Program in Comparative Literature

C L 315 • Masterworks Of World Lit

33670 • Kaulbach, Ernest
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM PAR 105
(also listed as E 316N)
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E 316N  l  World Literature

 

Instructor:  Kaulbach, E

Unique #:  35310

Semester:  Spring 2017

Cross-lists:  C L 315

Restrictions:  n/a

Computer Instruction:  No

 

Prerequisites:  One of the following: E 603A, RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 603A.

 

Description:  This is a course in early Classics:  Classics of the West, of Africa, of the Middle East, and of the Far East.  We will read nothing written after the 1400s.  Works will be interpreted by teachers of the works, as nearly contemporaneous with the works as possible.  Class lectures will tell you how and why these selections are important.

 

Texts:  Norton Anthology of World Literature, 2nd edition, Volume A; Timaeus and Critias, ed. Desmond Lee; Sundiata, ed. D.T. Niane; Xerox packet (at IT Copy and Printing, on corner of MLK & Lavaca).

 

Requirements & Grading:  An average of three areas, each of which counts 1/3 of your grade: attendance and quizzes, mid-term essay, final exam.  To receive an “A” you must have an “A” in all three areas; same for a “B”.  If you fail any area, you fail the class.  Miss more than two classes and your attendance grade is reduced by one full grade.


C L 315 • Masterworks Of World Lit

33600-33665 • Richmond-Garza, Elizabeth
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM SAC 1.402
(also listed as E 316N)
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E 316N  l  World Literature

 

Instructor:  Richmond-Garza, E

Unique #:  35240-35305

Semester:  Spring 2017

Cross-lists:  C L 315

Restrictions:  n/a

Computer Instruction:  No

 

Prerequisites:  One of the following: E 603A, RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 603A.

 

Description:  Global Literature and Culture --

What is a “self,” an individual? Is it a single entity or is it always entangled with others?  Is it something created by history, by politics, by art, by culture or by the divine?  Or does it fashion itself?  Does it change over time and across space?  At some level, art is always concerned with making and unmaking the individual and with freeing or chaining this being.  Tracking texts from Classical Greece, Iraq and India to medieval Europe and Japan, we will focus on the continuing, and sometimes desperate, attempts of ancient and early modern artists and authors both to phrase and to answer this question.  Expected names from the western canon, like Euripides, Shakespeare, Goethe and Baudelaire will keep company with Japan’s Bashô, Russia’s Pushkin, Argentina’s Borges and Nigeria’s Achebe.

 

We shall not limit ourselves only to the western canon but will look at points of crisis where, whether because of gender, race, ideology or class, an individual’s voyage of discovery will demand answers and action.  We shall trace a drama of self-actualization, more than two thousand years old, one that is still being enacted.  From the extremities of the Greek stage to a lonely cry of agony in the Assyrian desert, from ideal Platonic love to its witty and non-dialectical Asian counterparts, from a Parisian’s insomnia in 1900 to the painful experience of post-colonial Africa, from compulsive gambling to uncanny hauntings, from the dark voyages of Romantic self-discovery to imagined journeys through magical lands, we shall explore the limits of this question’s answers.

 

While the basis of the course will be the literary texts, we shall pillage often and importantly the resources of the other arts of painting, sculpture and film especially to conjure back to life the spirits of these past identities in preparation for a spring in which we shall interrogate our own century as it emerges from the twilight of the twentieth-century experiment.

 

Texts:  All selections will be from The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces (Expanded Edition in One Volume, 1997), and will include: Gilgamesh; Euripides, Medea; selections from Chuang Chou; Kalidasa, Sakuntala; selections from The Thousand and One Nights; Montaigne, “Of Cannibals;” Shakespeare, Hamlet; Basho, The Narrow Road to the Interior; Goethe, Faust; Baudelaire, from The Flowers of Evil; Pushkin, The Queen of Spades; Borges, The Garden of Forking Paths; Achebe, Things Fall Apart.

 

Requirements & Grading:  The participation requirements include: Careful reading of all texts, consistent attendance and active discussion in class and in the discussion section.  Attendance will be taken regularly at the start of each class.  Each student will be allowed three unexcused absences in the course of the semester.  Any further absences will lower the student's grade by a half grade (i.e. a B becomes a B-, and a B- becomes a C+).

 

Three midterm examinations (25% each); Reading journal to be turned in periodically (15%); Attendance and class discussion (10%).

 

In order to pass the course all four assignments must be completed.  Failure to complete any one of the assignments will constitute failing the course.


C L 315 • Masterworks Of World Lit

33675 • Doherty, Brian
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM JES A218A
(also listed as E 316N)
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E 316N  l  World Literature

 Instructor:  Doherty, B

Unique #:  35315

Semester:  Spring 2017

Cross-lists:  C L 315

Flags:  Global Cultures

Restrictions:  n/a

Computer Instruction:  No

 

Prerequisites:  One of the following: E 603A, RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 603A.

 

Description:  Please refer to the course schedule for course days, time, and room location:  http://registrar.utexas.edu/schedules/.

 

Global Modern Literature—

The course will be run in four sections.  The first will be reading in literary periods from The Enlightenment through Romanticism and Realism.  The second will continue the historical sequence into Modernism, then do some reading in how modernism can be thought of as a global phenomenon.  Early in the semester students will choose the cultures we will read for the second half of the course.  Choices will include Africa, India (South Asia), East Asia (China, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea), and North Africa and the Modern Middle East.

 

The bulk of the reading will consist of substantial shorter works, from poems to short stories, shorter novels and plays.  From the canon of literature to which the students will be exposed, perceptive readers will gain an appreciation of why literature is an essential response to the modern world.  It is hoped that the course will be an incitement to a lifetime of sustained literary engagement on a high level.

 

Texts:  The Norton Anthology of World Literature, Puchner, Martin, ed. Third Edition, Volumes D-E-F.  (It is essential that students have the Third Edition.)

 

Requirements & Grading:  Attendance, participation 10%; Test one: Enlightenment through Realism: 15%; Test Two: Global Modernisms: 20%; Essay on second set of readings (3-4 pages): 20%; Final exam covers all material since first test: 35%.


C L 323 • Berlin

33685 • Hake, Sabine
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GEA 114
(also listed as EUS 347, GSD 360, HIS 362G, URB 353)
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Course Description 

What is the place of the city in history? What makes urban culture so unique? And how do big cities influence politics and society? These are the larger questions that will be addressed in this comprehensive introduction to Berlin, its histories, stories, images, places, and peoples. As the largest German city and the nation’s capital, Berlin has been at the center of the most dramatic historical of during the twentieth century: two world wars, two dictatorships, and two revolutions, but also exhilarating periods of artistic creativity, architectural innovation, and dramatic social and cultural change. The city saw the rise of the historical avant-gardes during the 1920s and the assault on freedom and democracy after 1933; it functioned as an incubator for new social movements and a laboratory for technological progress. Interdisciplinary and multimedia, this course approaches modern German history through the lens of urban history and examines the representation of Berlin in literature, criticism, art, photography, and film. Special attention will be paid to contemporary Berlin, from the challenges of reunification to current problems such as mass migration and growing social and economic inequality. A good course for anyone who loves big cities and want to learn more about the enduring appeal of Berlin as a site of innovation, freedom, and change.

Prerequisites: No prerequisites. The course will be taught in English. All readings are in English; all films are subtitled. In addition to the required books, short articles are made available on Canvas (as PDF files). The course will be of interest to students in German Studies, European Studies, Urban Studies, History, Geography, and Government.

Class format/ method of instruction: Class will be conducted in a combined lecture-discussion format. Writing assignments, including rewrites, will be an integral part of the coursework. The course fulfills the Writing and Global cultures requirements.

 

Course Objectives:

--to introduce students to the rich and complex history of Berlin, 1871-present;

--to  study the function of the metropolis in the making of mass culture and modernity;

--to analyze a wide range of architectural practices and urban representations (buildings, films, novels, theories, paintings); and

--to improve critical reading and writing skills in a systematic fashion.

 

Grading:

20% Attendance, preparation, and active participation

10% one five-minute class presentation

20% midterm exam

50% writing assignments, including two shorter papers (10% each) and one final paper (8-10 pp. including bibliography, 20%), plus peer review and rewrite (5% each).

 

Required Readings:

Large, David Clay. Berlin. New York: Basic Books, 2000.

Constantine, Helen, ed. Berlin Tales. Trans. Lynn Marveen. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. 


C L 323 • Bulgakov's Master/Margarita

33730 • Garza, Thomas
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM BUR 112
(also listed as REE 325)
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Stalin's Moscow, 1936. The Devil and his gang have come to the mortal world to determine how Mankind is faring in the 20th century.  He encounters a motley crew of Soviet bureaucrats, writers, politicians and artists who offer little hope for the future.  Enter the "Master", an unknown writer struggling to finish a novel about the life of Christ told from the perspective of Pontius Pilate.  Can one writer and his work be reason enough to prevent the apocalypse? Enter Margarita, the Master's selfless companion and heroine of Mikhail Bulgakov's masterpiece, The Master and Margarita. Regarded by many readers and critics as one of the greatest novels of our time, The Master and Margarita is a fixed part of Russian culture. This course will explore not only the intricacies of the novel itself, but also its place among Bulgakov’s other literary works, and its varied sources from world literature, music and the visual arts. More importantly, it reveals the brilliance and complexities of art created under a strict totalitarian regime. This course will examine -- within the Stalin-era Soviet context -- the texts and philosophies that significantly influenced Bulgakov in the creation of his novel.  You will examine these various texts (philosophical treatises, stories, folklore, plays, paintings, operas, and films) and discover the ways that they influenced the shape of the novel and how they appear within the dual story lines and the numerous characters. Ultimately, the course will allow you to reexamine your own philosophy of Good and Evil in the 21st century.

 

Readings:

• The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov, Burgin & O’Connor, trans. New York: Vintage Books, 1995.

• Faust, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, New York: Norton & Co., 2001.

• The Divine Comedy, DanteAlighieri, New York: Everymans, 1995.

• Packet of readings

 

Grading requirements:

• The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov, Burgin & O’Connor, trans. New York: Vintage Books, 1995.

• Faust, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, New York: Norton & Co., 2001.

• The Divine Comedy, DanteAlighieri, New York: Everymans, 1995.

• Packet of readings


C L 323 • Central Euro Lit 20th Cent

33687 • Forbes, Meghan
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM PAR 303
(also listed as EUS 347, REE 325)
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Description:

The geographic and linguistic scope of Central Europe is a fluid space that exists and is redefined in relation to what is considered East or West. The contested construct of Central Europe, the violence of the two World Wars, and the turbulent political environment in the region throughout the Twentieth Century has produced a distinct body of literature that expresses both cultural specificity and a more universal tension between unease and optimism brought about by a constant state of flux. A historical contextualization of Central Europe in the Twentieth Century will foreground discussions of literary texts from former Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, Germany, Poland, and Hungary. The course will focus on two temporal periods: the interwar era (1919-1938), and the 1960s through the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The majority of readings will be of prose (in the form of novels and short stories), though some essays and selected poetry will also be assigned and discussed in class. All texts are available in English translation; please be sure to purchase or check out from the library the specific edition of each book as listed here.

 

Selected Readings:

  • Alfred Döblin. Berlin Alexanderplatz. Trans. Eugene Jolas. New York: Continuum, 2003. (excerpts)
  • Bohumil Hrabal. Harlequin’s Millions. Trans. Stacey Knecht. New York: Archipelago, 2014.
  • Zofia Nalkowska. Medallions. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2000.
  • Magda Szabó. The Door. Trans. Len Rix. New York: New York Review of Books, 2015.
  • Dubravka Ugrešić. Fording the Stream of Consciousness. Trans. Michael Henry Heim. London: Virago Press, 1991.

 

Course Requirements:

Students will be evaluated (in equal thirds) on 1) participation, as defined by regular attendance and active engagement in class discussion; 2) brief reading responses and an in-class presentation; and 3) a final research paper of 10-12 pages, with rough drafts submitted for revision three times throughout the semester. 


C L 323 • Cuba In Question-Cub

33690 • Salgado, Cesar
(also listed as AFR 372G, HIS 363K, LAS 328, SPC 320C)
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Restricted to students in the Maymester Abroad Program; contact Study Abroad Office for permission to register for this class. Class meets May 27-June 24. Taught in Havana, Cuba. Students must consult with Study Abroad Program Coordinator as travel and orientation dates may be in addition to these dates.


C L 323 • Cul Mem/Classic Chinese Nov

33694 • Lai, Chiu
Meets M 4:00PM-7:00PM CLA 0.120
(also listed as ANS 379)
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  • Course meets with Comparative Literature CL 323
  • All lectures and readings in English; no previous background in Chinese language, culture or literature is required.
  • Course carries the Writing and the Global Cultures Flags

Course Texts:       [All course texts available at the University Co-op Bookstore]

  • Pu Songling (Author), John Minford, trans. Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio (Penguin Classics, 2006)
  • Recommended:  Richard J. Smith, The Qing Dynasty and Traditional Chinese Culture (Rowman and Littlefield, 2015) [QDTCC]
  • Other Readings on Canvas Course site.

Capstone Course Description – Cultural Memory and the Classic Chinese Novel

  • Spring 2017 Novel:  Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio (Liaozhai zhi yi)

The focus of this course is on the masterpiece 18th c. Chinese collection of short fiction, Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio (Liaozhai zhiyi 聊齋誌異).  Lectures and seminar-style discussion will examine the tropes and mythology from Chinese cultural memory that are present in this classic collection by Qing Dynasty writer, Pu Songling 蒲松齡 (1640-1715). (Collection printed posthumously in 1766.)  In particular, the course will introduce students to one of the most well-known Chinese genres of fiction, known as the “strange and deviant” (zhi guai 志怪 and chuanqi 傳奇), one that holds a significant place in Chinese cultural memory.

Lectures and background readings will provide literary and socio-historical contexts for the collection. In order to understand thematic concepts present in Pu Songling’s reimagining of the supernatural, the course will also introduce a cross-section of earlier influential works, such as accounts of immortals, goddesses, and shape-shifters.  Complementary study will include the viewing of modern-day visual and dramatic representations greatly influenced by this “genre of the strange.”  As appropriate, students are encouraged to examine influence of this genre as seen in Anime themes. 

The core of the seminar will be the intensive reading and study of Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio. The approach to reading Pu Songling’s short fiction is modeled after the original nature of the genre, where “accounts of the strange” were considered a form of alternative popular history. Thus, these accounts belonged in the public sphere, rather than in the elitist and mainstream literary canon. The accounts were transmitted in various guises through oral tradition and reimagined in the written vernacular classical language by writers such as Pu Songling, a reimagining not unlike contemporary “fan fiction.”

Course Grade Based On:

  • There is no final written exam in this course. 
  • There is a class attendance policy.
  • No late assignments are accepted; no make-up of missed assignments and presentations allowed

I.        20%     Class discussion, participation and “preparedness” (including in-class informal writing)

II.       50%     Reading and Discussion Questions –1-page Response Writings

III.      15%     One 5-6 page Research Inquiry Note

IV.       10%     One Oral Presentation, Roundtable Lead Discussant

V.        5%       One “Fan Fiction” scenario piece (2-3 pages)

 


C L 323 • Danticat And Diaz

33695 • Wilks, Jennifer
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM PAR 304
(also listed as AFR 372E, E 349S)
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E 349S  l  Danticat and Díaz

 

Instructor:  Wilks, J

Unique #:  35425

Semester:  Spring 2017

Cross-lists:  AFR 372E, C L 323

Restrictions:  n/a

Computer Instruction:  No

 

Prerequisite:  Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

 

Description:  In this course we will study the work of two of the most celebrated contemporary fiction writers in the United States: Haitian American Edwidge Danticat and Dominican American Junot Díaz.  Between them Danticat (b. 1969) and Díaz (b. 1968) have won almost all of the major American cultural and literary prizes, including the MacArthur Fellowship, National Book Award, and Pulitzer Prize; and their work has been consistently published and reviewed in such high profile venues as the New Yorker magazine and the New York Times.  At the same time that their respective works speak to broader questions of American identity, however, Danticat and Díaz also write culturally specific narratives that explore the intricacies of what it means to be Haitian and Dominican, Haitian American and Dominican American, in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.  As a result, in addition to considering the qualities that have resulted in Danticat and Díaz’s elevation to the status of exemplary American authors, we will also examine how issues of gender, migration, history, and race factor into their work.

 

Texts (subject to change):  

General: C. L. R. James, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution; Frank Moya Pons, The Dominican Republic: A National History; Michelle Wucker, Why the Cocks Fight: Dominicans, Haitians, and the Struggle for Hispaniola.

 

Edwidge Danticat: Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994); Krik? Krak! (1995); The Farming of Bones (1998); Claire of the Sea Light (2013).

 

Junot Díaz: Drown (1996); The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007); This Is How You Lose Her (2012).

 

Requirements & Grading:  Two short papers (3-4 pages each), 40%; Final paper (5-7 pages), 35%; Rough draft & substantial revision (4 pages), 10%; Reading journal, 15%.


C L 323 • Fictions Of The Self/Other

33740 • Wettlaufer, Alexandra
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BEN 1.122
(also listed as CTI 345, EUS 347, F C 349, WGS 345)
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Description:

In this course we will examine representative works from 19th and 20th-century French literature, from Balzac's Realism of the 1830s to Beckett's Theatre of the Absurd of the 1950s. We will consider literature in its relation to history, with special attention both to form and style in the development of narrative, prose poetry and avant-garde theatre. All students will be expected to give one in-class presentation on an aspect of French culture and history related to one of the works we are reading, and this presentation will be turned into a brief (5-7 page) paper. A final paper on a French novel from this period not included on the syllabus will be due the last day of class.

 

Grading/Assignments:

Class participation: 20%

In-class presentation: 20% Short paper: 25%

Final paper: 35%

 

Texts:

Balzac, Old Goriot Baudelaire, Spleen de Paris Flaubert, Madame Bovary Proust, Swann 's Way Colette, The Vagabonde

Camus, Exile and the Kingdom

Sartre, No Exit

Becket, Waiting for Godot


C L 323 • Islamic Spain To Latin Amer

33705 • Reed, Cory
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM BEN 1.104
(also listed as ISL 372, LAS 328, SPC 320C)
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This course will study elements of Hispanic culture in the American Southwest that have their historic origins in the pluralistic cultures of colonial Mexico and medieval/early modern Spain.  The course will introduce students to the complex transatlantic relationships between Spain, Mexico, and the Southwest across time, as manifested in literature, art, architecture, music, religion, politics, and culture.


C L 323 • Jewish Mystical Thought

33710 • Schofer, Jonathan
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM CLA 0.108
(also listed as CTI 375, J S 363, R S 357)
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Description:

This class explores mysticism, intimate and intense contact with or knowledge of the divine, in the writings of Judaism.  We will consider how mysticism was practiced and understood over the history of Judaism from the medieval period to the present day, and its social, political, and religious significance.  We will begin in the 20th century, when both scholars and Jewish communities asserted that the practice of mysticism is crucial to understand and to integrate into Jewish vitality.  From these modern proponents of both the study and practice of mysticism, we will turn to the canonical work of Kabbalah, the Zohar of medieval Spain, with attention both to its earlier roots and inspiration, and to its own distinct claims regarding the cosmos and regarding sacred history.  The rest of the course will address the ramifications of the Zohar, its influence in Europe and the Middle East, back to the present. Throughout the class, we will consider the relation between mystical writing, communities that cultivate mysticism, and the individuals that convey mystical experience.

 

Texts: 

  • Martin Buber, Hasidism and Modern Man
  • Martin Buber, Tales of the Hasidim
  • Moshe Idel, Kabbalah: New Perspectives
  • Moshe Idel, Hasidism: Between Ecstasy and Magic
  • Zohar: Pritzker Edition, Volume 1 (translated by Daniel Matt)

 

Grading Policy:

  • Three short papers, 2 pages each; each 15% of the course grade (45% total)
  • Midterm exam, closed-book, in-class (25%)
  • Final Exam, closed book, in-class (15%)
  • Class Participation (15%)

C L 323 • Medieval Russian Lit/Cul

33715 • Pesenson, Michael
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM GEA 127
(also listed as REE 325)
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This course serves as an introduction to the colorful and exotic literature and culture of medieval and early modern Russia.  Over the course of the semester, we will learn about all aspects of medieval Russian life, exploring important texts from Kievan and Muscovite Rus’ that reveal a vibrant and thriving literary and cultural community.  These texts include notable examples of historical writing, military tales, saints’ lives, homilies, adventure tales, biographies, polemical treatises, and miracle tales.  We will also devote time to the study of medieval Russian art and iconography, examining in particular regional differences in icon painting and other artistic production. In addition, we will watch several well-known Russian films and operas based on medieval historical subjects, such as Alexander Nevsky, Andrei Rublev, Ivan the Terrible, andBoris Godunov, and discuss how composers and directors re-imagined medieval Russian culture for their own times.  All class discussion and reading will be in English.

Texts:

  1. S. Zenkovsky, Medieval Russia’s Epics, Chronicles and Tales
  2. D. Likhachev, A History of Russian Literature, 11th-17th Centuries
  3. On Blackboard: selections from Kievan Caves PaterikonDomostroi, Kurbsky-Grozny correspondence, I. Timofeev’sChronicle; J. Meyendorff, Byzantium and the Rise of Russia; R. Crummey, The Formation of Muscovy, 1304-1613; J. Billington, The Icon and the Axe.

Films to be screened:

  1. Alexander Nevsky (1938)
  2. Andrei Rublev (1966)
  3. Ivan the Terrible (1944)
  4. 1612 (2007)

Operas:

  1. Prince Igor (Borodin)
  2. Boris Godunov (Mussorgsky)
  3. Life for the Tsar (Ivan Susanin) (Glinka)

Requirements and Grading:

  1. Short Essay (5pp)                      20%
  2. Longer essay (10-12 pp)            30%
  3. Final examination                       30%
  4. Active enthusiastic participation 20%

C L 323 • Russian Cinema: Potemkin-Putin

33720 • Petrov, Petar
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM GEA 127
(also listed as REE 325)
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Description:

The course is intended as a general introduction to the history of Russian-Soviet film. It will survey landmark cinematic texts from the early days of filmmaking in Russia to the present. In viewing and discussing these films, we will also be following the course of Russian social and cultural history. The goal, thus, is not only to acquaint students with major achievements of Russian cinema, but to use these as a gateway to mapping the broader territory of Russian culture over a turbulent century.

 

Readings:

The Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925)

Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929)

Chapaev (Vassiliev Brothers, 1934)

Ivan the Terrible, Part II (Sergei Eisenstein, 1944)

The Cranes Are Flying (Mikhail Kalatozov, 1956)

Ivan’s Childhood (Andrei Tarkovskii, 1962)

Autumn Marathon (Georgii Daneliia, 1979)

Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears (Vladimir Menshov, 1980)

Little Vera (Vasilii Pichul, 1988)

Brother (Aleksei Balabanov, 1997)

Peter Kenez, Cinema and Soviet Society: From the Revolution to the Death of Stalin. NY: I.B. Tauris, 2008

Richard Taylor and Ian Christie, Eds. The Film Factory: Russian and Soviet Cinema in Documents, 1896-1939. Cambridte: Harvard UP, 1988.

 

Grading:

Class participation 20%

Weekly viewing journal 30%

Midterm exam 20%

Final paper/exam 30%


C L 323 • Scandinavia Cinema Since 1980

33725 • Wilkinson, Lynn
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM BUR 337
(also listed as EUS 347, GSD 330)
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What does it mean to be a Scandinavian in the last decades of the twentieth and early twenty-first century? To what extent does film reflect or even construct a sense of national or transnational identity?

This course will begin with two detective films which tie these issues to the presence of new groups of people within the borders of Scandinavia and to the links between contemporary Scandinavian culture and society and the European past. We will then turn back to Ingmar Bergman’s After the Rehearsal, which marked the end of one phase of the prolific filmmaker’s production, before moving on to films by younger filmmakers in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. Some, such s Lasse Hallström’s My Life as a Dog, Bille August’s Pelle the Conqueror, Liv Ullmann’s Sofie, and Lukas Moodysson’s Together, turn back to the past, at times reverently, at others critically. Others, such as Thomas Vinterberg’s The Celebration, turn a scathing eye on contemporary Scandinavian culture. Still others, such as Per Fly’s The Inheritance and Susanne Bier’s Open Hearts respond to economic and political crises of recent years. 

 

ASSIGNMENTS AND GRADING:  One two-page paper (5%); one five-page paper which may be rewritten (25%); one storyboard (10%) accompanied by a five-page essay (25%), and five quizzes (25%; you may drop the lowest grade). Class participation will count 10%.

 

REQUIRED TEXTS:

Tytti Soila et al.:  Nordic National Cinemas

Bordwell and Thompson:  Film Art

 

FILMS:

August:  Smilla’s Sense of Snow

Oplev:  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Bergman:  After the Rehearsal

Hallström:  My Life as a Dog

August:  Pelle the Conqueror

Ullmann:  Sofie

Vinterberg:  The Celebration

Moodysson:  Together

Scherfig:  Italian for Beginners

Bier:  Open Hearts

Dagur Kári:  Noí albínói

Fly:  The Inheritance

Trier:  Dogville

Kaurismäki:  The Man without a Past

Bier:  In a Better World