Courses

SUMMER 2020

CompLit 457: Topics in French and Francophone Studies
Topic: French and Francophone Existentialism

Drago Momcilovic, momcilov@uwm.edu /
Lec 201 / 3 cr/ ONLINE
8-Week Summer Session: June 22-August 15, 2020
U/G
As a set of postwar intellectual currents, existentialism (as well as the absurd) seeks to uncover the meanings of human existence and the way we come to those meanings, in light of concepts like freedom, responsibility, authenticity, situation, anxiety, alienation, and responsibility. How do we create meaningful lives? What justifications do we need to live life in spite of the death that awaits us? How do we talk about these things, and what place do these ideas have in French and Francophone culture? This online course explores the rise of existential and absurdist themes in French and Francophone literature, film and television. Our texts tentatively include the novels The Stranger by Albert Camus, So Long a Letter by Mariama Bâ, and A Very Easy Death by Simone de Beauvoir; the plays A Tempest by Aimé Césaire and No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre; the films Black Girl by Ousmane Sembeneand Cléo from 5 to 7 by Agnès Varda; selected episodes of the Arte France television series The Churchmen and the Canal+ television series Les revenants; and philosophical writings by Blaise Pascal, Gabriel Marcel, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Simone Weil, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Frantz Fanon. Jointly offered with FRENCH 457. Affiliated with the MA in Language, Literature, and Translation.

FALL 2020

COMPLIT 350: Topics in Comparative Literature
Topic: Early Christianity’s Heretical Secret Teachings
Demetrius Williams, williamd@uwm.edu /
Lec 001 / 3 cr / TR 11:00am-12:15pm
U/G
This course will explore the history and literary productions of various “Gnostic” schools. It will trace the contested origins of “Gnosticism” from its possible roots in Egyptian hermetic literature, in Iranian (Zoroastrian) religion, in Jewish wisdom and apocalyptic traditions, and in Hellenistic philosophy. It will also examine the literary productions of various Gnostic schools (i.e., the Sethian [classic], Valentinian [Christian], and Thomasine [Encratite]) and their theological/ideological developments. The emergence of the Coptic Gnostic writings (i.e. The Nag Hammadi Library) will also receive attention with respect to their literary genre, theological tendencies and ideological intent. These diverse “Gnostic” groups were challenged and considered “heretical” by the emerging “proto-orthodox” Church Fathers and posed one of the greatest challenges to the early proto-orthodox Christian tradition. Affiliated with the MA in Language, Literature, and Translation.

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 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.