Tolstoy’s War and Peace: Theoretical and Historical Contexts
RUSSN-GA 1001.001 / COLIT-GA 3610
We will read War and Peace with attention to a wide range of theoretical approaches. Critical readings drawn from Russian Formalism, feminist and queer theory, political theory, genre theory, symbolic geographies, historicism and New Historicism, Marxist analysis, and narratology. Historical readings include Tolstoy’s primary sources and contemporary reviews, as well as secondary texts by Larry Wolff, Dominic Lieven, Alexander Martin, and others. We will also read Andrei Zorin’s new (short) biography of Tolstoy. For those who read Russian, there will be weekly assignments and analyses in the original. However, knowledge of Russian is not required: discussion and all required assignments will be in English. No prerequisites.
Sponsored by Russian & Slavic
Contact: Leydi Roffman
The Italian Stage, 1600-1900 (seminar)
Prof. Eugenio Refini
ITAL-GA 1981.001 / COLIT-GA.1981.001
From the commedia dell'arte and the birth of opera around 1600 to the various 'reforms' of the dramatic arts: Goldoni, Metastasio, spoken drama vs. the opera libretto, neoclassical drama and its romantic developments - Alfieri, Manzoni, Verdi - to conclude with D'Annunzio."
Sponsored by Italian Studies
Contact: Anne Wolff-Lawson
Law, Race, and the Humanities
Professor Hentyle Yapp
ASPP-GT 2016 SEM
This course examines the relationship between law and race, especially as it relates to the production of subjects and how they come to be managed. In addition to engaging case law in the construction and management of race, we will study how the humanities and arts have come to contend with this history. The larger point in doing so is to reflect on the theoretical, methodological, and political ramifications of humanistic discourse and cultural production in how they create specific visions and understandings of the law. As such, we will unpack a set of interlocking questions that ultimately highlight the stakes of placing law, culture, race, and institutional critique together: What notions of justice are achieved through artistic, cultural, and theoretical engagements with the law that exceed the law's capacity? What ideas of institutional critique can such engagements produce beyond merely being resistant to the law or “against” the institution? Most importantly, how does the legacy of liberalism overdetermine the very terms in which we understand these questions? This course will examine theorists like Saidiya Hartman, Jacques Derrida, Lisa Lowe, Janet Halley, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Robert Cover, and Cheryl Harris, amongst others.
Marxism and In/Humanism: Race, Queerness, and the Aesthetic
Professor Hentyle Yapp
ASPP- GT 2077 SEM
Following ongoing critiques of liberal humanism from critical race, Afro-pessimist, transnational, queer, and feminist studies, what alternative political projects or visions might now inform our practices and work? What should follow after we question the grounds of modernity, liberalism, and materialism? This class seeks to examine one critical possibility: Marxism, particularly Marxist humanism. Although we will define this political project, we will also question its limits. The legacy of humanism in both liberalism and Marxism becomes a problem when placed alongside recent critiques around the subhuman and inhuman. In particular, what is the figure of the human for Marxist humanism? And how does such a figure sit with and/or against the liberal subject, person, and Man that has come under critique by queer inhumanism (with a focus on objects, animals, and environmental relations), along with the larger ontological turn coming from Black studies, Afro-pessimism, trans and queer theories, and new materialism? This class examines 1) differing notions of the human and subject as informed by liberalism and Marxist humanism, 2) the political limits and possibilities of Marxist humanism, and 3) the history and the continued mediation of Marxism alongside discourses of race, the transnational, disability, queerness, sexuality, and gender. In addition, we will situate how the aesthetic has engaged these larger questions. This course will examine theorists like Sylvia Wynter, Raya Dunayevskaya, Cedric Robinson, Glen Coulthard, CLR James, Jacques Derrida, Stuart Hall, Shu-mei Shih, Fredric Jameson, Mario Mieli, and Petrus Liu, amongst others.
Tpcs in Lit Theory II: Mother Tongue - Theories of Language and Maternality
Professor Roni Henig
HBRJD-GA 2453/ COLIT-GA 2978
This interdisciplinary seminar navigates between changing conceptualizations of mother tongue from a range of theoretical and cultural perspectives. Considering the maternal in language through the lens of psychoanalytic, feminist, and queer thinking, it asks whether mother tongue can be at once the product of ethnocentric ideologies and a form of resistance to cultural hegemonies. The course examines a diverse selection of critical theory alongside works of literature, cinema and art. Class discussions will trace the rise of the mother as a mark of a biological link between na8on and language; explore the sexual politics of language; and focus on accounts of postcolonial linguistic experiences, in which the mother tongue appears to be fleeting and its “possession” is repeatedly questioned.