Courses for Fall 2021
|Title||Instructors||Location||Time||Description||Cross listings||Fulfills||Registration notes||Syllabus||Syllabus URL|
|COML 012-401||India's Literature||Gregory Goulding||MCNB 395||MW 03:30 PM-05:00 PM||This course introduces students to the extraordinary quality of literary production during the past four millennia of South Asian civilization. We will read texts in translation from all parts of South Asia up to the sixteenth century. We will read selections from hymns, lyric poems, epics, wisdom literature, plays, political works, and religious texts.||SAST004401||Arts & Letters Sector||Course is available to Freshmen and Upperclassmen.|
|COML 090-402||Gender,Sexuality & Lit: Writing Women, Part 1||Toni Bowers||BENN 201||TR 05:15 PM-06:45 PM||This course will focus on questions of gender difference and of sexual desire in a range of literary works, paying special attention to works by women and treatments of same-sex desire. More fundamentally, the course will introduce students to questions about the relation between identity and representation. We will attend in particular to intersections between gender, sexuality, race, class, and nation, and will choose from a rich vein of authors: Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Lord Byron, the Brontes, Christina Rossetti, George Eliot, Oscar Wilde, Henry James, Gertrude Stein, Zora Neale Hurston, E. M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, Nella Larsen, Radclyffe Hall, Willa Cather, Elizabeth Bishop, Jean Rhys, James Baldwin, Sylvia Plath, Bessie Head, Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, Cherr���e Moraga, Toni Morrison, Michael Cunningham, Dorothy Allison, Jeanette Winterson, and Leslie Feinberg.||GSWS090402, ENGL090402||Course is available to Freshmen and Upperclassmen.||https://pennintouchdaemon.apps.upenn.edu/pennInTouchProdDaemon/jsp/fast.do?webService=syllabus&term=2021C&course=COML090402|
|COML 094-401||Intro Literary Theory||David L Eng||CANCELED||This seminar will provide an introduction to literary theory by focusing on ideology. We will explore how ideology becomes a name for investigating various social, political, and economic processes underwriting cultural production. Throughout the semester we will read texts that help to establish a genealogy of ideology. At the same time, we will examine a number of critical theories—including (post)structuralism, deconstruction, Marxism, psychoanalysis, feminism, critical race theory, postcolonial studies, and environmental studies—that offer frameworks for analyzing the complex relationships among language, representation, and power in literature, popular culture, and public discourse. Finally, we will place these theories in conversation with a number of contemporary political debates, including feminist challenges to pornography, legal disputes over hate speech, social controversies over affirmative action, state rhetoric regarding the “war on terror,” and scientific deliberations on climate change.
||ENGL094401||Course is available to Freshmen and Upperclassmen.|
|COML 099-601||Television and New Media||William D Schmenner||MCNB 286-7||M 05:15 PM-08:15 PM||How and when do media become digital? What does digitization afford and what is lost as television and cinema become digitized? As lots of things around us turn digital, have we started telling stories, sharing experiences, and replaying memories differently? What has happened to television and life after New Media ? How have television audiences been transformed by algorithmic cultures of Netflix and Hulu? How have (social) media transformed socialities as ephemeral snaps and swiped intimacies become part of the "new" digital/phone cultures? This is an introductory survey course and we discuss a wide variety of media technologies and phenomena that include: cloud computing, Internet of Things, trolls, distribution platforms, optical fiber cables, surveillance tactics, social media, and race in cyberspace. We also examine emerging mobile phone cultures in the Global South and the environmental impact of digitization. Course activities include Tumblr blog posts and Instagram curations. The final project could take the form of either a critical essay (of 2000 words) or a media project.||ARTH107601, ENGL078601, CIMS103601|
|COML 103-401||Cinema and Revolution||Matthew David Schlesinger||BENN 25||M 05:15 PM-08:15 PM||Can cinema be revolutionary? From Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin to Boots Riley's Sorry to Bother You, filmmakers have long grappled with political revolution. In this course we'll study films that take moments of revolutionary upheaval as their subject, and cinema made during times of revolution. Can cinematic techniques challenge the status quo? How have filmmakers navigated the complex politics of cinematic production and distribution in moments of censorship and repression? Are art and propaganda always different? Students will give two oral presentations: one will be a detailed analysis of a single scene, and another will consider the politics of a film of their choosing. Open to all, including those with no prior background in cinema studies.||CIMS105401|
|COML 104-601||Study of A Period: the Twentieth Century||Devin William Daniels||BENN 222||W 05:15 PM-08:15 PM||This is an introduction to literary study through a survey of works from a specific historical period--often the 20th century, but some versions of this course will focus on other times. We will explore the period's important artistic movements, ideas, and authors, focusing on interconnectedness of the arts to other aspects of culture.||ENGL104601, CIMS104601||Arts & Letters Sector|
|COML 107-401||Contemporary Italian Culture||Julia Heim||WILL 301||TR 03:30 PM-05:00 PM||This course will introduce students to a number of social, cultural, and political trends and issues in contemporary Italy. Through investigations of news media, social media, literature, television, film, and scholarly works, we will begin exploring the Italian contemporary cultural discourse surrounding the topics of Feminism, the Italian #MeToo movement, Italian Black Lives Matter, Citizenship and Immigration, LGBTQIA+ rights and representations, fashion, food and globalized notions of “Made in Italy,” criminality Italian style, Populism and politics. Research based cultural studies and media studies approaches to these topics will give us insight into the various ways that cultural production and political discourse shape notions of national identity and social belonging in the Italian context. All readings and screenings will be in English or have English subtitles; no prior knowledge of Italian or Italy is required. This course is a First-Year Seminar.||ITAL100401, CIMS014401||Cross Cultural Analysis||Course is available to Freshmen and Upperclassmen.
No Prior Language Experience Required
All Readings and Lectures in English
|COML 123-401||World Film Hist To 1945||Chenshu Zhou||BENN 401||MW 01:45 PM-03:15 PM||This course surveys the history of world film from cinema s precursors to 1945. We will develop methods for analyzing film while examining the growth of film as an art, an industry, a technology, and a political instrument. Topics include the emergence of film technology and early film audiences, the rise of narrative film and birth of Hollywood, national film industries and movements, African-American independent film, the emergence of the genre film (the western, film noir, and romantic comedies), ethnographic and documentary film, animated films, censorship, the MPPDA and Hays Code, and the introduction of sound. We will conclude with the transformation of several film industries into propaganda tools during World War II (including the Nazi, Soviet, and US film industries). In addition to contemporary theories that investigate the development of cinema and visual culture during the first half of the 20th century, we will read key texts that contributed to the emergence of film theory. There are no prerequisites. Students are required to attend screenings or watch films on their own.||ARTH108401, ENGL091401, CIMS101401||Arts & Letters Sector
Cross Cultural Analysis
|Course is available to Freshmen and Upperclassmen.||https://pennintouchdaemon.apps.upenn.edu/pennInTouchProdDaemon/jsp/fast.do?webService=syllabus&term=2021C&course=COML123401|
|COML 123-402||World Film Hist To 1945||William D Schmenner||BENN 401||TR 03:30 PM-05:00 PM||This course surveys the history of world film from cinema s precursors to 1945. We will develop methods for analyzing film while examining the growth of film as an art, an industry, a technology, and a political instrument. Topics include the emergence of film technology and early film audiences, the rise of narrative film and birth of Hollywood, national film industries and movements, African-American independent film, the emergence of the genre film (the western, film noir, and romantic comedies), ethnographic and documentary film, animated films, censorship, the MPPDA and Hays Code, and the introduction of sound. We will conclude with the transformation of several film industries into propaganda tools during World War II (including the Nazi, Soviet, and US film industries). In addition to contemporary theories that investigate the development of cinema and visual culture during the first half of the 20th century, we will read key texts that contributed to the emergence of film theory. There are no prerequisites. Students are required to attend screenings or watch films on their own.||ARTH108402, ENGL091402, CIMS101402||Arts & Letters Sector
Cross Cultural Analysis
|Course is available to Freshmen and Upperclassmen.|
|COML 124-401||World Film Hist '45-Pres||Meta Mazaj||BENN 401||TR 12:00 PM-01:30 PM||Focusing on movies made after 1945, this course allows students to learn and to sharpen methods, terminologies, and tools needed for the critical analysis of film. Beginning with the cinematic revolution signaled by the Italian Neo-Realism (of Rossellini and De Sica), we will follow the evolution of postwar cinema through the French New Wave (of Godard, Resnais, and Varda), American movies of the 1950s and 1960s (including the New Hollywood cinema of Coppola and Scorsese), and the various other new wave movements of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s (such as the New German Cinema). We will then selectively examine some of the most important films of the last three decades, including those of U.S. independent film movement and movies from Iran, China, and elsewhere in an expanding global cinema culture. There will be precise attention paid to formal and stylistic techniques in editing, mise-en-scene, and sound, as well as to the narrative, non-narrative, and generic organizations of film. At the same time, those formal features will be closely linked to historical and cultural distinctions and changes, ranging from the Paramount Decision of 1948 to the digital convergences that are defining screen culture today. There are no perquisites. Requirements will include readings in film history and film analysis, an analytical essay, a research paper, weekly Canvas postings, and active participation in class discussion.
Fulfills Cross Cultural Analysis and Arts and Letters.
|ARTH109401, ENGL092401, CIMS102401||Arts & Letters Sector
Cross Cultural Analysis
|Course is available to Freshmen and Upperclassmen.||https://pennintouchdaemon.apps.upenn.edu/pennInTouchProdDaemon/jsp/fast.do?webService=syllabus&term=2021C&course=COML124401|
|COML 124-402||World Film Hist '45-Pres||Filippo Trentin||BENN 401||TR 01:45 PM-03:15 PM||Focusing on movies made after 1945, this course allows students to learn and to sharpen methods, terminologies, and tools needed for the critical analysis of film. Beginning with the cinematic revolution signaled by the Italian Neo-Realism (of Rossellini and De Sica), we will follow the evolution of postwar cinema through the French New Wave (of Godard, Resnais, and Varda), American movies of the 1950s and 1960s (including the New Hollywood cinema of Coppola and Scorsese), and the various other new wave movements of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s (such as the New German Cinema). We will then selectively examine some of the most important films of the last three decades, including those of U.S. independent film movement and movies from Iran, China, and elsewhere in an expanding global cinema culture. There will be precise attention paid to formal and stylistic techniques in editing, mise-en-scene, and sound, as well as to the narrative, non-narrative, and generic organizations of film. At the same time, those formal features will be closely linked to historical and cultural distinctions and changes, ranging from the Paramount Decision of 1948 to the digital convergences that are defining screen culture today. There are no perquisites. Requirements will include readings in film history and film analysis, an analytical essay, a research paper, weekly Canvas postings, and active participation in class discussion.
Fulfills Cross Cultural Analysis and Arts and Letters.
|ARTH109402, ENGL092402, CIMS102402||Arts & Letters Sector
Cross Cultural Analysis
|Course is available to Freshmen and Upperclassmen.|
|COML 125-401||Narrative Across Culture||Ania Loomba||BENN 201||MW 03:30 PM-05:00 PM||The purpose of this course is to present a variety of narrative genres and to discuss and illustrate the modes whereby they can be analyzed. We will be looking at shorter types of narrative: short stories, novellas, and fables, and also some extracts from longer works such as autobiographies. While some works will come from the Anglo-American tradition, a larger number will be selected from European and non-Western cultural traditions and from earlier time-periods. The course will thus offer ample opportunity for the exploration of the translation of cultural values in a comparative perspective.||THAR105401, ENGL103401, NELC180401, SAST124401||Arts & Letters Sector||https://pennintouchdaemon.apps.upenn.edu/pennInTouchProdDaemon/jsp/fast.do?webService=syllabus&term=2021C&course=COML125401|
|COML 140-401||Topics - Modernism: Truth/Lies in Lit & Flm||Jean-Michel Rabate||BENN 407||TR 12:00 PM-01:30 PM||This course explores an aspect of literary modernism intensively; specific course topics will vary from year to year. Past offerings have included seminars on the avant-garde, on the politics of modernism, and on its role in shaping poetry, music, and the visual arts. See the English Department's website at www.english.upenn.edu for a description of the current offerings. Prerequisite: Some knowledge of 20th-century poetry. Spaces will be reserved for English majors||GRMN249401, ENGL259401||https://pennintouchdaemon.apps.upenn.edu/pennInTouchProdDaemon/jsp/fast.do?webService=syllabus&term=2021C&course=COML140401|
|COML 141-401||Scandalous Arts||Ralph Rosen||MCNB 150||MW 03:30 PM-05:00 PM||What do the ancient Greek comedian Aristophanes, the Roman satirist Juvenal, have in common with rappers Snoop Dogg and Eminem? Many things, in fact, but perhaps most fundamental is their delight in shocking audiences and upending social norms. This course will examine the various arts (including literary, visual and musical media) that transgress the boundaries of taste and convention in ancient Greco-Roman culture and our own era. We will consider, among other topics, why communities feel compelled to repudiate some forms of scandalous art, while turning others - especially those that have come down to us from remote historical periods - into so-called classics.||CLST140401||Humanities & Social Science Sector|
|COML 143-401||Foundations of European Thought: From Rome To the Renaissance||Ann Elizabeth Moyer||COLL 314||TR 10:15 AM-11:45 AM||This course offers an introduction to the world of thought and learning at the heart of European culture, from the Romans through the Renaissance. We begin with the ancient Mediterranean and the formation of Christianity and trace its transformation into European society. Along the way we will examine the rise of universities and institutions for learning, and follow the humanist movement in rediscovering and redefining the ancients in the modern world.||HIST143401||History & Tradition Sector
Cross Cultural Analysis
|Course is available to Freshmen and Upperclassmen.||https://pennintouchdaemon.apps.upenn.edu/pennInTouchProdDaemon/jsp/fast.do?webService=syllabus&term=2021C&course=COML143401|
|COML 150-401||War and Representation||Akhil Puthiyadath Veetil||WILL 215||TR 03:30 PM-05:00 PM||This class will explore complications of representing war in the 20th and 21st centuries. War poses problems of perception, knowledge, and language. The notional "fog of war" describes a disturbing discrepancy between agents and actions of war; the extreme nature of the violence of warfare tests the limits of cognition, emotion, and memory; war's traditional dependence on declaration is often warped by language games--"police action," "military intervention," "nation-building," or palpably unnamed and unacknowledged state violence. Faced with the radical uncertainty that forms of war bring, modern and contemporary authors have experimented in historically, geographically, experientially and artistically particular ways, forcing us to reconsider even seemingly basic definitions of what a war story can be. Where does a war narrative happen? On the battlefield, in the internment camp, in the suburbs, in the ocean, in the ruins of cities, in the bloodstream? Who narrates war? Soldiers, refugees, gossips, economists, witnesses, bureaucrats, survivors, children, journalists, descendants and inheritors of trauma, historians, those who were never there? How does literature respond to the rise of terrorist or ideology war, the philosophical and material consequences of biological and cyber wars, the role of the nuclear state? How does the problem of war and representation disturb the difference between fiction and non-fiction? How do utilitarian practices of representation--propaganda, nationalist messaging, memorialization, xenophobic depiction--affect the approaches we use to study art? Finally, is it possible to read a narrative barely touched or merely contextualized by war and attend to the question of war's shaping influence? The class will concentrate on literary objects--short stories, and graphic novels--as well as film and television. Students of every level and major are welcome in and encouraged to join this class, regardless of literary experience.||ENGL085401||Humanities & Social Science Sector||https://pennintouchdaemon.apps.upenn.edu/pennInTouchProdDaemon/jsp/fast.do?webService=syllabus&term=2021C&course=COML150401|
|COML 197-401||Madness & Madmen||Molly Peeney||WILL 306||MW 03:30 PM-05:00 PM||Is "insanity" today the same thing as "madness" of old? Who gets to define what it means to be "sane," and why? Are the causes of madness biological or social? In this course, we will grapple with these and similar questions while exploring Russia's fascinating history of madness as a means to maintain, critique, or subvert the status quo. We will consider the concept of madness in Russian culture beginning with its earliest folkloric roots and trace its depiction and function in the figure of the Russian "holy fool," in classical literature, and in contemporary film. Readings will include works by many Russian greats, such as Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Bulgakov and Nabokov.||REES197401||Cross Cultural Analysis||Course is available to Freshmen and Upperclassmen.
All Readings and Lectures in English
Humanities & Social Science Sector
|COML 200-401||The Fantastic Voyage From Homer To Science Fiction||Scott M Francis||BENN 16||TR 01:45 PM-03:15 PM||Please see the French website for the course description. http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/roml/french/undergraduate/courses.html||FREN200401||Cross Cultural Analysis||Course is available to Freshmen and Upperclassmen.
|COML 201-401||Topics Film History: Global Documentary||Julia Alekseyeva||BENN 138||M 12:00 PM-03:00 PM||This topic course explores aspects of Film History intensively. Specific course topics vary from year to year. See the Comparative Literature website <http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/Complit/ for a descrption of the current offerings.||ENGL291401, CIMS201401, ARTH391401||https://pennintouchdaemon.apps.upenn.edu/pennInTouchProdDaemon/jsp/fast.do?webService=syllabus&term=2021C&course=COML201401|
|COML 206-401||Italian History On Screen||Carla Locatelli||STIT B6||MW 03:30 PM-05:00 PM||How has our image of Italy arrived to us? Where does the story begin and who has recounted, rewritten, and rearranged it over the centuries? In this course, we will study Italy's rich and complex past and present. We will carefully read literary and historical texts and thoughtfully watch films in order to attain an understanding of Italy that is as varied and multifacted as the country itself. Group work, discussions and readings will allow us to examine the problems and trends in the political, cultural and social history from ancient Rome to today. We will focus on: the Roman Empire, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Unification, Turn of the Century, Fascist era, World War II, post-war and contemporary Italy.||ITAL204401, CIMS206401||Arts & Letters Sector
Cross Cultural Analysis
|Course is available to Freshmen and Upperclassmen.
No Prior Language Experience Required
All Readings and Lectures in English
|COML 207-401||Dostoevsky||Aleksey Berg||WILL 1||TR 01:45 PM-03:15 PM||This course explores the ways Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) portrays the "inner world(s)" of his characters. Dostoevsky's psychological method will be considered against the historical, ideological, and literary contexts of middle to late nineteenth-century Russia. The course consists of three parts External World (the contexts of Dostoevsky), "Inside" Dostoevsky's World (the author's technique and ideas) and The World of Text (close reading of Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov). Students will write three essays on various aspects of Dostoevsky's "spiritual realism."||REES201401||Cross Cultural Analysis||Course is available to Freshmen and Upperclassmen.
Benjamin Franklin Seminars
All Readings and Lectures in English
|COML 213-401||Saints and Devils in Russian Literature and Tradition||Julia Verkholantsev||DRLB 4C6||MW 10:15 AM-11:45 AM||This course is about Russian cultural imagination, which is populated with "saints" and "devils": believers and outcasts, the righteous and the sinners, virtuous women and fallen angels, holy men and their most bitter adversary - the devil. In Russia, where people's frame of mind has been formed by a mix of Eastern Orthodox Christianity and earlier pagan beliefs, the quest for faith, spirituality, and the meaning of life has invariably been connected with religious matters. How can one find the right path in life? Can a sinner be redeemed? Should one live for God or for the people? Does God even exist? In "Saints and Devils," we read works of the great masters of Russian literature and learn about the historic trends that have filled Russia's literature and art with religious and mystical spirit. Among our readings are old cautionary tales of crafty demons and all-forbearing saints, about virtuous harlots and holy fools, as well as fantastic stories by Nikolai Gogol about pacts with the devil, and a romantic vision of a fallen angel by Yury Lermontov. We will be in awe of the righteous portrayed by Nikolai Leskov and follow the characters of Fedor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov, as they ponder life and death and search for truth, faith, and love. In sum, over the course of this semester we will talk about ancient cultural traditions, remarkable works of art, and the great artists who created them. In addition to providing a basic introduction to Russian literature, religion, and culture, the course introduces students to literary works of various genres and teaches basic techniques of literary analysis. (No previous knowledge of Russian literature necessary. All readings are in English).||REES213401, RELS218401||Arts & Letters Sector
Cross Cultural Analysis
|Course is available to Freshmen.
|COML 218-401||Fren Lit: Love & Passion||Jacqueline Dougherty||WILL 723||MW 12:00 PM-01:30 PM||This basic course in literature provides an overview of French literature and acquaints students with major literary trends through the study of representative works from each period. Students are expected to take an active part in class dicussion in French. French 231 has as its theme the presentation of love and passion in French literature.||FREN231401||Arts & Letters Sector
Cross Cultural Analysis
|COML 218-402||Fren Lit: Love & Passion||Jacqueline Dougherty||WILL 741||MW 01:45 PM-03:15 PM||This basic course in literature provides an overview of French literature and acquaints students with major literary trends through the study of representative works from each period. Students are expected to take an active part in class dicussion in French. French 231 has as its theme the presentation of love and passion in French literature.||FREN231402||Arts & Letters Sector
Cross Cultural Analysis
|COML 218-403||Fren Lit: Love & Passion||Scott M Francis||COLL 311F||TR 10:15 AM-11:45 AM||This basic course in literature provides an overview of French literature and acquaints students with major literary trends through the study of representative works from each period. Students are expected to take an active part in class dicussion in French. French 231 has as its theme the presentation of love and passion in French literature.||FREN231403||Arts & Letters Sector
Cross Cultural Analysis
|COML 230-401||Words Are Weapons||Afsar Mohammad||WILL 421||TR 01:45 PM-03:15 PM||This course focuses on the key themes of protest and resistance in contemporary South Asian literarure. Most South Asian countries have been witnessing an endless wave of protests and resistance from various sections of public life for the last three decades. In India, for example, protest literature emerges not only from traditionally marginalized groups (the poor, religious and ethnic minorities, depressed castes and tribal communities), but also from upper-caste groups, whose protest literature expresses concerns over economic oppression, violence and the denial of fundamental rights. Literature is becoming an immediate tool to articualte acts of resistance and anger, as many writers and poets are also taking on new roles as poitical activists. In this class, we will read various contemporary works of short fiction, poetry and memoirs to comprehend shifts in public life toward political and social activism in South Asia. We will also watch two or three documentaries that focus on public protests and resistance. No pre-requisites or South Asian language requirements. All literary works will be read in English translations.||SAST223401, SAST523401, COML534401||https://pennintouchdaemon.apps.upenn.edu/pennInTouchProdDaemon/jsp/fast.do?webService=syllabus&term=2021C&course=COML230401|
|COML 245-401||Study of A Theme: Intro To Psychoanalysis||Susan C. Adelman
|COLL 200||TR 05:15 PM-06:45 PM||This is an introduction to literary study through the works of a compelling literary theme. (For offerings in a given semester, please see the on-line course descriptions on the English Department website). The theme's function within specific historical contexts, within literary history generally, and within contemporary culture, are likely to be emphasized.||ENGL102401||Arts & Letters Sector||Course is available to Freshmen and Upperclassmen.||https://pennintouchdaemon.apps.upenn.edu/pennInTouchProdDaemon/jsp/fast.do?webService=syllabus&term=2021C&course=COML245401|
|COML 247-401||Marx||Siarhei Biareishyk||ANNS 111||WF 01:45 PM-03:15 PM||"A spectre is haunting Europe--the spectre of Communism": This, the famous opening line of The Communist Manifesto, will guide this course's exploration of the history, legacy, and potential future of Karl Marx's most important texts and ideas, even long after Communism has been pronounced dead. Contextualizing Marx within a tradition of radical thought regarding politics, religion, and sexuality, we will focus on the philosophical, political, and cultural origins and implications of his ideas. Our work will center on the question of how his writings seek to counter or exploit various tendencies of the time; how they align with the work of Nietzsche, Freud, and other radical thinkers to follow; and how they might continue to haunt us today. We will begin by discussing key works by Marx himself, examining ways in which he is both influenced by and appeals to many of the same fantasies, desires, and anxieties encoded in the literature, arts and intellectual currents of the time. In examining his legacy, we will focus on elaborations or challenges to his ideas, particularly within cultural criticism, postwar protest movements, and the cultural politics of the Cold War. In conclusion, we will turn to the question of Marxism or Post-Marxism today, asking what promise Marx's ideas might still hold in a world vastly different from his own. All readings and lectures in English.||GRMN247401, PHIL247401||All Readings and Lectures in English
Humanities & Social Science Sector
|COML 268-401||Nietzsche's Modernity||Ian Fleishman||BENN 231||TR 01:45 PM-03:15 PM||GRMN248401, PHIL067401||All Readings and Lectures in English||https://pennintouchdaemon.apps.upenn.edu/pennInTouchProdDaemon/jsp/fast.do?webService=syllabus&term=2021C&course=COML268401|
|COML 274-401||Topics 20th-Cent Poetry: Groundbreaking Poets and Traditional Forms||Taije Jalaya Silverman||BENN 224||TR 12:00 PM-01:30 PM||The course explores an aspect of 20th-century poetry intensively; specific course topics will vary from year to year.||ENGL262401|
|COML 283-401||Jewish Folklore||Dan Ben-Amos||WILL 28||TR 10:15 AM-11:45 AM||The Jews are among the few nations and ethnic groups whose oral tradition occurs in literary and religious texts dating back more than two thousand years. This tradition changed and diversified over the years in terms of the migration of Jews into different countries and historical, social, and cultural changes that these countries underwent. The course attempts to capture thei historical and ehtnic diversity of Jewish folklore in a variety of oral liteary forms.||NELC258401, JWST260401, FOLK280401||Cross Cultural Analysis||Course is available to Freshmen and Upperclassmen.|
|COML 286-401||Latin American Theatre||Jennifer Thompson||BENN 222||TR 01:45 PM-03:15 PM||This course will examine contemporary Latin American and Latinx theatre and performance from a hemispheric perspective. In particular, we will study how Latin American and Latinx artists engage with notions of identity, nation, and geo-political and geo-cultural borders, asking how we might study "national" theatres in an age of transnational globalization. Our consideration of plays, performances, and theoretical texts will situate Latin American and Latinx theatre and performance within the context of its politics, culture, and history.||ENGL049401, LALS286401, THAR286401||https://pennintouchdaemon.apps.upenn.edu/pennInTouchProdDaemon/jsp/fast.do?webService=syllabus&term=2021C&course=COML286401|
|COML 300-401||Black Italy & Black Italians: Post-Colonial Voices-Contemp Afro-Ital Lit||Rossella Di Rosa||WILL 27||TR 12:00 PM-01:30 PM||This course explores life in contemporary and postcolonial Italy and some of its most pressing challenges, including immigration, racial politics, hybrid identities, citizenship, and globalization. Students will focus on the social and cultural changes that altered and complicated Italy’s image and status beginning during the 80’s migration movements (mainly from Africa). Specifically, students will identify the connections between Italy’s present and its (often overlooked) colonial past; analyze what constitute Italian-ness (italianità) and the novel ways of expressing black Italian-ness; reflect on how race and blackness are represented in Italian discourses; discuss which modes of expression are being used to describe the contemporary identity crisis in Italy. At the end of the course, students will be familiar with Black Italian artists, writers, and filmmakers, all of whom offer original and multilayered depictions of the interconnections between Italy and Africa and help to reposition Italy in the broad context of the black diaspora.||ENGL231401, ITAL300401||Cross Cultural Analysis||Course is available to Freshmen and Upperclassmen.
No Prior Language Experience Required
All Readings and Lectures in English
|COML 304-401||Tpcs: Classicism & Lit: Epic, Romance, Myth||Rita Copeland||BENN 322||TR 01:45 PM-03:15 PM||Ancient epic and mythology had a curious and rich afterlife in the Middle Ages. Virgil and Ovid were taught in medieval schools, read for their moral content, and revered as fiction that concealed great philosophical value. Their influence also gave rise to the great literary form of the Middle Ages, romance: narratives that place a premium on erotic love, individual quests, the unpredictability of adventure, and imaginary or exotic settings. Yet despite what may appear to be merely gratifying entertainment, myth and romance did tremendous cultural work, enabling profound explorations of history, political values, ethnic identity, gender and sexuality, and social power.
We will spend some weeks reading Virgil’s Aeneid and Ovid’s Heroides and Metamorphoses. Then we will turn to medieval reimaginings of classical myth and metamorphosis, including poetry by Marie de France, Chrétien de Troyes, and Chaucer, and anonymous works such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
The course requirements will be: one very short oral presentation on a research topic of your choice related to the reading, together with a short write-up of your research; one short critical paper; and one longer research paper (which can develop the subject of your oral presentation).
|CLST360401, GSWS228401, ENGL229401||https://pennintouchdaemon.apps.upenn.edu/pennInTouchProdDaemon/jsp/fast.do?webService=syllabus&term=2021C&course=COML304401|
|COML 307-401||Love, Lust, & Violence in the Middle Ages||Ada M Kuskowski||CANCELED||Medieval Europe was undoubtedly gruff and violent but it also gave birth to courtly culture - raw worries transformed into knights who performed heroic deeds, troubadours wrote epics in their honor and love songs about their ladies, women of the elite carved out a place in public discourse as patrons of the arts, and princely courts were increasingly defined by pageantry from jousting tournaments to royal coronations. This course will trace the development of this courtly culture from the eleventh to the sixteenth century, from its roots in Southern France to its spread to Northern France and then to various kingdoms in Europe. Central themes will include the transformation of the warrior into the knight, the relationship between violence and courtliness, courtly love, cultural production and the patronage, and the development of court pageantry and ceremonial. This is a class cultural history and, as such, will rely on the interpretation of objects of art and material culture, literature as well as historical accounts.||HIST307401, GSWS307401||Course is available to Freshmen and Upperclassmen.|
|COML 343-401||19th Cent Eur Intel Hist||Warren G. Breckman||COLL 318||MW 03:30 PM-05:00 PM||Starting with the dual challenges of Enlightenment and Revolution at the close of the eighteenth century, this course examines the emergence of modern European thought and culture in the century from Kant to Nietzsche. Themes to be considered include Romanticism, Utopian Socialism, early Feminism, Marxism, Liberalism, and Aestheticism. Readings include Kant, Hegel, Burke, Marx, Mill, Wollstonecraft, Darwin, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche.||HIST343401||https://pennintouchdaemon.apps.upenn.edu/pennInTouchProdDaemon/jsp/fast.do?webService=syllabus&term=2021C&course=COML343401|
|COML 378-401||Tpcs Postcolonial Lit: From Mandela To Noah:South African Literature, Film and Society||Rita Barnard||CANCELED||The struggle to establish a non-racial democracy in South Africa was not the bloodiest anticolonial struggle of the twentieth century, but it was the one that captured the global imagination most powerfully. Upon his release from prison, Nelson Mandela emerged as one of the world’s most revered political figures. The process of negotiation that led to the transition was seen, all over the world, as a hopeful sign that protracted conflicts could be peacefully resolved. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s inquiry into the human rights abuses of the apartheid era became a model for truth commissions in several other countries. South African writers like Fugard, Gordimer, Coetzee, and Mda earned international renown for their literary response to this compelling historical transformation. But what is the future of South Africa and South African literature? Why has the new democracy failed to live up to its promise? Has it generated new forms of cultural expression and accrued a different kind of international resonance than in the apartheid era? Is it useful to compare South Africa and the USA, both countries with histories of racial oppression, and (in the age of Trump and Zuma) of corruption, xenophobia, misogyny, and gaslighting? Most importantly: how are we to imagine freedom today?
These are the questions that animate this seminar. Our discussions will span novels, creative non-fiction, plays, graphic novels, and films. The syllabus is likely to include a manageable number of the following texts: Percy Mtwa and Mbongeni Ngema, Woza Albert!, Fatima Dike, So What’s New?, Athol Fugard, Tsotsi andselections from The Port Elizabeth Plays and Statements, Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom (extracts or the comic-book version), Mda, Ways of Dying, Mark Behr, The Smell of Apples, Jacob Dlamini, Native Nostalgia, Zoe Wicomb, Playing in the Light, Ivan Vladislavic, The Restless Supermarket and Portrait with Keys, Marlene van Niekerk, Triomf, Antjie Krog, Country of My Skull, J. M. Coetzee, Disgrace, Njabulo Ndebele, The Cry of Winnie Mandela, Nadine Gordimer, Something Out There or The Pick Up, and Trevor Noah, Born a Crime. Some of the following films will also be selected: Mandela, Son of Africa, Father of a Nation; Invictus and The16th Man; Tsotsi; Jerusalema: Gangster’s Paradise; Hijack Stories, Otello Burning, District 9; and Dear Mandela. Also, for our final week: the special issue of Safundi on Trump, Zuma, and the Grounds of US-South African Comparison.
Requirements for this course include two mid-length papers (roughly 7-10 pp.) and a creative presentation. Please note that seminar participants are not expected to have any expert knowledge of South Africa (indeed, you might enjoy discovering an entirely new place), only a lively interest in the relationship between contemporary culture and politics.
|COML 391-403||Topics Film Studies: Cinema and Politics||Rita Barnard||BENN 322||TR 10:15 AM-11:45 AM||This seminar has a bold aim: it seeks to understand better what has happened in our world since the era of decolonization, by considering the term “politics” in its very broadest and most dramatic connotation—as the dream of social change (and its failures). Another way of describing its subject matter is to say that the course is about revolution and counterrevolution since the Bandung Conference. Together we will investigate the way in which major historical events, including the struggle for Algerian independence, the military coup in Indonesia, the Cuban Revolution, the assassination of Patrice Lumumba in Congo, the Vietnam War, the fall of the Soviet Block, the end of apartheid in South Africa, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Iraq War and its aftermath, and contemporary concerns with immigration, corporate malfeasance, structural adjustment and privatization, and environmental catastrophe have been represented in some of the most innovative and moving films of our time. Attention will therefore be paid to a variety of genres, including cinema verité, documentary, the thriller, the biopic, animation, the global conspiracy film, hyperlink cinema, science fiction and dystopia. Films will include: The Battle of Algiers, The Year of Living Dangerously, Memories of Underdevelopment, Lumumba and Lumumba: La Mort du Prophète, The Fog of War, The Lives of Others, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Even the Rain, The Constant Gardener, Syriana, Waltz with Bashir, Caché, Children of Men, and The Possibility of Hope. An archive of secondary readings will be provided on Canvas. Writing requirements: a mid-term and a final paper of around 8-10 pages.
||CIMS392403, ARTH389403, ENGL392403||Benjamin Franklin Seminars||https://pennintouchdaemon.apps.upenn.edu/pennInTouchProdDaemon/jsp/fast.do?webService=syllabus&term=2021C&course=COML391403|
|COML 397-401||Psych & Autobiography: Psychoanalysis and Autobiography||Max C Cavitch||BENN 323||MW 05:15 PM-06:45 PM||Both psychoanalysis and autobiography are ways of re-telling a life. Psychoanalysis is often called “the talking cure” because, as patients tell the analyst more about their lives (their thoughts, dreams, memories, hopes, fears, relationships, jobs, hopes, fears and fantasies), they start to discover new possibilities within themselves for overcoming conflicts, impasses, emotional pain, and even psychiatric illnesses that have kept them from flourishing. Autobiographers do something similar as they remember, re-examine, and re-tell their lives—though two very important differences are 1) that they do so in writing, rather than in speech, and 2) that they do so, not privately in a psychoanalyst’s office, but publicly in books that anyone may read. This seminar is a comparative exploration of these different ways of re-telling a life. We’ll ask: What are the potential risks and benefits of re-telling one’s life, in either form? What are the differences between having a face-to-face audience of one (the analyst) and an imagined audience of readers? What are the possibilities and limits of self-analysis? What sorts of narratives do patients, analysts, and autobiographers construct? What is the role of the analyst/reader in the construction of such narratives? How complete and “truthful” can they be? And, in our own era of social media and mass surveillance, how have the meanings of audience, self-awareness, privacy, and publicity changed—for better and for worse?
Course goals: Students will come away from the course with a general understanding of 1) psychoanalytic theory and practice from Freud to the present, 2) the literary genre of autobiography, and 3) the meaning and importance of narrative in our lives. Seminar readings will include 1) famous psychoanalytic case-histories and other major works of clinical theory and metapsychology by such authors as Christopher Bollas, Erik Erikson, Sigmund Freud, Kay Redfield Jamison, Theodor Reik, and Roy Schafer, and 2) major autobiographical works by such authors as St. Augustine, James Baldwin, Alison Bechdel, Frederick Douglass, Lauren Slater, Greta Thunberg, and Malcolm X.
Assignments: In addition to the required reading and regular participation in seminar discussion, students will write several very short essays, prepare and deliver a brief presentation to the class, and write/produce a hybrid creative-scholarly autobiographical project that will be due at the end of the semester. There will also be a number of brief, straightforward quizzes—but no mid-term or final exam.
Instructors: Like most courses affiliated with the Psychoanalytic Studies Minor, this seminar will be team-taught by a humanities scholar (Prof. Cavitch) and a practicing psychoanalyst (Dr. Moore), who designed the course together. Feel free to contact them if you have any questions about this seminar: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com.
|ENGL395401, GSWS389401||Benjamin Franklin Seminars|
|COML 418-401||Euro Intellct Since 1945||Warren G. Breckman||VANP 626||T 03:30 PM-06:30 PM||This course concentrates on French intellectual history after 1945, with some excursions into Germany. We will explore changing conceptions of the intellectual, from Satre's concept of the 'engagement' to Foucault's idea of the 'specific intellectual'; the rise and fall of existentialism; structuralism and poststructuralism; and the debate over 'postmodernity.'||HIST418401||https://pennintouchdaemon.apps.upenn.edu/pennInTouchProdDaemon/jsp/fast.do?webService=syllabus&term=2021C&course=COML418401|
|COML 432-401||Arab Belles-Lettres||Huda Fakhreddine||BENN 140||TR 12:00 PM-01:30 PM||This course aims to improve reading skills and vocabulary by introducing students to extensive passages taken from a variety of Arabic literary genres from all periods. Taught in MSA with writing assignments in MSA.||ARAB432401|
|COML 534-401||Words Are Weapons||Afsar Mohammad||WILL 421||TR 01:45 PM-03:15 PM||This course focuses on the key themes of protest and resistance in contemporary South Asian literarure. Most South Asian countries have been witnessing an endless wave of protests and resistance from various sections of public life for the last three decades. In India, for example, protest literature emerges not only from traditionally marginalized groups (the poor, religious and ethnic minorities, depressed castes and tribal communities), but also from upper-caste groups, whose protest literature expresses concerns over economic oppression, violence and the denial of fundamental rights. Literature is becoming an immediate tool to articualte acts of resistance and anger, as many writers and poets are also taking on new roles as poitical activists. In this class, we will read various contemporary works of short fiction, poetry and memoirs to comprehend shifts in public life toward political and social activism in South Asia. We will also watch two or three documentaries that focus on public protests and resistance. No pre-requisites or South Asian language requirements. All literary works will be read in English translations.||SAST223401, SAST523401, COML230401||https://pennintouchdaemon.apps.upenn.edu/pennInTouchProdDaemon/jsp/fast.do?webService=syllabus&term=2021C&course=COML534401|
|COML 537-401||Topics in Cultural Hist: Making & Marking Time||Liliane Weissberg||VANP 629||T 01:45 PM-04:45 PM||Topic for Fall 2021: Making and Marking Time. What is time? In the late 19th century, the questions of how to define time, how to slow down time, and, above all, how to accelerate movement have become a focus of the work by many European philosophers who have tried to come to terms with what is now termed as the Industrial Revolution, and the idea of "progress." And can time be understood as something continuous, or is it fragmented, proceeding in fits and burst? Such contemplations on time have deeply influenced writers and visual artists alike. Marcel Proust was a reader of Henri Bergson and translated his theories of time into a concept of memory. Impressionist painters insisted on picturing fleeting moments, and composers experimented with temporal sequences. Thomas Mann has tried to navigate timelessness in a novel set on a "Magic Mountain." Virginia Woolf and James Joyce have pictured an entire universe in a single day (Mrs. Dalloway, Ulysses). Early 20th century Italian Futurists made the contemplation of time part of their manifestoes, and expressionist writers and artists, as well as the supporters of the DADA movement in Germany or elsewhere in Europe were theorizing about time as well. This would influence their choice of genre and form, their writerly practice and technique. Pictures were set into motion in scholarly studies by photographer Eadweard Muybridge and finally in the new medium film. We may be able to understand a reconsideration of time as driving force for the modern movement, or simply "modernity." In this seminar, we will study a selection of literary texts of the late 19th century and the modernist movement, consider the philosophical background and changes in historiography, and consider the development in the visual arts at this time, in particular painting and the new media of photography and film.||GRMN541401, ENGL563401, ARTH584401||Undergraduates Need Permission
All Readings and Lectures in English
|COML 544-401||Environmental Humanities: Theory, Method, Practice||Bethany Wiggin||WILL 204||R 01:45 PM-04:45 PM||Environmental Humanities: Theory, Methods, Practice is a seminar-style course designed to introduce students to the trans- and interdisciplinary field of environmental humanities. Weekly readings and discussions will be complemented by guest spearkers from a range of disciplines including ecology, atmospheric science, computing, history of science, medicine, anthropology, literature, and the visual arts. Participants will develop their own research questions and a final project, with special consideration given to building the multi-disciplinary collaborative teams research in the environmental humanities often requires.||ENGL643401, ENVS543401, GRMN543401, SPAN543401||Undergraduates Need Permission
All Readings and Lectures in English
|COML 554-401||British Women Writers: Premodern Women Writers||David Wallace||VANP 629||M 08:30 AM-11:30 AM||Was bleibt? What remains of me when I am dead and gone? This haunting question was especially acute for premodern women unable to control their own textual production, hence afterlife. How then does a lived, biological and historical life become a life, a written artefact; how does that first written text mediate down to us via manuscripts, printed editions, popular translations, strategic revivals, chance discoveries, etc. And how did a premodern woman come or qualify to be remembered by others? So often the answer here appears to be: through egregious misbehaviour. What, not unrelatedly, prompted attempted enclosure of women in convents, houses, and religious houses? What distinctive cultures did such all-female spaces generate? Did conditions of enclosure vary between one country and the next-- say between England and Italy? How were such all-female spaces mourned, once convents were abolished in Protestant countries, and how does desire for all-female society live on today?
Things were difficult for educated women c. 1150, but they got much worse. The rise of universities, celebrated as a distinctive sign of progress in western societies, saw increased opportunities for men coupled with, calibrated against, diminished chances for women. Francis of Assisi founded a dynamic new apostolate of the streets for men, but his associate Clare of Assisi (1194-1253) was obliged to embrace a hidden life of enclosure. No woman after 1150 approached the multi-faceted achievements of Hildegard of Bingen (musician, natural scientist, cosmographer, dramatist, fashion designer, preacher, and author); still in the 1920s Virginia Woolf finds herself being yelled at on the college lawns of Oxbridge before retreating to London, a more sympathetic venue.
These and other issues will be approached through a Smorgasbord of texts, open to the full range of critical approaches and offering a long view of women and writing, c. 1100-1673. We will begin with a brilliant quartet predating the secure establishment of universities: Hildegard of Bingen (briefly), Christina of Markyate (and associated artwork, made for and depicting her), Marie de France, sublime romancer, fabulist, amd werewolf-author, and Heloise, epistolarienne.
We will also consider Angela of Foligno (1248-1309), who had several children before turning religious at around age 40, and who refused to live in seclusion (but lived communally, with other women). Rita of Cascia (c. 1381-1457) was forced into an arranged marriage and endured eighteen years of abuse; she attempted to reform her violent husband, and also the vendetta culture that eventually killed him. There are shrines to St Rita of Cascia across the world, including the one in Kerala, India. Her national shrine in the US is at 1166 South Broad Street, Philadelphia; we might make a site visit.
The two most powerful and influential women of fourteenth-century Europe, and the only two to be declared saints, lived in Rome, one after the other. The most famous poets of the Italian Trecento are Dante, Boccaccio, and Petrarch, known as the tre corone (three crowns). But in terms of European influence, and as religious teachers and speakers of truth to power, Catherine of Siena and Bridget of Sweden demand recognition alongside their male peers; Italy has cinque corone.
The East Anglian women Margery Kempe and Julian of Norwich actually met, but their written texts differ greatly. Julian meditates questions of love and death, memory, and the body with an intellectual brilliance second to none in English tradition; only anti-theological prejudice keeps her off the Comp Lit theory list. Margery, au contraire, could not write her own text, but hired a male amanuensis/ scribe/ co-author to compose the first autobiography (some say auto-hagiography) in English. Margery travelled widely and spent time in Rome, learning basic Italian and seeking out the living spaces of Bridget of Sweden. Hope Emily Allen, of Bryn Mawr (where her archive resides), brought Margery into an astonished world in the 1930s; more recent earthquakes include the gay agon of Margery Kempe (1994) by Robert Glück, co-founder of the New Narrative Movement in San Francisco in the early 1980s.
Gaspara Stampa (1523-1554) and Veronica Franco (1546-1591) were two of the most brilliant members of a tradition of Venetian courtesans, educated and accomplished women who maintained liaisons with aristocratic men. Stampa's Rime di Madonna Gaspara Stampa, published shortly after her death, contains some 311 poems in which she establishes herself, in effect, as a female Petrarch, triumphing over difficulties (and her last male lover). Franco, also a cortigiana onesta ("intellectual sex worker"), lived longer and rose higher, commanding a place in important Venetian literary circles.
Isabella Witney (active 1566-1573) published her own works, keen to showcase her talents as a housekeeper and lady's lady (and to avoid falling through the floor into prostitution or jail: see her rueful Will and Testament, addressed to the cruel city of London). Whitney, a woman of slender means and humble background, uses print to try and advance her own career, whereas Mary Sidney (1561-1621), an aristocrat at the far upper end of the social scale, restricts her writings to an élite few, in manuscript. She lives secludedly at Wilton, in a great house that was once a great convent, reading psalms, like nuns long before her; her psalmic verse marries brilliant poetic experimentalism with Calvinist terror. Elizabeth Carey publishes the first closet drama in English by drawing Miriam, Queen of Jewry, from newly-translated Josephus; she then disgraces herself by becoming Catholic and mothering four brilliant daughters (who copy and conserve the text of Julian of Norwich). This they must do abroad, as Catholic nuns; Mary Ward, a Catholic from Yorkshire, joins them in exile, but founds an international order for women who will not be enclosed. Her vast archive, closed to the public for centuries, is now open, and includes her writings in Italian as Maria della Guardia. Aemilia Bassano, daughter of an Italian court musician, publishes a remarkable collection of verse as Aemilia Lanyer that includes the first English country-house poem. This explores the reverse of enclosure: women happily gathered in female society must soon be scattered, following the iron logic of the marriage market.
Sarra Copia Sallam (1592-1641) grew up Jewish in Venice and learned ancient Greek, Latin, and Hebrew. In 1618 she read a play called Esther by Ansaldo Ceba, a diplomat who had become a monk. This led to a long letter exchange; Sarra admits to sleeping with Esther. Accused of heresy, she wrote a book to defend herself, resisting all attempts to convert her from Judaism. Lady Hester Pulter (1595/6-1678), born in Dublin, had fifteen children and outlived all but two of them. A manuscript of her works, called Poems Breathed Forth by the Noble Hadassas and discovered quite recently, contains about 120 poems and a prose romance, The Unfortunate Florinda. In reweaving legends about the Muslim conquest of Spain, Pulter channels contemporary anxieties about "turning Turk," and addresses issues of rape. Van Pelt owns a copy of the vast, lavishly-funded tome of plays by Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle (1623-1673; and also a meagre-sized play text by Aphra Behn). Cavendish eagerly keeps up with contemporary science, authors a feminist sci-fi utopia in Blazing World, and strategically exploits the resource of her own beauty. Like Galileo, she makes good use of telescopes, but to quite different ends. Cavendish ponders the possibilities of all-female society, in both her Convent of Pleasure and, more seriously, her Female Academy. Such longing for female places of learning endures, in various forms, through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
These premodern texts may be studied in and of their own time, or as they emerge into print and public consciousness in later centuries, including our own.
One long (but not too long) essay, one essay brainstorm, opportunities for class reports.
|ENGL553401, GSWS553401||Undergraduates Need Permission||https://pennintouchdaemon.apps.upenn.edu/pennInTouchProdDaemon/jsp/fast.do?webService=syllabus&term=2021C&course=COML554401|
|COML 570-401||Tps in Criticism & Theor: Lives of the Death Drive||Max C Cavitch||BENN 323||M 12:00 PM-03:00 PM||Aggression is a fact of life—but where does it come from? Why are human lives so mired in violent thoughts and behaviors, including those we direct at ourselves? Why is human history a chronicle of death-dealing? Is aggression inevitable? Is it desirable? What sorts of relations obtain between creativity and destructiveness? This seminar addresses these questions by tracing the concept of the “death-drive” in psychoanalytic and critical theory, from its earliest incarnations in works by Sabina Spielrein, Sigmund Freud, Sándor Ferenczi, and Melanie Klein to its subsequent “lives” in works by Jacques Lacan, Frantz Fanon, Jean Laplanche, Luce Irigaray, Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Derrida, Paul de Man, Julia Kristeva, Slavoj Žižek, Eve Sedgwick, Judith Butler, Esther Sánchez-Pardo, Leo Bersani, Lee Edelman, Achille Mbembe, Benjamin Fong, and Ranjana Khanna. We’ll reflect on the place of aggression in our own experience, as well as in the records of others’ experiences—specifically, in autobiographical, autothanatographical, and autotheoretical writings by some of these same theorists, and also by other writers such as Simone de Beauvoir, Margery Kempe, Michel Leiris, Clarice Lispector, Michel de Montaigne, Maggie Nelson, Friedrich Nietzsche, Greta Thunberg, Harriet Wilson, and David Wojnarowicz.
Seminar members will each write an autotheoretical essay (approx. 30-40 pages), developed and workshopped in stages, as the semester proceeds, to be submitted in its final form after classes end, in December.
This course is not open to undergraduates unless they are juniors or seniors already working toward completion of the Psychoanalytic Studies Minor, in which case they may contact the instructor for permission to enroll.
Students who would like to get a head-start, in advance of the first class-meeting, could begin by reading (or re-reading) Freud’s short book, Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920).
|ENGL573401||Undergraduates Need Permission|
|COML 592-401||20th C Lit & Theory: New World Cinema||Meta Mazaj||WILL 24||T 03:30 PM-06:30 PM||This class will be an exploration of numerous issues at the core of the “turn to the world” in global film culture and film studies, and the rising popularity and growth of the discipline of World Cinema. As film has become a part of an enormous transnational media system since the 1980s, the concept of “world cinema” has become both a necessary and controversial way to account for cross-border and cross-cultural relations. Is it a useful term, or a slippery signifier, signifying at once too much and too little? Is it productive in realizing its aspiration of unsettling Eurocentric foundations of film studies, or does it merely rebrand existing institutionalized methods under the politically accurate banner of “the world”? Is it the most effective way of describing transnational modes of production, circulation, as well as reading/viewing practices? By tracing both dominant and peripheral cinematic flows and cinemas (from the Korean blockbusters, European art cinema, Bollywood, to small national cinemas such Palestinian cinema) as well as its interpretive frameworks (transnational, national, diasporic, women’s cinema, etc.), we will examine what it means to place a film on the map, not as a gesture of inclusion but as a method of accounting for structural (in)equality to reveal gendered, racial, ethnic, economic and political nature of transnational processes in world cinema.||ENGL592401, CIMS592401||Undergraduates Need Permission|
|COML 607-401||Iliad and Its Receptions||Emily Wilson||COLL 311A||W 01:45 PM-04:45 PM||We will read selections from the Greek poem together, alongside some modern scholarship on it. We will also read Plato's Ion and the Battle of the Mice and Frogs, as evidence for Homer's ancient philosophical, rhetorical and poetic receptions. We will discuss the history of the poem's translation into English, focusing on earlier translations (Chapman, Hobbes, Pope) and discussing the instructor's goals and challenges in producing a new re-translation. We will also talk about two recent novelizations of the poem, Pat Barker's Silence of the Girls and Madeline Miller's Song of Achilles. The course is primarily intended for graduate students in Classical Studies and Ancient History, but it is also open to students in other programs, including those whose Greek might be less advanced. Prerequisite: most students should have a reading knowledge of Homeric Greek. If your Greek is rudimentary or non-existent, but you are keen to take the class and can bring other kinds of expertise to our discussions, please contact the instructor to discuss the possibility!||GREK607401||https://pennintouchdaemon.apps.upenn.edu/pennInTouchProdDaemon/jsp/fast.do?webService=syllabus&term=2021C&course=COML607401|
|COML 627-401||S.Asian Lit As Comp Lit||Gregory Goulding||WILL 843||T 03:30 PM-06:30 PM||This course takes up the question of reading South Asian Literature both as a collection of diverse literary cultures, as well as the basis for a methodology of reading that takes language, region, and history into account. It takes as a starting point recent work that foregrounds the importance of South Asian language, literatures, and their complex interactions, to an understanding of South Asian literary history, as well as critiques of the concept of world literature that question its underlying assumptions and frequent reliance on cosmopolitan languages such as English. In what ways can we describe the many complex interactions between literary cultures in South Asia, rooted in specific historical contexts, reading practices, and cultural expectations, while maintaining attention to language and literary form? How, in turn, can we begin to think of these literatures in interaction with larger conversations in the world? With these considerations in mind, we will examine works of criticism dealing with both modern and pre-modern literatures, primarily but not exclusively focused on South Asia. Topics will include the concept of the cosmopolis in literary and cultural history, the role of translation, the transformations of literature under colonialism, and twentieth century literary movements such as realism and Dalit literature. Readings may include works by Erich Auerbach, Frederic Jameson, Aijaz Ahmad, Gayatri Spivak, Aamir Mufti, Sheldon Pollack, David Shulman, Yigal Bronner, Shamshur Rahman Faruqi, Francesca Orsini, Subramanian Shankar, Sharankumar Kimbale, and Torlae Jatin Gajarawala. We will also examine selected works, in English and in translation, as case studies for discussion. This course is intended both for students who intend to specialize in the study of South Asia, as well as for those who focus on questions of comparative literature more broadly.
|COML 649-401||Socialist and Post-Socialist Worlds||Kevin M.F. Platt||VANP 629||W 10:15 AM-01:15 PM||In 1989-1991, a whole world, perhaps many worlds, vanished: the worlds of socialism. In this graduate seminar we will investigate key cultural works, theoretical constructs and contexts spanning the socialist world(s), focused around the USSR, which was for many the (not uncontested) center of the socialist cosmos. Further, we will study the cultural and political interrelationships between the socialist world(s) and anticolonial and left movements in the developing and the capitalist developed nations alike. Finally, we will investigate the aftermaths left behind as these world(s) crumbled or were transformed beyond recognition at the end of the twentieth century. Our work will be ramified by consideration of a number of critical and methodological tools for the study of these many histories and geographies. The purview of the course is dauntingly large - global in scale - and therefore "coverage" will of necessity be incomplete. In addition to the lead instructor, a number of guest instructors from Penn and from other institutions will join us to lead our investigations into specific geographies, moments and areas. Additionally, four weeks have been left without content, to be filled in via consensus decision by the members of the seminar.||REES649401, ENGL649401|
|COML 736-401||Renaissance Studies: Race, Religion/Sexuality||Melissa E Sanchez||R 12:00 PM-03:00 PM||This is an advanced topics course treating some important issues in contemporary Renaissance studies.||ENGL736401||For PhD Students Only|
|COML 786-401||Italian Literary Criticism and Theory in the 20th and 21st Centuries||Carla Locatelli||WILL 318||T 03:30 PM-05:30 PM||In the 20th Century the history of Italian critical engagements with “Literature,” understood as language, rhetoric, style, and also connected to politics and culture is quite varied and complex. Predictably, the involvement with society and/or the “aesthetic” dimension of Literature have been prominent features of the development of Italian criticism and literary theory, and writers have often engaged in literary criticism and theory, either reflecting on literary works or on history and society. The course will focus primarily on “writers about writing”, presenting a variety of approaches and views expressed by famous Italian novelists in the course of the 20th Century. Starting with Benedetto Croce and Antonio Gramsci the political, cultural, social uses of literature have been the focus of “militant critics” who positioned themselves in an openly declared emancipative effort to rely on “literature” as the expression of social change and the potential for transformative liberation. A great many of these “intellettuali” were writers, often engaged in public expression (in periodicals and newspapers), but also in debates hosted by literary journals whose orientations spanned from the sociological to the formalist and structuralist. Even in their most “structuralist” works, Italian writers performed their involvement with criticism with a persistent valorization of history. This is probably the most distinctive feature of the Italian theoretical production of the period. Prominent among the many writers who produced books and articles are: Pasolini, Moravia , Morante, Calvino, Eco, N. Ginzburg, Pavese, Sciascia, Ferrante and Lahiri. Their volumes and articles dealing with language, writing and literature will be discussed so as to provide a map of the most relevant concerns and issues they faced and raised. The availability of their texts in English translation will be pursued for the benefit of students who do not speak Italian but are interested in the course. Students are expected to read all the readings and participate actively to class discussion. Taking turns, they will be asked to prepare a presentation before the class, focusing in particular on one writer or work. Students in the class are expected to respond to their peer’s presentation and enrich the discussion with relevant comments. At the end of the course each student will submit a scholarly paper going more deeply into one or more of the works studied. This paper should engage with the critical perspective of the author chosen.||ITAL685401||https://pennintouchdaemon.apps.upenn.edu/pennInTouchProdDaemon/jsp/fast.do?webService=syllabus&term=2021C&course=COML786401|
|COML 794-401||Can the Subaltern Speak: Literatures, Histories and Theories||Ania Loomba||BENN 112||T 12:00 PM-03:00 PM||It has become a truism that different forms of personal writing—dairies, memoirs, autobiographies, personal essays—are potent expressions of political assertion, for demonstrating how the personal is political. But has the efflorescence of such work also resulted in the bracketing of the personal away from the collective, so as to re-inscribe a boundary between individuals and the collectivities to which they belong? Has it simply reversed the marginalization of the personal in older national liberation or Marxist movements?
This seminar will explore the relationship between the personal and collective “voice” and the dynamics of dissent through different types of life-writing and key theoretical work. In what way can we interpret, rewrite and extend the idea that the personal is political? Can life-writing allow us to understand the limits of liberal ideas of subject-hood? Is the personal narrative useful in charting the dynamics of collective rebellion, and conversely, does collective action circumscribe the contours of the personal?
Readings might include the following (final selections will be made over the summer ):
Theoretical, historical and political writings:
James Scott, Domination and Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts.
Gramsci: State and Civil Society, selections
B. R. Ambedkar, The Annihilation of Caste
CLR James, The Black Jacobins
Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth
Paulo Friere, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Ranajit Guha, Dominance without Hegemony
Shahid Amin, Event, Metaphor, Memory
Urvashi Butalia, The Other Side of Silence
Nicole Fleetwood, Marking Time: Art in the Age of Carceral Aesthetics
Asad Haider, Mistaken Identity: Race and Class in the Age of Trump
Alpa Shah, In The Shadows of the State, Indigenous Politics, Environmentalism and Insurgency in Jharkhand, India
Autobiographies, memoirs and life-writing:
The Diaries of Hannah Cullwick, Victorian maidservant
Stree Shakti Sanghatana, We Were Making History: Women and the Telangana Uprising
Urmila Pawar, The Weave of My Life: A Dalit Woman’s Memoirs
Aman Sethi, A Free Man
Jacob Dlamini Native Nostalgia
Revathi, The Truth About Me: A Hijra Life story
Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers
Carole Boyce Davies, Left of Karl Marx: the political life of Black Communist Claudia Jones
Raja Rao Kanthapura
Tsitsi Damgarembga Nervous Conditions
Tayib Salih Season of Migration to the North
Alejo Carpentier Kingdom of This World.
Film: American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs
|ENGL794401||For PhD Students Only|