UChicago Comparative Literature

UChicago Comparative Literature Comparative Literature promotes the multidisciplinary, historically self-reflective and cross-cultural study of texts, traditions, and discourses.

Operating as usual

Today and tomorrow is Giving Day–from noon to noon we will have 24 hours of giving, challenges, prizes, and chances to e...
04/21/2021
UChicago Giving Day

Today and tomorrow is Giving Day–from noon to noon we will have 24 hours of giving, challenges, prizes, and chances to engage with and cheer on UChicago supporters. Join us by making a gift to the Humanities Division.

Undergraduates, there are still seats available in Sam Lasman's Spring “Humans and Their Predators” CMLT 21984. Please n...
03/19/2021

Undergraduates, there are still seats available in Sam Lasman's Spring “Humans and Their Predators” CMLT 21984. Please note that registration add/drop reopens on March 22nd.

Undergraduates, please note this interesting Spring class taught by our Humanities Teaching Fellow, Sam Lasman “Humans and Their Predators” CMLT 21984.

Prof. Haun Saussy will be teaching CMLT 25512/35512 (CLCV 25520): Greek Antiquity, Modernity, and Multiculturality in Sp...
03/05/2021

Prof. Haun Saussy will be teaching CMLT 25512/35512 (CLCV 25520): Greek Antiquity, Modernity, and Multiculturality in Spring 2021. Please see the flyer for more details. The course will run M/W/F 10:20-11:10 remotely.

Prof. Haun Saussy will be teaching CMLT 25512/35512 (CLCV 25520): Greek Antiquity, Modernity, and Multiculturality in Spring 2021. Please see the flyer for more details. The course will run M/W/F 10:20-11:10 remotely.

Undergraduates, please note this interesting Spring class taught by our Humanities Teaching Fellow, Sam Lasman “Humans a...
02/23/2021

Undergraduates, please note this interesting Spring class taught by our Humanities Teaching Fellow, Sam Lasman “Humans and Their Predators” CMLT 21984.

Undergraduates, please note this interesting Spring class taught by our Humanities Teaching Fellow, Sam Lasman “Humans and Their Predators” CMLT 21984.

Comparative Literature PhD Graduate and Humanities Teaching Fellow, Sam Lasman has received the Gaylord and Dorothy Rese...
02/17/2021
Humanities Scholar Receives Prestigious Donnelley Fellowship to Cambridge College | Division of the Humanities

Comparative Literature PhD Graduate and Humanities Teaching Fellow, Sam Lasman has received the Gaylord and Dorothy Research Fellowship, a three-year postdoctoral exchange program for recent PhDs at the University of Chicago and Cambridge’s Corpus Christi College.

Humanities Scholar Receives Prestigious Donnelley Fellowship to Cambridge College By Sara Patterson While Sam Lasman (PhD’20) works primarily in the Persian, Arabic, French, and Welsh languages, he dabbles in Latin, Irish, and old English. But it’s not only the multiple languages that intrigue h...

Please see the recent feature on Professor Hoda El Shakry who was awarded the Modern Language Association’s Aldo and Jea...
01/21/2021
Humanities Scholar Hoda El Shakry Receives the Prestigious MLA Scaglione Prize | Division of the Humanities

Please see the recent feature on Professor Hoda El Shakry who was awarded the Modern Language Association’s Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies on Jan. 9 for her book "The Literary Qurʾan".

https://humanities.uchicago.edu/articles/2021/01/humanities-scholar-hoda-el-shakry-receives-prestigious-mla-scaglione-prize

Humanities Scholar Hoda El Shakry Receives the Prestigious MLA Scaglione Prize Many non-Muslims know little about the Qurʾan. When they do think about it, some view the Qurʾan as a trigger for acts of terrorism. Hoda El Shakry’s book The Literary Qurʾan: Narrative Ethics in the Maghreb (Fordham...

The Winter Exploratory Translation Colloquium, hosted by Professors Haun Saussy and Jennifer Scappettone are having thei...
01/20/2021
Triple Translation and Decolonization

The Winter Exploratory Translation Colloquium, hosted by Professors Haun Saussy and Jennifer Scappettone are having their first event Wednesday, January 20th, 6pm Central Standard Time, with Rosa Alcalá, Walther Maradiegue, Edwin Lucero Rinza in conversation, moderated by Edgar Garcia. Streaming on the Translation Studies Youtube Channel:

https://youtu.be/DLntRARJheU

Please join us for A Dialogue on Translating: "Are They Women? A Novel Concerning the Third Sex" with Professors Nisha K...
01/14/2021

Please join us for A Dialogue on Translating: "Are They Women? A Novel Concerning the Third Sex" with Professors Nisha Kommattam and Margaret Sönser Breen TOMORROW, Friday Jan 15th at 3:00pm. For Zoom link, please email [email protected]

Please join us for A Dialogue on Translating: "Are They Women? A Novel Concerning the Third Sex" with Professors Nisha Kommattam and Margaret Sönser Breen TOMORROW, Friday Jan 15th at 3:00pm. For Zoom link, please email [email protected]

"Japan's Russia: Challenging the East-West Paradigm" edited by UChicago Comparative Literature Professor Olga V. Solovie...
01/06/2021

"Japan's Russia: Challenging the East-West Paradigm" edited by UChicago Comparative Literature Professor Olga V. Solovieva (The University of Chicago) and Professor Sho Konishi (University of Oxford) is praised by Selcuk Esenbel, Professor of History and Founding Director of the Asian Studies Center, Bogazici University, for being "a valuable resource in the field of modern Japanese history because it provides a critical narrative that challenges the dominant 'East-West-binary-based paradigm,' which sees only Western Europe and the United States as the determinant 'Other' of Japanese modernity. The authors present a wide range of case studies that bring forth the longue durée of interaction between Russia and Japan, particularly via the profound influence of the Narodniks, the late nineteenth-century Russian intelligentsia who promoted progressive cosmopolitanism and search for democracy. A major underlying theme of many chapters is the Japanese deep appreciation for and adaptation of Tolstoy's anti-statist anarchist cosmopolitanism, which inspired the rediscovery/invention of the Japanese turn to the countryside to establish the modern culture of mutual help and cooperative organizations. This book is a significant contribution to the new trend in the study of modern Japanese history that brings together geographies, peoples, and cultures and in so doing constructs a transnational and global historical narrative for modern Japan." More information available at: http://ow.ly/KqmH50Cny18

#NewBook JAPAN'S RUSSIA edited by Professor Olga V. Solovieva (The University of Chicago) and Professor Sho Konishi (University of Oxford) is praised by Selcuk Esenbel, Professor of History and Founding Director of the Asian Studies Center, Bogazici University, for being "a valuable resource in the field of modern Japanese history because it provides a critical narrative that challenges the dominant 'East-West-binary-based paradigm,' which sees only Western Europe and the United States as the determinant 'Other' of Japanese modernity. The authors present a wide range of case studies that bring forth the longue durée of interaction between Russia and Japan, particularly via the profound influence of the Narodniks, the late nineteenth-century Russian intelligentsia who promoted progressive cosmopolitanism and search for democracy. A major underlying theme of many chapters is the Japanese deep appreciation for and adaptation of Tolstoy's anti-statist anarchist cosmopolitanism, which inspired the rediscovery/invention of the Japanese turn to the countryside to establish the modern culture of mutual help and cooperative organizations. This book is a significant contribution to the new trend in the study of modern Japanese history that brings together geographies, peoples, and cultures and in so doing constructs a transnational and global historical narrative for modern Japan." http://ow.ly/KqmH50Cny18

We are pleased to announce that Professor Hoda El Shakry has been awarded the Modern Language Association’s Aldo and Jea...
12/15/2020

We are pleased to announce that Professor Hoda El Shakry has been awarded the Modern Language Association’s Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies for her book "The Literary Qu’ran" (https://www.fordhampress.com/97808232.../the-literary-quran/) As the award committee note in their citation, “Readers in other fields will encounter a deeply thought and impressively learned introduction to a provocative set of texts; specialists may find themselves rethinking the very shape of their field.”

For #tbt and a return to our #facultyinthefield series, we are pleased to feature images from Professor Olga Solovieva’s...
12/03/2020

For #tbt and a return to our #facultyinthefield series, we are pleased to feature images from Professor Olga Solovieva’s Spaces of Belarusian Opposition research trip to Minsk from May 2019. In order:
1) Independent Bookstore of Belarusian Literature Logvinov, with manager and writer Paval Kasciukievič
2) State Archive of Belarusian Literature and Arts, Conference on persecuted Belarusian writer Adam Babarek
3) Belarusian PEN Center
4) People's Memorial at the Soviet Execution Site in Kurapaty
5) Independent Gallery of Contemporary Art
6) People's Graffiti in Gallery District of Minsk
7) Exhibition of Prisoners' art at Human Rights Org "Viasna" with the artist Ales Pushkin
8) Leading a podium discussion about "Cultures of Protest in Contemporary Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia" (from L-R: Prof. Olga Solovieva (Chicago), human rights activist Ales Bialiatski (Minsk), journalist Sergei Parkhomenko (Moscow), art curator and director of the Visual Research Center Vasyl Cherepanin (Kiyv) @ Minsk, Belarus

12/03/2020

Undergraduates: we will be offering two new courses, available for registration beginning during add/drop Monday, December 7th:

Queer Asia(s) 2
CMLT 26112 (GNSE 26112, SALC 26112, HMRT 26112, CRES 26112)
Nisha Kommattam
Tues/Thurs 1:00-2:20 pm, Remote
While this course is conceptualized as a sequel to Queer Asia(s) 1 from last fall, it is nevertheless a standalone course that can be taken separately, without prerequisites. This course continues to explore representations of queerness, same-sex love and sexualities and debates around them by introducing students to a variety of literature and films in both Asian languages and English. The geographic regions represented include India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, China, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea and Singapore. There will be a focus on the modern/contemporary period as well as queer diasporas. We will also read scholarship that will help us place the production and reception of these primary sources in historical, political, cultural and religious contexts. Questions of cross-cultural and transnational dialogue and cultural specificity will be addressed. Students need to be available for 2 synchronous online meetings per week.

The Sociology of Literature
CMLT 25301/35301 (ENGL 25301/35301, SOCI 20525/30525)
Larry Rothfield
Tues/Thurs 6:00-7:20 pm, Remote
This course explores the critical potential and limitations of a few key sociological approaches to literature, working with the literary scene of the 1890s as our case. We will focus on Bourdieu's theorization of the field of cultural production; Foucault's analytics of power/knowledge and discursive formations; and recent efforts by Moretti and others to import geographic, social network, and evolutionary models into literary studies.

Undergraduates, please be sure to review the Comp Lit Winter 2021 offerings at coursesearch.uchicago.edu and bid on your...
11/10/2020

Undergraduates, please be sure to review the Comp Lit Winter 2021 offerings at coursesearch.uchicago.edu and bid on your selections by Friday, November 13th. Check out one of our classes on offer:

Please join us for a Dialogue on Racial Melancholia, this Friday, October 23rd. Zoom link is available by emailing the d...
10/21/2020

Please join us for a Dialogue on Racial Melancholia, this Friday, October 23rd. Zoom link is available by emailing the department administrator at isagor (at) uchicago (dot) edu

Comparative Literature is pleased to share a new website created as a central hub to capture programming, courses, facul...
10/03/2020

Comparative Literature is pleased to share a new website created as a central hub to capture programming, courses, faculty, and resources related to the study of translation:

https://translationstudies.uchicago.edu/

"Translation Studies at UChicago is a central hub for coursework, publications, research, news, and campus events in literary translation and translation studies. It draws together the cultural and linguistic expertise of translators, creative writers, scholars, students, staff, and friends of translation from across the university—working in languages including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Marathi, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, and more. We aim to promote the creativity and visibility of translators and to explore translation as a creative practice, field of study, and theoretical orientation."

Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be featuring courses on offering Comparative Literature for Autumn 2020. ...
08/13/2020

Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be featuring courses on offering Comparative Literature for Autumn 2020. Please note that all of our offerings are scheduled to be online/remote. You can email Ingrid Sagor (dept administrator) at isagor at uchicago dot edu with questions regarding registration.

Note: Graduate Student Registration begins September 21; the full list of Comp Lit offerings is available on our website at complit.uchicago.edu and undergraduate course offerings are currently published on coursesearch.uchicago.edu

We are slowly investing in desk copies of canonical, progressive, and noteworthy scholarly texts related to issues in #c...
07/21/2020

We are slowly investing in desk copies of canonical, progressive, and noteworthy scholarly texts related to issues in #comparativeliterature First arrival, a collection of essays edited by ACLA president and @uchicagocomplit faculty, Haun Saussy “Comparative Literature in an Age of Globalization” from the 2004 report on the status of #complit as a #discipline #academia #monograph #deskcopy #lendinglibrary with Please email dept administrator Ingrid Sagor ([email protected]) or message is on IG to recommend book title suggestions or (for current students) to arrange to borrow this and other featured texts-more to come! @ UChicago Comparative Literature

07/21/2020
Reflections on Race: A Multimedia Resource Guide | UChicago Diversity Initiative | The University of Chicago

If you are interested in fighting for antiracism on our campus, please check out Reflections on Race: A Multimedia Resource Guide page which the Provost has compiled and which “[encourages] members of our campus community to learn more about Black history, racism, anti-racism, and diversity. We asked UChicago students, faculty, and staff what they are reading and what they recommend to help individuals understand and address current events and history. While not exhaustive, this list can serve as a starting point.”

There are some great pieces (articles, essays, monographs) here, including subtopics on Antiracist Pedagogy, Affirmative Action & the Law, Creative & Lyric writing on race, Community Engagement, American Racist History, the Justice System/Policing, Sexuality, and the South Side.

https://diversityandinclusion.uchicago.edu/resources/reflections-on-race-a-multimedia-resource-guide/

The University of Chicago is a private, nondenominational, culturally rich and ethnically diverse coeducational research university located in Hyde Park, Chicago.

Comparative Literature across disciplines and miles
06/09/2020

Comparative Literature across disciplines and miles

Digital Comparatists in the age of distance learning
05/28/2020

Digital Comparatists in the age of distance learning

Professor Olga Solovieva interviews Ales Bialiatski from the "Cultures of Protest" conference has been published by Boun...
03/23/2020
About the Local and What All Hold in Common: Belarusian Human Rights Activist Ales Bialiatski in Conversation with Olga V. Solovieva

Professor Olga Solovieva interviews Ales Bialiatski from the "Cultures of Protest" conference has been published by Boundary 2.

http://www.boundary2.org/2020/02/on-the-local-and-the-universal-belarusian-human-rights-activist-ales-bialiatski-in-conversation-with-olga-v-solovieva/

Note on Belarus Wlad Godzich Belarus has not figured prominently, if at all, on most anglophone readers’ attention horizon. Things are beginning to change, and Belarus will prove to be interesting …

03/19/2020

Add/Drop for all students is open NOW until April 14th. There are a number of Comp Lit courses taught by our faculty that have open seats. Please se below or email Ingrid Sagor ([email protected]) with any questions

The Jewish Graphic Novel
CMLT 20711 JWSC 20701 NEHC 26062 SIGN 26062 RLST 26062
Na’ama Rokem
Over the past decade, there has been an explosion of "graphic novels" aimed at adult readers concerning Jewish society, history, and religion. This course explores the history of comics through the lens of its Jewish creators and Jewish themes, and the history of twentieth century Jewish culture through the lens of graphic storytelling. We learn to interpret this complex art form that combines words and hand-drawn images, translating temporal progression into a spatial form. Reading American, European, and Israeli narratives, our discussions will focus on autobiographical and journalistic accounts of uprooting, immigration, conflict, and loss. Authors whose work we will study include: Art Spiegelman, Rutu Modan, Leela Corman, Joann Sfar, Joe Sacco, R. Crumb.

The Ancestral
CMLT 24272/34272 SCTH 24272
Mark Payne
Recent work in history and anthropology has stressed the need for deeper models of origins and relations, perhaps even dispensing with "prehistory" as an alternative to more familiar forms of historical self-understanding. This class will look at how the ancestral in literature imagines such deep forms of historical belonging, staging modes of revenance whose cryptic vitalism challenges the phenomenological basis of new materialism. Readings will include Martin Heidegger, Ronald Hutton, Ethan Kleinberg, Quentin Meillassoux, Hans Ruin, and Anna Tsing, poetry by Li He and Osip Mandelstam, weird fiction by H. P. Lovecraft, Arthur Machen and Algernon Blackwood, and futurology by Cicely Hamilton, Jean Hegland, Sarah Moss, and Will Self.

"In the Beginning": Origin, Style, and Transformation in the King James Version Matrix
CMLT 25113 JWSC 27703 ENGL 25513
Chloe Blackshear
The 400th anniversary of the King James Bible (KJV) set off a series of events and texts dedicated to the great influence of this literary classic-a vernacular English Bible from 1611. What is it about the KJV that has so obsessed readers and writers? How has it become part of and affected world literature? Are there competing ways of conceiving the biblical text in English literature? In this course, we will trace some of the KJV's thematic and stylistic influences in global Anglophone literature; sometimes we will deal with direct allusion and rewriting, and other times we will study the possibilities of more tenuous links. In parallel to this work, we will problematize the KJV's astounding centrality by: examining some pre-KJV literature and alternative early-modern and 20th century translations (particularly as these intersect with Jewish tradition); attending to subversive and postcolonial literary uses of the translation; and close-reading the political and ideological motivations behind certain forms of critical adulation. Texts examined may include works by authors such as George Peele, William Shakespeare, Herman Melville, William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, Cynthia Ozick, Zora Neale Hurston, Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka.

Dream of the Red Chamber: Forgetting About the Author
CMLT 27512/37512, EALC 27512/37512, FNDL 27512/37512, SCTH 27512/37512
Haun Saussy
The great Chinese-Manchu novel _Honglou meng_ (ca. 1750) has been assigned one major author, Cao Xueqin, whose life has been the subject of much investigation. But before 1922 little was known about Cao, and interpreters of the novel were forced to make headway solely on the basis of textual clues. The so-called "Three Commentators" edition (_Sanjia ping Sh*tou ji_) shows these readers at their creative, polemical, and far-fetched best. We will be reading the first 80 chapters of the novel and discussing its reception in the first 130 years of its published existence (1792-1922), with special attention to hermeneutical strategies and claims of authorial purpose. Familiarity with classical Chinese required.

Renaissance Christian Epic: Tasso, Vida, Milton
CMLT 29120/39120, ENGL 29120/39120
Josh Scodel
This course will focus upon the two most important Renaissance Christian epics, Torquato Tasso's La Gerusalemme liberata/Jerusalem Delivered (first pub. 1581) and John Milton's Paradise Lost (first pub. 1667), and two brief Biblical epics, Marco Girolamo Vida's Christiad (1535) and Milton's Paradise Regained (1671). We will examine these four Renaissance epics as ambitious efforts to revive an ancient and pagan form in order to depict Christian and self-consciously modern visions. We will consider how Renaissance epic poets imitate and emulate both their classical models (primarily Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Virgil's Aeneid, and Ovid's Metamorphoses) and Judeo-Christian sources (primarily the Bible); seek to forge an elevated and appropriate language for epic in Latin, Italian, and English; espouse new visions of the human, the heroic, and gender relations; and adumbrate distinctively modern national, imperial, and global ambitions. All non-English texts will be read in translation, but students who can read Latin or Italian will be encouraged to read the originals.

Russian Anarchists, Revolutionary Samurai: Introduction to Russian-Japanese Intellectual Relations
CMLT 29710/39710, EALC 29710/39710, REES 29815/39815
Olga Solovieva
This course introduces a current of Russian-Japanese exchange and cross-fertilization of ideas running from the late nineteenth century to now. Our focus will be on the historical role that Russia came to play in anarchist movement in Japan. We will read such revolutionary intellectuals as Lev Mechnikov, Peter Kropotkin, and Lev Tolstoy; compare the visions of civilizational progress of the state modernizer Fukuzawa Yukichi and Japanese anarchists Kōtoku Shūsui and Ōsugi Sakae; and study the post-WW II continuation of the anarchist tradition in the films of Kurosawa Akira, music of Takemitsu Toru, and writings of Ōe Kenzaburō.

North Africa in Literature and Film
CMLT 29714/39714, NEHC 29714/39714
Hoda El Shakry
This course explores twentieth- and twenty-first century literary and cinematic works from the countries of North Africa. We will focus in particular on the region of Northwestern Africa known as the Maghreb-encompassing Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. Situated at the crossroads of Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, the Maghreb has a layered colonial past culminating in France's brutal occupation of the region through the 1960s. Inflected by this colonial history, Maghrebi studies tends to privilege Francophone works while overlooking the region's rich Arabic and indigenous traditions. Understanding the Maghreb as both a geopolitical as well as an imagined space, our course materials reflect the region's diverse cultural histories and practices. We will consider the Maghreb's ethnic, linguistic, and religious pluralism in dialogue with broader questions of cultural imperialism, orientalism, decolonization, and globalization. Fictional and cinematic works will be paired with relevant historical and theoretical readings. In light of the recent 'Arab Spring' catapulted by the Tunisian uprising in January 2011, we will also touch on contemporary social and political happenings in the region.

Realism in the Novel
CMLT 29811/39801, FREN 29801/39801
Thomas Pavel
A study of the way in which nineteenth-century narrative prose represents social/cultural conflicts and individual self-reliance.

Jewish Diasporas: The Exilic Condition and the Parable of Longing
CMLT 29914, JWSC 29914
Michal Peles Almagor
This course examines the representations of the home across national literatures in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. More specifically, we will explore how the concept of home-real or imagined-is treated in instances of exile and migration that result in cultural hybridity. To explore the ambiguous relationship between home and homeland, students will engage with texts written by Jewish authors of different nationalities. We will focus on the European and Israeli context, exploring how the notion of home or homelessness, as well as historical changes, compel us to rethink the making of a Jewish home. We will also consider how the representation o homes and a homesickness/homeness dialectics shift across cultures and languages, paying particular attention to figures like the European Jew, the Wandering Jew, the Zionist Jew, the Hebrew Jew, and the Israeli Jew. We will trace the Jewish sense of displacement through the interplay between language and place, as we consider the literary representations of the Eastern European Shtetl, Vienna, Berlin, and Jerusalem. We will also consider the choice of language, and space of language as home.

Graduate Comparative Literature Writing Workshop
CMLT 59999
Hoda El Shakry
Graduate writing workshop for PhD students in Comparative Literature to engage in various modes of writing, editing, and revision. Writing assignments may include developing conference papers, writing the dissertation prospectus, generating a chapter draft, curriculum vitae and letter of interest drafting, and other professional writing development to prepare students for the academic job market and writing in the academy.

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(773) 702-8486

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