Graduate Courses

CPLT 868: Speaking for Others: Advocacy and Representation in Law and Literature

Speaking for others (representing others) before a third party (judge or audience) is a basic constellation in Western literature rooted in legal, political, and religious practices. Speaking for others has been an alternative to and can function as reinterpretation of our usual dual idea of communication (Me speaking to You about Something in the world, G.H. Mead). Readings address the history and structure of speaking for others in three major sections: (1) ancient rhetoric and the Christian figure of speaking-for (Christ, the “paraclete”): Aristotle and Quintilian on rhetoric; Aeschylus, Eumenides; the Gospel of St. John; (2) political representation and speaking for others in (early) modern times: Hobbes and Rousseau on representation; Schiller, Don Carlos; Hölderlin, Empedocles; and (3) the critique of speaking for others in contemporary theory and literature: the Deleuze-Foucault debate on advocacy in the public space; Kafka, The Trial and related texts; Celan, The Meridian and related poems; Canetti on literature as art of becoming-the-other.

Professor: Rüdiger Campe
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2018
Day/Time: Thursday 1:30pm.- 3:20p.m.

CPLT 897: Modernity

The seminar studies literature and art from nineteenth-century France alongside theoretical and historical reflections to explore the significance of modernity. How did literature and art define what it means to be modern? Writers to be studied include Balzac, Baudelaire, Flaubert, Maupassant, and Zola. Theorists include Benjamin, Durkheim, Foucault, Marx, Simmel, and Weber. We also examine the painting of Manet and his followers.

Reading knowledge of French required.

Professor: Maurice Samuels
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2018
Day/Time: Thursday, 9:25a.m.-11:15a.m.

CPLT 898 Fin-de-siècle France

The course examines major French literary and artistic movements of the last decades of the nineteenth century (Naturalism, Decadence, Symbolism) in their cultural context. Weekly reading assignments pair literary texts with contemporary theoretical/medical/political discourse on such topics as disease, crime, sex, poverty, colonialism, nationalism, and technology. Literary authors include Barbey, Mallarmé, Maupassant, Rachilde, Villiers, and Zola. Theorists include Bergson, Freud, Krafft-Ebing, Le Bon, Nordau, Renan, and Simmel. Some attention also paid to the visual arts.

Prerequisite: reading knowledge of French.

Professor: Maurice Samuels
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: Thursday, 9:25a.m. - 11:15a.m.

CPLT 899 Realism and Naturalism

This seminar interrogates the nineteenth-century French Realist and Naturalist novel in light of various efforts to define its practice. How does critical theory constitute Realism as a category? How does Realism articulate the aims of theory? And how do nineteenth-century Realist and Naturalist novels intersect with other discourses besides the literary? In addition to several works by Balzac, novels to be studied include Stendhal’s Le Rouge et le Noir, Sand’s Indiana, Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, and Zola’s Nana. Some attention also paid to Realist painting.

Reading knowledge of French required.

Professor: Maurice Samuels
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2020
Day/Time: Thursday, 9:25a.m. - 11:15a.m.

CPLT 905: Intermediality in Film

Film is a hybrid medium, the meeting point of several others. This course focuses on the relationship of film to theater and painting, suggesting that where two media are in evidence, there is usually a third. Topics include space, motion, color, theatricality, tableau vivant, ekphrasis, spectatorship, and new media. Readings feature art historical and film theoretical texts as well as essays pertinent to specific films. Films by Fassbinder, Bergman, Murnau, von Trier, Rohmer, Godard, Kiarostami, and others, concluding with three films by Peter Greenaway.

Professor: Brigitte Peucker
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2019
Day/Time: Thursday, 1:30pm-3:20pm Screening Wednesday, 7pm-10pm

CPLT 912: Media Theory, Capitalism, and Japanese Modernity

This course introduces students to key aspects of Western media theory and media history through readings by leading thinkers such as Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Friedrich Kittler, Lewis Mumford, Martin Heidegger, and Marshall McLuhan. It then brings these works into dialogue with recent critical studies of Japanese modernity, capitalism, and contemporary information society by Naoki Sakai, Karatani Kojin, Akira Lippit, Azuma Hiroki, and others. All readings are in English.

Professor: Seth Jacobowitz
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2019
Day/Time: Monday, 3:30pm-5:20pm

CPLT 917: Foundations of Film and Media

The course sets in place some undergirding for students who want to anchor their film interest to the professional discourse of this field. A coordinated set of topics in film theory is interrupted first by the often discordant voice of history and second by the obtuseness of the films examined each week. Films themselves take the lead in our discussions.

Professor: Dudley Andrew
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2018
Day/Time: Thursday, 9:25a.m.-11:15p.m.

CPLT 925 The Practice of Literary Translation

Intensive readings in the history and theory of translation paired with practice in translating. Case studies from ancient languages (the Bible, Greek and Latin classics), medieval languages (classical Arabic literature), and modern languages (poetic texts).

Professor: Peter Cole
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2020
Day/Time: Tuesday & Thursday, 2:30p.m. - 3:45p.m.

CPLT 925: The Practice of Literary Translation

Intensive readings in the history and theory of translation paired with practice in translating. Case studies from ancient languages (the Bible, Greek and Latin classics), medieval languages (classical Arabic literature), and modern languages (poetic texts).

Professor: Peter Cole
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2018
Day/Time: Tuesday & Thursday, 2:30p.m. - 3:45p.m.

CPLT 925: The Practice of Literary Translation

Intensive readings in the history and theory of translation paired with practice in translating. Case studies form ancient languages (the Bible, Greek and Latin classics), medieval languages (classical Arabic and Persian literature), and modern languages (European poetic texts).

Crosslisted as JDST316/ENGL456/HUMS427/LITR348

Professor: Peter Cole, Professor: Robyn Creswell
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2018
Day/Time: Tuesday & Thursday, 2:30p.m. - 3:45p.m.

CPLT 929 Film and Fiction in Interaction

Study of the dynamic exchange or relay between fiction and film, recognized by theorists just after WWII, while obvious in adaptations, also exists in the evolution of the styles and topics of both forms of cultural production. The French term “écriture,” applied to films after 1948, is newly relevant in today’s open cultural field where writers make films and where many adaptations begin as interpretations.

Professor: Dudley Andrew
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2020
Day/Time: Thursday, 9:25a.m. - 11:15a.m.

CPLT 932: Scandinavian Cinema and Television

Contemporary Scandinavian film and television examined in relation to earlier cinematic highpoints. Europe’s first art cinema, early Scandinavian film was catalyzed and sustained by modernist breakthroughs in theater, literature, and painting. Contemporary cinema and television (Dogma films; Nordic Noir television; experimental music and genre film) continue to develop innovative aesthetic, funding, and exhibition models. The course explores regionally specific ideas about acting, visual culture, and the role of art; feminism and the social contract; historical forces and social change. Films by Bergman, Dreyer, Sjöström, Sjöberg, Vinterberg, von Trier, Östlund, Kaurismäki, Kjartansson; as well as contemporary television series selected by students.

Professor: Katie Trumpener
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2018
Day/Time: Monday, 1:30p.m.- 3:20p.m.

CPLT 935 French Cinema through the New Wave

This seminar uses a sample of twenty films (with clips from many others) to survey four decades of the tradition of French cinema crowned by the privileged moment of the New Wave. Graduate students are asked to challenge the idea of “national cinema” by reporting on some non-canonical or marginal film before midterm. Keeping the culture industry in view, we question the extent to which such a consistently robust cinema has been bound to—or remained partly independent of—a nation that from 1930 to 1970 underwent a depression, a socialist experiment, an occupation, a liberation, and the humiliations of decolonization abroad and social unrest (May ’68) at home. In addition to the midterm contribution, graduate students write a substantial term paper.

Professor: Dudley Andrew
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2020
Day/Time: Wednesday, 1:30p.m. - 3:20p.m.; Screening Monday, 6:30p.m. - 9:00p.m.

This seminar uses a sample of twenty films (with clips from many others) to survey four decades of the tradition of French cinema crowned by the privileged moment of the New Wave. Graduate students are asked to challenge the idea of “national cinema” by reporting on some non-canonical or marginal film before midterm. Keeping the culture industry in view, we question the extent to which such a consistently robust cinema has been bound to—or remained partly independent of—a nation that from 1930 to 1970 underwent a depression, a socialist experiment, an occupation, a liberation, and the humiliations of decolonization abroad and social unrest (May ’68) at home. In addition to the midterm contribution, graduate students write a substantial term paper.

Professor: Dudley Andrew
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: Tuesday, 1:30p.m. - 3:20p.m.

CPLT 935: French Cinema through the New Wave

This seminar uses a sample of twenty films (with clips from many others) to survey four decades of the tradition of French cinema crowned by the privileged moment of the New Wave. Graduate students are asked to challenge the idea of “national cinema” by reporting on some non-canonical or marginal film before midterm. Keeping the culture industry in view, we question the extent to which such a consistently robust cinema has been bound to—or remained partly independent of—a nation that from 1930 to 1970 underwent a depression, a socialist experiment, an occupation, a liberation, and the humiliations of decolonization abroad and social unrest (May ‘68) at home. In addition to the midterm contribution, graduate students write a substantial term paper.

Professor: Dudley Andrew
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2018
Day/Time: Monday 6:30p.m. - 9:00p.m.; Wednesday, 1:30p.m. - 3:20p.m.

CPLT 937 Aesthetics, Hermeneutics, and History in Literature and Film

 In 1976, the paired concepts “Ideology and Utopia” appear in the bibliographies of both Paul Ricoeur and Fredric Jameson, two towering intellectuals with exceptionally long careers. This seminar will examine the indispensable place of aesthetics and interpretation (mainly of fiction) in their approach to human history and present ethics/politics.  Ricoeur had just published The Rule of Metaphor, arguing that philosophy needs novels and films, as metaphors that open up the future of history and of thought. Jameson preferred Allegory to open up Balzac, science fiction, detective novels, and—starting in 1976—Hollywood and art films. Last year he published Allegories of ideology

This seminar will examine Ricoeur on metaphor and Jameson on allegory at the place where both of them labored, narrative, and in view of their mutual belief in history as the (battle)ground of “ideology and utopia.”  Ricoeur’s roots in phenomenology and hermeneutics stress temporality (Temps et Recit), while Jameson’s Marxist structuralism leads him to spatialize narrative as an ideological or cognitive map.  Both men gather vast philosophical traditions; both tangle openly with competing views (Deleuze, Lacan, et al) and both write with an urgency about immediate social consequence, one from a generally Christian aspiration, the other a generally Marxist one. 

Sampling key moments of their vast output, we will also interpret fiction and images as they would have us do, i.e., as extended metaphors or allegories.  We will certainly discuss Godard’s Histoire(s) du Cinéma as a contemporaneous intervention via images in ideology and utopia.    Lanzmann’s Shoah must also be confronted. Participants will prepare two submissions, one extending or disputing the thought of either theorist (due April 1); the other a full reading of a prose narrative or feature film inspired by one or the other of them (May 15).

Professor: Dudley Andrew
Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: Thursday, 9:25a.m. - 11:15a.m.

CPLT 940: Magical Realism and Its Sequels in Modern Latin American Fiction

The course concentrates on the major writers who practiced what is called “magical realism”—Alejo Carpentier, Gabriel García Márquez, Carlos Fuentes, and others—after studying the trend’s antecedents in the colonial, post-independence, and early twentieth century. The role of Jorge Luis Borges in the beginnings of magical realism, the works of writers such as Miguel Ángel Asturias and Juan Rulfo, and those of more recent writers who rejected the trend, such as Roberto Bolaño and Fernando Vallejo. The considerable critical corpus on the topic is studied. In Spanish.

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2016
Day/Time: Wednesday 3:30p.m. - 5:20p.m.

CPLT 940: Magical Realism and Its Sequels in Modern Latin American Fiction

The course concentrates on the major writers who practiced what is called “magical realism”—Alejo Carpentier, Gabriel García Márquez, Carlos Fuentes, and others—after studying the trend’s antecedents in the colonial, post-independence, and early twentieth century. The role of Jorge Luis Borges in the beginnings of magical realism, the works of writers such as Miguel Ángel Asturias and Juan Rulfo, and those of more recent writers who rejected the trend, such as Roberto Bolaño and Fernando Vallejo. The considerable critical corpus on the topic is studied. In Spanish.

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

CPLT 953: Topics in Sinophone and Chinese Studies

This seminar examines the current state of the field of Chinese and Sinophone studies from different geographical and theoretical perspectives. It is a research seminar and colloquium, and we use texts in the original as well as translated languages. Topics vary.

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

CPLT 959: Dissertation Workshop

Dissertation preparation course.

Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2019