A&H and CASE A&H credits.
Although it is customary to present literature and television as fundamentally opposed, these two mediums have been productively coexisting since the 1950s. This 200-level course will thus focus on the genre of “literary television”, including literary adaptations, book shows, book clubs, authorial interviews, and other literary experiences on the small screen. Students will begin by learning about the history of literature on television (with a focus on Europe and North America). They will reflect on the roles of Literary Institutions which shape our shared understanding of what literature is/does, what constitutes good reading, and how it relates to television practices and genres. We will study examples from French literary Students will complete a personal final project on the authors and television/literary genres of their choice.

CMLT-C 255: Modern Literature and the Other Arts: An Introduction (Hertz)
Carries GenEd A&H, CASE A&H, CASE GCC, and CASE IW credits.
Study of the creative mind of the modern artist, composer and poet. We analyze works of art (painting, music and literature) of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, compare how these works interrelate and discover how they are unique. We learn what motivates the creativity and how an artist turns forms, colors, sounds, silences and words into art. We also observe how styles in the arts change over time and study why artists often rebel against their precursors in search of new expression. Students of C255 see, hear and comprehend art in exciting and discriminating ways. For example, we discover how a musician paints a landscape, how a painter composes motion and how a poet creates musical and visual effects in verbal expression. Among the figures we will study are Beethoven, Mary and Percy Shelley, Keats, Chopin, Delacroix, Turner, Liszt, Dickinson, Cassatt, Monet, Debussy, Picasso, Stravinsky, Apollinaire, Matisse, and Eliot.

CMLT-C 257: Asian Literature and Other Arts: Postcolonial Indonesia (Goodlander)
Carries GenEd A&H, CASE A&H, and CASE GCC credits.
The course is largely informed by postcolonial theory, since cultural expressions in Indonesia have historical connections to colonialism and now globalization, which has been viewed by some as a new form of colonialism. The contributions of diverse ethnicities, religions, and gender will also be explored. Students will read novels, plays, short stories, and some theory. In class we will have interactive discussions, presentations, workshops on arts and dance, and explore ideas in short paper assignments. The final paper offers an opportunity to synthesize course content with the student's own interests. We will develop and understanding of culture and cultural expressions more generally, especially as they contribute to the development of a nation.

CMLT-C 321: Medieval Literature: Constructing Identity and Community in Medieval European Literature (McGerr)
Carries CASE A&H and CASE GCC credits.
People debated how to define human identity in medieval Europe; important elements involved relationships to other individuals and nature and how much of identity involves performance. Representing identity through rituals, portraits, or heraldry generated anxiety: performances can be entertaining or deceptive, and individuals show capacity for multiple forms of identity. While some medieval literature presents a static view of human identity, many medieval texts challenge assumptions about how race, gender, religion, class, and nature relate to human identity. This course explores representations of individual and community identity in literature from Italy, Spain, Germany, France, and England from the 6th through 15th centuries. Readings will come from several literary genres: epic and romance narrative, lyric poetry, drama, and allegorical narrative. In each case, we will look at how the text defines human identity or questions such definitions -- and what implications result for definitions of otherness within the text’s cultural context.

CMLT-C 337: The Twentieth Century: Tradition and Change | Texts and Contexts (Marks)
Carries CASE A&H credit.
Classics of the modernist canon—including exemplary works by Proust, Kafka, Woolf, Faulkner, Eliot, and Stevens—in the context of theoretical writings by Nietzsche and Freud. Topics to be discussed include language and the unconscious; moral perspectivism; the culture of inwardness; narrative discontinuity; and the role of obscurity. Written work: term paper (grad) or two shorter papers (undergrad), as well as a close reading of an assigned passage to be presented in class.

CMLT-C 347: Literature and Ideas: Pain and Pleasure (Johnson)
Carries CASE A&H.
What happens at the intersection of pain and literature? How do talented writers transform the human experience of pain into literary art? How do we understand the experience of physical and emotional pain when we encounter it through literature? Where do pain and pleasure intersect, and where do they part company? Explore representations of pain as physical and mental suffering, spiritual punishment, religious ecstasy, political vendetta, scientific discovery, and personal transformation. Reading list: Sophocles’ Philoctetes and Women of Trachis, Dante’s Inferno, Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, H.G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau, and Peter Shaffer’s Equus. Workload includes short papers and analytical essays, regular participation, and one in-class presentation.

CMLT-C 355: Literature, Arts, and Their Interrelationship: Dickens, Chaplin, and the Melodrama of Democracy (Peretz)
Carries CASE A&H credit.
Dickens and Chaplin are two of the most popular artists of democratic modernity. They are both profound critics and satirists of this modernity as well as great visionaries of a new humanity, of a new people, that it seems to call for and which it might make possible. This class will attempt to articulate the significance of their art, an art that has often been defined as melodramatic, through an examination of its implication with the adventure of modern democracy. We will ask what kind of “things” their works (respectively novels and films) try to be, what kind of activity they try to perform, in the context of the current situation in which humanity finds itself. Topics to be examined: the significance of the modern novel; the birth of the medium of film; popular culture and the question of a new, democratic, people; politics and art in modernity; the rise of melodrama.

By individual arrangement between student, faculty supervisor, and DUS, and with the permission of the department:
CMLT-X490: Individual Readings in Comparative Literature
CMLT-X491: Individual Studies in Film and Literature
CMLT-C496: Foreign Study in Comp Lit
CMLT-C499 Studies for Honors

Courses from previous semesters

  • Spring 2017
  • Fall 2016
  • Spring 2016
  • Fall 2015
  • 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