COLIT-GA.2967 / FREN-GA.1191
Will count toward pre-1800 requirement. Sponsored by the French Department. Contact Mariam Moustafa.
Topcs in Francophone Lit: Franc Routes of Post-Col
COLT-GA.1990 / FREN-GA.1990
Sponsered by the French Department. Contact Mariam Moustafa.
This seminar offers to study aspects of counter discourse (in the sense of Bernard Mouralis’ Les contre-discours [1975, 2011]) in french postcolonial literature. The first aspect is critical reassessment. In his essay published at the end of XIXth century, De l’égalité des races humaines. Anthropologie positive (1885), Antenor Firmin from Haiti takes into account the history of Africa and the black slave to respond to Arthur de Gobineau (De l’inégalité des races humaines). After the WWar II, Leopold Sedar Senghor from Senegal suggests in the afterword of Ethiopiques, “Comme des lamantins vont boire à la source” (1956) to rethink french poetic art in a global sense taking into account the movement of negritude. Suzanne Cesaire, from Martinique, in some articles of Tropiques (1941-1945) discovers terms of negro local philosophy thinking. The second aspect of this counter discourse is the reversal of critical points of view. In Discours sur le colonialisme (1948-1955), Aimé Cesaire, from Martinique, denounces the unthought of colonial thought. In Peau noire, masques blancs (1952), Frantz Fanon, also from Martinique, reveals the psychological consequences of colonial domination. In Soleil de la conscience (1956), Edouard Glissant, from Martinique again, insits on the autonomy of the slaves narratives discourses in the global world. The third aspect of this counter discourse is the deconstruction of imaginaries in several forms: the literary feminism of Algerian writer Assia Djebar’s Femmes d’Alger dans leur appartement (1980); the hybridity language in Ivory Coast Ahmadou Kourouma’s Les soleils des indépendances (1968-1970); the creative freedom in Yambo Ouologuem’s Le devoir de violence (1968) from Mali; the new slave narrative from inside Africa in Cameroonian Leonora Miano’s La saison de l’ombre (2013). These three aspects of counter discourse, critical reassessment, reversal of critical points of view and deconstruction of imaginaries contribute to the renewal of a contemporary french postcolonial literary history.
Problems in Critical Theories: Mask and Masquerade: Theory and Performance
Prof. Brandstetter and Prof. Chair
COLIT-GA.2956 / GERM-GA.1112
Since the global spread of the COVID 19-pandemic, the mask has become a part of our social everyday life in a novel way. It serves as a filter and hygiene-object, it marks rules of distance and physical boundaries to prevent infection. In theatre, dance and rituals in various cultures, masks are and have been used as (cult) objects of transformation. This transformative potential of masquerade highlights situations and interactions between identity and de-facement in role-playing, in festivities like carnival and masked balls and in artistic works such as photography, film and performance. Furthermore, the notion of „masquerade“ has become a key-word in feminist and queer theory since the 1990s (with Judith Butler, Marjorie Garber, Teresa de Lauretis among others) and in the following critical reflection of the debate around identity, body politics and strategies of de-hierarchization. The following subject areas of masks and masquerade will be among the topics of the seminar: moments of history and culture of masks in dance, performance and ritual; texts and examples of gender- and queer-theory of masquerades; research, reflection and practical handling of the current situation of wearing masks during the “Covid” life (cf. G. Agamben; J. L. Nancy). In the course, we will read texts focusing on theory, aesthetics and politics of masks/masquerade (e.g. by J. Riviere, D. Haraway, J. Butler, J. Halberstam, A. Bolton, Trajal Harrel (on Voguing), K. Mezure and K. Sieg (on “Ethnic Drag”). The understanding of these texts will be deepened through the analysis of masks in dance (from e.g. M. Wigman, K. Jooss to contemporary dance and performance (ORLAN) and de-colonial approaches), in fashion, in Japanese dance/theater-tradition, in contemporary queer performances of vogueing and in ethnic drag.
Sponsored by the Department of German | Contact: Lindsay O'Connor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Information Society: The Information Paradigm
COLIT-GA.2978 / GERM-GA.1219
This course is about information culture. The concept "information," first formalized after the Second World War, emerged slowly from the Enlightenment to the 20th century, when it invaded the sciences and the humanities alike. Information circulates unpredictably, autonomously, forming not just logistical channels but also a general aesthetics that demands critique. Beginning with debates on poetry around 1800, the course looks forward to Logical Positivism, the computing revolution, and large-scale data processing. We will analyze the aesthetics of information in authors including but not limited to Friedrich Schlegel, Sianne Ngai, Hanne Darboven, Elfriede Jelinek, Franz Kafka, Max Bense, Jacques Lacan, Friedrich Hayek, Jodi Dean, Kathrin Röggla, and Hito Steyerl.
Sponsored by the Department of German | Contact: Lindsay A O'Connor <email@example.com>
Topics in Literary Studies: Narrative and Nation
HBRJD-GA.2453 / COLIT-GA.2978
If nationalism is to be understood not only as an ideology but as a mode of cultural signification, then what national entity exists prior to its artistic representation? How does the nation become perceptible as a form? Who may narrate the nation or speak in its name? This seminar explores the relationship between nationalism and literature as two, deeply entwined, modern institutions. Combining readings on the history of European nationalism with works in social and cultural analysis, postcolonial studies, and critical literary theory, it traces the ways in which national consciousness is constituted and reproduced within various sites of cultural imagination. We shall address particularly instances in which nationalist thinking has been internalized and transformed within minor or non-European cultures, thus creating a distorted mirror image of European nationalist ideas. While readings consist of theoretical texts by such scholars as Homi Bhaha, Benedict Anderson, Gayatri Spivak, Stathis Gourgouris, and Marc Nichanian, students are encouraged to contribute to the discussion primary sources, case studies, and literary or artistic works that speak to their own research.
On Gendered Thought: Feminisms in the Americas
SPAN-GA.2967 / AMST-GA.2304 / COLIT-GA.2838
Is Latin American feminism different from other feminisms, whether in North America, Europe, or other regions in the Global South? What has been its impact on Latinx and other US feminisms? This course will consider such questions through an initial examination of the forgotten/rejected feminisms of the 1980s, such as that of the Chilean, Julieta Kirkwood. It will then review the present-day return to 1970s feminist thinkers and to socialist feminisms of the 1970s (for example, in the contemporary feminist insurgency of May 2018 in Chile). We will devote most of the course to a sustained analysis of contemporary forms of gendered thought, responding to pivots like #niunamenos, movements against disaster capitalism, digital activism, and BIPOC feminism. We will interrogate the allocation of certain feminist knots of concern to specific Latin American regions or countries; the social subject designated by the signifier “woman,” while not discounting it; the binary understandings of gender which are in evidence in full force with the turn to the right, the reaffirmation of the nationalist family and cis separatist movements which proclaim themselves as feminist; and regional rejections of certain feminist and queer keywords (seen in linguistic alterations like “cuir” or “cuerpa”). The thread will be an intensive consideration of gender and knowledge grounded in what cultural theorist Nelly Richard refers to as the “disordering of the sign of woman.”
ITAL-GA.2312 / COLIT-GA.3323
The final third of the Divine Comedy is its least user-friendly. T. S. Eliot charged this up to a certain modern prejudice against beatitude as material for poetry, since “our sweetest songs are those which sing of saddest thought.” Far less seductive than the Inferno and more abstract than the brightly-colored Purgatorio, the Paradiso has a reputation for being formidable, verbose and somehow irrelevant. All the more reason to study it together. It is simultaneously the most “medieval” part of Dante’s masterpiece, being rooted in historical and political upheavals of the moment and the most au courant philosophical debates coming out of Paris, as well as the most “modern,” radical and daring. Grounded in the necessity of happiness and the reality of evil, it is a reflection on the foundational ideals of a culture in constant tension with the world as it is. For this reason it can and has been studied from the perspectives of history, politics, philosophy, psychology, literature and art. The course will follow the trajectory of the Paradiso, delving into the questions it poses and the history it presupposes. Students are encouraged to investigate connections between Dante and their own research interests.
The Sublime: History and Geography of a Rhetorical, Aesthetic, and Ethical Idea from the Middle Ages to Modernity
Prof. Maria Luisa Ardizzone
ITAL-GA.2155 / COLIT-GA.3918
The history of the sublime in the West began with Francesco Robortello’s publication of the Pseudo Longinus treatise On the Sublime (Basel 1554). The course considers the sources of the sublime in the Greek and Latin rhetoric of grand style. It evaluates the importance of this notion in the biblical theological tradition, as well as in the Neoplatonic and Neoplatonic Christian authors such as Plotinus, the pseudo Dionysius, Augustine, Gregory the Great, Richard of Saint Victor, and others. Classes will be devoted to reading and discussing texts in the vernacular Italian tradition in both prose and poetry, tracing the making of this idea and its evolution from the first lyric poetry of the 13th century to authors such as Dante, Petrarch, the Platonic school of Florence, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Vittoria Colonna, Galileo, Vico, Leopardi, and Montale. In this perspective, the course also offers a kind of introduction to the theory of the sublime, as it develops from the 16th century to today, as in the work of Burke, Vico, Kant, Hegel, and Lyotard. Conducted in English.