UChicago Comparative Literature

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

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.

As we prepare for remote teaching and learning, please think about limiting the need for physical texts and check out Re...
03/18/2020
RedShelf Responds | RedShelf

As we prepare for remote teaching and learning, please think about limiting the need for physical texts and check out RedShelf for eBooks from all major publishers.

https://www.about.redshelf.com/redshelfresponds?fbclid=IwAR1rNIjR3E-9fmypU3sYxp6kgiH2ruJzbzyPgWOy8sYAs1iXWjtmDKHSkCM

As colleges and universities face unprecedented challenges related to the COVID-19 outbreak, RedShelf is working to assist through a range of resources, including access to free eBooks.

We’re getting ready to go online for Spring 2020! Please note the quarter will start a week later due to COVID-19 measur...
03/17/2020

We’re getting ready to go online for Spring 2020! Please note the quarter will start a week later due to COVID-19 measures, on April 6. Keep an eye out on Canvas for your courses to start populating and let our dept admin, Ingrid Sagor ([email protected]) or your advisor know if you have any questions or need assistance #comparativeliterature #digitalmosaic

Here is a great centralized resource for students seeking emergency housing or transportation at this time. If you need ...
03/13/2020
Centralized Links to Request/Donation Forms and Sheets

Here is a great centralized resource for students seeking emergency housing or transportation at this time. If you need assistance, please also email Departmental Administrator, Ingrid Sagor at [email protected]

https://docs.google.com/…/1Yt4Rk4sQLfN6n5APPzy9V5sWJ3…/edit…

Thank you Prof. Torres for this link and the UChicago Mutual Aid group for compiling.

Centralized Links to Request/Donation Forms and Sheets Housing Requests: https://forms.gle/u5mMP4iApKUZyzg89 Housing Providers Sign-Up: https://forms.gle/otBKRZZoW3PzrQpu5 Available Sublease: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1byHcCiasOvvIlqC6xWzScwNArLJ9B-l3Ij329JjwEDs/edit?usp=sharing Eme...

The Department of Comparative Literature administrative offices will be closed through at least March 31st in response t...
03/13/2020
University of Chicago Coronavirus Updates

The Department of Comparative Literature administrative offices will be closed through at least March 31st in response to COVID-19 directives.

We are able to provide assistance remotely if you have any questions or need assistance, please contact the Department Administrator, Ingrid Sagor at [email protected]

https://coronavirusupdates.uchicago.edu/mar-13-email-update/

This page is designed to keep members of the University of Chicago community informed about the public health situation related to novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Thank you to everyone who came this evening to Françoise Meltzer’s reading from her new book, “Dark Lens: Imagining Germ...
03/13/2020

Thank you to everyone who came this evening to Françoise Meltzer’s reading from her new book, “Dark Lens: Imagining Germany, 1945” and conversation with W. J. T. Mitchell at the @seminarycoopbookstores Please note, this will be the last event of the season, with the bookstore open regular business hours for the time being.

Please join us today for Françoise Meltzer's book talk on "Dark Lens: Imagining Germany 1945" at the Seminary Co Op Book...
03/12/2020

Please join us today for Françoise Meltzer's book talk on "Dark Lens: Imagining Germany 1945" at the Seminary Co Op Bookstore 6pm.

*Please note this event is NOT cancelled as other Sem Co Op Events going forward are.*

Translation studies is central to Comparative Literature at UChicago. See projects our faculty are working on, including...
02/13/2020
Announcing the 2019 National Translation Awards in Poetry and Prose Shortlists!

Translation studies is central to Comparative Literature at UChicago. See projects our faculty are working on, including Professor Rachel Galvin (UChicago Comparative Literature, English) who collaborated with Harris Feinsod to translate Oliverio Girondo's first two books of poetry, in "Decals" (Open Letter Books) and was recently named as a finalist on The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) Shortlist for the 2019 National Translation Awards in Poetry and Prose.

In their bracing translation, Harris Feinsod and Rachel Galvin place this giant of the Argentine avant-garde—at long last—on the map for English-speaking audiences. Hailed by contemporaries Pablo Neruda for his “iconoclastic excess” and Jorge Luis Borges for his “frightening efficiency,” Girondo’s inimitable combination of wry cosmopolitanism and visceral pathos has been a touchstone for generations of 20th– and 21st-century Latin American writers. Feinsod and Galvin capture Girondo’s biting cultural critique, verbal legerdemain, and visual nuance with expert penetration while seamlessly transmitting the mischievous exuberance of his rhythm and syntax.

Black Students at the University of Chicago Lab High School pen an open letter to school to address diversity and racism...
01/20/2020
Black Students at the University of Chicago Lab High School pen an open letter to school to address diversity and racism on campus.

Black Students at the University of Chicago Lab High School pen an open letter to school to address diversity and racism on campus.

The University Of Chicago Lab School located in the Hyde Park neighborhood, is a private co-ed school affiliated with the University of Chicago. Recently named one of the top five STEM Schools in the nation, the elite private school has a black student population of about 9% with a little over 19% o...

The Department of Comparative Literature is seeking an undergraduate student assistant to help with clerical work and pr...
01/06/2020
Project Assistant at Department of Comparative Literature | Handshake

The Department of Comparative Literature is seeking an undergraduate student assistant to help with clerical work and projects. Please review the below job posting, and to apply, email the dept administrator Ingrid Sagor ([email protected]) your resume and a brief letter of interest.

The department of Comparative Literature seeks a motivated and organized student to assist the department administrator and faculty with clerical office support and project assistance as needed. Additional responsibilities may include event planning and day-of coordination, and writing...

Reminder that Graduate and Undergraduate Registration/Bidding for Winter 2020 will begin Nov 18th. Check out the seminar...
11/06/2019

Reminder that Graduate and Undergraduate Registration/Bidding for Winter 2020 will begin Nov 18th. Check out the seminars UChicago Comparative Literature is offering!

Congratulations to Professor Haun Saussy on his new book “Are We Comparing Yet?”-which we know will be a fundamental tex...
10/30/2019

Congratulations to Professor Haun Saussy on his new book “Are We Comparing Yet?”-which we know will be a fundamental text in teaching and thinking about #comparativeliterature #uchicagograd #uchicagohumanities #complit #uchicago @ UChicago Comparative Literature

Author Interview: On the Threshold of Eurasia: Revolutionary Poetics in the Caucasus, by UChicago Comparative Literature...
10/20/2019
Author Interview: On the Threshold of Eurasia: Revolutionary Poetics in the Caucasus, by Leah Feldman (University of Chicago)

Author Interview: On the Threshold of Eurasia: Revolutionary Poetics in the Caucasus, by UChicago Comparative Literature Professor Leah Feldman. Congratulations Prof Feldman on your CESS book prize!

In this fourth and final installment of our author interview series, we are pleased to welcome Bruce Grant (New York University), in conversation with the winner of this year's CESS book prize, Leah Feldman (University of Chicago) for her work On the Threshold of Eurasia: Revolutionary Poetics in th

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