Fall, 2014: Comparative Literature & Folklore Studies Courses
FL100: Introduction to Folklore (Ethnic Studies Credit)Ruth Olson,
6303 Social Science Bldg.
This course provides a basic introduction to the study of folklore—the arts and communications of everyday life. We will consider a number of the concepts and methods that folklorists employ in their studies, and we’ll examine a wide range of oral and material genres, including narrative and other forms of verbal folklore, belief, custom, foodways, music, artifacts and events. The study of folklore offers the perfect opportunity to hone a number of skills: information-gathering (not only in the library, but also out in the world), interviewing, observation, description and critical thinking. Folklorists often present their findings publicly through exhibits, audio- and video-documentaries, festivals and other public events. Students will have the opportunity to present their work not only through writing but also through visual, audio- and/or video-documentation in collaboration with fellow students.
CL202: Introduction to Modern and Contemporary Literature:"After Nationalism?" (meets with CL466) Professor Mary Layoun
MW 1:20 / 1310 Sterling Hall
Who are “we”? Who has the right to govern us? For what are we willing to kill and be killed? For the last two centuries, nationalism has provided a powerful response to these questions. And it has served as a surprisingly durable principle of social organization in the modern world. With the help of both literature and selected historical background, Comparative Literature 202 – “After Nationalism?” – will explore the history and the present situation of nationalism and the role that literature can play in a critical understanding of nationalism – and of its possible “after.”
CL203: Introductions to Cross-Cultural Literature: Law and Literature
Professor Ralph Grunewald
MW 12:05 / 1310 Sterling Hall
This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of Law and Literature. In the first part of our survey we will look at how law and legal questions are depicted in works of literature (“Law in Literature”). In the second part, we discuss how (and if at all) law and legal writings can benefit from a literary analysis (“Law as Literature”).The first part of the course focuses on the question of whether law can be understood more appropriately and comprehensively when we consider its social, philosophical, and cultural context. Fiction might reflect ideas of law and justice in a less technical and more humane manner. We will read and discuss (among others) Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader, William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Ariel Dorfman’s The Death and the Maiden, and Franz Kafka’s The Trial.In the second part of the class we will examine legal texts (e.g. decisions by the United States Supreme Court) and ask how lawyers create their texts and what rules are applied when it comes to their interpretation. We will also address the powerful role of story-telling in the legal discourse. What, for example, do narratives of wrongfully convicted people have in common with Jean-Paul Sartre’s Camus or Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s Traps? These texts and others exemplify the impact and importance of the human, social, literary, and linguistic construction of reality.The main objective of this course is to develop an understanding of the interrelation between law and literature. Every book or story we read will be put into a legal perspective. That means that at the end of the class students will have developed a more than just superficial understanding of law as a text-science and the power of words and ideas. Students are expected to come to lecture and discussion sections, participate in classroom discussions, and take control of their own learning. This class does not require any kind of legal background. Legal concepts will be laid out in lecture so that students with any major or background are able to master the material.
CL350 001: Problems in Comparative Literature & Cultures: Kafka and the Kafkaesque
(meets with Lit. Trans 277)
Professor Hans Adler
TR 2:30-3:45 / 6203 Soc. Science
CL350 002: Problems in Comparative Literature & Cultures: The Vampire & Film
(meets with Lit Trans 329)
Professor Toma Longinovic
CL350 003: Problems in Comparative Literature & Cultures: Celtic Myth & Legend
(meets with CL750)
Professor Chris Livanos
MW 9:30-10:45 / 1333 Sterling Hall
We will study the literature and culture of the early Celtic peoples of the British Isles. We will read texts from Ireland, Scotland, and Wales that were originally composed in the vernacular Celtic languages as well as the churchman Gerald of Wales’ Journey through Wales and Description of Wales, which was composed in Latin. Tentative Reading List: The Táin: Translated from the Irish Epic Táin Bó Cuailnge by Thomas Kinsella; The Mabinogion, translated Sioned Davies Tales of the Elders of Ireland, translated by Ann Dooley, Early Irish Myths and Legends, translated by Jeffrey Gantz Duanaire Na Sracaire: Songbook of the Pillagers: Anthology of Scotland's Gaelic Verse to 1600 by Wilson McLeod and Meg BatemanThe Journey Through Wales and the Description of Wales by Gerald of Wales The World of the Celts by Simon James
CL350 004: Problems in Comparative Literature & Cultures: Literatures of Enslavement in the Black Atlantic
Professor Brigitte Fielder
TR 9:30-10:45 / 2319 Sterling Hall
The transatlantic slave trade inspired a wide variety of literatures, in a wide variety of genres, including personal narratives, letters, advertisements, novels, essays, poetry, histories, children’s literature, and film. This course will explore how slavery is treated in these various literatures of enslavement. Different genres present different kinds of narratives about slavery and enslaved people and different authorial perspectives on slavery evidence the range of stakes in writing about this global economy of oppression. We will read about slavery in Barbary captivity and African American slave narratives, abolitionist poetry and fiction, historical accounts of slavery, stories of slave insurrection, plantation nostalgia and anti-nostalgia fiction, neo-slave narratives, and contemporary discussions of slavery’s legacy. Authors will include well-known writers such as Aphra Behn, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Solomon Northup, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Alexis de Toqueville, Herman Melville, Victor Hugo, and Toni Morrison and lesser-known writers that nevertheless made important contributions to the discussion of slavery in the Black Atlantic world. This course will give students a grounding in some of the most prominent genres of writing about slavery from the seventeenth through twentieth centuries. Ultimately, we will use this grounding to discuss how we talk about slavery today (for example, via Oscar-winning films such as Twelve Years A Slave), and which stories, formats, and genres resonate for us, and why.
Professor Tom DuBois
MW @ 2:25 / 6104 Soc. Science
Shamans are an integral part of communal religious traditions, professionals who make use of personal supernatural experiences, especially trance, as a resource for the wider community’s physical and spiritualwell-being. This course surveys research on the topic of shamanism around the world, detailing the archaeology and earliest development of shamanic traditions as well as their scientific “discovery” in the context of eighteenth and nineteenth century colonization in Siberia, the Americas, and Asia. It explores the beliefs and rituals typical of shamanic traditions, as well as the roles of shamans within their communities.It also surveys the variety of techniques used by shamans cross-culturally, including music, entheogens, material culture and verbal performance. Finally, the course examines attempts to suppress or eradicate shamanic traditions, the revitalization of shamanism in postcolonial situations, and the development of new forms of shamanism within new cultural and social contexts.
CL358: Problems in Transnational Genre & Mode: Comedy and Laughter
Professor Max Statkiewicz
TR 2:30-3:45 / 2319 Sterling Hall
The second book of Aristotle's Poetics, dealing with comedy, was apparently lost, and Umberto Eco in his novel The Name of the Rose told an exciting story about the event of its burning in Middle Ages. Eco suggested that it was laughter's challenge to the dominant power structure that had made comedy and its theory appear dangerous and led to the destruction of Aristotle's book. But do not laughter and comedy often exercise the contrary function of reinforcing the established patterns of behavior, as Bergson maintains in his famous essay On Laughter? The rule of the separation of genres would be necessary for this ideological function of comedy, and its break would return it to its dangerous condition. It is this ambiguous nature of comedy and of laughter that we shall foreground in our course. After surveying some Greek (Aristophanes' Lysistrata), Roman (Plautus' Braggart Soldier, Terence's Brothers), Shakespearian (The Merchant of Venice), neoclassical (Molière's Misanthrope), and modern bourgeois (Beaumarchais's Marriage of Figaro) comedy, we shall consider some plays such as Büchner's Leonce and Lena, Gogol's Revizor, Brecht's Threepenny Opera and
CL370: Modern Indian Literatures in Translation(meets with LCA311 & Lit. Trans. 211)
Professor Vinay Dharwadker
This course will introduce students to the modern literatures of India, written between 1850 and the present. We will study short stories, poems, plays, and prose from Bengali, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, and Urdu in English translation, and from Indian literature in English. Among our readings will be works by Ghalib, Nobel-laureate Rabindranath Tagore, Premchand, Salman Rushdie, and Pulitzer-prizewinner Jhumpa Lahiri. We will learn methods of literary analysis and comparison as a fundamental cultural skill, and we will interpret each literary artwork in its historical, social, political, and cultural contexts. We will also explore the lives and careers of these writers in detail, and compare them to writers from other parts of the world for a broader understanding of modern literatures.
FL446: Celtic Scandinavian Cultural Interrelations (meets with Scan & Med Studies)
Professor Tom DuBois
TR 11:00-12:15 /
Exploration of the vernacular literary traditions of Scandinavia and the Celtic British Isles and their interrelations in the medieval era.
FL460: Folk Epic
This course approaches the Folk Epics along theoretical lines, with a look at the oral nature, structure, performance traditions, and epic ideology, from various world areas.
CL466 001: "After Nationalism?: Transnationalism, Solidarity, Gender"
Professor Mary Layoun
MW 1:20 & W @ 2:25 3rd credit) / 1310 Sterling Hall
CL466 002: Introduction to Modern and Contemporary Literature: Italian Futurism (meets with Lit. Trans. 410)
Professor Ernesto Livorni
The course focuses on one of the most important avant-garde movements of the early twentieth century, which will be studied in all its main aspects (literature, figurative and abstract arts, cinema and music) and in relation to other forms of avant-garde. Readings include not solely the manifestos written for the several fields, but also the literary and artistic works by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, founder of the movement, and his fellow Futurists.
FL468: Feminism & Folklore
Professor Chris Garlough
CL500 001: Classical Backgrounds in English Literature (meets with Classics 554)
Professor Patricia Rosenmeyer
CL500 002: Creating Race & Species in the Transatlanic World
Professor Brigitte Fielder
The categories “race” and “species” have been closely intertwined in transatlantic discourse. Scientific and pseudo-scientific writing on human and nonhuman taxonomies and natural histories often conflated race and species categories in their arguments and overwhelmingly sought to justify global white supremacist endeavors of imperialism, enslavement, and oppression. Throughout the nineteenth century, questions of the human’s relation to and separation from nonhuman animals were intensely debated. The “dehumanization” of nonwhite people was fed by these discourses of race and species and were further complicated by the racialization of human-animal interactions. The heterogeneity of animal-human relations throughout the period and the importance of race to these relations is evident in phenomena such as Euro-American naturalizations of white supremacy in scientific taxonomies, myths about Native American and African people’s relationship to animals in shared geographical spaces, and the collection of animals and nonwhite people in museum and zoo exhibitions. Human-Animal studies therefore necessitates a discussion of race and how this category has been constructed alongside and in connection with categories of species. This course will ask students to examine commonalities between how race and species have been discussed in American and transatlantic literatures throughout the “long” nineteenth century. Assigned readings will introduce students to the similar rhetorics for discussing race and species in places like scientific essays attempting to define race and species categories, abolitionist and animal welfare activist arguments, stories in which ideas of race and species uncomfortably overlap or that simultaneously interrogate these categories, and literatures in which animals are racialized and humans are animalized. Texts will include writing by Charles Darwin, W. E. B. DuBois, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Linda Hogan, Herman Melville, and Zora Neale Hurston. We will also read about race and species’ convergence in historical and literary criticism. This course will give students a sampling of how race and species come together in various transatlantic genres, including European and American scientific writing, nineteenth-century novels, transatlantic activist discourse, children’s literature, and Native American and Afro-Caribbean folklore. Students will be asked to consider how race and species have been historically constructed through a shared and overlapping lineage, and to consider how this history then matters for how we discuss these categories in the present.
CL500 003: Narrative Theory: Fiction, Film and Folklore (meets with LCA 666)
Professor Vinay Dhaarwadker
This seminar, designed primarily for graduate students across the humanities, will explore developments in narrative theory over the past century in relation to fiction, film, and folklore. The more general theoretical readings will focus on narrative genres in print, oral culture, and cinema, including epic, romance, novel, short story, and folktale. Other readings will examine such fundamental concepts as author, text, reader, narrator, implied audience, plot, point of view, motif, and chronotope. Our discussion will cover theories of realism; such “schools” as Russian formalism, French semiotics, and American rhetorical criticism; and such theorists as Georg Lukacs, Vladimir Propp, Northrop Frye, Wayne Booth, M. M. Bakhtin, and Michael McKeon.
FL518: The Scottish Traditions
Professor Chris Livanos
This class will study an overview of the multilingual and multicultural literary and folkloric traditions of Scotland. We will read texts that were originally composed in Gaelic, Scots, and English, and we will discuss how modern Scotland continues to change. Parts of the class will examine voices from the Scottish diaspora as well as voices from communities that have arrived in Scotland in modern times.Tentative reading list:The Penguin Book of Scottish Verse edited by Robert Crawford and Mick ImlahBlue Mountains and Other Gaelic Stories from Cape Breton: Na Beanntaichean GormaAgus Sgeulachdan Eile à Ceap Breatainn, translated by John ShawRob Roy by Walter ScottPoems to Eimhir by Sorley MacLeanSelected Poetry by Hugh MacDiarmidThe Thirty-Nine Steps by John BuchanThe Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel SparkLanark by Alasdair GrayPsychoraag by Suhayl Saadi
FL530: Topics in Folklore: Scandinavian American Folksong (meets with Scan 520)
Professor Jim Leary
Newcomers to North America from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden arrived with a broad range of musical and song traditions which they, their descendants, and their neighbors sustained, modified, mixed, abandoned, and revived. This course draws on a wealth of historic and contemporary recordings, images, and film–as well as on the instructor’s research, plus guest lecturers and performers–to illuminate the variety and complexity of the Scandinavian American Folksong experience, especially in the Upper Midwest. We will learn about the hard-drinking Hardanger fiddler Lars Fykerud; the Finnish “accordion princess” Viola Turpeinen; the barnstorming Swedish vaudevillian Olle I Skratthult (Ole from Laughtersville); Yogi Yorgesson, the “Swedish Swami”of radio and records; the Scandihoovian cowboys singers, Slim Jim and the Vagabond Kid; the Finnish immigrant folksong fantasies of J. Karjalainen, a.k.a. The Finnish Bruce Springsteen; LeRoy Larson, leader of the Minnesota Scandinavian Ensemble and a veteran of Prairie Home Companion; and more.
Students will have opportunities for field and archival research, including with the rich Scandinavian American holdings of UW’s Mills Music Library.
FL530: Topics in Folklore: Landscape Narratives (meets with LA375)
Professor Janet Gilmore
Jr., Sr., Grad standing or consent of instructor; prior writing, Landscape, or Folklore coursework preferred
Examines concepts & forms of narrative & writing relevant to landscape study, design & heritage conservation applications. Practice in related writing formats, including ethnographic & mixed media.
CL750 003: Problems in Comparative Literature & Cultures: Celtic Myth & Legend (meets with CL350)
Professor Chris Livanos
MW 2:30-3:45 / 1335 Sterling Hall
We will study the literature and culture of the early Celtic peoples of the British Isles. We will read texts from Ireland, Scotland, and Wales that were originally composed in the vernacular Celtic languages as well as the churchman Gerald of Wales’ Journey through Wales and Description of Wales, which was composed in Latin.
CL822: Translation Seminar
Professor Max Statkiewicz
"Every cultural act lives essentially on the boundaries of cultures," claims Mikhail Bakhtin. In other words, it faces the problem of "carrying over," "carrying across" (μeta-f???, trans-fero, -latum). Any attempt to ignore this fact, any attempt to situate oneself comfortably in an illusory inner territory of one culture, one language, leads to "emptiness, arrogance, degeneration, and death." There is thus an imperative of trans-lation. On the other hand, the phenomenon of untranslatability, far from being an exception, belongs essentially to literary language; the task of translation is always a failure (Walter Benjamin, Paul deMan). The problem of translation appears in the form of a double bind: to translate is at the same time imperative and impossible; it is imperative to translate the untranslatable. Can there be a "poetics of translation" (Willis Barnstone) or only a "politics of untranslatability" (Emily Apter)? A recent (2014) English translation (Dictionary of Untranslatables) of Barbara Cassin's book subtitled Dictionnaire des intraduisibles performs this conundrum. Apter's book Against World Literature: On the Politics of Untranslatability inscribes it within the ongoing controversy between "world literature" mode and "comparative literature" mode of crossing the boundaries of culture. These two books will constitute our constant frame of reference. Some traditional essays on theory of translation and translation studies that are commonly anthologized, as well as some of those that are not, will be made available through the Learn@UW site. A personal work of translation, combining a practical skill and a reflection on crossing the boundaries of culture and of language, will hopefully result from this seminar.