LIT 295 - Special Topics in Literature in Translation
Credits: 3 credits in Fall or Winter; 4 credits in Spring
Prerequisites: Completion of FW requirement. A selected topic focusing on a particular author, genre, motif or period in translation. The specific topic is determined by the interests of the individual instructor. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.
Spring 2016, LIT 295-01: Tang Xianzu Meets William Shakespeare: Classical Theater of China and the Encounter between Two Cultures (4). Prerequisite: Completion of the FDR FW requirement. This course introduces the classical theater of China and its intercultural attempts with regard to Shakespeare in contemporary times. We examine various aspects of classical Chinese theater, its musical construction, stage presentation, the virtuosity of the actor, role types, costume and make up, and so forth. We read classic works of Chinese opera authors and explore the cross-cultural issues that arise when Shakespeare’s plays meet and mix with various forms of classical Chinese theater. In addition, students learn the basics of Chinese theater by participating in a full-immersion theater workshop session with professional actors. (HL) Xie.
Spring 2016, LIT 295-02: The Arab World through Film (4). Prerequisite: Completion of the FDR FW requirement. The geopolitical importance of the Arab world and the legacy of Orientalism reduce “the Arab” and the region to stereotypes and misrepresentations. In order to challenge these depictions, we start by asking how Arab cinema represents contemporary Arab society’. This course introduces the student to the vibrant societies and dynamic cultures of the Arab world through the medium of film. This course analyzes, upholds, and challenges issues of social and cultural significance in the region. (HL) Edwards.
Spring 2016, LIT 295-03: The Human Rights Question in African Literature (4). Prerequisite: Completion of FW requirement. May be used as an elective toward any major in the Romance languages. From the days of African empires, through the slave trade, colonization, the cold war, civil wars, to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and today’s persistent debates over the benefits and deficits of immigration and globalization, human rights have always been present, even in their absence, at the core of Africa’s relations with herself and with others. No mode of expression in Africa has interrogated this issue more than the continent’s literature. What are human rights? How are notions of human rights in Africa different from those derived from western (Enlightenment) traditions? Or, are they different? What does the 13th-century French declaration of individual and collective rights, “La Charte du Mandé,” occasioned by Emperor Sundjata Keita’s 1235 victories, have in common with the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, among others? Are human rights the same as natural rights, the same as peoples’ rights, individual rights? How do women’s and children’s rights, for example, fit into the universal and universalizing concept of the ‘droits de l’homme’ or the ‘rights of man’? These vexing questions and others are explored through discussions of mostly literary texts and films. (HL) Kamara.
Spring 2016, LIT 295-04: The Medieval Epic from Beowulf to Game of Thrones (3). The medieval epic celebrates warrior culture and the values that enhance clan loyalty, group cohesion, the defeat of enemies, the expansion and defense of territory, and the prosperity of families and kingdoms. Modern versions of the medieval epic retain some of these values, discard others and introduce new concerns. To understand this transformative process, this course studies Beowulf, Song of Roland, and Poem of the Cid in modern English and compares them to their film versions as well as to popular epic cycles such as Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars. (HL) Bailey.
Spring 2016, LIT 295-05: Brecht: Drama, Prose, Theory (4). Prerequisite: Completion of the FW FDR requirement. An in-depth investigation of the dramas, prose fiction, poetry and theatrical practice of Bertolt Brecht, a leading playwright and drama theorist of the early 20th century. Readings include The Threepenny Opera; masterworks The Life of Galilei, Mother Courage, and The Caucasian Chalk Circle; representative narratives and poems; and theoretical writings on acting and set design. (HL) Crockett.
Winter 2016, LIT 295-01: Space and Place in Arabic Literature (3). Prerequisite: Completion of the FDR FW requirement. The course presupposes no previous knowledge of the Arabic language or the cultures of the Middle East. All readings are in translation. Class discussions are conducted in English. This course examines the making of historical, geographic, social, and political spaces in Arabic literature. We survey 1500 years of literary production and explore how different genres (poetry, prose, and so on) create and (re-)produce spaces across time. Readings are approached from an array of perspectives, considering space as a place, as a condition, and as a practice. (HL) Edwards.
Winter 2016, LIT 295-03: Growing up Female: Inter-American Perspectives (3). Prerequisite: Completion of the FDR FW requirement. An introduction to the Bildungsroman, also known as Novel of Development, Novel of Apprenticeship, or the Coming-of-Age Novel. While the traditional bildungsroman focused on the intellectual, social, and sexual education of a male hero, women writers have also employed the genre to tell about female development. The course will focus on female protagonists from various social backgrounds and ethnic groups, in novels, short stories and testimonial narratives by women writers from across the Americas. An Inter-American focus will help students explore comparatively what is unique about each work, as well as their similarities as fictional and non-fictional narratives of development. (HL) Pinto-Bailey.
Fall 2015, LIT 295-01: Special Topics in Literature in Translation: Spaces and Places In Arabic Literature (3). Starting at the pre-Islamic ode’s space of the abandoned campsite, place is a central organizing trope in the Arabic literary canon. Through the dynamic lens of time itself, this course examines the making of historical, geographic, social, and political spaces in Arabic literature. We survey fifteen hundred years of literary production and explore how Arabic poetry, Arabic adab (belles-lettres), biographies, short stories, newspapers, and novels create and (re-)produce spaces across time. Students read literature as sites refiguring complex social, historical, and political relations that can to be analyzed, discussed, and explained. In the context of these sites, dynamic processes of historiography, identity creation, and nation building are staged and unfold. We approach the readings from an array of perspectives, considering space as a place, as a condition, and as a practice. The course presupposes no previous knowledge of the Arabic language or the cultures of the Middle East. All readings are in translation and available on Sakai. Class discussions in English. Questions? Contact Prof. Antoine Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org. (HL) Edwards. Fall 2015
Fall 2015, LIT 295A-01: Anti-Semitism in German Culture (3). Prerequisite: Completion of FW requirement. This course deals primarily with the question of how the relatively small Jewish minority came to occupy so much space in the German cultural imagination. An interdisciplinary study drawing on political, literary, and theological texts, the course begins in the 18th century and traces the development of anti-Semitism in Germany through the eliminationist version of the World War II era. No previous familiarity with the subject matter is necessary. (HL) Youngman. Fall 2015 Planned Offering: Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit.
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