Courses

SPRING 2022

COMPLIT 309G: Great Works of Modern Literature
Topic: Existentialism & the Absurd
Drago Momcilovic, momcilov@uwm.edu / Lec 201 / 3cr / Online / Asynchronous
What does it mean to be free, and how does freedom compel us to embrace certain responsibilities? How do we face life and find meaning in our day-to-day existence, knowing that one day we will die? How does action sculpt our lives, particularly during limit situations that test our strength, faith, and will? This online, asynchronous course about existentialism and the absurd, two powerful philosophical movements in 20th-century intellectual history, explores these very questions and more. Our readings and viewings will tentatively include Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Kafka’s “In the Penal Colony” and The Metamorphosis, Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground, Camus’ The Stranger; and Sartre’s No Exit; the films Taxi DriverBlade Runner, and Cléo from 5 to 7; and selected episodes of the AMC original series Mad Men and the French-language TV series The Churchmen. We will also draw from philosophical works by Friedrich Nietzsche, Søren Kierkegaard, Miguel de Unamuno, Martin Heidegger, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Frantz Fanon. 

COMPLIT 365G: Literatures and Cultures of the Americas
Topic: Intersections of Disability and Gender
Kristin Pitt, kepitt@uwm.edu / Lec 201 / 3cr / Online / Asynchronous
How does literature represent disability? How do word choices and narrative strategies frame our perceptions and understandings of who we are, who others are, and how we can imagine ourselves and our relationship to our community and the world? Drawing on theoretical and activist frameworks including disability justice, reproductive justice, and intersectional feminism, this class will explore contemporary literature, essays, and other media from South America, North America, and the Caribbean that examines intersecting representations of disability and gender. Students will develop analytical tools to discuss how word choices, narrative strategies, and images create, reinforce, or challenge societal conceptions of gender, sexuality, and disability. 

FALL 2021

COMPLIT 461: Fiction-Film Interaction
Topic: Possible Worlds in Literature and Film
Jian Xu, jianxu@uwm.edu / Lec 201 / U/G / 3 cr / ONLINE (online synchronous, virtual class every Tuesday 2:00-3:15)
The class examines a range of works from world literature and cinema that depart from representational realism by extending the virtual tendencies of our actual world to create possible worlds grounded on nothing but their own becoming. Such possible worlds are fundamental to the formation of literary/filmic experience by virtue of their otherness that exposes us to affects and sensations beyond everyday perceptions and opinions. They are a source of narrativity open to the thought from outside and to creative revelation. From a broad range of genres and types we’ll distill a knowledge about how the world is composed by the body as the body is configured by affect. We approach possible worlds as both a theory and a methodology of narratology and move toward a philosophical plane of creative multiplicity that encourages an infinity of world experience beyond totality.  The course is designed to restore us to the immanence of force encounters that will help decompose our finite positions of moralism and ideology, preparing us for an ever-changing world open to all possibilities of life. The class fulfills the L&S international requirement.

COMPLIT 820: Translation Theory
Lec 201 / 3 cr / Online / G

The role of translation in development of languages, cultures, and societies; cultural and ideological forces shaping translations; contemporary theories of translation.
Jointly offered with TRNSLTN 820.

FALL 2020

COMPLIT 350: Topics in Comparative Literature
Topic: European Comics and Graphic Novels
Drago Momcilovic, momcilovic@uwm.edu /
Lec 201 / 3 cr / ONLINE
U/G
8-Week Fall Session: October 19-December 12, 2020
From the comic strip to the comic book and graphic novel, the cartoon arts have quickly become one of the most important types of storytelling in the modern world, particularly in Europe. European comics have exploded and diversified into different genres and forms—including the bandes dessinées in France and Belgium, the superhero genre and the graphic memoir, and postmodern reinventions of the “comix” medium. Clearly, European comics and graphic novels have quickly evolved from their 19th-century roots in caricature to become innovative and gripping meditations on European identity, community, history, and artistry. In this special-session 8-week online course, we will trace the intellectual, cultural, social and historical dimensions of modern European life, as reflected in comics.  We will also look at the development of European comics as a literary culture of its own and study key texts from philosophical, literary, visual and historical perspectives. Our texts will tentatively include Hergé’s Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta, Rene Goscinny’s Asterix the Gaul, Igort’s Ukrainian and Russian Notebooks, and Marjane Satrapi’s Iranian coming-of-age story Persepolis. Students will also have the opportunity to take inspiration from these modern European artists in developing their own creative graphic novel project, due at the end of the term. Affiliated with the MA in Language, Literature, and Translation.

COMPLIT 360: Seminar in Literature and Cultural Experience
Topic: Early Christian Literature
Demetrius Williams, williamd@uwm.edu /
ONLINE
8-Week Fall Session: October 19-December 12, 2020
What did the faithful of the early Church believe? How did they address the questions of politics, society, gender, and history? Why were women able to attain leadership roles in some Christian groups and not in others? Why did some Christian groups reject sex, even within marriage? Why were some Christian groups labeled “heretical” and others “orthodox”? Why has the literature, beliefs and doctrines of “heretical” groups been kept hidden from general readers? (As portrayed in the movie Stigmata [1999]!) Why are there so many different Christian groups and divisions among them? Early Christian Literature, composed as an introductory course, is designed to address the questions above and others by critically exploring the diverse literature of early Christianity from the second through the fourth centuries of the Common Era (100s – 300s C.E.), which was an explosive era of growth and debate within the emerging new religion of Christianity. While no prior knowledge of the literature is required, a close reading of the literature provides insight to the above and other intriguing questions. The purpose of this course is two-fold: (1) to introduce students to a broad array of early Christian literature outside of the New Testament canon; and 2) to critically examine and explore the variety of early “Christianities” and other related social and religious issues that are reflected in these writings. Affiliated with the MA in Language, Literature, and Translation.

COMPLIT 365: Literatures and Cultures of the Americas
Topic: Families in the Borderlands
Kristin Pitt, kepitt@uwm.edu /
Lec 201 / 3 cr / ONLINE
U/G
This course examines narratives, theories, and practices of borders and migration within the Americas and how those intersect or conflict with narratives, theories, and practices of family. 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 or as a family of immigrantsHow are family units shaped by the processes and policies of migration, including separation and reunification? And finally, how are these questions explored in literature and film? Our investigation of borders, migration, and family will also deepen our understanding of a wide range of contemporary discourses, including gender, sexuality, nationalism, exile, diaspora, security, human rights, hybridity, and race. 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. Affiliated with the MA in Language, Literature, and Translation.
COMPLIT 820: Translation Theory
Lec 201 / 3 cr / Online / G

The role of translation in development of languages, cultures, and societies; cultural and ideological forces shaping translations; contemporary theories of translation.
Jointly offered with TRNSLTN 820.