Graduate Courses

CPLT 677: The Performing Arts in Twentieth-Century Russia

Covers ballet, opera, theater, mass spectacle, and film. Theory of the performing arts, including selections from the writings of some of the most famous Russian directors, such as Stanislavsky, Meyerhold, Eisenstein, and Balanchine. Their major productions and some of the major Russian plays of the twentieth century (e.g., by Chekhov, Mayakovsky, Bulgakov, and contemporary dramatists).

No knowledge of Russian required. Students taking the course for credit in Comparative Literature can write their papers on texts in other languages.

Professor: Katerina Clark
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2019
Day/Time: Wednesday, 1:30pm-3:20pm

CPLT 679: Major Modern Jewish Poets

This course introduces students to a diverse group of modern Jewish poets, from Gertrude Stein, Moyshe-Leyb Halpern, and Adrienne Rich to Muriel Rukeyser, Yehuda Amichai, Paul Celan, Edmond Jabès, Leonard Cohen, and others. Writing in English, Yiddish, German, Hebrew, and French, these poets gave seminal expression to Jewish life in a variety of modes and permutations, and in the process produced poems of lasting and universal value. The class explores work as art and considers pressing questions of cultural, historical, and political context. All readings are in English.

Permission of the instructor required.

Professor: Peter Cole
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2019
Day/Time: Wednesday, 1:30pm-3:20pm

CPLT 686: Jewish Literary Masterpieces

Exploration of the nature of Jewish identity through a literary prism, focusing on novels, stories, poetry, and homilies. Study of texts written over a three thousand year period by Jews living in the Middle East, Europe, and America, from biblical writings through modern works composed by Franz Kafka, Philip Roth, as well as Israeli literature. Special attention given to the role of gender, minority identities, and the idea of nationalism. Taught in translation, readings in English.

Professor: Hannan Hever
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2018
Day/Time: Tuesday, 3:30p.m.- 5:20p.m.

CPLT 691 Allegory as a Cultural Critique

This course studies thoroughly the theory of allegory (Fletcher, Auerbach, Benjamin, de Man, Gadamer). These theories are applied in analyzing literary and cultural texts from the Bible to the twenty-first century. All readings are in English.

Professor: Hannan Hever
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2020
Day/Time: Wednesday, 3:30p.m. - 5:20p.m.

CPLT 699: Heidegger’s Being and Time

A systematic, chapter-by-chapter study of Heidegger’s Being and Time, arguably the most important work of philosophy of the twentieth century. All the major themes of the book are addressed in detail, with a particular emphasis on care, time, death, and the meaning of being.

Professor: Martin Hägglund
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2019
Day/Time: Monday & Wednesday, 11:35am-12:50pm

CPLT 706 The New Map of the World: Vico’s Poetic History and Philosophy

This course examines Vico’s thought globally and in the historical context of the late Renaissance and the Baroque. Starting with Vico’s Autobiography, working to his University Inaugural Orations, On the Study of Methods of Our Time, the seminar delves into his juridical-political texts and submits the second New Science (1744) to a detailed analysis. Some attention is given to Vico’s poetic production and the encomia he wrote. The overarching idea of the seminar is the definition of Vico’s new discourse for the modern age. To this end, discussion deals prominently with issues such as Baroque encyclopedic representations, the heroic imagination, the senses of “discovery,” the redefinition of “science,” the reversal of neo-Aristotelian and neo-Platonic poetics, the crisis of the Renaissance, and the role of the myth.

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2020
Day/Time: Tuesday, 2:30p.m. - 4:20p.m.

CPLT 715: 1492: Before and After: Geographical and Linguistic Itineraries

Not simply the date of Columbus’s landing, 1492 also marks Lorenzo de’ Medici’s death, the banishment of Jews from Spain and Sicily, the election of a Borgia pope—Alexander VI, celebrated by Machiavelli—and the birth of Pietro Aretino. We briefly consider the shared cultural and religious history of Italy and Spain, even as most of our attention will be focused on Italy’s role as precursor: the Florentine Vespucci was the first to use the phrase “nuovo mondo,” and Columbus was inspired by the stories of Marco Polo and travels of Italian pilgrims to the Holy Land. We start with Columbus and his contemporary Savonarola and move into the “new worlds” of the early sixteenth century as represented by four topics: the rise of print; the burgeoning pastoral genre; the (brief) reaffirmation of the Florentine republic with cameo appearances by Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Machiavelli; and the otherworldly (but also very much of this world) romance of Ariosto. We spend time in the Beinecke Library with maps, Savonarola’s sermons, and early sixteenth-century Sienese pastoral plays, and also spend an afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Renaissance paintings. In English.

Professor: Jane Tylus
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2019
Day/Time: Thursday, 3:30pm-5:20pm

CPLT 728 Chance and Constraints in Literature

The course explores experimental prose in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries by focusing on ’pataphysics, surrealism, Oulipo, the Situationists, New Novel, and post-exoticism. Topics include inspiration and creativity; automatic writing and constrained literature; determinism and free will; the aesthetics of randomness; exceptions to the rule; materialism and atomism. Works by Jarry, Duchamp, Breton, Debord, Perec, Queneau, Garréta, Beckett, Calle, Volodine. Theoretical readings by Lucretius, Spinoza, Althusser, Derrida, Serres, Nancy.

Conducted in French.

Professor: Morgane Cadieu
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2020
Day/Time: Tuesday, 1:30p.m. - 3:20p.m.

CPLT 729 On Violence: Politics and Aesthetics across the Maghreb

A study of twentieth-century Maghrebi texts and films that document, theorize, and critique forms of political violence. How might aesthetic works—novels, plays, poems, torture and prison testimonies, political cartoons, films—run counter to state-sanctioned memory projects or compel rethinking practices of testimony and justice for a postcolonial time? Works by Kateb, Djebar, Mechakra, Djaout, Alleg, Boupacha, Meddeb, Barrada, Binebine, Laâbi, Rahmani, Mouride. Theoretical readings by Fanon, Mbembe, Khatibi, Kilito, Dorlin, Benjamin, Spivak, Derrida, Lazali.

Conducted in English. Prerequisite: reading knowledge of French.

Professor: Jill Jarvis
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2020
Day/Time: Thursday, 1:30p.m. - 3:20p.m.

CPLT 735 Modern French Poetry in the Maghreb

A survey of twentieth- and twenty-first-century poetry written in French by authors from North Africa, including works by Amrouche, Sénac, Khaïr-Eddine, Laâbi, Nissaboury, Djaout, Jabès, Farès, Ben Jelloun, Meddeb, Acherchour, Negrouche, Dib, and Bekri. Readings in French, discussion in English.

Prerequisite: reading knowledge of French.

Professor: Thomas Connolly
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: Monday, 1:30p.m. - 3:20p.m.

CPLT 735: Modern French Poetry in the Maghreb

A survey of twentieth- and twenty-first-century poetry written in French by authors from North Africa, including works by Amrouche, Sénac, Khaïr-Eddine, Laâbi, Nissaboury, Djaout, Jabès, Farès, Ben Jelloun, Meddeb, Acherchour, Negrouche, Dib, and Bekri. Readings in French, discussion in English.

Prerequisite: reading knowledge of French.

Professor: Thomas Connolly
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2019
Day/Time: Monday, 1:30pm-3:20pm

CPLT 782: Being a Person

The course explores the notion of personhood as a context for contemporary debates on human, animal, and environmental rights. The social and legal notion of a “person” in modernity has been deeply informed by how “persons” are formed and performed on stage and in narration, and vice versa. Readings focus on two areas: (1) basic texts on the history of the notion of “person” and “character” in legal, poetical, and philosophical contexts from Hobbes to contemporary debates in environmental law; (2) the performance of personhood on the stage and the narrative evocation of a new modern character in the rise of the modern novel. Gender, race, and social class are of relevance throughout, as well as the question of being a nonperson (a witch, a monster, an outcast). With the opening cases of Shakespeare’s Tempest and Goethe’s Werther, we discuss what it means to appear as a person on stage and as a character in a novel. We pursue the discussion into modernity with modernist and contemporary narratives and how they test the limits and conditions of individual personhood (Woolf, Kafka, Handke, Sebald). We end with contemporary post-migrant theater (Jelinek, Ronen) and ecopoetics (Spahr).

Professor: Rüdiger Campe, Professor: Katrin Trüestedt
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2019
Day/Time: Wednesday, 3:30pm-5:20pm

CPLT 806 War, Literature, and Politics in the Italian Renaissance

The Renaissance was a time of significant political and social unrest. These disorders are reflected in the writings of the period’s major authors, who often coded these struggles in gendered terms. The objectives of this course are to familiarize ourselves with these works, and in particular with the lively debate that questioned women’s ability to fight in wars, especially in the Italian sixteenth century; to sharpen our skills as readers of works that feature heroic female warriors and so-called effeminate male knights; and to explore and perhaps demystify the universal gendering of war. The course considers Classical and Renaissance philosophical literature, epic poems penned by men and women, and Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, as well as short biographies of women in combat. Authors to be studied include Plato, Aristotle, Boccaccio, Machiavelli, Ariosto, Tasso, Shakespeare, Fonte, and Marinella. All texts are available in English translation.

Professor: Gerry Milligan
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2020
Day/Time: Monday, 3:30p.m. - 5:20p.m.

CPLT 807 The Novel of Historical Event: The Nineteenth Century and Beyond

The seminar moves from the traditional idea of the historical novel to other, often more experimental versions of fictions that engage historical events: war, revolution, plague, genocide. We consider how individual lives intersect with and are changed by historical events, and the extent to which individuals are able to understand how history impacts their lives. Is the course of history controllable or even understandable to its participants and bystanders? Does historical knowledge always arrive too late? Primary texts include Manzoni, I Promessi Sposi; Balzac, Le Colonel Chabert; Flaubert, L’Education sentimentale; Verga, Novelle; Tomasi di Lampedusa, Il Gattopardo; Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!; Modiano, Dora Bruder. There are also readings in the history and theory of the novel, as well as works contextualizing issues of nationalism in the nineteenth century. They include essays/chapters by Georg Lukács, Nelson Moe, Roberto Dainotto, Edward Said, Franco Moretti, Peter Brooks, and others.

Prerequisite: reading knowledge of French and/or Italian.

Professor: Jane Tylus
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2021

CPLT 809: Translating the Renaissance

Would there have been a Renaissance without translation? We approach this question by beginning with the first modern treatise on translation, by the Florentine chancellor Leonardo Bruni, and moving on to consider the role of translation in Florence’s and Tuscany’s growing cultural and political mastery over the peninsula—and in Italy’s cultural domination of Europe. We go on to explore the translation of “medieval” into “early modern” Europe, the translation of visual into verbal material, and the role of gender in the practice of translation. Students engage in their own translation projects as we dedicate the last part of the seminar to the diffusion of the Petrarchan sonnet tradition in early modern Europe.

Professor: Jane Tylus
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2018
Day/Time: Wednesday, 3:30p.m.-5:20p.m.

CPLT 822 Working Group on Globalization and Culture

A continuing yearlong collective research project, a cultural studies “laboratory.” The group, drawing on several disciplines, meets regularly to discuss common readings, develop collective and individual research projects, and present that research publicly. The general theme for the working group is globalization and culture, with three principal aspects: (1) the globalization of cultural industries and goods, and its consequences for patterns of everyday life as well as for forms of fiction, film, broadcasting, and music; (2) the trajectories of social movements and their relation to patterns of migration, the rise of global cities, the transformation of labor processes, and forms of ethnic, class, and gender conflict; (3) the emergence of and debates within transnational social and cultural theory. The specific focus, projects, and directions of the working group are determined by the interests, expertise, and ambitions of the members of the group, and change as its members change.

There are a small number of openings for second-year graduate students. Students interested in participating should contact michael.denning@yale.edu.

Professor: Michael Denning
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: Monday, 1:30p.m. - 3:20p.m.

A continuing yearlong collective research project, a cultural studies “laboratory.” The group, drawing on several disciplines, meets regularly to discuss common readings, develop collective and individual research projects, and present that research publicly. The general theme for the working group is globalization and culture, with three principal aspects: (1) the globalization of cultural industries and goods, and its consequences for patterns of everyday life as well as for forms of fiction, film, broadcasting, and music; (2) the trajectories of social movements and their relation to patterns of migration, the rise of global cities, the transformation of labor processes, and forms of ethnic, class, and gender conflict; (3) the emergence of and debates within transnational social and cultural theory. The specific focus, projects, and directions of the working group are determined by the interests, expertise, and ambitions of the members of the group, and change as its members change.

There are a small number of openings for second-year graduate students. Students interested in participating should contact michael.denning@yale.edu.

Professor: Michael Denning
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2020
Day/Time: Monday, 1:30p.m. - 3:20p.m.

CPLT 822: Working Group on Globalization and Culture

A continuing yearlong collective research project, a cultural studies “laboratory.” The group, drawing on several disciplines, meets regularly to discuss common readings, develop collective and individual research projects, and present that research publicly. The general theme for the working group is globalization and culture, with three principal aspects: (1) the globalization of cultural industries and goods, and its consequences for patterns of everyday life as well as for forms of fiction, film, broadcasting, and music; (2) the trajectories of social movements and their relation to patterns of migration, the rise of global cities, the transformation of labor processes, and forms of ethnic, class, and gender conflict; (3) the emergence of and debates within transnational social and cultural theory. The specific focus, projects, and directions of the working group are determined by the interests, expertise, and ambitions of the members of the group, and change as its members change.

There are a small number of openings for second-year graduate students. Students interested in participating should contact michael.denning@yale.edu.

Professor: Michael Denning
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2019
Day/Time: Monday, 1:30pm-3:20pm

CPLT 822: Working Group on Globalization and Culture

A continuing collective research project, a cultural studies “laboratory,” that has been running since the fall of 2003. The group, made up of graduate students and faculty from several disciplines, meets regularly to discuss common readings, to develop collective and individual research projects, and to present that research publicly. The general theme for the working group is globalization and culture, with three principal aspects: (1) the globalization of cultural industries and goods, and its consequences for patterns of everyday life as well as for forms of fiction, film, broadcasting, and music; (2) the trajectories of social movements and their relation to patterns of migration, the rise of global cities, the transformation of labor processes, and forms of ethnic, class, and gender conflict; (3) the emergence of and debates within transnational social and cultural theory. The specific focus, projects, and directions of the working group are determined by the interests, expertise, and ambitions of the members of the group, and change as its members change.

There are a small number of openings for second-year graduate students. Students interested in participating should contact michael.denning@yale.edu.

Professor: Michael Denning
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2018
Day/Time: Monday, 1:00p.m. - 3:20p.m.

CPLT 851 Ernst Cassirer: Form as Function

Cassirer’s philosophy of the “symbolic form”—foundational for the art historical method of iconography as well as structural analysis in literature and art—is reexamined for its validity. Cassirer’s revolutionary concept of function as opposed to substance, developed in the Neo-Kantian context of hermeneutics and modern science, is the point of departure for our new engagement with his work. We center on Cassirer’s theory of form in art and literature and repercussions in Aby Warburg, Erwin Panofsky, Edgar Wind, Walter Benjamin, George Kubler, and others. Cassirer’s philosophy of myth and the political gives further importance to the “symbolic form.”

Professor: Rüdiger Campe
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2020
Day/Time: Wednesday, 3:30p.m. - 5:20p.m.