Courses open to both undergraduate and graduate students: U/G (300-699)
Courses only open to graduate students: G (700-999)
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.
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.
CompLit / Trnsltn 820: Translation Theory
Lec 202 / 3 cr / G / Online
Students read works about the role of translation in the development of languages, cultures and societies. Of central concern are the processes of translation, and the roles of the translator and the place(s) of the text in translation. Students compare various translations of certain works to analyze the cultural and ideological forces shaping the translations. Finally, through the process of writing a research paper, students hone their abilities to engage in theoretical thought about translation. The course is conducted in English.