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Current Comparative Literature Courses

Comparative Literature offers courses under the Comparative Literature subject heading (COLI), and cross-lists several electives offered by other departments and interdisciplinary programs such as African and African American Studies, Classical Languages and Civilization, Communication and Media Studies, English, History, Latin American and Latino Studies, Medieval Studies, Modern Languages and Literatures, Philosophy, Political Science, Visual Arts, and Women's Studies.

Spring 2016

COLI 2000 ­C01 - Texts and Contexts: Subalterns in the USA (3 credits)
F. Mustafa
T 6 - 8:45 p.m.

Subaltern in the USA looks at the literature, film and culture of a variety of minority experiences in the US. Group experiences covered will include the African American, Asian American, women’s, LGBTQ, Latino/a and other Others.

COLI 3200 R01 - Machiavelli’s Utopia (Advanced Literature Core; 4 credits)
A. Polcri TF
11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

In his essay, The Originality of Machiavelli, Isaiah Berlin posed a question which, to this day, torments scholars of Machiavelli: Why does The Prince «continue to arouse passionate feelings» even in modern times? In an attempt to address this concern, and in order to arrive at a comprehensive understanding of Machiavelli’s opus, in this course we will read and analyze The Prince and selections from Florentine Histories, the Discourses on Livy, as well as from Machiavelli's creative work (namely, his acclaimed theatrical piece The Mandrake Root, his ingenious poems and short story Belfagor). By adopting an interdisciplinary approach which will lead us to examine not only the historical and political, but also the artistic context in which Machiavelli lived, we will address the question of how and why The Prince was misinterpreted by Italian and European intellectuals and humanists of Machiavelli’s time, leading to a mis-perception of many of the text's core ideas, in a historical moment in which Europe was steadily transforming itself into a domain of absolutism (we will read Reginald Pole, Innocent Gentillet, Erasmus, Montaigne, among others). Our intent, therefore, will be to retrieve the original cultural context in which Machiavelli wrote: a climate of strong limitation of political creativity and liberty, which lead Machiavelli to compose The Prince (around 1513) inspired by a utopian desire for a new leader who could reconcile all the contradictions of Italy. Taught in English with coursework in Italian for credit in Italian. Fulfills the Advanced Literature requirement of the core.

COLI 3450 L01 - City in Literature and Art (EP3; 4 credits)
A. Hoffman
MR 2:30 - 3:45 p.m.

The structures, spaces, people, and life patterns of cities in the imagination of writers and visual artists from the end of the nineteenth century to the present. We will focus on Berlin, Paris, and New York, using the work of Walter Benjamin as a stimulus to thinking about our own relationship to the urban environment.

COLI 4126 R01 - Ten Short Films about Morality (Value Seminar/Eloquentia Perfecta 4; 4 credits)
P. Sicker
TF 1 - 2:15 p.m.

This seminar will focus on a close analysis of acclaimed Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski's cinematic masterpiece, The Decalogue (1988-89). The ten one hour films of the series each examine the ambiguities of the Ten Commandments in the modern setting of late twentieth-century Poland. The films will be paired with substantive essays examining the "ten words" of the commandments from various religious, philosophical, and theoretical perspectives, as well as some key texts in critical and film theory. Capstone seminar for Comparative Literature major.

COLI 4320 L01 - Reading the Indian Ocean World (ICC/EP3/Globalism; 4 credits)
F. Mustafa
T 2:30 - 5:15 p.m.

This course will focus on the literature, writing (including histories) and expressive practices (including film, music and performance) that the confluence of peoples travelling the Indian Ocean have created in over two millennia of interaction. Starting with the earliest extant documents from Antiquity, to the contemporary scholarly and creative work of writers such as Hofmyer, Ghosh, Bose, Gurnah, Farah, and Christianse, we will spend the semester “reading” the Indian Ocean world.