Program in Comparative Literature

C L 305 • Afro-Brazilian Diaspora

34080 • Afolabi, Omoniyi
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM PAR 204
(also listed as AFR 317E, LAS 310)
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This course focuses on post-abolition Afro-Brazilian life, history, culture, politics, and letters.  It engages a wide range of literary texts, socio-cultural movements, visual arts, and cultural performances, while raising a number of questions that would lead to provocative midterm and final research papers, while simultaneously honing students’ writing skills with a number of response papers that may be expanded into a research paper. Most concepts and issues will be illustrated with multimedia clips or movies to ensure that students gain a richer experience of the Afro-Brazilian diaspora world.

Some of the questions the course will grapple with include the following: (i) What explains the continued exclusion of Afro-Brazilians from political power?; (ii) What is the legacy or impact of slavery within this context?; (iii) How is the concept of Africa (re)imagined, distorted, and manipulated in this regard?; (iv)What are the discourses used to justify social inequalities and racial discrimination in Brazil?; (v) How is the “radical” view on discrimination silenced while the “co-opted” perspective is promoted?; (vi) What are the effects of governmental patronage on cultural producers as they negotiate what Carl Degler calls the “mulatto escape hatch”?; and (vii) What are the limitations of ideology in an era of “globalization” and pragmatism?  These among other issues will form the basis of the course which will additionally analyze the social condition that goes beyond the more apparent “culture game”; and must also be seen as a political game towards visibility, participation, gendered equality, and empowerment.



  1. Students will be able to meet writing, global, and cultural diversity flags.
  2. Students will be exposed to the dynamics of coping mechanism with social inequalities.
  3. Students will not only be exposed to elements of style, they will improve their writing skills by having opportunities to re-write their assignments.
  4. Transnational resonances will be invoked for comparative analysis within contexts and texts in order to see the African Diaspora beyond a continental prism.

Required Texts:

  1. Johnson, Crook et al. ed. Black Brazil: Culture, Identity, and Social Mobilization
  2. Alves, Miriam and C. R. Durham. Finally Us/Enfim Nós
  3. Almeida, Bira. Capoeira: A Brazilian Art Form: History, Philosophy, and Practice
  4. Guimarães, Geni. The Color of Tenderness
  5. Gomes, Dias. Journey to Bahia


Course Requirements and Grading:

5 Response Papers (2 pages)             = 10%

5 Re-Written Papers (2 pages each)  = 10%

Midterm Paper (5-7 pages)                = 20%

Research Proposal and Annotated

Bibliography                                        = 10%

Final Research Paper  (10 pages)       = 20%

Oral Presentation                               = 10%

Attendance                                         = 20%

C L 315 • Masterworks Of World Lit

34085 • Nehring, Neil
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM WAG 308
(also listed as E 316N)
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E 316N  l  World Literature


Instructor:  Nehring, N

Unique #:  35635

Semester:  Fall 2018

Cross-lists:  C L 315

Restrictions:  n/a

Computer Instruction:  No


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


Description:  The subjective, imaginative qualities of literature offer insights into places around the globe that can be far keener than historical or political tracts.  But there will be plenty of historical and political background in this course because it’s essential to understanding the vitality and significance of the creative work we will read.  The ultimate purpose is a traditional humanistic one: to broaden our perspective on the world by examining the experience of people in very different places in the 20th century.  I will begin the course by explaining the major categories in art and literature in the last century or so: the avant-garde, modernism, and postmodernism/postcolonialism, all of which had a considerable impact in every part of the world.  After that, since the course always attracts a number of international students, I will have everyone make a presentation on a writer of his or her choice (and not necessarily one in the anthology) because what we will learn from each other is not only broadening, but unpredictable as well.


Texts:  Heise, Ursula K., and Djelal Kadir, ed., Longman Anthology of World Literature, Volume F: The Twentieth Century (Second Edition)


Requirements & Grading:  There will be two longer papers: a six-to-eight-page research paper on a writer chosen by the student (35% of the final grade) and a slightly shorter four-to-five-page essay on a musician or musical group (25%), again chosen by the student.  There will also be a take-home midterm of four to five pages (25%), as well as short daily writing assignments responding to the readings (10%).  Depending on the number of students, there will be a presentation by each student on the subject of the term paper (5%).


Four unexcused absences will result in a failing grade.

C L 315 • Masterworks Of World Lit

34087 • Turley, Elliott
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM CLA 0.118
(also listed as E 316N)
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E 316N  l  World Literature


Instructor:  Turley, E

Unique #:  35637

Semester:  Fall 2018

Cross-lists:  C L 315

Restrictions:  n/a

Computer Instruction:  No


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


Description:  This course will cover a range of works in English and translation from antiquity to the present.  In the first half of the semester, we will begin in ancient Greece with Sappho’s poetry and Athenian drama, working our way forward to the start of the twentieth century.  The second half of the course will focus on twentieth and twenty-first century literature, drawing from the Norton Anthology of World Literature, Third Edition Volume F.  Here, we will shift focus to Latin America, Africa, and Asia, drawing primarily upon short fiction but complementing those readings with poetry and drama.


Requirements & Grading:  Grades will be based on a series of 3 short essays, with two revision opportunities, one mandatory and one optional (60% of the final grade).  There will also be short, unannounced reading/viewing quizzes and small activities (20% of the final grade) as well as a final examination (20% of the final grade).  Plus/minus final grades will be assigned.

C L 323 • Diasporic Magic: Lit/Perfrm

34102 • Young, Hershini
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM GEA 127
(also listed as AFR 374D)
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Course Description:

A girl punished for her crimes with a sloth attached to back, vampires who look like little girls, and crack cocaine as a character with a wicked sense of humor: this class will use satirical and slightly off-kilter texts and performances to examine real-life dark forces that plague contemporary black societies across the world.  Moving from Southern Africa to black England to African America, this class explores not just the meaning of race, gender and sexuality, but also how those categories of identity can be reimagined given the omnipresent threat that black lives face. We will pay close attention to both issues of context (historical, socio-economic and anthropological) as well as to questions of structure and genre.  Specifically we will think through notions of Afrofuturism, addiction, ecological disaster capitalism, thinking through how the ways black people make and embody art inform the content.  The class will also include a large number of contemporary cultural texts such as music videos, popular dance trends and music.



  1. Fledgling by Octavia Butler
  2. An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
  3. Delicious Foods: A Novel by James Hannaham
  4. Zoo City by Lauren Beukes
  5. Welcome to Our Hillbrow by Phaswane Mpe
  6. The Girl with All the Gifts (Film)
  7. Pumzi directed by Wanuri Kahiu (Film)
  8. The Fits directed by Anna Rose Holmer (Film)
  9.    (website of artist)
  10. Performances by Nelisiwe Xaba, Nora Chipaumire,Wura Natasha-Ogunji and Faka



  1. Attendance and participation are crucial. More than two unexcused absences will be penalized. I will be asking for volunteers to look up information throughout the semester and this can boost your participation grade. If you keep up with the reading, you should do well in this class.  However even if you haven’t read, be sure to come to class. Every student will have at least one question or point prepared for discussion each class. (10%)
  2. Every student must sign up for one performance based on the reading. Further information will be given during class about what this entails.  (15%)
  3.  Students will be given three short assignments and/or quizzes. (20%)
  4. 4-page minimum paper.  I will be handing out topics later in the semester but students are welcome to come up with their own topics, provided I approve them during office hours. Students with late papers will be penalized.  (20%)
  5. 5-7 page final comparative paper.  Topics will be distributed later in the semester.  There will be no final exam for this class.  I do not grade late final papers.  (35%)

C L 323 • Exhibitionism/Public Spectacle

34105 • Arens, Katherine
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GDC 1.406
(also listed as EUS 347, GRG 356T, GSD 360)
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This course will follow some of today's and history's most visible "public spectacles" from Northern and Central Europe.  It will show how scholars deal with public exhibitions (like World's Fairs), museum spaces, memorials, pubic images and scandals to introduce questions about how public spaces are used to create and recreate national histories, public memories, identities, and media power. 

The work in this course will allow you to evolve your own project on public memory or spectacles in Northern and Central Europe, which might include (but are not restricted to) iconic buildings (Berlin's TV-Tower, Stockholm City Hall), war monuments, world fairs, museums (Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands, Art museums in other major cities), museum exhibitions (Vienna 1900), and public media identities claimed by the public media in demonstrations and the media (Love Parade, Jörg Haider, "Baader Meinhof").



Carl Schorske, Fin de siècle Vienna

Foote, Kenneth E. Shadowed Ground: America's Landscapes of Violence and Tragedy

Lefebvre, Production of Space

Boym, Future of Nostalgia

Websites for public art and museums



Site analysis:  short precis  --3 x 5% of grade

Annotated bibliography:  15% of grade

Short presentation (5 pp): 20 % of Grade

Project proposal and research plan (5 pp): 20% of Grade

Final Paper: 30% of Grade

C L 323 • Holocaust Aftereffects

34135 • Bos, Pascale
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM BUR 234
(also listed as J S 365, LAH 350, WGS 340)
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The events of the Holocaust changed Western culture in fundamental ways. Not only was a great part of Jewish culture in Europe destroyed, the circumstances of the Nazi genocide as a modern, highly rationalized, efficient form of mass murder which took place in the heart of civilized Europe changed the conception of the progress of modernity and the Enlightenment in fundamental ways. This course explores the historical, political, psychological, theological, and cultural fall-out, as well as literary and cinematic responses in Europe and the U.S. to these events as they first became known, and as one moved further away from it in time and came to understand its pronounced and often problematic after effects. Central to our inquiry is the realization that the events of the Holocaust have left indelible traces in European and U.S. culture and culture production, of which a closer look (first decade by decade, then moving on to a number of themes and questions), reveals profound insights into current day culture, politics, and society.

Required Texts:

Levi and Rothberg, The Holocaust: Theoretical Readings; Art Spiegelman, Maus I ⅈ Ruth Klüger, Still Alive: a Girlhood Remembered; Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz;  Elie Wiesel, Night; Additional  course packet

Films: Nuit et Brouillard; Holocaust (excerpts); Shoah (excerpts); Schindler's List (excerpt)

Grading Policy:

Attendance/participation 15%

Response papers (2) 10%

Class presentation 10%

Presentation paper 15%

Midterm exam 20%

Final research paper 30% (proposal, bibliography, outline + 1st, 5% each, paper: 15%)

C L 323 • Russian Cinema: Potemkin-Putin

34115 • Petrov, Petar
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM RLM 5.122
(also listed as REE 325)
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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. 



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. 



Class participation 20% 

Weekly viewing journal 30% 

Midterm exam 20% 

Final paper/exam 30%

C L 323 • Squaring The Vienna Circle

34125 • Arens, Katherine
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM GEA 114
(also listed as EUS 347, GSD 361F, PHL 327)
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 Today's Anglo-American Analytic Philosophy grows out of the tradition of Logical Positivism/Logical Empiricism as it evolved in the circles around Wittgenstein in England after the Second World War, and it positions itself over and against Continental Philosophy.  That positioning, however, obscures how Wittgenstein and the group that Viktor Kraft, the first historian of the Vienna Circle of Logical Positivism, took over a much broader cultural project that is echoed in the work of twentieth-century theorists and philosophers from Walter Benjamin through Ernst Cassirer's Philosophy of Symbolic Forms.  Just as significant, the Vienna Circle's work parallels today's philosophy of science as practiced by figures like Bruno Latour.

This class will combine perspectives from philosophy and the history of philosophy to undertake a project in "historical epistemology":  it will trace how Logical Empiricism  actually came into being out of a set of methodological arguments about the philosophy of science and hermeneutics that were widespread in the late nineteenth century (and which find their echoes in figures as diverse as Nietzsche and Heidegger).  The new genesis narrative we will trace reverberates with problems of forced migration and emigration, as a generation of theorists and philosophers were forced out of continental Europe and to the US and Great Britain by the Nazis.  And in order to find their feet, these émigrés took up new projects and redefined their work for new audiences, offering a set of cases of culture transfer -- cases where philosophical logics responded directly, if tacitly, to politics and culture.

No background in philosophy is required for this course, and all readings will be available in English on the class blackboard site.    Background reading on the history of science will ground our readings of primary texts, and each student will be responsible for evolving a semester project in writing a specific philosopher or project into a new kind of intercultural history of ideas.


Ludwig Wittgenstein:   The Blue and Brown Books

Nietzsche:  On the Genealogy of Morals

Essays by Windelband and Rickert on the "science debate" of the nineteenth century.

Wilhelm Dilthey, On the Crisis of the European Sciences

Husserl, The Idea of Phenomenology

Cassirer, The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms


Viktor Kraft, The Vienna Circle

Janik/Toulmin, Wittgenstein's Vienna

Friedrich Stadler, The Vienna Circle

Wittgenstein, Waisman, The Voices of Wittgenstein

Lakatos/Feyerabend, For and Against Method

Essays by Carnap, Neurath, Latour


Daily readings

Three one-page précis (analysis of individual texts) = 3 x 5% of grade =15% of grade

Midterm writing assignment = 10 % of grade

One comprehensive final essay test = 25% of grade

One semester project, done in stages (history/biography section [5% of grade], bibliography/research plan [5% of grade],  close reading of a text [15% of grade], plus 10-page paper presenting one issue from the texts read in class together with individual work [25% of grade]).