Topics in Comparative Literature:

Consideration of literature in a comparative context. Comparisons may take place across languages, cultures, periods, genres, or disciplines.

1 unit — Cramer, Daly, Dobson, Hunt, Kimmey, Lisiecki, Riker

Previously Featured Offering

Psychoanalysis, from Freud’s theory of contemporary self-psychology and relational theory, offers human beings a profound way of understanding the human psyche. This course will be held at the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute, one of the foremost institutes in the world for the creation of new directions in psychoanalysis.
Novelist, poet, translator and entomologist, Vladimir Nabokov is known for his exceptional bilingual literary production in Russian and English. Nabokov's innovation and evocative uses of language for, is best stated by John Updike who imparts, "Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is ecstatically."
Vladimir Nabokov
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The City vs. the Country investigates the conflict between nature and urban spaces through the study of literature. The class is taught at the Newberry Library in Chicago where students will able to further explore the topic via experiential learning.
Photo of the Chicago skyline
"The City vs. the Country: Literature of Nature and Urban Spaces" Taught at the Newberry Library, Chicago. At least since Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1779) reinvented "nature" and denounced urbanism in the 18th century, there has been no shortage of literary texts that advocated "getting back to nature" - cities are crowded, dangerous, dirty, and kill the soul. Yet despite Rousseau and his aftermath, literature that celebrates urbanism has also flourished - cities are engaging, exciting, and inspire humans toward their greatest endeavors in art and science. We will engage this conflict through the examination of works from authors such as Rousseau, Wordsworth, Arthur Schnitzler, Rimbaud, Charles Beaudelaire, Virginia Woolf, Henry David Thoreau, and others. We will also analyze literature specifically focused on Chicago, including Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City (2003). Our classroom will be in the New Newberry Library and students will draw on the vast resources of the library to write their own research papers focusing on our topic of city vs. nature in literature since Rousseau. At the same time the city of Chicago will act as our alternate classroom with multiple field trips and assignments that require us to explore, engage, and analyze America's "second city," one of the most dynamic and compelling urban spaces in the world.
Introduction to Mexican American Literature and Culture studies the genres, mediums, and themes of Mexican American writers and artists beginning with the US-Mexican War. Students will focus on political spaces and their relation to folklore, myth, and popular culture. Topics that arise in class include race, sexuality, and gender; the politics of artistic representation; and cultural preservation.
 Introduction to Mexican American Literature and Culture
Beginning with the US-Mexican War (1846-1848) and moving into the 21st century, this class takes a historical approach to studying the genres, mediums, and themes that Mexican American writers and artists have advanced and complicated over more than a century. In particular, we will focus on the way that political spaces (land, institutions, identity) are contested and affirmed through folklore, myth, and popular culture in addition to more “official” venues such as law and history. We will also read scholarly articles and studies that provide well-researched perspectives on the most pressing concerns that emerge from the texts we study including race, sexuality, and gender; the politics of artistic representation; and cultural preservation.
Black Poetry analyzes poetry from Africa and from all reaches of the diaspora (the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia). Selections include a variety of different types of poetry ranging from ancient epics and sonnets to hip-hop and slam poetry.
Black Poetry
This course analyzes poetry from Africa and all reaches of the diaspora (the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia), at the intersection of politics and aesthetics, history and the present, in the figure of the black poet. Selections include include ancient epics, slam poetry/spoken word, hip-hop, griot/griotte performance, sonnets, prose poetry, and selections from the Harlem Renaissance, Black Power, and Black Consciousness eras.
Queen Bees, WannaBees, and Mean Girls explores the means and motives behind why women seek authority and the actions they are willing to take in order to hold onto it. Students will examine this concept through the use of literary works and movies, such as the 2004 film Mean Girls.
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Students in CO200 Discovering the Unconscious examine major psychoanalytic perspectives of the late 19th and 20th centuries through readings by such respected authors as Freud and Jung, and through contemporary films like Sybil and Lars and the Real Girl, just to name a few.
Discovering the Unconscious
In CO200 Discovering the Unconscious, students take a look at some of the major psychoanalytic perspectives of the late 19th and 20th centuries on the concept of the unconscious in theory, case studies, and fiction. An emphasis is placed on unconscious processes as they relate to the formation of identity. Students will read the works of such renowned authors as Freud, Jung, Klein, Winnicott, Kohut and Yalom. Several films, such As Ordinary People and Lars and the Real Girl will be watched.
A comprehensive study of the oral epics, The Iliad and The Odyssey.
The Iliad and The Odyssey
As oral traditional poems, The Iliad and The Odyssey are preservers of Bronze Age and archaic lore, and the locus of the creation of classical Greek culture and predecessors of European epic. Reading the Old Masters is one pleasure of the class, but Professor Cramer’s class will take the oral epic much further--looking into the poetics, sociology, psychology, the formula, themes, type-scenes of the genre, and come to understand the various receptions of Homer throughout history. Originally written in ancient Greek, students will be reading in English with attention to the formal Greek diction and the problems of translation. However, students who know Greek will read parts of the original text. Finally students will study what has made the Homeric epic such classic texts in the modern world, with sharp thought about the implications of war poetry—war and homecoming.

Offerings

Term Block Title Instructor Location Student Limit/Available Updated
Fall 2021 Block 3 Topics in Comparative Literature: Contemporary Psychoanalysis: Theory and Practice Topic Details John Riker, Marcia Dobson Taught Abroad 001 17 / 1 05/16/2022
Spring 2022 Block H Topics in Comparative Literature: W. Masculinity, Social Problems, and Urbanity in American Cinema Topic Details Scott Krzych Cornerstone Art Center 102 25 / 17 05/16/2022
Spring 2022 Block 6 Topics in Comparative Literature: Discovering the Unconscious Topic Details Marcia Dobson Armstrong Hall 231 25 / 4 05/16/2022
Spring 2022 Block 7 Topics in Comparative Literature: The Age of Romance: Music and History in the 19th Century Topic Details Tip Ragan, Michael Grace Packard Hall 9 25 / 0 05/16/2022
Spring 2022 Block 7 Topics in Comparative Literature: Borders, Migration, and the Citizenship in the Contemporary W Topic Details Chiedozie Uhuegbu Armstrong Hall 328 25 / 1 05/16/2022
Spring 2022 Block 8 Topics in Comparative Literature: Turkish-German Cinema Topic Details Baran Germen, Christiane Steckenbiller Cornerstone Art Center 301 32 / 5 05/16/2022
Spring 2022 Block 8 Topics in Comparative Literature: Myth & Meaning Marcia Dobson Armstrong Hall 231 25 / 5 05/16/2022
Spring 2022 Block 8 Topics in Comparative Literature: James Baldwin and Religion Topic Details Christopher Hunt South Hall Commons Rm 25 / -1 05/16/2022
Fall 2022 Block 3 Topics in Comparative Literature: Psyche, Symbol, Dream: C.J. Jung and Archetypal Psychology Topic Details Marcia Dobson TBA 25 / 11 05/16/2022
Spring 2023 Block 5 Topics in Comparative Literature: Homer Owen Cramer TBA 25 / 25 05/16/2022
Spring 2023 Block 5 Topics in Comparative Literature: James Baldwin & Religion Topic Details Christopher Hunt TBA 25 / 25 05/16/2022
Spring 2023 Block 5 Topics in Comparative Literature: Discovering the Unconscious Topic Details Marcia Dobson TBA 25 / 25 05/16/2022
Spring 2023 Block 5 Topics in Comparative Literature: Myth & Meaning Stephanie Kimmey TBA 25 / 25 05/16/2022
Spring 2023 Block 7 Topics in Comparative Literature: Contemporary Psychoanalysis: Theory and Practice John Riker, Marcia Dobson TBA 17 / 17 05/16/2022
Spring 2023 Block 8 Topics in Comparative Literature: Representing the Holocaust Topic Details Chet Lisiecki TBA 25 / 25 05/16/2022
Spring 2023 Block 8 Topics in Comparative Literature: Philosophy and Science Fiction Helen Daly TBA 25 / 25 05/16/2022
Spring 2023 Block 8 Topics in Comparative Literature: Gender and Sexuality in the Ancient World TBA 25 / 25 05/16/2022
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