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Course Descriptions - Autumn 2010

For the most up-to-date information, please consult the UW Time Schedule. Keep in mind that future course listings are tentative and subject to change.

Autumn 2010


MTWTh 10:30am - 11:20am
MEB 238 - SLN: 11474
Instructor: Guntis I. Smidchens
Course Website
GE Requirements Met: I&S, VLPA

Comprehensive overview of the field of folkloristics, focusing on verbal genres, customs, belief, and material culture. Particular attention to the issues of community, identity, and ethnicity. Folklore (traditional stories, beliefs, songs, and customs) is a rich source for understanding people and their worldviews. This course will survey several genres of folklore and study the people who maintain those folklore traditions. A variety of theories and methods applied in folklore studies during the past two centuries will be introduced in readings and lectures.


MTWThF 8:30am - 9:20am
THO 325 - SLN: 11475
Instructor: Ileana Marin
GE Requirements Met: C, W

Comparative approach to literature and a workshop in writing comparative papers in English. Emphasis on cross-cultural comparison of literary works. Readings in English with an option to read selected texts in the original languages Offered: AWSp.


MTWThF 9:30am - 10:20am
MGH 295 - SLN: 11476
Instructor: Russell Black
GE Requirements Met: C, W

Comparative approach to literature and a workshop in writing comparative papers in English. Emphasis on cross-cultural comparison of literary works. Readings in English with an option to read selected texts in the original languages Offered: AWSp.


MTWThF 10:30am - 11:20am
MGH 295 - SLN: 11477
Instructor: Nobuko Yamasaki
GE Requirements Met: C, W

Comparative approach to literature and a workshop in writing comparative papers in English. Emphasis on cross-cultural comparison of literary works. Readings in English with an option to read selected texts in the original languages Offered: AWSp.


M
MGH - SLN: 11478
Instructor: Jennifer Myers
GE Requirements Met: C, W

Comparative approach to literature and a workshop in writing comparative papers in English. Emphasis on cross-cultural comparison of literary works. Readings in English with an option to read selected texts in the original languages Offered: AWSp.


MTWThF 12:30pm - 1:20pm
LOW 217 - SLN: 11479
Instructor: Lin Chen
GE Requirements Met: C, W

Comparative approach to literature and a workshop in writing comparative papers in English. Emphasis on cross-cultural comparison of literary works. Readings in English with an option to read selected texts in the original languages Offered: AWSp.


MTWThF 8:30am - 9:20am
MGH 295 - SLN: 20226
Instructor: Greta D'Amico
GE Requirements Met: C, W

Comparative approach to literature and a workshop in writing comparative papers in English. Emphasis on cross-cultural comparison of literary works. Readings in English with an option to read selected texts in the original languages Offered: AWSp.


MTWThF 2:30pm - 3:20pm
RAI 116 - SLN: 20227
Instructor: Artur Rosman
GE Requirements Met: C, W

Comparative approach to literature and a workshop in writing comparative papers in English. Emphasis on cross-cultural comparison of literary works. Readings in English with an option to read selected texts in the original languages Offered: AWSp.


MW 9:30am - 11:20am
AND 223 - SLN: 11480
Instructor: Henry Staten
Department Requirements Met: Pre-req to Declare Literature Major
GE Requirements Met: I&S, VLPA

We will read a series of literary works from France, Spain, England, and Germany, and in tandem with these literary works we will read a series of selections in critical theory. I will emphasize very careful attention to the literal wording of the texts we read; I will expect you to bring your texts to class every day, so that together we can analyze exactly what they say. All comments in class must be based in specific reference to the words of the text; all vague comments will be ruled out of order.

Our study of the texts will not, however, be restricted to “close reading.”

1. We will also study literary works in terms of the literary conventions that shaped them, and the way in which these conventions evolved over time, specifically the conventions of the “romance” /mode/ as they developed through various specific /genres,/from the “Chivalric romance” genre of the Middle Ages through the “Gothic romance” genre of the eighteenth century and the “art romance” genre of the Romantic period. Simultaneously, we will look at the way in which the conventions of “realism” slowly grew, partly within romance and partly as a critique of or reaction to the “unreality” of romance. The course concludes with /Wuthering// Heights// /as an example of a work that is equally shaped by the conventions of romance and those of realism.

2. And we will trace the social, political, and economic context within which romance and realism evolved. Chivalric romance developed within the aristocratic, knightly, “feudal” system; the critiques of and reactions to romance by “realist” authors arose in the context of the breakdown of the feudal system and the rise of the new capitalist system of wealth and manufacture. Realism culminated in the form of the/realist novel/, a form that was as closely aligned with the conditions of life of the new urban bourgeoisie of the 18th and 19th centuries as the chivalric romance was aligned with those of the medieval aristocracy.

And yet, the romance mode persists not only into the 19th but into the 20th and 21st centuries, “morphing” into new genres as it goes (/Star Wars, /for example, is “romance.”) This shows that literary forms have some sort of formal dynamic that can survive the demise of the historical conditions under which they arise; they do not, however, persist in their original form, but undergo changes under the pressure of historical change.

Our readings of literary texts will be organized around Northrop Frye’s theory of modes in /Anatomy of Criticism/, Auerbach’s reading of Chretien in /Mimesis,/ Watt’s account of the origins of realism, and Jameson’s theory of genre as mediation between the individual text and history in /The Political Unconscious, /Ch. 1, “Magical Narratives.”

Your grade will be determined on the basis of three essays, in which you will be expected to demonstrate careful reading of both the literary and critical texts, and thorough knowledge of my lectures.


MW
KNE - SLN: 11487
Instructor: Sudhir Mahadevan
Course Website
Department Requirements Met: Pre-req to Declare Cinema Major
GE Requirements Met: VLPA, W

This course provides an overview of the work of Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg, from his earliest films in the 1970s ( Stereo , Crimes of the Future ) to his most recent work ( History of Violence , Eastern Promises ). Cronenberg's films engage with diverse film genres: venereal horror, zombie flicks, sci-fi, adaptations of literary classics and theatrical works, all in the context of his changing relationship to the Canadian and US film industries, and the international film festival market. One critic has described Cronenberg as resembling "a recently graduated dental student with straight As for etiquette, articulation and an uncanny ability to locate painful nerves." This course will trace this filmmaker's truly unnerving body of films. The films offer up a grim and focused investment in the shocking viscera of bodily mutation, damage and degradation (The Brood, The Fly, Shivers, Rabid), in the way bodies interact with media and other technologies (Videodrome, eXistenZ, Crash), in transvestism, gynecology, and body doubles (M. Butterfly, Dead Ringers), to selectively describe some of his themes. But underlining the films are issues that we will explore as interpretive tools for Cronenberg's work: sexual and cultural difference and identity, the limits of community and urban life, the place of old and new media in our lives, and philosophical questions about the relation between mind and body. Readings will include critical essays that introduce the filmmaker's work, drawing on film theory and history, media and cultural theory, philosophy, feminist theory; interviews with the director; and a book length study of his work to date. Course work includes weekly lectures, reading, and screenings, as well a paper and examinations.


MTWTh 11:30am - 1:20pm
MGH 238 - SLN: 11498
Instructor: Tamara Cooper
Department Requirements Met: Cinema Studies Core
GE Requirements Met: VLPA, W

Introduction to the analysis of film. Covers major aspects of cinematic form: mise en scene, framing and camera movement, editing, and sound and color. Considers how these elements are organized in traditional cinematic narrative and in alternative approaches.


M
JHN - SLN: 11500
Instructor: Claudio Mazzola
Department Requirements Met: Cinema Studies Core
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

Examines the cinema of a particular national, ethnic or cultural group, with films typically shown in the original language with subtitles. Topics reflect themes and trends in the national cinema being studied.


TTh 9:30am - 11:20am
RAI 121 - SLN: 11502
Instructor: Jane Brown
Department Requirements Met: Literature Core
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

This course investigates how pacts with the devil appear in our culture and the special connections of this tradition with music. We will look in detail at Marlowe's tragedy Dr. Faustus at Goethe's Faust, Parts I and II (1808 and 1832), at some Faust operas and films of the 19th and 20th centuries, and Bulgakov's comic novel The Master and Margarita. We will explore how the legend of the pact with the devil came to represent the West's view of itself and of the dangers inherent in our advancing scientific knowledge. Several short exercises, two papers and a take-home final.


MW 9:30am - 11:20am
THO 119 - SLN: 11503
Instructor: Jennifer E. Dubrow
Department Requirements Met: Literature Core
GE Requirements Met: VLPA, W

In this course, we study classic works of story literature from the Middle East and India, with focus on A Thousand and One Nights (aka Arabian Nights); The Mahabharata; and the Indo-Persian romance, Dastan-e Amir Hamza. These masterpieces have continued to entertain and inspire for centuries. In this course we explore how the texts work, both as narrative innovations and explorations of eternal human themes. We will consider, for example, the roles of frame stories in Arabian Nights, multiple narrators in The Mahabharata, and supernatural adventure in Dastan-e Amir Hamza. Finally, we close the course by reading Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie, perhaps a modern parable on storytelling’s power. Course goals include: to appreciate and analyze the texts as classics of story literature; uncover what they have to say about human society; and discover their continuing influence on art and culture. Some film versions will be shown, and class sessions will focus on group discussion and analysis.

The main texts for this course are:
The Arabian Nights, translated by Husain Haddawy
The Mahabharata, translated by John D. Smith
The Adventures of Amir Hamza, translated by Musharraf Ali Farooqi
Salman Rushdie, Haroun and the Sea of Stories

Assignments will include short essays and a final paper; a group presentation; and participation in class discussion.


TTh 1:30pm - 3:20pm
LOW 106 - SLN: 11504
Instructor: Jane Brown
Department Requirements Met: Literature Core
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

The seventeenth century was a golden age of drama across Europe, where the stage rapidly came to include lavish visual spectacle and music as well as passionate action and magnificent poetry. Plays of the period were among the most important of public media, a popular and influential forum of political representation by both church and state. This course will explore examples from England, Spain, France, Italy, Holland, and Germany. We will take account not only of the drama’s poetic form, but also of the aesthetic and social contexts from which they emerged, and of performance practice, as we consider works by Shakespeare, Calderon, Corneille, Racine, Vondel, Gryphius , and at least one opera from the period. Assignments will include several short exercises and two papers.


MWF 11:30am - 12:20pm
SAV 260 - SLN: 11505
Instructor: Richard T Gray
Department Requirements Met: Literature Elective
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

This course examines a set of central themes that emerge from Sigmund Freud’s theories of the dream, the nature of literary creativity, the operation of the human psyche, and the substance of human culture. We will take as our starting point the hypothesis that Freud conceives the psyche as a kind of writing machine, an “author” that produces fictional narratives that share many properties with the prose fiction generated by creative writers. For this reason, our focus throughout the quarter will be restricted to prose narratives. The course will concentrate on literature produced in the wake of Freud’s theories, that is, on texts that consciously or unconsciously develop Freudian ideas. The class is structured around a set of themes that will be developed on the basis of paired readings: in each case we will examine a text or excerpt from Freud’s psychological works in conjunction with the reading of a literary text that exemplifies the issue or issues highlighted in Freud’s theory. Literary works treated include writings by Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann, Arthur Schnitzler, Robert Musil, Ingeborg Bachmann, and others. Course requirements: regular attendance at lecture and discussion sessions; weekly short writing assignments; 2 short interpretive papers.

Book list:
Sigtmund Freud, The Freud Reader
Arthur Schnitzler, Lieutenant Gustl
Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis and selected short stories
Thomas Mann, Death in Venice
Robert Musil, Young Torless
Ingeborg Bachmann, The Book of Franza

Students who would like more information about the course structure are encouraged to consult the course Web site: http://courses.washington.edu/freudlit


M 1:30pm - 4:20pm
DEN 316 - SLN: 20187
Instructor: Firoozeh Papan-Matin
Department Requirements Met: Literature Elective
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

Offered by visitors or resident faculty. Content varies.


MWF
KNE - SLN: 11513
Instructor: Richard Block
Department Requirements Met: Cinema Studies Elective
GE Requirements Met: I&S, VLPA

MWF: 12:30-1:20. Film screenings, Mondays at 2:30 until end of film. (Many films can be viewed by students on their own).

The horror of the Holocaust challenges the very limits of the imagination; the desperation of what the victims experienced is outside the realm of human speech. Moreover, any attempt to record what one experienced or witnessed threatens the constitution of the self. To represent this trauma one must present it otherwise. Were there even a language to represent what occurred, it would subject the witness to the horror of that trauma once again. The Nazis anticipated this dilemma, repeatedly taunting victims by dismissing the possibility that history would bear witness to what occurred in the camps. Their crimes, the Nazis proclaimed, were too horrible to be believed; the victims and their stories would be deposited, as Hannah Arendt noted, in “ever widening holes of oblivion.” Thus arises the absolute necessity, the moral imperative to represent what by definition cannot be represented.

In this course we will examine the strategies various filmmakers have developed to respond to this imperative. We will begin by asking ourselves how one bears witness to the unspeakable, how one captures a history that is too horrible to return to? But we will also turn a critical eye to how Hollywood in particular has exploited the dimensions of this trauma to pump up the volume, so to speak, on formulaic plots and how the conventions of popular film may respond to this imperative in ways that demean and cheapen the suffering of the victims. Likewise, we will question to what extent even documentary films can be understood to be objective, especially since the memories of the survivors and those of the perpetrators are unreliable.

Films to be screened include: Shoah, Night and Fog, Schindler's List, The Pianist, Life is Beautiful, The Reader, The Garden of the Finzi Contini. There will be critical essays to be read in conjunction with each film.

Requirements: three two- to three- page papers analyzing the strategies for representation of selected films; a final creative project of 5-7 pages in which you outline and defend a strategy for representing the Holocaust based on our viewings and analyses of films.


M
SIG - SLN: 19951
Instructor: José Alaniz
Department Requirements Met: Cinema Studies Elective
GE Requirements Met: I&S, VLPA

Varying topics relating to film in social contexts. Offered by resident or visiting faculty.


TTh 1:30pm - 3:20pm
LOW 118 - SLN: 11518
Instructor: Monika Kaup
Course Website

Put most broadly, the goals of this course are to deepen our understanding of transhistorical continuities in English studies (and related studies in Comparative Literature and Culture) and of the multiple genealogies of modernity. We do this by examining the Baroque, a fascinating phenomenon because of the prolific afterlife it has had in generating “new” Baroques, both in the 17th and 18th centuries and again in the 20th and 21st centuries. This seminar traces the changing nature of Baroque representation in Europe and the Americas across four centuries, from its 17th-century origin in the European State Baroque of Absolutism and the Counterreformation, to its subsequent and contemporary function as (among other things) a postcolonial and counter-institutional expression. Milestones of the Baroque’s wayward trajectory are the Neobaroque (the 20th - and 21st-century recovery of the Baroque in modern and postmodern literature, visual arts, film, and cultural theory), and the New World Baroque (a transculturated mestizo Baroque produced in the Iberian New World colonies in the 18th century by African, indigenous, and mestizo artisans who built and decorated Catholic art). After four centuries of non-linear development, the Baroque today is a poster child of inter-artistic, inter-disciplinary, transhistorical and transcultural expression. Baroque forms are exuberant, dynamic, and porous, allowing for the expression of the different and the strange, which is why few representational styles bend so well—and in so many ways—as the Baroque. We will focus on how the “same” Baroque aesthetic strategies—for example, hyperbole and excess, the “open” work of art (the idea of fragmentation, the broken whole, the impulse to spill beyond set limits), or the systematic impulse to bend the rules (e.g., to turn structure into ornament)—are found in both Baroque and Neobaroque works. Concretely, this means, for example:

  •  reading Baroque lyric (including John Donne and the English Metaphysicals) before turning to the renaissance of the Metaphysical conceit in T.S. Eliot’s “Prufrock” and Eliot’s theory of the dissociation of sensibility in The Clark and Turnbull Lectures.
  • reading Djuna Barnes’ Ladies Almanack and tracking its Neobaroque and queer adaptation/parody of early modern hagiography and saints’ cults and the discourse of Renaissance melancholy, via Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy.
  • reading W. G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn while attending to his parallel recovery of Renaissance melancholy and Baroque prose (Burton and Sir Thomas Browne)
  • studying Calderón’s Spanish Golden Age play Life Is a Dream alongside Chilean filmmaker Raúl Ruiz’ irreverent adaptation of Calderón’s play about Absolutist sovereignty and tyrannical rule as a critique of state terror under Pinochet in his Neobaroque film Memory of Appearances; or Life Is A Dream.

We will be looking for the Baroque in lowbrow as well as highbrow expression, literature, film, philosophy, and visual art—for example, in Chicano lowriders and the Hip Hop Baroque in Luis Gispert and Kehinde Wiley.

Secondary readings (by Walter Benjamin, Wellek, Irlemar Chiampi, Severo Sarduy, José Lezama Lima, Haroldo de Campos, Alejo Carpentier, Edouard Glissant, Heinrich Wölfflin, Foucault, Deleuze, César Salgado, Angel Rama, and others) will be theorizing the transhistorical and transcultural continuities of the Baroque, New World Baroque, and Neobaroque. We will examine the claim that the Baroque constitutes an alternative modernity, a modernity without an irreversible break with the past. Looking both forwards and backwards, the Neobaroque in particular is defined by constitutive anachronisms, suturing futures to pasts rather than expanding the distance between them. The Baroque and Neobaroque’s alternative modernity beyond the logic of rupture is appropriately expressed in the prefix –neo, contrasting with the dissociative –post. Throughout its history, an antagonism between classicism/rationalism and Baroque has underpinned the use of this term: first, when “Baroque” was coined as a pejorative term (Baroque = bizarre) by 18th-century Neoclassicism and Enlightenment (which successfully expunged the Baroque from artistic canons, sending it into purgatory for two centuries); second, when the Baroque was revived at the beginning of the 20th century, as a direct response to the crisis of Enlightenment modernity.

Ideally, this course would attract both specialists in 20th and 21st studies and early modern studies. There will also be a section on Neobaroque cinema, and opportunities for research projects on Neobaroque cinema and the Baroque in contemporary media cultures. I encourage students to contact me before the end of the quarter about their individual research interests. Assignments: 10-15 page research paper; mock review of journal article; presentation on course readings.

Required works: Djuna Barnes, Ladies’ Almanack (Dalkey Archive, 1992) T.S. Eliot, The Varieties of Metaphysical Poetry: The Clark and Turnbull Lectures (Harcourt Brace, 1993) Alejo Carpentier, Baroque Concerto, trans. Asa Zatz (Andre Deutsch; out of print, please await further notice on copies) Raúl Ruiz (dir.), Mémoire des apparences (Memory of Appearance; or, Life Is a Dream) W. G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn (New Directions, 1999) Pedro Calderón de la Barca, La vida es sueño / Life Is a Dream (Dover Publications, 2002) Lois Zamora and Monika Kaup, eds. Baroque New Worlds: Representation, Transculturation, Counterconquest (Duke, 2010)

A (small) course reader with readings by Deleuze, Foucault, Angel Rama, Jorge Luis Borges, César Salgado, Baroque poetry. Visual art by Rubén Ortiz Torres, Luis Gispert, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Kehinde Wiley and others will be made available via links to the course website.


Th 1:30pm - 5:20pm
PAR 306 - SLN: 11522
Instructor: Alys E. Weinbaum

This course will explore the intellectual, political, and creative outpouring of women of color starting in the late 1970s. It will situate this contribution in historical perspective seeking to understand how it changed the terms of debates among activists, writers, and scholars across the disciplines, reshaping received understandings of racism, sexism, homophobia and class formation and their intersections. The course will explore women of color feminism, especially black women’s contributions, in order to limn an emergent critique of racial capitalism (the manner in which capitalist expansion has pursued racial directions) that is also attentive to gender and sexuality. Rather than assuming the field of inquiry as unified, or as comprising a predictable canon, the course will seek to understand the complex and sometimes contentious tendencies within women of color feminism, as well as the variety of formal and stylistic experiments by and about women of color that might be usefully included within the parameters of “woman of color feminism.” To this end, readings will include fiction and poetry as well as more recognizable theoretical prose. Some background in feminist theory and/or the history of feminism is useful, but not required.


MW 3:30pm - 5:20pm
THO 217 - SLN: 19937
Instructor: Herbert Blau

“Our body is not in space like things; it inhabits or haunts space.”
Maurice Merleau-Ponty

If space is haunted by the body, the body is also haunted by space, sometimes bringing with it the feeling that there’s more than the body there. Some call it spirit, others may call it illusion, or whatever it is that is other than what we usually think of as life. Whatever this otherness is, real or illusory, it is very much there in the theater, which seems to have been troubled from the beginning with some ghostliness of appearance, along with the recurring question of whether all the world’s a stage or life is really a dream. Since the advent of deconstruction, this has often been approached as a delusion of representation, but there were times in Symbolist theater when it was hardly a question at all, or if life remained stubborn and resisted being a dream, the plaintive feeling was so much the worse for life.

In any event, we shall be moving across a landscape of drama that is at first an interior space, strange, sacerdotal, meditative, and unmooring, quite specifically there but indefinite in the mind’s eye, as if in the corporeality of theater there were no body at all. You may feel at times, indeed, that you’re out of this world, or perhaps in a world only too familiar, what Freud called the uncanny, that estrangement of the unconscious that finally brings you home. This was the condition of being, or “soul-complex,” that Strindberg was dramatizing even when he was deeply invested in a theater of naturalism, no less in The Ghost Sonata or A Dream Play, which we’ll probably be reading in the seminar, along with other Symbolist drama, haunted by introspection or with sensations of the abyss, by Maeterlinck or Hoffmansthal, or with an Orphic love of the infinite, in Yeats’ The Shadowy Waters.

Some of what we’ll be reading may seem, with an esoteric fundamentalism, a kind of born-again drama, as with certain plays of Expressionism or those of the avant-garde, from Jarry’s Ubu Roi to Dada and Surrealism, no less the work of Artaud, whose Spurt of Blood is an ecstatic preface to The Theater and Its Double, itself a demonic text not only influential on the most experimental theater practice, but on critical theory as well. “Theater is theory, or a shadow of it,” I wrote some years ago. And we’ll surely see that not only in Brecht, Beckett, and Genet, and the theater of the Absurd, but in the “continuous present” of the wordplays of Gertrude Stein, as well as in the emergence of Happenings from Action painting, and subsequent manifestations of (non-theater or anti-theater) performance, including body art. In a wide range of such events, from those affiliated with a self-punishing conceptualism (Chris Burden, Stelarc, Orlan) to aspects of feminist and gender-bending performance (Carolee Schneeman, Karen Finley), or the transgressive scandals of Viennese Actionism, one may have a sense that at the extremity of performance, and no little risk to the body, what’s being performed is theory—which, in its reflective shadow, brings us back to theater.


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