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Indiana University Bloomington

Course Offerings

Spring 2014 courses

CMLT-C110 Writing the World: Villains & Anti-Heroes | See schedule for times | 3 cr
*Carries GenEd Foundations:  English Composition Requirements

Is it right for a mother to lock up her daughters for eight years? Can scientific discoveries justify cruel experiments? What should a soldier do when cheated of his just reward? Is it okay to sleep with a prisoner of war? This semester a who’s-who of villains and anti-heroes will grapple with these and other startling questions. From the battlefield of Troy to a sunbaked village in Spain to a nameless south Pacific island, some characters will strive in vain towards a heroic ideal, while others will turn their backs on it. Still other characters will welcome the chance to create mayhem for those around them. All sections will read Federico Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba, H. G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau, Sophocles’ Ajax, and J. M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians. Each section will read additional works unique to that section that may include short stories, poetry, novels, and drama. Individual sections may also include television, art, music, and film. 

This course emphasizes critical thinking, clear communication, and effective argumentation. Assignments include 3 analytical essays, short papers to help develop the 3 essays, 3 short quizzes, and an introduction to basic academic research skills.

CMLT-C111 (30858) Reading the World | M.  Arenberg | TR 1:00 – 2:15 am | 3 cr
*Carries IUB GenEd A&H, CASE A&H and CASE GCC Credit

What does it mean to “grow up”? How do we move from childhood to full membership in society? How do we search for meaningful existence within that society? This course will consider these questions and the broad themes of coming-of-age, quest for identity, and the relationship between the self and the wider world. We will focus on these themes as they have been explored in “novels of formation” or Bildungsromane of the 19th and 20th century, though some other genres will be considered for contrast.  We will also give particular attention to the ways the “coming of age” or “novel of formation” genre has been taken up by members of marginalized social groups, including women, racial minorities and writers from the former colonies.  Course texts may include works by Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, Jean Rhys, Toni Morrison, Camara Laye, and Tsitsi Dangarembga. Workload includes two analytical essays, mid-term and final exams, short papers to help you design essay topics, and reading quizzes. For more information,

CMLT-C111 (30859) Reading the World:  Strange Bodies| J. Johnson | Mw 4:00 pm -5:15 pm | 3 cr
*Carries IUB GenEd A&H , CASE A&H and CASE GCC Credit

Broken, mutated, empowered, exploited, bartered, politicized, invisible—these are the bodies we will read about this semester in a series of classic narratives from different time periods and cultures. In a variety of genres (plays, short stories, novels, science fiction, children’s fiction, fantasy), we will see bodies transformed by magic, science, political violence, market forces, and divine intervention.  Our texts for the semester include the following: H. G. Wells’ The Invisible Man, Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, Shakespeare’s most violent play Titus Andronicus, Sophocles’ Philoktetes, the ancient Roman novel The Golden Ass, and Nobel Prize winner J. M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians. Workload includes two analytical essays, mid-term and final exams, short papers to help you design essay topics, and reading quizzes. For more information,

CMLT-C151 (17219) Intro to Popular Culture:  Voices of Dissent | S. Sylla | TR 9:30 – 10:45 am | 3 cr
*Carries GenEd A&H, CASE A&H and CASE DUS Credit

This course aims to explore readings that examine the multi-faceted perspectives that popular culture encompasses.  Throughout this course, we will analyze how, in different areas and periods, people organize mass or individual resistance. The course will take us from John Ford’s description of jobless peasants in the Great Depression to Ousmane Sembène’s epic narrative about a strike led by railway workers in colonized Africa; from prison life in apartheid-ruled South Africa to the Occupy Wall Street movement.  What kind of crisis is involved? How does it appear? How do people react? To what extent can submissiveness help maintain the dominant order? How do voices of dissent emerge? How do they operate or express a common desire for change? Does protest imply personal (individual) action or collective initiative? What are the limits of both? These questions, among others, will be central to our class discussions.

CMLT-C151 (21028) Intro to Popular Culture:  Love Etc.  | J. Le Hégarat | MW 4:00 – 5:15 pm | 3 cr
*Carries GenEd A&H , CASE A&H and CASE DUS Credit

Whether you’re a girl or a boy ; a man or a woman ;  Whether you’re still waiting for Prince Charming or generally irritated by knights in shining armor ; You worship Miguel, found love in a hopeless place or would rather run away than always be Mariah Carey’s baby ; If you’ve been dreaming of being a wedding crasher or trying  on 27 dresses ; More simply put, if you have strong feelings about LOVE, then this section of C151 is made for you !  This class will be devoted to the SERIOUS study of popular culture. In other terms : Pop ! goes your heart but  hard ! works your brain. We will look at films, TV shows, novels, blogs, web series and love songs as well as a variety of genres such as romantic comedies, romance, bromance, drama and musicals. To get a better understanding of the material, we will also read some more theoretical works.  The course objectives are to be able to exert your critical judgment and to question representations of race and gender in art and media. Be ready to participate actively in class ! Please also keep in mind that there will be strong content  Examples of materials could include FILMS: Don Jon ; Bachelorette ; Mean Girls; Bad Teacher ; Buffalo 66 ; Shaun of the Dead ; There’s Something About Mary  NOVELS : Bridget Jones‘ Diary ; Pride and Prejudice ; The PrincessBride ; Fifty Shades of Grey ; TV SHOWS : The Millionaire Matchmaker ; Next ; Bridezillas and other web material.

CMLT-C151 (25457) Intro to Popular Culture | M. Ndour | TR 2:30 – 3:45 pm | 3 cr
* Carries GenEd A&H, CASE A&H and CASE DUS Credit

This course will examine 20th- and 21st-century African, Caribbean and US popular culture with a special focus on the theme of women and violence in print fiction, television and film.  We will look at how women engage in redefining their identity by breaking the silence and speaking the unspeakable.  We will explore the ways in which female writers' creativity contributes to challenging the dominant values and/or “cultural norms” in their environment, and how women use different forms of popular culture to create their own more relevant interpretations of their experiences.  In exploring what it means to read culture through its historical and social contexts, we will move from defining the essential elements of popular culture to examining different models of reading popular texts. Discussion will be a critical component of this course, and assignments will include short critical papers, and midterm and final exams.

CMLT-C151 (33332) Intro to Popular Culture | M. Thiao | TR 5:45 – 7:00 pm | 3 cr
* Carries GenEd A&H, CASE A&H and CASE DUS Credit

One of the most discussed topics today in media and academia is globalization. From TV shows to Hollywood movies through newspapers and (online) journals, globalization remains an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Always yoked together with the advance of Information and Communication Technologies, globalization is exposed and imposed on all cultures across the globe.  Therefore, we witness the emergence of networks of consumers who share the illusion that the world is at the tip of their fingers while increasingly facing the challenge of identifying fact from fiction. Hence, popular culture today is marked by a cacophony of ideas and a ballet of discordant movements centered around the ideals of globalization.  This course will explore globalization as a major topic in popular culture. Using a variety of genres including film, music and novels we will discuss popular culture as both a vehicle and criticism of globalization. In this context the opportunities, the challenges as well as the various faces of globalization will be discussed as they appear in our course materials. In other words, while keeping its entertaining vocation, we will look at the way popular culture represents both an expression and a critical reflection on issues of globalization.

CMLT-C155 (23385) Culture and the Modern Experience: | T. Wu | TR 9:30 – 10:45 am | 3 cr
*Carries GenEd A&H, CASE A&H and GCC Credit

This course examines the modern self and its relation to social and cultural experience, in philosophical and literary texts as well as in social practices. We will trace the Western intellectual tradition since the Enlightenment, encountering along the way images of selfhood as diverse as the optimistic individual, alienation in an absurd world, representations on social networking sites, cyborg beings and virtual worlds. Questions to be addressed include: What does it mean to be true to or to believe in oneself? In what ways are concepts we take for granted historically conditioned, such as a complex psyche? How do new technologies foster new images of ourselves?  The class is heavily discussion-based. Assessment includes participation, short critical responses, and a final paper. No exams.

CMLT-C200 (29988) Honors Seminar:  Gods & Rebels | S. Van der Laan | TR 2:30 -3:45 pm | 3 cr
*Carries GenEd A&H and CASE A&H

The story of a creature who rebels against his master or creator is as old as literature itself: a Titan defies the gods to bring the gift of fire to humanity; a hero abandons the commander who has insulted him; an angel grown proud falls from grace; an inhuman creature seeks to revenge himself on the creator who denies his humanity. Through these stories, we will examine the nature and the existence of good and evil. We will consider the mutual obligations that bind gods and humans, rulers and ruled. We will explore the power and the limits of free will, and we will define what it is to be human. We will seek the right grounds on which to base relationships, from debt to gratitude to love, and we will ask what—and if—constraints can and should be placed on human action, progress, and creativity.  Readings will include Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound; Homer, Iliad; John Milton, Paradise Lost; Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; and Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass.


CMLT-C205 (23547) Comparative Literary Analysis | S. Van der Laan | TR 11:15-12:30 pm | 3 cr

This course introduces students to methods of comparative literary analysis. We will study works from a range of genres, periods, and national traditions, with a focus on texts that are themselves about writing or otherwise conscious of themselves as texts. By exploring the literary techniques that these works use to call attention to their status as works of art, we will trace the development of ideas about what literature is and how it creates meaning.  We will also learn to expose additional, hidden potential readings and meanings in these and other literary texts. Students will refine their close-reading skills and improve their ability to craft essays in literary criticism—to write about writing themselves.  Readings may include selections from Ovid, Metamorphoses, and Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote; William Shakespeare, The Tempest; short stories by Jorge Luis Borges or Italo Calvino; A. S. Byatt, Possession; Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead; and a selection of lyric poems.


CMLT-C216 (25218) Science Fiction, Fantasy, and the Western Tradition l D. Lukes l MWF 11:15- 12:05l Cr. 3

*Carries GenEd A&H and CASE A&H Credit

Where realism fails us, science fiction and fantasy are there to illustrate not so much things as they are, but things as they might be. A literature of the “perhaps,” SF and fantasy defamiliarize our world and make it strange, telling it anew, and framing our desires, concerns, and very language in speculative fictions that challenge and confound our assumptions and certainties. Across various media (novels, short stories, graphic literature, music, animation, and film) this class will examine how we understand, produce, and consume ideas and discourses of power, the body, race, gender and sexuality, technology, space and time, through narratives of the fantastic.  Our readings will cover such domains as utopia/dystopia, post-apocalypse, cyberpunk, steampunk, Afrofuturism, and biopolitics, in addition to theories of the simulacrum, cyborg, posthuman, and the New Weird. We will examine how the myths and archetypes of science fiction and fantasy (the mad scientist, the robot, the alien, the dragon, the clone) reformulate tropes of the Western tradition and beyond. Authors to include Mary Shelley, J.G. Ballard, Octavia E. Butler, Stanislaw Lem, Ursula Le Guin, Alan Moore, Italo Calvino, Katsuhiro Otomo, and China Miéville. Assignments to include two research papers, lively attendance and participation in class, and active suspension of disbelief.

CMLT-C217 (33213) Detective, Mystery,/Horror/Lit | C. Berry | TR 2:30-3:45 am | 3 cr
*Carries GenEd A&H and CASE A&H Credit

What is it about crime that attracts us as readers of fiction? Do we privately revel in the transgressions of the criminal mind, or do we experience satisfaction from the detective who successfully restores order to a chaotic and dangerous world? How has the reader’s experience of crime fiction changed since the mid-nineteenth century, and in what ways has crime fiction – particularly detective fiction – evolved to keep up with modern tastes? This course will attempt to answer these and other questions by reading detective and crime narratives from a selection of key crime fiction subgenres: 19th-century sensationalism, clue-puzzles from the golden age of detective fiction, hard-boiled and literary noir novels, modern police novels, and psycho narratives.  Texts for this course will include Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, Agatha Christie’s Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Chesterton’s Father Brown stories, Chandler’s The Big Sleep, Hammett’s Maltese Falcon, Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice, Harris’s Red Dragon (the first of the Hannibal Lecter novels), Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me, and Bloch’s Psycho (later made into the famous Hitchcock film). We will also watch and discuss the filmed versions of some of our texts. Assignments will include: midterm and final exams, a single-text analysis, and a comparative essay. 

CMLT-C219 (20613) Romance and the Western Tradition | S. Morrell | TR 4:00-5:15 pm | 3 cr
*Carries GenEd A&H and CASE A&H Credit

This class will trace one of history‘s most enduring modes of literature: the romance, a genre that has been described as one in which “history and fantasy collide and vanish, each into the other” (Heng). In this course we will study origins and evolutions of the romance, from antiquity to the present. We will begin by reading several classical romance texts and will then trace the genre‘s development into modern fiction, where it is parodied and/or distorted. While we will explore romance through canonical texts such as medieval courtly romances, we will also read Middle Eastern and Asian corollaries to come to a deeper understanding of the genre. Students will learn to identify the various attributes of romance as well as to compare and critique many diverse texts within this framework. Readings will likely include classical materials such as Ovid’s Metamorphoses, medieval works such as the Lais of Marie de France, Middle Eastern texts such as The Thousand and One Nights, and modern novels such as Censoring an Iranian Love Story.


CMLT – C 255 (17220) Modern Lit & the Other Arts: Intro  l  R. Holler l TR 11:00 – 12:30 pm l  CR3

*Carries GenEd A&H, CASE A&H and CASE GCC Credit

This is the course that takes us into the creative mind of the modern artist, composer and poet and into the analytical mind of the critic. In C255, 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 creative personality and how such a person 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 ways to express themselves. Students of C255 travel through the centuries, experience the sublime and fall into the pits of existential despair. We will hear and comprehend art in new, 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 many figures we will study are Blake, Mozart, Beethoven, Mary and Percy Shelley, Keats, Friedrich, Turner, Schumann, Delacroix, Wagner, Poe, Monet, Manet, Joyce, Kafka, Kandinsky, Picasso, Stravinsky, Eliot, Pollock, Beckett and Brecht. Requirements, Assignments and Course Activities: Visits to the IU Art Museum. Attend Jacobs School of Music events. One response paper and one 8-10 page comparative paper. 2 Exams and weekly quizzes. No prerequisites and no previous experience in literature, painting or music is required or expected.  


CMLT – C256 (27624) Lit & the Other Arts: 1870-1950 l D. Hertz l TR 11:15-12:30 pm l CR3

*Carries CASE A&H and CASE GCC Credit

An interdisciplinary study of poetry, narrative, music, the visual arts (painting, architecture, sculpture and more), modern dance in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We will survey the various camps into which the artists gathered: Realism, Impressionism, Symbolism, Expressionism, Fauvism, Cubism , the Nabis, the Dadaists, Art Nouveau and others. While some historical background will be essential, the chief focus will be on the moments when the arts intersect and combine in different ways, sometimes feeding on each other or influencing each other. Among the musicians we will study will be Claude Debussy, Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg, Charles Ives, and Duke Ellington.  Artists to be studied include Claude Monet, Odilon Redon, Vasily Kandinsky,  Pablo Picasso, Gustave Eiffel, Henri Matisse, Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier.  Diaghilev, Nijinsky and the Ballet Russes will be considered as important innovators of Modernism. At the center will be world of the burgeoning modern literature (poetry and prose). Literary works will be selected from the writings of Guy de Maupassant, Stéphane Mallarmé, Joris-Karl Huysmans, Guillaume Apollinaire, Franz Kafka, Gertrude Stein, Rainer Maria Rilke, James Joyce, Wallace Stevens and Eugenio Montale.  For full course credit, students will be expected to visit the IU Art Museum and attend a minimum number of concerts in the Jacobs School of Music.


CMLT –C301 (27629) Spec Topics in Comp Lit: Contemp. Poetry l K. Tsai l  MW 4:00-5:15 pm l CR3

*Carries CASE A&H andGCC Credit 

This course explores contemporary poetry through practice in the writing of poetry and through critical study of literary essays and criticism. Readings will be drawn widely from the world and from all time period. s. While prior experience in creative writing is not required, students should be open to workshopping their poems, as composition exercises and revision will constitute a major part of the course.

CMLT-C301 (27629) Spec Topics in Comp Lit:  Intro Lit. Theory| J. Nizynkska  | W 5:45-8:15 pm | 3 cr | Meets with Slav-S320
*Carries CASE A&H andGCC Credit

How do we create meaning? What contextualizes our reading, and how do social, political, historical, and gender differences affect our interpretations? How is “reading” speech different from reading writing? And what is “text,” anyway? This course introduces basic vocabulary of literary and cultural theories to enhance students’ ability to interpret aesthetic and social texts. Divided into three parts (mimesis, author, reader) and surveying texts from Plato to Henry Louis Gates, Jr., this course examines major theoretical movements (e.g., structuralism, deconstruction, postcolonialism) and explores how meaning is generated and disseminated. In assignments and in class discussions, students will be encouraged to utilize a spectrum of cultural expressions: literature, popular culture, film, television, fashion, advertising, etc.

CMLT-C301 (33810) Spec Topics in Comp Lit:  | M. Carvalho | MW -2:15 pm | 3 cr | Meets 2nd 8-weeks only

*Carries CASE A&H andGCC Credit 

The body is at once a space of intervention and self-expression, and also an object of control and domination. It is located at the centre of debates on race and gender, motivates discourses and disseminates signs about the construction of identities, reveals private and public spaces and becomes a means to question the limits of art and life. As a biological entity, it allows for the experience of life from reproduction to physical manipulation, from conservation to destruction; as a space and intervention subject, allows for the creation of spaces, ideologies, rituals and urban topographies.  In this course the body will be analysed as a cultural object and performative space that embraces social codes, political and artistic practices and challenges stereotypes, performed in literary texts, visual culture and performance art. This theme will be discussed through the comparative study of a heterogeneous corpus of literary texts, films and different performance practices, namely Ovid’s Metamorphoses (selected texts), Jorge de Sena’s The Wondrous Physician (original title O Físico Prodigioso), The Three Marias’ New Portuguese Letters (Novas Cartas Portuguesas), Fernando Pessoa’s selected poetry, Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, Michael Ondaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion, Greenaway’s The Pillow Book and the artistic work of Adrian Piper, Marina Abramovic and Orlan. The Portuguese texts may read in English translation.  Students will be assessed through class presentations and a final essay.


CMLT –C305 (17221) Comp App to Literature  l  A.Pao  l  TR 2:30-3:45 pm l CR3

*Carries CASE A&H Credit | Required for CMLT Majors

Comparison is widely regarded as a fundamental mode of human thinking.  It is central to analyses of complex world systems and to everyday activities like shopping.  But what exactly does it mean to compare, particularly when comparisons are made across cultures and across disciplines?  In this course, we will examine the practice of comparing literary texts from historical, philosophical, and political perspectives.  We will consider how the comparison of literary works with each other and with other works of art can both reinforce and transcend cultural traditions, boundaries and identities.  We will read key 20th- and 21st-century literary and cultural theorists (e.g. Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, Edward Said, Judith Butler) from a meta-critical perspective to analyze the ways in which they simultaneously rely on and challenge comparative modes of thinking.  Core primary works will include Balzac’s Sarrasine, Shakespeare’s King Lear, Kurosawa’s Ran, Mérimée’s Carmen and Bizet’s opera Carmen.  Course requirements: four 2-3 page response papers, one 6-7 page comparative essay, a take-home final exam, and active class participation.  **CMLT C205 is a prerequisite for this course. If you have not taken C205, please contact the instructor before enrolling.

CMLT-C310 (26581) Literature and Film: Lyrical Film and the Lyric | K. Tsai | TR 5:45 – 7:00 pm | 3 cr
*Carries CASE A&H Credit

What does it mean to be “lyrical”? How does this concept work across media? This course explores the commonalities and tensions between film and poetry, beginning with the framing issues of “word and image.” Does Simonides’ dictum that “painting is silent poetry and poetry is painting that speaks” remain applicable? Some films/filmmakers we will examine include La jetée (the predecessor to Twelve Monkeys), Stan Brakhage, Wong Kar-wai, Mizoguchi Kenji, and Hou Hsiao-hsien. This course includes a very significant amount of creative exercises and workshopping, including writing “ecphrastic” poetry (poetry about art or, in the context of our course, film).

CMLT-C337 (30006) 20th Century:  Tradition & Change | H. Marks | TR 4:00-5;15  pm | 3 cr |  Meets1st 8-weeks only
*Carries CASE A&H and GCC Credi

Beginning with selections from Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams and Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, we shall be studying a small group of twentieth-century writers who invite us to think about the uses (or abuses) of obscurity in literature. Likely candidates include Proust, Kafka, Woolf, and/or Faulkner, as well as one or two poets who wrote in English. Topics to be discussed include memory and history, the manipulation of time, the nature of literary language, and the relation of truth and fiction.  Requirements: one explication de texte and a final paper.

CMLT-C340 (23119) Women in World Literature | E. Geballe | TR 1:00 – 2:15 pm | 3 cr
* Carries CASE A&H and GCC Credit

From Biblical writers to Shakespeare to the Romantic poets, male writers have determined the norms and standards of the literary arts. In this course we will examine ways in which female authors have subtly (or not so subtly) adapted, revised, or downright undermined the texts of their male predecessors. Using texts from a variety of genres, cultures, and historical periods, we shall trace the way in which these works were transformed and analyze the purposes of these transformations, whether they be political, aesthetic, or personal. Students in the course will learn to apply critical theories to literary texts and to develop skills in comparative criticism. Major coursework will include two papers and an in-class presentation.

CMLT-C361 (30015) African Lit & Other Arts | A. Adesokan| MW 11:15-12:30 pm | 3 cr

In this course, we will discuss at length the different traditions of African literary writings, focusing on the emergence of these genres—fiction, drama, poetry—in relation to other art forms. The course explores the relationships between literature and other arts in three related ways: first, the development of various African literary traditions from oral and visual forms which continue to survive in media such as cinema, music, cartoon; second, the autonomous growth of the non-literary media as social forms; and thirdly, their increasing visibility partly as a result of the crises in literary publishing on the continent. Authors may include King-Aribisala, Ama Ata Aidoo, Ayi Kwei Armah, Boris Diop, Daniel Fagunwa, Fela Kuti, Flora Gomes, Dani Kouyate, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, and Wole Soyinka.

CMLT-C378 (29096) Topics in Yiddish Culture:  Ghetto Shtetl and Beyon | D. Kerler | MW 4:00 – 6:15 pm | 3 cr | Meets 2nd 8-weeks only | Meets with GER-E352 and GER-Y506
*Carries CASE A&H and GCC credit

Selected topics focusing on history of Askenazic Jews; Old Yiddish and premodern Yiddish folklore and popular culture; history and sociology of Yiddish; modern Yiddish culture, and centers of modern Yiddish culture.  Taught in English.  No prior knowledge of Yiddish required.  Topics vary.  May be repeated with a different topic for a maximum of 6 credit hours for any combination of C378, GER E352, and GER Y350






Courses from previous semesters

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