Graduate Courses: Academic Year 2018-19

FALL 2018

CPLT 215B: Issues in Contemporary Theory: “What is an ‘I’?”
Professor John Kim

This seminar is focused on one question over ten weeks of the Fall Quarter, “What is an ‘I’?” Beginning with essays by the structural linguist Émile Benveniste, this seminar examines the afterlife of a central conceptual distinction between the “subject of enunciation” and the “subject of the enunciated [énoncé;  utterance, statement]” attributed to Benveniste but never actually used by him. What began a crucial distinction between a subject making a statement (énonciation) and the subject posited within a statement (énoncé) has subsequently informed developments in literary theory, philosophy, psychoanalysis and cultural analysis in general. This seminar traces this development, in both its explicit and implicit forms, first by re-examining the status of the “I” in three key texts in the history of philosophy (Descartes, Kant, Hegel) and then by turning to contemporary works in critical theory (Agamben, Butler, da Silva, de Man, Esposito, Kluger, Kofman, and Lacan). It pursues the proposition that whatever the “I” is or may be, it is somehow theological, or a fictive force with all of the violence of what Lacan calls “the real.”

CPLT 200/ANTH 202/SEAS 200: Critical Southeast Asian Studies
Professor Christina Schwenkel

This course offers a critical interrogation of the study of mainland and island Southeast Asia – a vast and dynamic region characterized by extensive sociocultural, political, linguistic, and economic diversity. We will examine “Southeast Asia” as a geographical and cultural construct in relation to scholarly discussions within the field and region, as well as in the diaspora. Particular attention will be paid to historical and ethnographic knowledge produced about the area and the interdisciplinary methodologies used to study it. Key themes we will touch on—and that students will be encouraged to explore in their projects—include the legacies of colonialism and anti-colonialism in science, film, and literature; the complexities of postcolonial nation-building and global economic development; the relationship between sexuality, mobility, and the state; global media and youth culture; the effects of capitalist reform and war on the environment; and the gendered and racialized production of global subjectivities in national and transnational contexts, including multinational factories, the tourism industry, international migration, and global popular culture.

WINTER 2019

CPLT 277 Pastoral Literature: From Antiquity to the Modern Age
Professor Matthew Chaldekas

The pastoral or bucolic genre has been a major part of European literature from its ancient origins into the present day. This class will survey this genre from its origins and trace its modern reception and transformation. Ancient authors include: Theocritus, Vergil, and the pastoral novel Daphnis and Chloe. We will also study the reception of these texts in Renaissance and English poetry, as well as Colette’s pastoral novel Break of Day (La Naissance du Jour). Pastoral literature has sometimes been dismissed as idyllic idealism or omphalosceptical daydreaming, but we will see how this literature can cast a keen critical eye on the social structures of its time. The final project will be a research presentation and paper which utilizes the themes or generic criteria of pastoral literature in some way. Knowledge of Greek and Latin is NOT required for the course. Students interested in studying these themes in other world literatures will be welcome to do so for the final paper!

CPLT 220: German Aesthetic Theory
Professor Johannes Endres

Class examines roughly 200 years of German aesthetic thought, including authors such as Winckelmann, Lessing, Kant, Schiller, Friedrich Schlegel, Hegel, Nietzsche, Freud, Warburg, Benjamin, Kracauer, Heidegger, and others. Discussions will start from a close analysis of selected texts and broaden into a historical survey of major trends and concepts of Western art philosophy since the Enlightenment. Students will gain a sound understanding of core ideas of aesthetic reflection in the Modern era in general and of the legacy of German aesthetic thought in the Postmodern age in particular. Artistic areas covered comprise fiction, theatre, visual arts, music, film, and topics such as philhellenism, the beautiful, the sublime, the ugly, irony, ornament, the thing, mechanical reproduction, and the unconscious.

CPLT 210: Canons in Comparative Literature–Expanding the Canons from a Global Comparative Perspective
Professor Yenna Wu

This seminar seeks to expand the literary canons beyond the Eurocentric framework and examine the dynamics in the construction of canons from a global comparative perspective. While some of the readings will come from Chinese and Sinophone literature and criticism, I encourage students to bring to the table (in readings, discussion, and paper) other national literature, criticism, and theories of their interest. I will also flexibly accommodate students’ interests in issues to be addressed. All readings and discussion will be in English. This course fulfills a graduate course requirement in Comparative Literature. Please contact the instructor in advance if you are interested.

SPRING 2019

CPLT 277: Seminar in Comparative Literature
Professor Lisa Raphals

Comparative study of early divination and prediction in early China, ancient Greece. Perspectives include social and intellectual contexts and institutions, as well as gender and boundaries between science, philosophy, and religion. Utilizes primary source material in texts and visual arts.  Presupposes some competence in Classical Greek, Latin or Chinese.

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