Courses

SUMMER 2018

Comp Lit 135: Experiencing Literature in the 21st Century
Topic: The International Graphic Novel
3cr (U;HU)
Class #66671 LEC 201 (Online, July 9-August 18) (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 foundational examples of the graphic novel, including Hergé’s 1929 Belgian cartoon series Tintin in the Land of the Soviets and Osamu Tezuka’s Metropolis, a masterful 1949 prototype of modern Japanese manga; postmodern reworkings of the graphic novel like Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight and Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta; and contemporary graphic “memoirs” like Art Spiegelman’s Holocaust-themed Maus and Marjane Satrapi’s Iranian coming-of-age story Persepolis. Students will also have the opportunity to take inspiration from these modern masters in their own creative 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 certificates.

FALL 2018

CompLit 133: Contemporary Imagination in Literature & the Arts
Instructor: Drago Momcilovic
Lec 001 / GER [HU]  / 3 cr / U ? MW 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm

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 100 years. This course is an introductory survey of some of the most gripping, imaginative narratives, images, and performances from around the world since the year 1900. Our survey will include bewildering short stories by Franz Kafka; popular detective fictions from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; Tchaikovsky’s timeless ballet Swan Lake; Fritz Lang’s sci-fi classic film Metropolis; revolutionary art by Pablo Picasso and Frida Kahlo; Madonna’s controversial concert The Girlie Show; Marjane Satrapi’s contemplative graphic novel Chicken with Plums; and so much more. All texts will be taught in English translation, and all media texts will be subtitled or close-captioned. Satisfies GER (HU) and L&S International req. Affiliated with Cultures & Communities.

CompLit 135: Experiencing Literature in the 21stCentury
Topic: Fashion & Identity

Instructor: Drago Momcilovic
Lec 001 / GER [HU]  / 3 cr / MW 3:30 pm – 4:45 pm

Dressing for success, dressing to the nines, glamming it up—these catch phrases are more than just sound bytes. They implicate fashion, textile design, aesthetic taste and personal style in larger narratives about identity and identity formation. But what do clothing, jewelry and accessories really tell us about the modern individual, her origins and ambitions, her past struggles and social networks, her place in a world populated by so many other shoppers, critics, and style icons? What does it mean to have style or taste, particularly when critics of fashion are so openly hostile to fashion’s famous excesses and apathies? How does our understanding of fashion, beauty, and style evolve over time and shape the way we look at gender, sexuality, creativity, commerce, and aging? This course explores the many different literary, cinematic and artistic representations of fashion during the last 200 years, and the way these perspectives help us complete our view of self and world. Our survey will include fashion writings and aesthetic musings from French critic Roland Barthes and Italian writer Umberto Eco; body modification tales by Junichiro Tanizaki, Franz Kafka and Nikolai Gogol; symbolist poems by Charles Baudelaire and Barbie poems by Denise Duhamel; tales of performance and masquerade by Yukio Mishima; the politicization of dress and style in Luis Valdez’s Zoot Suit and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi; and films and television shows marking important moments in modern fashion history and culture—including Desperately Seeking Susan, Coco Before Chanel, and selected episodes of Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model.  We will also consider iconic fashion collections by Alexander McQueen and Christian Dior, photographic essays and editorials by Brassai and Guy Bordin, fairy tales and fables by Aesop and Hans Christian Andersen, and live concerts and music videos by Madonna, Lady GaGa, Beyoncé, and more. Satisfies GER (HU) and L&S International req. Affiliated with Cultures & Communities.

CompLit 207: Global Literature from Antiquity to the 1600s
Topic: Monsters and Marvels in the Pre-Modern World

Instructor: Drago Momcilovic
Lec 201 / GER [HU]  / 3 cr / online

Supernatural monsters and enchanting marvels are certainly as old as literature itself. Our understandings of humanity, community, power, heroism, death and the afterlife have been shaped since ancient antiquity by stories and myth cycles that dramatize the awe-inspiring and sometimes terrifying clash between the human and the divine, the marvelous and the monstrous. This 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 Ovid’s MetamorphosesThe Epic of GilgameshOedipus the King by Sophocles, selected stories from the Tales of the Thousand and One Nights, Joan of Arc’s dictated letters, Sufi poetry by Rumi, and William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Satisfies GER (HU) and L&S International req. Affiliated with Ancient Mediterranean Studies and Cultures & Communities.

CompLit 231: Literature and Religion
Topic: Introduction to the New Testament
Instructor: Demetrius K. Williams
Lec 201 / 3 cr / GER(HU) / U / online

Should the New Testament (NT) 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 is its position on the place of women in society? What is its position on slavery? 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. Affiliated with International Studies and Religious Studies.

CompLit 309: Great Works of Modern Literature                                                     Topic: The Truth of Others
Instructor: Jian Xu
Lec 001 / 3 cr / GER(HU) / U/G / MW 2:00pm-3:15pm

In this class we are going to explore an experience of modern literature mediated by a narrative encounter with otherness. This otherness can be cultural, social (e.g. class), racial/ethnic, religious, or sexual. We will focus on a range of influential works from different parts of the world and examine how in these works the encounter with otherness unsettles our normal ways of looking at the world, bringing to crisis our value systems, moral compasses, cultural identities, and sense of a stable and coherent self always in control… Central to our study are various textual formations that condition our experience of the encounter, producing an array of literary subjectivities in us capable of answering to the truth of others. We will thus examine how literary texts posit different epistemological relations to this truth and enable our experience of otherness to be productive and authentic. The goal of the course is to expose students to the transformative power of literature and to equip them with ethical and interpretive tools to make sense of a number of influential works produced in diverse cultures under different social conditions so that they can assimilate and critique them in a theoretically informed way. The course satisfies the GER(HU) and L&S International requirements.

CompLit / English/ Film Std 316: World Cinema
Topic: Scottish Cinema

Instructor: Zachary Finch
Lec 002 / 3 cr / U /TH 11am-12:50pm

Scotland, its people, and its history have long been a source of considerable fascination and inspiration for filmmakers, film scholars, and film audiences worldwide. A significant number of critically acclaimed films made in the last twenty-five years have ignited passionate conversations and debates about Scottish national cinema. Its historical, industrial, and cultural complexities and contradictions have made it all the more a focus of attention and interest for both popular audiences and scholarly critics. This course will focus on Scottish film history, representations, and its wide variety from documentaries to short films.Screenings may include: Brave, Brigadoon, Local Hero, Morvern Callar, and more.

CompLit 360: Seminar in Literature and Cultural Experience
Topic: European Trauma & Cultural Memory

Instructor: Drago Momcilovic
Lec 201 / 3 cr / U/G/ online

What is the relationship between historical trauma and literature? How does modern and contemporary literature represent violence, suffering, mutism, flashback, and hallucination in ways that are authentic to survivor experience or vital to the survival of cultural memory? This course examines literature from around the world that bears witness to the fate of individuals and communities, the development of philosophical outlooks and political movements, and the proliferation of artistic practices, all of which have been shaped by the blunt forces of historical violence surrounding World War I, World War II, the Holocaust, the war in former Yugoslavia, and more. In the process, we will think about the political and ethical implications of chronicling the past and “passing” those memories down to younger generations; the way these narratives allow survivors and witnesses to “work through” trauma, and the work that they leave undone; and the impact of different literary genres on the shaping of personal and cultural memory. Our tentative list of texts will include Pat Barker’s novel Regeneration; Jacques Tardi’s graphic novel It Was the War of the Trenches; Primo Levi’s Holocaust memoir The Drowned and the Saved; Dubravka Ugresic’s postmodern novel The Museum of Unconditional Surrender; and a selection of critical texts by Sigmund Freud, Virginia Woolf, Maurice Blanchot, Viktor Frankl, Jacques Derrida, and more. Satisfies L&S International req.