Program in Comparative Literature

C L 305C • Dissent In 20th Cen Ukraine

34135 • Lutsyshyna, Oksana
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM GEA 127
GC (also listed as EUS 307, REE 302F)
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This course will offer a survey of the Ukrainian authors from the 1920s through the present. We will examine the writings from the times of the “Executed Renaissance,” some underground/diaspora literature, and postmodernism. We will focus specifically on works that, in one way or another, challenge the set paradigm of socialist realism, either ethically or aesthetically, by discussing forbidden subjects (famine, religion, Gulag), or even simply accentuating the themes that are not considered “major” (personal life). The goals will include introducing the students to major works by Ukrainian authors, to enhance their knowledge on Eastern Europe in general, and to hone writing skills.



Exams (2): 30% (15% each)

Reading quizzes (5): 20% (4% each; administered via Canvas) T

wo short papers (2): 30% (15 each)

Presentation: 20 %

C L 315 • Masterworks Of World Lit

34220-34275 • Doherty, Brian
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM WCH 1.120
GC HU (also listed as E 316N)
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E 316N  l  World Literature

Instructor:  Doherty, B

Unique #:  35525-35580

Semester:  Spring 2022

Cross-lists:  C L 315, 34220-34275


Prerequisites:  One of the following: E 303C (or 603A), RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 303C (or 603A).

Description:  Please refer to the course schedule for course days, time, and room location:

Global Modern Literature—

An alternative title for the course might be “Better Understanding the World we live in Now, and How it got That Way.”

So, a European unit will briefly define the age of the Enlightenment, Romanticism, French Symbolism, Realism, and Modernism, with short texts from each.  We will spend some classes on Modernism, and the way authors addressed a world in crisis (of course, when isn’t it?).

We introduce China with Confucius and Lao Tzu, and some substantial poets of the T’ang Dynasty, so that we can better understand the struggles written about by Lu Xun, and the more contemporary writer Zhang Ailing.  A unit on what is called “postmodernism” will show that it is a kind of global response to the late 20th century, with writers from Egypt, Brazil, France, and Argentina featured.  Some brief forays into texts from India and Africa will give a taste of the literary response of those cultures to modernity, and postcoloniality

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 global 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, Volume F.  (It is essential that students have the Third Edition.)

A course reader with supplemental texts will be required.

Requirements & Grading:  Attendance, participation in TA led discussions: 10%; Quizzes on reading done on the day of the reading; Test one: Literary Periods of the Western World: 20%; Essay on second set of readings (3-4 pages): 25%; Final exam covers all material that comes after the first test: 35%.

C L 315 • Masterworks Of World Lit

34140-34215 • Richmond-Garza, Elizabeth
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BUR 106
GC HU (also listed as E 316N)
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E 316N  l  World Literature

Instructor:  Richmond-Garza, E

Unique #:  35445-35520

Semester:  Spring 2022

Cross-lists:  C L 315, 34140-34215


Prerequisites:  One of the following: E 303C (or 603A), RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 303C (or 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 (via medieval Europe and Japan) to postcolonial Africa and Latin America, we will focus on the continuing, and sometimes desperate, attempts of artists and authors from across the globe and the centuries both to phrase and to answer this question.  Expected names from the western canon, like Euripides, Goethe, Baudelaire and Woolf will keep company with Japan’s Bashō, Russia’s Pushkin, Argentina’s Borges and Nigeria’s Achebe.

We shall not limit ourselves 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 demands 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 extremes of the Greek stage to a lonely cry of agony in the Assyrian desert, from French philosophy to long walks through the Japanese countryside, from a Parisian’s insomnia in 1900 to the magical realism of modern Mexico, from compulsive gambling to feminist poetry, from encounters with Romantic devils to walking down a Tunisian Street, we shall explore the limits of this question’s answers.

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

Texts:  Many texts will be from The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces (Expanded Edition in One Volume, 1997).  The readings will include: Gilgamesh; Euripides, Medea; selections from Chuang Chou; Kālidāsa, Śakuntalā; selections from The Thousand and One Nights; Montaigne, “Of Cannibals;” Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, selected prose and poetry; Bashō, The Narrow Road to the Interior; Goethe, Faust; Pushkin, The Queen of Spades; Baudelaire, from The Flowers of Evil; Proust, selection from Remembrances of Things Past; Woolf, “An Unwritten Novel”; Borges, The Garden of Forking Paths; Achebe, Things Fall Apart; García Márquez, selected stories; el-Charni, “The Way to Poppy Street.”

Requirements & Grading:  The participation requirements include: Careful reading of all texts, consistent attendance and active participation in lectures and in the required discussion sections.  Attendance will be based on participation during the required discussion sections and on Canvas Instapoll during lectures.  Lectures will be recorded, and students who are excused from attending synchronously will view the recording and follow up with their TA within a week to excuse the absence.  More than three unexcused absences will lower the score for attendance by a point for each additional absence.

Two-page essay (20%); video prospectus (5%); video assignment (30%); travel log journal (10%+10%); final comparative essay (15%).  Attendance and participation in class polling and discussion (10%).

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

C L 323 • Contemp Scandinavn Stories

34280 • Hansen, Frank
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM CMA 3.114
GCWr (also listed as EUS 347, GSD 341J)
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The principal focus of this course will be to analyze contemporary Scandinavian literature and film and examine how the arts reflect a Scandinavian reality that is under transformation. The main focus will be Scandinavian stories from the last 25 years.

Scandinavian fiction has reached international audiences lately, gaining new followers with the concept of “Nordic Noir” which expands on the previous success of Scandinavian crime fiction as a form of fiction explicitly concerned with social critique in TV-series, novels and films. Literary fiction discusses aspects of identity, personal struggle, nationality, and the Scandinavian welfare state. These themes also appear in what is a golden age for Danish cinema in the Dogma 95 movement. The past is imposing itself on the present, and the family as an institution is being questioned time and again, while the youth seem lost in a world where all values are debatable, and the Scandinavian absurd humor can be used as a reflection of the challenges to society.

Scandinavian literature and movies are full of maladapted heroes and heroines. In many cases, the main characters are trying hard to realize their dreams and fulfil their ambitions. They all have individual goals that frequently collide with society's norms, the social pressure of the outside world and stereotypical views on body and gender roles.

            In this course, we examine the protagonists in some of the most celebrated books and movies from Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. We read and analyze the texts and interpret the movies with inspiration from intellectuals and philosophers such as Søren Kierkegaard, and Friedrich Nietzsche. Thinkers who have heavily influenced Scandinavian intellectual life.

            Throughout the course we will study some of the best works of autofiction written in recent years, all of which have been very popular among readers and praised by literary critics. Autofiction challenges the traditional divide between narrator and author and more closely examines the fascinating relation between reality and fiction.

In our discussions, we will compare similarities and differences between the various materials and look at how they each tackle historical and contemporary themes including how these artistic forms negotiate Scandinavian identity and interact with an increasingly global and interconnected world. We will examine what makes Scandinavian stories Scandinavian and discuss, in what ways the individual countries in the region might differ from each other in their political discussions as well as their creative output.

Using creative output from Scandinavia, this class develops your ability to discuss, write, and read carefully and critically as well as challenge your preconceived notions and aids you in becoming better at crafting arguments and communicating your thoughts to others.

C L 323 • Vikings/Their Literature

34290 • Straubhaar, Sandra
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM CMA 5.190
GCWr (also listed as EUS 347, GSD 341L)
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Who were the Vikings, and why is the twenty-first century so fascinated with them? (Is “Viking” an ethnic adjective or a job description? Did they call themselves Vikings?)  Were they as fierce and bloodthirsty as the movies sometimes show? Why did they act as they did? What language did they speak? What did they wear? What did they eat? What kinds of weapons and tools did they use?What were the women among them like? What are runes? What are the Eddas? What are the Sagas? What were Viking-age politics and social constructs like? What about Viking technology, religion, and art? (What is Ásatrú? Would the Vikings have known the term?) What are the (complex!) political implications of Vikings, and Viking-age religion and culture, in today’s Europe? If you are interested in any of these questions, you have come to the right place!

C L 382 • Glob Pedag/Intrsc/Anti-Racism

34310 • Richmond-Garza, Elizabeth
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM CAL 323
(also listed as E 383L)
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Global Pedagogies, Intersectionality, and Anti-Racism

Even before the summer of 2020, with its dramatic confluence of the pandemic and the attention being paid to systemic racism in the United States and around the world, scholars and teachers have been concerned to reimagine how the educational undertaking might be as inclusive, caring and sustaining as possible, allowing a sense of belonging for our diverse and intersectional communities.  This course will take the form of a collaborative and supportive reading group and workshop for participants who would like to reflect on the ethical and ideological issues raised in our diverse classrooms, while at the same time seeking practical and actionable ways of addressing existing injustices and problems and imagining better modalities.  This course focuses on critical pedagogies which will inform the development of curricula, materials, and syllabi for classroom and on-line use.  The title of the course is explicit.  The phrase “global pedagogies” is meant in the double sense of world-wide and inclusive.  Mindful of Audre Lorde’s insight that “There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not lead single-issue lives,” our readings and conversations will reflect on the intersectional diversity of both instructors and students.  We will be attentive to, and include considerations of, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, socio-economic class, and disability as well as race and ethnicity as we envision how put into practice anti-racist and inclusive pedagogies which aim to decolonize, expand and reimagine both what and how we read culture with our students.

The course will have a core radical pedagogy reading list including Paulo Freire, David Halpin, Jaqui Alexander, Henry Giroux, Adrienne Maree Brown, Carmen Luke, Sarah Ahmed, bell hooks, Wendy Brown, Carlos Tejada/Manuel Espinoza, among others.  We will use the invaluable volume, The Critical Pedagogy Reader (Darder, Baltodano and Torres, 3rd Edition, 2017), to map the conversation.  We will also orient ourselves with framing theoretical readings, which may include Michel Foucault, Frantz Fanon, Roland Barthes, Pierre Bourdieu, Jacques Rancière, Ibram X. Kendi and Jack Halberstam among others.  The first meetings of the seminar will allow us to finalize a reading list which will both address practical pedagogical challenges and represent the interests of the specific members of the group.

Requirements: Participants in the seminar will facilitate our conversation once (more if they wish) during the semester.  Participants will be invited to design a written project that is useful to them as part of their professionalization and development as teacher-scholars.  Projects may include, but are not limited to, drafting a teaching philosophy, creating a syllabus, building a course module, honing a reading list for a milestone examination, etc.

This course is developed with all humility by the instructor, who hopes to create a safe space for conversations about how our classrooms can be transformed.

All readings will be provided in the form of links/.pdfs available on Canvas

C L 385 • Found Literary Thry & Critsm

34315 • Salgado, Cesar
Meets W 11:00AM-2:00PM MEZ 1.104
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C L 385 (34015): Foundation of Literary Theory and Criticism

Course Title (ALT):  Building Comparative Literature in Theory: From Eden to Arcadia

Comparative Literature (CL) has, from its modern origins as a field in the 20th century, defined itself vis-à-vis its visions of various "theory projects": models of how literature, texts, writers and readers exist, work, circulate, and intervene in their environments.  To study CL's canon of theory, then, means to study the ideological interventions by means of which the discipline has defined itself and to recover its strategies for constructing and legitimating its core ideologies through canonical discussions and textual sources. 

This course will trace the projects that CL has used to define itself and its work with literature and culture; it will take up the "epochs" of theory as historical reconstructions that must be understood in terms of their original historical contexts, not just and the contemporary uses to which they have been put.  Literary scholars in general and CL ones in particular have expropriated  "theory texts" from historical disciplinary forms, including rhetoric, philosophical exegesis/hermeneutics, poetics, ethics, and philosophical ontology/epistemology, then repurposed them as canonical texts supporting their own activities in the service of various ideologies of art, nation, identity, culture, and society. The source eras to be studied include, in rough outline:

  • The Classical Era (Plato, Aristotle, Greek and Roman discussions of rhetorical and dramatic literature):  literature, modalities of communication as performatives;  its function as public understandingfor the audience and the polis
  • Medieval Era (including Middle Eastern commentary traditions):  the question of textual authority, exegesis, the "arts of reading," and the status of texts as revelation
  • Renaissance:  the historicity of texts and the science of reading; art and taste
  • Early Modern era (late 18th to late 19th centuries):  the correlations of textuality with aesthetics, and the philosophy of art and the genius (focus on the reader and on education of the mind)
  • The Dawn of Modern Theory (late 19th century to end of WW I):  From Philology to the Science of Literature (a study of the ethics of scholarship). 

Post-World War II CL theory emerged out of a brew of these sources, whose urgency often gets lost as the background to today's debates about culture, literature, and the privileges that had grown up around them.  As acts of reading and interpretation were embedded by CL scholars into the universities as a master theory discipline, and as CL now moves into its third or fourth generation, it is time to recover these models for cultural and literary knowledge production that often refute the naturalizing claims made about them.  Class discussion will focus on the disciplinary frameworks that CL codified as its historical canon and legitimation, and on what assumptions about texts, writers, readers, and cultural processed have to be recovered.

By the end of the semester, students will be able to:

  • identify, define, and exemplify major arguments / issues / debates that have been hallmarks of CL theory, both as used in the modern discipline and at their origins
  • use particular theories to construct interpretations of texts (both as a précis and in essay form)
  • understand and exemplify how the theory project is used in their own area(s) of specialization (and in terms of language use in that specialization)-- how an essentially Eurocentric reconstruction of aesthetic-critical thought could itself be coopted for new ideologies of understanding texts and cultures.

 READINGS (all available on CANVAS):

  • Wellek and Warren, A Theory of Literature (various)
  • Hazard Adams' Critical Theory Since Plato (3rd ed), and small parts of Critical Theory since 1965
  • Supplemental materials:
    • Comparative Literature: A Critical Introduction,  Susan Bassnett (1993)
    • First edition of Critical Theory since Plato


  • 2 (depending on size of class, might end up being group projects) 5-minute introductions to assigned theory readings (oral presentation and 1-page summative handout); strict time limits will be imposed, because these are intended to start class discussions (5% each)
  • 3 analytic précis (1 page / 5 % each), aimed at uncovering the epistemological premises of chosen theory texts
  • 2 short (5 page) systematic interpretations of a short story or poem guided by a particular interpretive optic (parallel to those required in the CL QE; 15% each)
  • Final class project, done in stages (total 45% of the grade, allowing individual students to track how the CL canon has affected, is or is not parallel to the theory use and issues foregrounded within their own disciplinary/national contexts: annotated bibliography with prose commentaries as reflecting the ideologies of the US university literature-culture projects. The final section will be a short essay (ca. 1000 words) on how these texts cause or relieve problems of Eurocentrism or the evaluation of other regional cultural interpretive projects, marginalization, essentialization, reification, (dis)empowerment of interpretive communities, and manipulations of cultural power reified in institutions -- an individual stock-taking of the relevance of the CL history project for today's literary and cultural studies.




C L 386 • Cultural Tropicalities

34320 • Roncador, Sonia
Meets TH 12:00PM-3:00PM BEN 1.118
(also listed as ILA 388, LAS 381)
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Despite Brazil’s centrality in a vast range of discourses about the tropics, the nation has remained a marginal player in the mainstream (Anglophone) academic research about the hermeneutics of tropical nations, societies and their environments.  In recent years, however, we have seen an emergence of studies of the transnational imaginings of the Brazilian tropics, or Brazilian cultural “tropicalities” (David Arnold), in eco-criticism, environmental history, post-colonial and cultural studies, cultural geography, and so on. One of the anticipated contributions of these studies involves expansion of the field’s canon, which has mainly represented other formerly-colonized regions in Africa, Asia and the British and French Caribbean (Nancy Stepan).

Brazilian Cultural Tropicalities thus proposes to explore the less-studied yet prolific cultural and intellectual production about the Brazilian tropics, by way of historically-contextualized analyses of a variety of discourses—namely, fiction, essays on tropical medicine and geography, memoirs and travelogues, film, and photography. Although thematically structured, this seminar will provide a historical overview of key concepts and myths comprising the New World tropics—from Montaigne’s tropical paradise and Montesquieu's dystopian tropics to Humboldt’s writings. Besides analyzing the interfaces of these foundational imaginings with post-colonial Brazilian nationalist narratives of mestiçagemand cultural autonomy/uniqueness, the seminar will also examine the ways the shifty tropical hermeneutics of Brazil mobilized 19th and 20thcentury debates and politics of mobilities and acclimatization, epidemic diseases, violence and de-forestation. Finally, this course will engage with key utopianisms or doctrines of Brazilian culture and society, such as Gilberto Freyre’s luso-tropicalism, Oswald de Andrade’s cultural cannibalism, and the kitsch politics of Caetano Veloso’s Tropicália.

Brazilian Cultural Tropicalities ultimately proposes to demonstrate the centrality of Brazil, and the New World in general, in the global meanings, symbology, memory, and knowledge of the inter-tropical cultural zone. Drawing from new imperial studies and theories of bio/necro-politics, the course also proposes to politically frame discourses of the Brazilian tropics.


Active class participation, including exercises such as leading class discussions (20%); one oral presentation of the final paper proposal (20%); and a final research paper (60%). Instructor will use “plus” and “minus” grades for final course grades.

This seminar is intended to appeal not just to doctoral students in the program in Iberian and Latin American Studies (ILA), but also more broadly to graduate students in Latin American studies, comparative literature, and Brazilianists from all fields. Although reading knowledge of Portuguese is highly recommended, this seminar will be taught in English.

Primary and Theoretical Works (a selection):

Elizabeth & Louis Agassiz. A Journey in Brazil(& photography)

Oswald Andrade. Manifests; O Rei da Vela

Claude Lévis-Strauss. Tristes tropiques

Caetano Veloso. Verdade Tropical

Davi Kopenawa. A queda do céu

Eduardo Viveiros de Castro. Cannibal Metaphisics

Nancy Leys Stepan. Picturing Tropical Nature

Ann Laura Stoler. Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power

Mimi Sheller. Consuming the Caribbean: From Arawaks to Zombies

Feliz Driver and Luciana Martins (eds). Tropical Visions in an Age of Empire

David Arnold. The Tropics and the Traveling Gaze

Hugh Cagle.Assembling the Tropics: Science and Medicine in Portugal’s Empire, 1450-1700

Jaime Benchimol. Dos micróbios aos mosquitos: febre amarela e a revolução pasteuriana no Brasil

Corey Ross.Ecology and Power in the Age of Empire: Europe and the Transformation of the Tropical World