Courses

Summer 2016

COMPLIT 135: Experiencing Literature in the 21st Century: The Graphic Novel: An International Survey   3 cr (U;HU)
Class# 25840 LEC 201 ONLINE (Momcilovic)

In the last 30 years, the graphic novel became one of the most prominent and celebrated literary forms around the world. England and the United States continue to enchant audiences of all ages with increasingly sophisticated narratives about modern heroism and the moral gray zones that plague us all. But graphic artists from other parts of the world, including Iran and Israel, reinvent the genre with potent and often stinging chronicles of life in unimaginably difficult situations. Combining word and image, this new generation of masters introduces us to the wealth of possibilities that the graphic novel offers. Our readings will include Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight and Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta, post-modern re-tellings of traditional heroes’ narratives; graphic “memoirs” like Art Spiegelman’s Holocaust-themed Maus and Marjane Satrapi’s Iranian coming-of-age story Persepolis; and seminal texts of the history and future of the graphic novel–including Osamu Tezuka’s Metropolis, a masterful 1940s prototype of modern Japanese manga, and Exit Wounds, a modern Israeli graphic novel about life in a war zone. Students will also have the opportunity to take inspiration from these modern masters in their own graphic novel project, due at the end of the summer term. Satisfies GER(HU) and L&S International req. Affiliated with Cultures & Communities and Digital Arts & Culture.

COMPLIT 231: Literature and Religion: Sources of Muslim Belief  3cr (U;HU)
Class# 25922 LEC 201 ONLINE (Seymour-Jorn)

This course will introduce students to the major sources of Muslim belief, including the Qur’an, the Hadith, and other texts. We will begin the course with a brief introduction to the life of Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, and the history of the religion. We will also look at the Qur’an and Hadith in light of some contemporary artistic and cultural production and phenomena in the Modern Middle East. Satisfies GER (HU) and L&S International req. Affiliated with Middle Eastern & North African Studies and Religious Studies.

COMPLIT 233: Literature and Film: European Art Cinema and World Literature
3 cr (U;HU)
Class# 25840 LEC 201 ONLINE (Momcilovic)

The European art cinema of the 1960s and 1970s celebrates, retraces, and critiques various political, social, and cultural upheavals in recent European history. Godard in France, Fellini in Italy, Buñuel in Spain, Polanski in Poland, Bergmann in Scandinavia—these directors fashioned themselves as auteurs with a unique creative vision and a distinctive cinematic style. Together, they helped define an entire decade; their work explores the power of the artistic imagination and the creative process, particularly in relation to commercialism, political activism, memory practices, identity politics, and the complicated vicissitudes of love. In this online survey of the European art film, we will watch a selection of films from these iconic figures—including Breathless, Contempt, Belle de Jour, 8 ½, Wild Strawberries, and more. We will consider their work alongside key theoretical essays by David Bordwell and Andre Bazin, and a selection of short stories by Nikolai Gogol, Albert Camus, Yukio Mishima, Guy de Maupassant, Franz Kafka and Jorge Luis Borges. Satisfies GER(HU) and L&S International req. Affiliated with Cultures & Communities and Digital Arts & Culture.

 

Fall 2016

COMPLIT 133: Contemporary Imagination in Literature & the Arts 3cr (U;HU)
Class# 34118 LEC 001 MW11:00 AM-12:15 PM (Momcilovic)
Class# 28307 LEC 202 ONLINE (Momcilovic)

From Gothic terror to modern alienation, the artistic impulse and the human imagination have been prominent themes in literature and the visual and performing arts for the last 200 years. This course, which is taught in online and face-to-face sections, is an introductory survey of some of the most gripping, imaginative narratives, images, and performances from around the world. Our survey will include bewildering short stories by Franz Kafka; popular detective fictions from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; decadent poetry by Charles Baudelaire; various folk tales and oral epic songs from around the world; Mozart’s enchanting opera The Magic Flute; Tchaikovsky’s timeless ballet Swan Lake; musical masterpieces from Beethoven to the Beatles; Fritz Lang’s sci-fi classic film Metropolis; Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso’s revolutionary art; Madonna’s controversial concert performances; Marjane Satrapi’s contemplative graphic novel Chicken with Plums; and so much more. Satisfies GER (HU) and L&S International req. Affiliated with Cultures & Communities and Digital Arts & Culture.

COMPLIT 135: Experiencing Literature in the 21st Century: Literature, Film, and the World Wars 3cr (U;HU)
Class# 29693 LEC 001 TR 9:30 AM-10:45 AM (Paik)

The world wars of the last century, with their horrors of trench warfare, concentration camps, and aerial bombings, have left indelible marks on the contemporary imagination. In this class, we will read literary narratives and view films that examine various aspects of these historical experiences: the effect of modern weapons on the psyche of the front-line soldier, the atrocities of the concentration camps, the resistance against Nazi occupation, and the clash between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. Books may include Storm of Steel by Ernst Jünger, This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen by Tadeusz Borowski, Empire of the Sun by J. G. Ballard, and A Woman in Berlin by Anonymous. Films may include Army of Shadows, which is about the French resistance to Nazi occupation, Grand Illusion, which focuses on the comradeship between enemy officers during the First World War, and Come and See, which depicts the Second World War from the perspective of the Soviet Union. Satisfies GER (HU) and L&S International req. Affiliated with Cultures & Communities and Digital Arts & Culture.

COMPLIT 135: Experiencing Literature in the 21st Century: Creativity in Post-Revolutionary Egypt: Literature, Music, and Film 3cr (U;HU)
Class# 341201 LEC 002 MW 12:30 PM-1:45 PM (Seymour-Jorn)

This course will introduce students to some of the very recent developments in cultural production in the heart of the rapidly changing Arab world. Significant cultural and political change is occurring across the Arab world partly because of the Arab Spring, and also because of the growth of new radicalism in various countries. Art, literature and music in cultural centers like Cairo respond to these changes in important ways. We will look closely at some of these new artistic and cultural developments in Cairo, which is arguably the most important center of cultural production in the Arab world. We will learn about and make use of interdisciplinary approaches toward this new cultural creation as the course draws upon insights from both literary theory and cultural anthropology. Satisfies GER (HU) and L&S International req. Affiliated with Cultures & Communities; Digital Arts & Culture; and Middle Eastern & North African Studies.

COMPLIT 207: Global Literature from Antiquity to the 1600s: Monsters and Marvels in the Pre-Modern World 3cr (U;HU)
Class# 34119 LEC 201 ONLINE (Momcilovic) 

Supernatural monsters and enchanting marvels are certainly as old as humanity itself. Our understandings of humanity, community, power, heroism, death and the afterlife have been shaped since ancient antiquity by stories and story cycles that dramatize the awe-inspiring and sometimes terrifying clash between the human, the divine, the marvelous, and the monstrous worlds. This online course offers students of literature a survey of some of the most canonical monster tales and supernatural narratives of the ancient and medieval worlds, including selections from the Egyptian Book of the Dead and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, The Epic of Gilgamesh, Medea by Euripides, selected stories from the Tales of the Thousand and One Nights and Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, Beowulf, Joan of Arc’s dictated letters, Sufi poetry by Rumi, and William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Satisfies GER (HU) and L&S International req. Affiliated with Ancient Mediterranean Studies and Cultures & Communities.

COMPLIT 231: Literature and Religion: Introduction to the New Testament 3cr (U;HU)
Class# 32060 LEC 201 ONLINE (Williams)

Should the “New Testament” be referred to more accurately as “the Second Testament”? Who wrote the New Testament? How is it structured and when was it written? How has it been interpreted? What have been the implications of some of its interpretations? This Introduction to the New Testament course is designed to answer these and other questions from a literary-historical perspective. This approach focuses on issues of authorship, dating, theology, literary genre, and other special topics related to the scholarly or academic study of the New Testament. While this course is designed to be a survey of the New Testament literature, there will be some engagement with literature outside of the canonical New Testament, but only as it relates to special issues and topics in New Testament interpretation. Satisfies GER (HU) and L&S International req. Affiliated with Religious Studies.

COMPLIT 233: Literature and Film: Body and Desire from Hollywood to Bollywood 3cr (U;HU)
Class# 30525 LEC 001 TR 2:00 PM-3:15 PM (Xu)

The human body, by dint of its placement in culture and history, is laden with meaning. Its movement in space, posture, stylization, affect and sensation, cannot but signify. But besides this semiotic inevitability, the body also lives a life in materiality. This material body, though unsymbolizable, is intensely explored in cinema, by way of crises that endanger its being, producing narrative tension and visual fascination. This being body in crisis reveals a complex of desire, desire both as a sociohistorical imprint that structures the body’s meaning and as a material transgression against that meaning. Through a group of films produced in different parts of the world, this class will study how the human body in cinema is often straddled between meaning and being, performing the paradoxical function of creating an otherness within the symbolic. We’ll examine how films from different cultures stage unusual situations to call forth the material body, and what critical agency such a body often brings forth. We’ll observe how such psychosomatic practices as religion (eastern), martial arts, music and dance, occult rituals, dragging, psychiatric therapy, scientific experiments, etc., mold, affect, or produce the body’s meaning and desire, and how film diegesis mediates that meaning and desire through its own cultural codes. The objective of our study is to discover how this unique cinematic body opens up dimensions of truth we do not normally see, truth that undermines the entrenched norms of society by overstepping many boundaries, from those of race, class, gender, sex, to what it means to be human. Satisfies GER (HU) and L&S International req. Affiliated with Digital Arts & Culture; Film Studies; and Women’s and Gender Studies.

COMPLIT 333: Dante’s Divine Comedy in Translation 3cr (U/G )
Class# 34609/ 34584 LEC 201 ONLINE (Bolduc)

This course will provide a close examination of the three canticles of Dante’s Divine Comedy, tracing the voyage of the pilgrim from Hell, Purgatory, and finally to Heaven. It will be complemented by an exploration of visual resonances of the Divine Comedy in manuscript painting, frescoes, and film. Jointly offered with Italian 333. Affiliated with Religious Studies.

COMPLIT 340: Studies in Literary Genres and Modes: Journeys, Migrations, and Exiles: The Novel Around the Arab World 3cr (U/G)
Class# 34121 LEC 201 ONLINE (Seymour-Jorn)     

This course will introduce students to important trends in the development of the Arabic novel. We will explore the beginnings of the genre as it emerged in the early 20th century, and then we will examine important examples of the novel from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, and Palestine. We will explore major themes within novels written by both male and female writers. We will also make use of the texts to discuss the complex dynamic between Arab and Middle Eastern nationalisms, feminisms and other ideological movements. Finally, we will pay close attention to the development of narrative strategy, writing technique, and experimentalism in the Arabic novel. Affiliated with Middle Eastern & North African Studies.

COMPLIT 350: Topics in Comparative Literature:  Love and Passion in the European Literature3cr (U/G)
Class# 310761 LEC 001 TR 12:30 PM-1:45 PM (Paik)

In this class we will read novels and stories by major European authors of the 19th and early 20th centuries.  The course will focus on the role of desire and ambition in the formation of the modern European subject, examining such conflicts as those between the moral law and the romantic passion, Christianity and secularism, the aristocracy and the middle class, and social convention and individual authenticity. How do conceptions of love and passion shape identity?  What role did desire play in the emergence of modern individuality? Readings may include Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, Dangerous Liaisons by Choderlos de Laclos, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and stories and novellas by Heinrich von Kleist, Leo Tolstoy, Robert Musil, and Stefan Zweig. Satisfies L&S International req.

COMPLIT 362: Transnational Asian Cinema: New Chinese Cinema 3cr (U/G)
Class# 34122 LEC 001 TR 11:00 AM-12:15 PM  (Xu)

In the past three decades, a great number of high-quality films emerged in Chinese language cinemas. These films overturned many conventions in their effort to produce new artistic expressions germane to the temporal and spatial experience of rapid changes on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. As economic developments transform social structures as well as the normative codes by which social relations are regulated, the Chinese-speaking communities are re-imagining their world and history through cinema, altering cultural parameters, forming new identities and selfhood, and rebuilding a symbolic universe in which tradition and modernity interface. By studying a series of contemporary classics such as Yellow Earth, Horse Thief, The Puppet Master, and Chungking Express as well as new works of the 21st century, the course will explore the formation of three distinct film cultures in their respective “new waves” and the secrets of their “glocal” strategies of belonging in world cinema. The course is designed also to be a window to many of the pressing issues about history, memory, and representation emergent in the region’s postcolonial and postsocialist modernizations, since these issues, without exaggeration, are both producing and produced by its films. Satisfies the L&S International req. Affiliated with Asian Studies and Film Studies.

COMPLIT 365: Literatures and Cultures of the Americas: Border Narratives 3cr (U/G)
Class# 34123 LEC 201 ONLINE (Pitt)

This course examines narratives and theories of borders and migration in the Americas. How are national and political borders defined, conceptualized, and experienced? How do narrative constructions of borders shape border experience? What does it mean to cross the border and live as an immigrant? How is this process represented in literature and film? Through our study of borders and migration, we will also deepen our understanding of a wide range of contemporary discourses, including nationalism, exile, diaspora, security, human rights, hybridity, race, gender, community, and identity. While the U.S./Mexico border will serve as a starting point for many of our theoretical and literary engagements with the concepts and representations of borders, our collective readings will take into account other border experiences as well. Satisfies L&S International req. Affiliated with Comparative Ethnic Studies; Global Studies (Communications & Security tracks); International Studies; Latin American and Caribbean Studies; Latin American, Caribbean, & U.S. Latin@ Studies; and Peace Studies & Conflict Resolution.