Courses

Students are required to take ten graduate level courses (600-level) for grades in their first two years of study. Of the ten graded courses, five must be courses offered by the core faculty in the Department of Comparative Thought and Literature, including a mandatory pro-seminar on comparative methods and theory for all incoming students in the fall semester of their first year.

Column one has the course number and section. Other columns show the course title, days offered, instructor's name, room number, if the course is cross-referenced with another program, and a option to view additional course information in a pop-up window.

Figuration after Formlessness
AS.010.681 (01)

What would an art history of modernism look like that sought not to overcome or eliminate painterly figuration, but to attend to displaced and disparaged figures in it? At least since Benjamin Buchloh’s important 1981 warning about a “return to figuration” in European painting, figuration has been linked with questionable, if not highly suspect, aesthetic and political values – from nostalgia to repression. Buchloh inherits this this view from the historical avantgardes, which sought to counter conventions of figuration by developing disparate strategies of abstraction. And it is this view of figuration that guides both formalist and social art histories: For both share an anxiety about the authoritative figure of the human form. This seminar invites an alternative perspective on the artistic project of figuration. We look at modern and contemporary practices of figuration that cannot so easily be dismissed as retrogressive or authoritarian. These practices suggest ways of thinking the figure without an appeal to its coherent visibility or sovereign standing. We will read broadly in the contemporary critical theory, feminist and queer theory, Black thought, and critical disability studies that share this investment (e.g. Butler, Cavarero, Garland-Thomson, Halberstam, Hartman, Honig, Sharpe, Wynter). We will critically reconsider Rosalind Krauss and Yve-Alain Bois’ project Formless: A User’s Guide, along with the turn of the twenty-first century debates about abjection, feminism, and “body art” it engaged. Artists under discussion include Maria Lassnig, Ana Mendieta, Alina Szapocznikow, Kara Walker, and Hannah Wilke, amongst others. For the final research paper, graduate students are encouraged to bring their own archives to the questions addressed in the seminar.

  • Credits: 3.00
  • Level: Graduate
  • Days/Times: W 4:30PM - 7:00PM
  • Instructor: Schopp, Caroline Lillian
  • Room: Gilman 177
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 4/5
  • PosTag(s): n/a

Ovid's Metamorphoses
AS.040.615 (01)

A study of the Roman poet Ovid’s timeless tale of change, explored in relationship to the philosophical Daoism of Zhuangzi and to recent critical and philosophical concepts such as becoming, transformation, autopoeisis.

  • Credits: 3.00
  • Level: Graduate
  • Days/Times: W 1:30PM - 4:00PM
  • Instructor: Bennett, Jane, Butler, Shane Shane
  • Room: Gilman 108
  • Status: Waitlist Only
  • Seats Available: 0/10
  • PosTag(s): n/a

The Aesthetics of Empathy
AS.211.620 (01)

I feel, therefore I am: beginning with Diderot’s Letter on the Blind for the Use of Those Who Can See (1749) and Rousseau’s Letter to M. D'Alembert on Spectacles (1758), the seminar will explore connections between various aspects of neurophysiological, bodily perception and their representations in culture. We will then consider the origins of the term Einfühlung in Robert Vischer's and Theodor Lipps’ seminal works. Embodied perception that informs Heinrich Wölfflin's Prolegomena to a Psychology of Architecture (1886) is also the focus of several of Georg Simmel’s essays. We shall discuss the environment as an extension of the self in Charles Baudelaire’s “The Swan” and in Andrzej Leder’s “Psychoanalysis of a Cityscape. A Case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: The City of Warsaw.” Aby Warburg’s notion of Pathosformeln will allow us to see the link between pathos and empathy. Finally we will read Zuzanna Ginczanka’s poetry and Clarice Lispector’s The Hour of the Star, whose narrator announces: “I write with my body."

  • Credits: 3.00
  • Level: Graduate
  • Days/Times: W 3:30PM - 5:30PM
  • Instructor: Jerzak, Katarzyna
  • Room: Bloomberg 176
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 10/10
  • PosTag(s): MLL-ENGL

Social Imaginaries and the Public Sphere in European Literature, 1760-1815
AS.213.631 (01)

We will examine the contribution of (post-)Enlightenment literature to the evolution of a modern social imaginary. First we will acquaint ourselves with some theoretical approaches to the concept of the social imaginary (Cornelius Castoriadis, Charles Taylor, Albrecht Koschorke). We will then read selected texts from European literature (from Rousseau and Ferguson to Lessing, Schiller, Kleist, Novalis and Fichte, among others) that are characteristic of the formation of a modern social imaginary at the epochal threshold between the 18th and 19th centuries. We will attend to the interface of social self-conceptions and the public sphere.

  • Credits: 3.00
  • Level: Graduate
  • Days/Times: F 1:30PM - 3:30PM
  • Instructor: Tobias, Rochelle
  • Room: Gilman 381
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 9/15
  • PosTag(s): MLL-ENGL

Schopenhauer’s ‘The World as Will and Representation’
AS.300.611 (01)

A close reading of Schopenhauer’s magnum opus, one of the most influential works of philosophy in 19th- and 20th-century literature and art.

  • Credits: 3.00
  • Level: Graduate
  • Days/Times: F 1:30PM - 4:00PM
  • Instructor: Lisi, Leonardo
  • Room: Gilman 208
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 8/15
  • PosTag(s): n/a

Forms of Moral Community: The Contemporary World Novel
AS.300.636 (01)

Literary and philosophical imaginations of moral community in the post-WWII period. Texts include: Coetzee, Disgrace; McEwan, Atonement; Achebe,Things Fall Apart; Ishiguro, An Artist of the Floating World; Roy, The God of Small Things; Lessing, The Grass is Singing; Mistry, A Fine Balance; Morrison, Beloved; and essays by Levi, Strawson, Adorno, Murdoch, and Beauvoir on the deep uncertainty over moral community after the crisis of World War II. Close attention to novelistic style and narrative will inform our study of the philosophical questions that animate these works. What does it mean to acknowledge another person’s humanity? Who are the members of a moral community? Why do we hold one another responsible for our actions? How do fundamental moral emotions such as contempt, humiliation, compassion, gratitude, forgiveness, and regret reveal the limits of a moral community?

  • Credits: 3.00
  • Level: Graduate
  • Days/Times: Th 1:30PM - 4:00PM
  • Instructor: Ong, Yi-Ping
  • Room: Gilman 377
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 9/10
  • PosTag(s): n/a

Happy and Unhappy Words: Austin, Wittgenstein, and Cavell
AS.300.638 (01)

This seminar studies how words help shaping the world we inhabit and how the power and limits of language affect the possibility of living in a shared world in the works of Austin, Wittgenstein, Cavell and others.

  • Credits: 3.00
  • Level: Graduate
  • Days/Times: M 2:00PM - 4:30PM
  • Instructor: Marrati, Paola
  • Room: Gilman 208
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 9/10
  • PosTag(s): n/a

Independent Study Field Exam
AS.300.802 (02)

Graduate student having directed work with a specific faculty.

  • Credits: 3.00 - 9.00
  • Level: Graduate Independent Academic Work
  • Days/Times:
  • Instructor: Staff
  • Room:  
  • Status: Approval Required
  • Seats Available: 5/5
  • PosTag(s): n/a

Dissertation Research
AS.300.804 (01)

Discussion of dissertations in progress. Limited to students writing dissertations.

  • Credits: 10.00 - 20.00
  • Level: Graduate Independent Academic Work
  • Days/Times:
  • Instructor: Marrati, Paola
  • Room:  
  • Status: Approval Required
  • Seats Available: 15/15
  • PosTag(s): n/a

Course # (Section) Title Day/Times Instructor Room PosTag(s) Info
AS.010.681 (01)Figuration after FormlessnessW 4:30PM - 7:00PMSchopp, Caroline LillianGilman 177
AS.040.615 (01)Ovid's MetamorphosesW 1:30PM - 4:00PMBennett, Jane, Butler, Shane ShaneGilman 108
AS.211.620 (01)The Aesthetics of EmpathyW 3:30PM - 5:30PMJerzak, KatarzynaBloomberg 176MLL-ENGL
AS.213.631 (01)Social Imaginaries and the Public Sphere in European Literature, 1760-1815F 1:30PM - 3:30PMTobias, RochelleGilman 381MLL-ENGL
AS.300.611 (01)Schopenhauer’s ‘The World as Will and Representation’F 1:30PM - 4:00PMLisi, LeonardoGilman 208
AS.300.636 (01)Forms of Moral Community: The Contemporary World NovelTh 1:30PM - 4:00PMOng, Yi-PingGilman 377
AS.300.638 (01)Happy and Unhappy Words: Austin, Wittgenstein, and CavellM 2:00PM - 4:30PMMarrati, PaolaGilman 208
AS.300.802 (02)Independent Study Field ExamStaff 
AS.300.804 (01)Dissertation ResearchMarrati, Paola