Bard College Catalogue 2012-13
Foreign Languages, Cultures, and Literatures
Nicole Caso (director)*, Anna Cafaro, Odile S. Chilton, Carolyn Dewald*, Mika Endo, Yen-Chen Hao, Elizabeth N. Holt, Franz R. Kempf, Marina Kostalevsky, Stephanie Kufner, Joseph Luzzi, Oleg Minin, William Mullen, Melanie Nicholson, Dina Ramadan, David Rodriguez-Solás, James Romm, Nathan Shockey, Benjamin Stevens, Eric Trudel, Marina van Zuylen, Olga Voronina, Sara Pankenier Weld**, Thomas Wild, Li-Hua Ying
* on sabbatical, spring 2013
** leave of absence, 2012–2014
At Bard, the study of a foreign language provides students with the opportunity to acquire a critical appreciation of foreign cultures and literatures in addition to language skills. Integral to the process is the mastery of the foreign language and the use of this mastery in the study of written texts—not only literature, but also texts from such fields as philosophy, history, and theology—and of nonverbal expressions of culture such as art history, music, and cinema.
Languages currently taught at Bard include Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, ancient Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit. Bard maintains a state-of-the-art language facility, the Center for Foreign Languages and Cultures, at the F. W. Olin Language Center, which is described in the Campus Facilities section of this catalogue.
Most of the languages taught through the Foreign Languages, Cultures, and Literatures (FLCL) Program offer an immersion format that allows students to complete the equivalent of two years of language study within just a few months. Such courses include a one- or two-month summer or winter program in a country of the target language. After studying abroad, students demonstrate an impressive increase in linguistic capacity. They have also gained cultural knowledge, and the exposure to different manifestations of cultural activity alerts them to the interrelatedness of diverse disciplines.
While each area of language study has its own intellectual and academic plan, all are connected by the study of literature and other cultural expressions through the medium of language. Students are free to work with the languages and texts of more than one culture; thus they can combine the plans of more than one language for Moderation and in their Senior Project. Moderation requirements may vary depending on the focus language; students should refer to information provided by the specific area of study. For all FLCL students, a Senior Project can be a purely literary project or any combination of literary and nonliterary expressions of a given culture.
This introduction to Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) as it is used in Arab countries today presents Arabic script and pronunciation and essentials of basic Arabic structures, syntax, and vocabulary, reinforced by reading graded texts. Differences between MSA and educated spoken Arabic are highlighted, as are significant aspects of Arab culture.
This course focuses on developing a significant level of linguistic and communicative competence. The four basic language skills—reading, speaking, listening, and writing—are dealt with simultaneously. Selected texts from Arabic media are read to expand active and passive lexicon and grammatical structures. Prerequisites: Arabic 101 or at least one year of Modern Standard Arabic and approval of the instructor.
This course continues to focus on the development of the four skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing Modern Standard Arabic. Students learn more complex grammatical structures and expand their vocabulary through extended readings using audio and video materials. Classes conducted in Arabic (except for grammatical explanations, when needed).
Modern (Mandarin) Chinese is introduced through intensive drilling in oral and written forms. Emphasis is placed on speaking, basic grammar, and the formation of characters. Audio and video materials are part of the curriculum. This course is followed by an intensive course (8 hours per week) in the spring semester and a summer intensive program (6 weeks) in China.
For students who have completed Chinese 101 or the equivalent. The focus is on the language’s oral and written aspects. Regular work in the language lab and private drill sessions with the Chinese tutor are required. This course is followed by a summer immersion program in China.
Intermediate Chinese I, II
This two-semester course is for students who have taken one and a half years of basic Chinese and want to expand their reading and speaking capacity and enrich their cultural experiences. The course uses audio and video materials and emphasizes communicative activities and language games. In addition to the central language textbook, readings are selected from newspapers, journals, and fictional works. Conducted in Chinese.
Forbidden Best Sellers of Premodern China
Eccentric Taoists, mysterious Buddhists, lovesick beauties, and scholars seeking enlightenment through romantic and sexual encounters are not just comic figures, but characters that provide us with an understanding of 17th- and 18th-century China. Banned by the emperor, the “bad” books in this course—The Story of the Stone, The Plum in the Golden Vase, The Peony Pavilion, and The Carnal Prayer Mat—are explored for their cultural, literary, religious, and political significance.
The Chinese Novel
The class reads The Story of the Stone (aka Dream of the Red Chamber), which one-fifth of the world considers to be the best novel ever written, and discusses it both as literature and as cultural artifact.
Modern Chinese Fiction
The class reads English translations of representative works from three periods (1918–49, 1949–76, 1976– ) by authors from the mainland, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Students consider issues of language and genre, nationalism and literary tradition, colonialism, women’s emancipation, the influence of Western literary modes, and the current state of critical approaches to the study of modern Chinese literature.
Advanced Chinese I-II
For students who have taken the equivalent of five semesters of basic Chinese at Bard or elsewhere. The goal is to expand students’ reading and speaking capacity and enrich their cultural experiences. Texts may include newspapers, journals, and fiction.
Chinese Fantasic Tales
The class reads tales written in classical Chinese as well as their renderings in modern Chinese. Texts are selected from well-known classical works such as Zhuang Zi, Lie Zi, and Huainan Zi, written in the pre-Qin and Han Dynasties. Stories written in later periods, including "Liaozhai Zhiyi," are also studied. This advanced language course is conducted in Chinese. Open to students who have had two years or more of Chinese language. Texts may include newspapers, journals, and fiction.
An introduction to classical Chinese, the written language in use prior to the 20th century. Students learn basic structures and patterns, with intensive practice through exercises and translations. Readings draw from foundational works of Chinese history and literature, including the Analects, the Mencius, the Taoist classic Zhuang Zi, Records of the Warring States, and Records of the Grand Historian. Prerequisite: two years of Chinese or Japanese or the equivalent.
An introduction to the East Asian art of calligraphy. Students examine the aesthetic principles of calligraphy and discuss the philosophical traditions of Taoism, Zen Buddhism, and Confucianism. The course emphasizes learning the techniques of writing with the brush and developing individual styles.
Reflections of China in Literature and Film
This course explores the origins of traditional Chinese cinema, nationalism and revolution, social realism, the search for roots in the post-Mao era, nativist film and literature, the Fifth Generation and experimental fiction, Hong Kong popular culture in the commercial age, feminism and sexuality, and representations of exile, diaspora, and the new immigrants. Conducted in Chinese.
Lu Xun and Modern Chinese Fiction
An advanced language course that involves close reading of short stories by major 20th-century Chinese authors, including Shen Congwen, Ding Ling, Lu Xun, Eileen Chang, Bai Xianyong, and others. While it focuses primarily on textual analysis, the course also seeks to understand the concept of modernity in the context of Chinese literary and cultural traditions. Conducted in Chinese.
The Odyssey of Homer
Classics 125 / Literature 125
See Literature 125 for a full description.
The Athenian Century
Classics 157 / History 157
In the fifth century b.c.e., Athens dramatically developed from a small, relatively unimportant city-state into a dominant power in the Aegean basin. This course confronts some of the ambiguities and tensions and the glories of Athenian art, literature, and history during this period. Students read selections from the histories of Herodotus and Thucydides; tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides; comedies of Aristophanes; and dialogues of Plato.
Ethical Life in Ancient Greek Literature and Philosophy
Classics 2038 / Literature 2038
See Literature 2038 for a full course description.
Early Greek Philosophy
This course considers the principal pre-Socratic philosophers—Parmenides, Heraclitus, Empedocles, Democritus—with respect to developments in Greek religion and science as well as to the history of philosophy.
Gender and Sexuality in the Ancient World
Classics 2191 / History 2191
See History 2191 for a full course description.
Virgil, Augustine, Dante
cross-listed: italian studies, literature
An intensive study of Virgil’s Aeneid, Augustine’s Confessions, and Dante’s Divine Comedy. Although the texts span centuries and disparate cultures, they are a natural triad whose readings richly harmonize with each other. Read together, they raise fundamental questions for literature, literary history, and the humanities. Scholarship, criticism, and “creative” responses to the texts are also considered. Optional concurrent tutorials on select passages in the original Latin and/or Italian.
Life and Literature in the Late Roman Republic
The last generations of the Roman Republic experienced widespread social change. Roman authors of the period responded to these “consequences of conquest” by fashioning Latin literary languages in diverse genres. Topics covered include Latin literary history; late Roman Republican politics, society, and culture; and linguistic and cultural pluralism, purity, and policy. Readings, all in English, are drawn from Caesar, Cicero, Catullus, Lucretius, and Sallust, and from modern historiography and literary criticism.
Rhetoric and Public Speaking
Students give speeches in various genres and study the texts of orations and theoretical treatises on the nature of rhetoric by Aristotle, Demosthenes, Cicero, Churchill, Martin Luther King Jr., and others. Video is used to examine important speeches of the last century and to critique student speeches. The class meets, through videoconferencing, with students at Smolny College in St. Petersburg, Russia.
A complement to The Athenian Century, this course covers a temporal span from roughly the 7th century through the 5th, and its texts are non-Athenian. Readings start with Hesiod and the Homeric hymns, then move on to the lyric poets: Alkman, Sappho, Alcaeus, Archilochus, Anacreon, Simonides, Bacchylides, and Pindar. The Elegiac poets, most of the pre-Socratics, and Hecataeus are also covered. Texts include present-day scholarship on the Archaic period.
Carthage and Rome
A study of two great rival cities and empires, from a range of disciplinary points of view. Historiography is the fundamental discipline, as encountered in the narrations of the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage, first by a Greek historian, Polybius (c. 200–118 b.c.e.), and then by a Roman historian, Livy (59 b.c.e.. – 17 c.e.). Also considered, Virgil’s Aeneid, Books 1 and 4, and Flaubert’s Salammbô; archaeology and urban studies; a selection of feature films; high-tech battle reconstructions by the History Channel; and historical fiction.
Linguists and archaeologists have a rough agreement that there existed a people speaking a language called Proto-Indo-European. They shared not only a common language and social structures but also common literary genres, principally epic and lyric, in which there are signs of common metaphors and even meters. It is possible to compare passages from epics that originated in oral traditions and later crystallized into such texts as Mahabharata and Ramayana in India, Iliad and Odyssey in Greece, the Norse Elder Edda, and the Irish Táin Bó Cúailnge. All texts read in English.
Self and Society in Classical Greek Drama
A close study of nearly all of the major plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides in English translation, with the aim of gaining familiarity with the genre of tragedy as a complex art form and a preeminent vehicle for the transmission of core Western values—moral, political, and aesthetic. Special attention is paid to aspects of staging and performance, both in ancient times and in contemporary productions. Film screenings are part of the course.
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Classics 314 / Literature 315
The class reads Gibbon’s masterpiece in its entirety and considers theories that supplement or contradict his as to the “true causes” of Rome’s decline and fall, particularly in the Western Empire in the later first millennium c.e. Some of these theories are by earlier 20th-century scholars, some from very recent books. Priority is given to moderated students in Classical Studies and Historical Studies.
Socrates: Man, Myth, Monster
A study of primary ancient sources on which contemporary knowledge of Socrates is based (including Aristophanes’ The Clouds, Xenophon’s Socratic texts, several Platonic dialogues, and selections from Aristotle) and a number of exemplary texts from the modern reception and interpretation of Socrates (including Nietzsche, Vlastos, Kofman, Nehamas, and Hadot). The goal is to give due consideration to the historical, philosophical, and literary questions that together constitute the enigma that is Socrates. All readings in English.
Odysseys from Homer to Joyce
This course explores the nature and cultural uses of the figure of the wandering hero, from its first major treatment in Homer’s Odyssey to its adaptation in the 20th century by Nikos Kazantzakis (The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel) and James Joyce (Ulysses). Additional readings: Virgil’s Aeneid; Sophocles’ Ajax and Philoctetes, Euripides’ Hecuba; Dante’s Inferno; Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida; Fénelon’s Télémaque; Walcott’s Omeros; and selections from the poetry of Tennyson, C. P. Cavafy, Louise Glück, and others.
Afterlives of Antiquity: Posthumanism and Its Classics
Classics 326 / Literature 326
See Literature 326 for a full course description.
Plato’s Writing: Dialogue and Dialectic
Classics 362 / Literature 362
See Literature 362 for a full course description.
Basic Greek I, II
In this two-part course, Greek grammar and fundamental vocabulary are introduced, with attention given to pronunciation and recitation of poetry and prose. Reading includes significant passages from Homer and the Christian New Testament in Greek. Students with high school Greek are welcome and should see the instructor about placement.
Intensive Greek: Herodotus, Euripides, Lyric Poetry, the Bible
This double-credit course allows students to attain a reading knowledge of Ancient Greek in one semester, and then to use that knowledge to read central literary and religious texts. The first 12 weeks consist of drills, grammar exercises, and readings, as well as discussions of Greek history, culture, and religion. For the final three weeks, students choose from one of four elective modules, reading Greek texts in the original with teachers who are deeply engaged with those texts.
Intermediate Greek: Plato on Poetry
A close reading of Plato on poetry and on “imitation” or “representation” in art and the world more generally. The class reads several dialogues in translation (Ion and The Republic, Phaedrus and Cratylus, Gorgias and Timaeus) and substantial portions of each in Greek, as well as selections from poems discussed by Plato. Prerequisite: successful completion of Greek 102 or 202, or permission of instructor.
Intermediate Greek: Aeschylus’s Persians
An intensive reading of Aeschylus’s Persians with discussion of the historical, dramatic, and poetic issues it raises. The class meets together with Greek 302 but also devotes separate sessions to grammatical work.
The class explores dialects other than Attic, samples poetic meters and genres, and reads literary criticism. Third-semester students begin working with Liddell and Scott’s lexicon; fifth-semester students use the lexicon and are responsible for additional work. Prerequisite: either Greek 102 or Greek 202, or permission of the instructor.
Aeschylus’s Persians and Prometheus Bound
An intensive reading of Aeschylus’s Persians and Prometheus Bound with full discussion of all the issues they raise: historical, dramatic, and poetic. The class meets together with Greek 202 for Persians readings, but holds separate sessions to read and discuss the second play.
A yearlong introduction to Latin in which students gain familiarity with morphology, syntax, and essential vocabulary; achieve sufficient fluency for selected readings in ancient and medieval texts; and explore the literary, cultural, and historical contexts in which the language is embedded.
Accelerated Elementary Latin
A rapid introduction to the classical Latin language. The class seeks to master morphology, syntax, and essential vocabulary so as to achieve sufficient fluency for continuous readings in unedited prose and poetry. Latin literary history is also explored, focusing on the Late Republic and the Augustan Age. Preference is given to students who have successfully completed the survey of Latin literature in Latin 207.
Intermediate Latin: Catullus
A review of Latin grammar and an intensive survey of the poetry of Catullus, the greatest lyric poet of Republican Rome.
Intermediate Latin II
Students read Livy Book I, and selections from Sallust and perhaps Cicero as they consolidate their command of Latin grammar. The class also considers the nature of Roman historiography.
A survey, via readings in English translation, of writings originally in Latin from antiquity, the medieval period, and the Renaissance, with consideration of their influence on contemporaneous and subsequent writing in Latin and other languages. Conducted in English, but there is an optional concurrent tutorial on selected passages in the original for students with sufficient Latin.
Advanced Latin: Seneca and Nero
How did a morally enlightened man like Seneca reconcile himself to the cruelties and abuses of Nero’s regime? This course examines, through readings in Latin and English, the complex and tortured relationship between Emperor Nero and his chief advisor, the philosopher Seneca. While Seneca’s own works are the main focus, short readings from Tacitus, Petronius, and Suetonius help illuminate this bizarre collaboration. The class also reads portions of Octavia, a Roman historical drama in which Seneca and Nero are central characters.
Livy and the Augustan Age
Most of the course is spent reading in two chronological areas of Livy’s vast history of Rome: the opening books about the first kings and the high points of the Punic Wars. As a break from a single historian’s prose style, the class pauses periodically to read a few of the odes of Horace most in resonance with Livy’s themes, as well as the Res Gestae Divi Augusti.
Sanskrit I, II
Classics 140, 141 / Religion 140, 141
See Religion 140 and 141 for course descriptions.
Basic Intensive French
This course is for students with little or no experience of French who wish to acquire a strong grasp of the language and culture in the shortest time possible. Students complete the equivalent of three semesters of college-level French in a semester course that meets 10 hours a week and is followed by a four-week stay in France.
Intermediate French I, II, III
This introduction to contemporary French civilization and culture is for students who have completed three to five years of high school French or who have acquired a solid knowledge of elementary grammar. Students reinforce their skills in grammar, composition, and spoken proficiency, through the use of short texts, newspaper and magazine articles, and video.
French through Translation
This course helps students fine-tune their command of French and develop a good sense of the most appropriate ways of communicating ideas and facts in French. The course emphasizes translation as an exercise, as well as a craft in its own right, and addresses grammatical, lexical, and stylistic issues. Translation is practiced from English into French (and vice versa) with a variety of texts from different genres.
French through Film
Students in this intermediate course explore major themes of French culture and civilization through the study of individual films ranging from the silent era to the present and covering a wide variety of genres. Students also examine the interaction between the French and their cinema, in terms of historical circumstances, aesthetic ambitions, and self-representation.
Survey of French Literature: The Middle Ages and the Renaissance
cross-listed: medieval studies
This course introduces the major texts of French literature between the late 11th and 16th centuries: Chanson de Roland; the early Arthurian romances; the Breton Lais of Marie de France; the lyric poetry of the Old Provençal troubadours and Old French trouvères; the last will and testament of poet-thief François Villon; the mock epic Gargantua; and the nouvelles (tales) of Marguerite de Navarre. Texts are read in French, but class discussion is in English.
Quest for Authenticity: Topics in French Literature, 1789 – Present
This overview of modern French literature focuses on short texts (poems, plays, essays, letters, stories) that reflect the fragile relationship between selfhood and authenticity. From Rousseau’s ambitious program of autobiography to Sartre’s belief that we are inveterate embellishers when it comes to telling our own story, French literature has staged with relish the classic tensions between art, artifice, and authenticity. Readings from Rousseau, Stendhal, Flaubert, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Proust, Gide, Sartre, Duras, Sarraute, Ernaux. Prerequisites: two years of college French or permission of the instructor.
Advanced Composition and Conversation
This course focuses on a wide and diverse selection of writings (short works of fiction, poems, philosophical essays, political analysis, newspaper editorials, magazine articles, etc.) loosely organized around a single theme. The readings provide a rich ground for cultural investigation, intellectual exchange, in-class debates, in-depth examination of stylistics, and vocabulary acquisition. Students are encouraged to write regularly and expected to participate fully. A general review of grammar is also conducted.
Survey of 20th-Century French Poetry
A survey of major trends in modern and contemporary French poetry. Works read include poems and essays by Alferi, Albiach, Apollinaire, Bonnefoy, Cadiot, Char, Desnos, des Forêts, Éluard, Gleize, Jaccottet, Perros, Prigent, Ponge, Roche, and Roubaud. Conducted in French.
Mind/Body Dichotomy in French Thought (Rabelais to Merleau-Ponty)
Following recent findings in neurobiology about the “emotional brain,” the class analyzes how French thinkers have embraced and struggled with the idea of the mind’s primacy over the body and vice versa. These tensions are explored in works by Madame de la Fayette, Racine, and Molière; 19th-century texts by Charcot, Mesmer, Binet, and Pierre Janet; and later works by Bergson, Irigaray, Ernaux, and Merleau-Ponty.
Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Mallarmé
Baudelaire, Rimbaud, and Mallarmé brought a revolution to the theory and practice of 19th-century French poetry. Through a succession of close readings, students assess the range of this poetic revolution, which questioned the limits of literature and the possibility of meaning. Conducted in French, with primary texts in French, secondary sources in English. Readings include Les Fleurs du mal and Le Spleen de Paris (Baudelaire), Illuminations and Une Saison en enfer (Rimbaud), and Poésies (Mallarmé).
French Modernity, Memory, and the Poetics of History
To what extent can literature “give voice”—to quote Michelet—“to the silences of history”? How does memory shape history and literature? This course investigates these questions in the context of 19th- and 20th-century France. Readings (and screenings) include Michelet, Baudelaire, Chateaubriand, Flaubert, Hugo, Barthes, Duras, Gracq, Perec, Marker, Modiano, Resnais, Salvayre, Simon, and Volodine. Conducted in French.
French 20th-Century Fiction
An introduction to major 20th-century French novels. Through close readings and scrutiny of sociohistorical context, students explore the ambiguity of political commitment, the figure of the solitary antihero, and relevant aesthetic theories. Authors include Proust, Gide, Céline, Sartre, Camus, Duras, des Forêts, Robbe-Grillet, and Perec. Conducted in French.
Conspiracies and Secret Societies in 19th- and 20th-Century French Literature
Cultural historians often cite the French Revolution as the event that led to the first modern conspiracy theory: Augustin Barruel’s anti-Illuminati and anti-Masonic Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire du jacobinisme. In the ensuing two centuries, the secret society has served as both a source of paranoia and an alluring call to comradeship. This course examines how the representation of secret groups and plots functions as a way of explaining history, defining literary practice, and imagining a politics of literature.
Art or Virtue? Rousseau’s Legacy in French Literature
Rousseau’s brutal condemnation of the arts in his Discours sur les sciences et les arts set the stage for a debate that raged from the Enlightenment to Sartre’s Qu’est-ce que la littérature? What does literature want? To please or to instruct? Taking Rousseau as its point of departure, this seminar examines works that have pitted art against social or ethical responsibility. Readings: Montaigne, Molière, Rousseau, Sade, Hugo, Baudelaire, Zola, and Sartre. Conducted in French.
Literature of Private Life
cross-listed: gss, human rights
Using novels, stories, and short selections from journals, autobiographies, and correspondence, this course examines the emergence of writings previously considered too personal to be viewed as literature. Students uncover the techniques that help dramatize these highly subjective conflicts (interior monologue, free indirect discourse, early examples of flow of consciousness). In order to situate these texts within a tradition that rethinks the self, additional readings by Locke, Descartes, Kant, and Shaftesbury are considered. Conducted in French.
Instruction includes grammar drills, review of reading, communication practice, guided composition, and language lab exercises. The course develops listening comprehension, speaking proficiency and reading and writing skills. Reading furnishes insights into many aspects of German civilization and culture, conveying what life is like in German-speaking countries today. This course is for students with little or no previous instruction in German.
For students with varied backgrounds in German whose proficiency is not on the level of German 201. While the emphasis is on a complete review of elementary grammar, all four language skills (speaking, comprehension, reading, and writing), as well as cultural proficiency, are also honed. Speaking and vocabulary exercises are combined with conversational practice, reading, writing simple compositions, and the dramatization of modern German texts. This accelerated course covers three semesters’ worth of material and allows students to continue to German 202.
Kafka: Prague, Politics, and the Fin de Siècle
German 199 / Literature 199
This course covers Kafka’s shorter fiction (fragments, parables, sketches) and longer tales (“The Metamorphosis” and “The Judgment”). Students also examine the novels The Trial and The Man Who Disappeared (Amerika), and excerpts from his diaries and letters. Conducted in English; students with an advanced proficiency in German can read selections in the original for extra credit.
Designed to deepen the proficiency gained in German 101 and 102, this course increases students’ fluency in speaking, reading, and writing, and adds significantly to their working vocabulary. Readings include selected 20th-century literary texts, such as Kafka’s Die Verwandlung, supplemented by audiovisual materials.
This course enables students with little or no previous experience in German to complete two years of college German within five months. Students take 15 class hours per week during the semester at Bard and 20 hours per week during a June study term in Germany.
German Operas and Ideas
A survey of German intellectual history from the Enlightenment to modernism and beyond, through the study of major operas and the literary works that spawned some of them. Operas: The Magic Flute, Fidelio, Der Freischütz, The Flying Dutchman, Salome, Wozzeck, Threepenny Opera, Der Prinz von Homburg, and Die Soldaten. Literary works: Die Soldaten, Prinz Friedrich von Homburg, Aus den Memoiren des Herren von Schnabelewopski, and Woyzeck.
Secularization and Its Discontents: Goethe, Schiller, Heine
See Literature 248 for full a course description.
The Beheaded Angel: Postwar German Literature in Translation
An examination of developments in German literature following World War II. Topics include various ways that writers and film directors of the period dealt with the historical atrocities of the war, issues attached to the guilt and suffering of the Holocaust, increased industrialization brought on by the German “economic miracle” of the 1950s, and the separation of the two Germanys. Writers discussed include Grass, Böll, Bachmann, Celan, Dürrenmatt, Köppen, and Wolf. Films by Fassbinder, Schlöndorff, and Wenders are also considered.
Students do close readings of selected tales, with a focus on language, plot, motif, image, and relation to folklore. The study includes critical examination and the application of major theoretical approaches: Freudian, Jungian, Marxist, and feminist.
Writing Freedom: German Literature after 1700
This course introduces the undisputed greats of German literature—Kant, Goethe, Nietzsche, Kafka—while developing students’ reading proficiency and interpretive techniques. It is strongly recommended for prospective German studies majors. Authors may also include Lessing, Schiller, Lenz, Kleist, Eichendorff, Heine, and Mann. Primary texts and class discussion in German. Prerequisite: German 202 or equivalent.
German Drama and Capitalism
In the 1750s, as a new middle class began to emerge throughout Europe, the genre of drama and the institution of theater began to assume an unprecedented importance in German literature, philosophy, and society. This course seeks to understand why and how this happened. Why did Lessing, Goethe, and Schiller believe that their audiences needed the theater to understand themselves as “human beings” and to develop as autonomous agents? Readings from Lenz, Kleist, Hofmannsthal, Brecht, Toller, Müller, others. Conducted in German.
German Poetry: Goethe to Celan
An introduction to the pleasures and challenges of German poetry. Students read exemplary works by the most important German poets of the last three centuries, including Goethe, Schiller, Hölderlin, Brentano, Heine, Rilke, Hofmannsthal, George, and Celan. While focusing closely on the formal features of each poem, students explore how the poem engages with the major philosophical shifts and historical catastrophes of the times. Conducted in German.
Modern German Short Prose
A survey of novellen, erzählungen, parables, and other short forms of mainly 20th-century prose. Students combine detailed literary analysis with an examination of social/political/historical contexts. Readings include works by Kafka, Musil, Mann, Walser, von Kleist, Jeremias Gotthelf, Benjamin, Hans Erich Nossack, Ingeborg Bachmann, Frisch, Dürrenmatt, Ilse Aichinger, Jenny Erpenbeck, Thomas Bernhard, Handke, and Yoko Tawada. Conducted in German.
“Exit Metaphysics, Enter Sauerkraut”: 19th-Century German Literature
“Exit metaphysics, enter sauerkraut” alludes to the experience of many 19th-century German intellectuals and writers: awareness of the loss of security that idealistic philosophy had provided and an attempt to find new absolutes. This course focuses on the evolution of this experience as manifested in literature. Close readings are made of works by Nestroy, Grillparzer, Grabbe, Hebbel, Heine, Mörike, Droste-Hülshoff, Keller, Stifter, Fontane, C. F. Meyer, Schnitzler, Hauptmann, and Wedekind. Conducted in German.
The Experience of the Foreign in German Literature
cross-listed: human rights
This course examines representations of foreignness in modern German literature and opera (Lessing, Mozart, Novalis, Heine, Kafka, Frisch); in contemporary films (Bohm, Fassbinder, Akin); and in works of non-native Germans writing in Germany today (Tawada, Ören, Özdamar, Schami). Issues addressed include multiculturalism, homogeneity, and xenophobia. Conducted in German.
Schauerliteratur: The German Gothic and Its Obsession,br /> with Artificial Life
While focusing on Gustav Meyrink’s 1915 novel The Golem, this course considers “monsters” before and after Meyrink. Starting with Goethe’s hubristic creators, the class moves on to the Romantic doppelgänger and finishes with Paul Wegener’s silent Golem films and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. Embedding the German “Gothic” in its historical contexts allows students to explore such issues as Romanticism’s critique of the Enlightenment, theories of the sublime, and anti-Semitism and the rise of Fascism. Conducted in German.
Culture and Society in Weimar Germany
A critical exploration of German literature, theater, visual arts, architecture, and film in the period from 1918 to 1933. The Weimar Republic witnessed the emergence of a distinctive brand of modernism, characterized by an unprecedented openness to mass culture and to new technologies of reproduction. Students analyze works of literature and art in their relation to the rapid technological and social modernization that shaped the period, and to the sociopolitical conflicts to which this process gave rise.
The Student Movement and the Neo-Avant-Garde in 1960s Germany
An interdisciplinary examination of the aesthetic and intellectual shifts that transformed West German cultural and political life in the years leading up to the student rebellion of 1968. Topics include experimental poetry (“Wiener Gruppe,” Enzensberger); theater and antitheater (Handke, Weiss); “New German Cinema” (Fassbinder, Kluge); visual art (Beuys, Fluxus, Pop, Capitalist Realism); and pronouncements and manifestos of the student movement (Dutschke, Baumann, Gruppe SPUR). Conducted in German.
See Jewish Studies.
This course enables students with little or no previous knowledge of Italian to complete three semesters of college Italian in five months: 8 credits at Bard and 4 in Italy, where students continue daily intensive study of the language and culture while living with Italian families. The course methodology is based on a communicative approach, which includes grammar drills, guided compositions, oral practice, role-playing, and readings and analysis of authentic material.
Designed for the student with some prior exposure to Italian or excellent command of another Romance language. Classes cover the major aspects of grammar and provide intensive practice in speaking, comprehension, reading, and writing. The course concludes with one month of study in Italy.
Accelerated Italian II
This course, open to students who have completed Italian 110 and the interterm program in Italy, continues to cover the major topics of grammar through intensive practice in speaking, comprehension, reading, and writing. Students are required to attend a weekly session with the foreign language tutor, in order to practice oral skills.
Intermediate Italian I, II
This course, for students who have completed the equivalent of one year of college Italian, continues practice in writing and conversation. Students engage in discussion and must complete compositions and oral reports based on Italian literary texts and cultural material.
An introduction to the world and work of Dante Alighieri, the so-called “founder of all modern poetry.” Through a close reading of the entire Divine Comedy, the class considers such issues as the phenomenology of poetic inspiration, medieval theories of gender, Dante’s relationship with the literary ghosts Virgil and Cavalcanti, the sources and shapes of the human soul, and how the weight of love (pondus amoris) can save this same soul. Readings include some of Dante’s other works.
The History of Italian Theater
Italian 230 / Theater 230
An overview of Italian theater from the Renaissance to today. Plays of Commedia dell’Arte, Goldoni, Pirandello, De Filippo, Fo, and Maraini are studied within their historical, social, and aesthetic contexts. Readings/course work in English; students have the option of doing work in Italian with the instructor’s approval.
Italian Cinema in the New Millennium
cross-listed: film and electronic arts
There has been a resurgence of Italian cinema in recent years, especially in films about the cultural changes created by waves of immigration from Asia, Northern Africa, and Eastern Europe. This course focuses on contemporary Italian films, including Il Divo (Sorrentino), Best of Youth (Giordana), and I’m Not Scared (Salvatores). Conducted in Italian.
The History of Italian Cinema
cross-listed: film and electronic arts
This survey course, taught in Italian, examines the evolution of Italian cinema from its inception to the present. Featured directors include Rossellini, De Sica, Visconti, Fellini, Bertolucci, Antonioni, Scola, Wertmüller, Pasolini, and Salvatores. Readings are selected from film theory and criticism, screenplays, interviews, and Italian historical and literary texts. Prerequisite: one 200-level course in Italian or permission of the instructor.
Origins of Italian Literature
Early Italian poets sought to redefine love and distinguish the array of nuances within it. This course examines the various permutations of the concept of love from the medieval to the early modern age. Authors include Lentini, Cavalcanti, Guinizelli, Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch, Ficino, Ariosto, Bembo, Machiavelli, Aretino, Franco, Michelangelo, Stampa, Patrizi, Bruno, Marino, Pallavicino, and Casanova. Taught in Italian with critical readings in Italian and English.
New Voices in Contemporary Italian Literature
This writing-intensive course examines the new reality of Italy as a nation with a significant population of immigrants. Focusing on the evolving meaning of cultural identity in Italy today, students read short stories by Amara Lakhous, Laila Wadia, Gabriella Ghermandi, and Igiaba Scego; and screen the films Lezioni di cioccolato and Io e l’altro. Topics investigated: social integration, national identity, politics, religion, and the plurality of Italian society.
The Fantastic Tale
Fantastic fiction, said Italo Calvino, “meditates on the nightmares and hidden places of contemporary man.” This course discusses this seminal idea through a reading of short stories by Italian authors including Pirandello, Calvino, Eco, Ortese, and Tabucchi. Topics include the inherently subversive nature of the fantastic, the link between fantastic texts and politics, and the theoretical debate about the fantastic in critics such as Freud and Todorov. In English.
The Novel and the Opera: Manzoni’s Betrothed and Verdi’s Operas
Alessandro Manzoni’s I promessi sposi (The Betrothed), a panoramic fresco of Italy during the great plague of 1631, is regarded as the greatest Italian novel of the 19th century. Giuseppe Verdi drew direct and indirect inspiration from Manzoni’s work, and he dedicated his towering Requiem to Manzoni’s memory. Students read the novel, exploring the historical circumstances depicted and the parallels with Verdi’s operas, especially La forza del destino. All course work in English.
Beginning Japanese I, II
This two-semester sequence introduces the fundamentals of modern Japanese. Students systematically develop listening, speaking, writing, and reading abilities. Because fluency in Japanese requires sensitivity to the social setting in which one is speaking, the course also provides an introduction to fundamental aspects of daily life and culture in contemporary Japan.
Intermediate Japanese I-II
This course accelerates the learning of characters begun in Japanese 101-102 and introduces more complex grammatical patterns and expressions, to refine students’ mastery of reading, speaking, writing, and listening. Study includes intensive grammar review and practice of idiomatic expressions. Conducted in Japanese. Prerequisite: Japanese 102 or the equivalent.
Modern Japanese Literature
An introduction to Japan’s most recognized writers, literary movements, and aesthetic trends. Topics covered include late 19th-century melodrama (Ozaki Koyo), early 20th-century naturalist and realist fiction (Mori Ogai, Natsume Soseki), modernist fiction and poetry (Miyazawa Kenji, Kawabata Yasunari), colonial writings, early postwar literature (Ooka Shohei, Dazai Osamu), feminist writers (Hayashi Fumiko, Tomioka Taeko, Tawada Yoko), and recent popular trends (detective fiction, cell phone and graphic novels). Conducted in English.
Advanced Japanese I
The course introduces more complex grammatical structures, especially those common to written material, and accelerates character acquisition and advanced vocabulary. Students learn the fundamentals of dictionary use and acquire the skills necessary for speed-reading and accurate composition of written material. Conducted in Japanese. Prerequisite: Japanese 202 or the equivalent.
Advanced Japanese II
Students deepen their reading skills and engage in essay-writing exercises and formal oral presentations. Materials are selected on the basis of student interest and include newspaper articles, handwritten letters, popular songs, haiku, and selections from films.
Advanced Readings in Japanese Culture
The course introduces increasingly complex grammatical patterns, further accelerates the acquisition of characters and advanced vocabulary, and aids in the transition to a more sophisticated use of speech patterns and politeness levels. Students hone their speaking skills through debate, public speaking, and personal interviews. The composition of advanced written material is also emphasized. Prerequisite: Japanese 302 or the equivalent.
Soseki: Authorship Text and the Question of Non-Western Modernity
The works of writer and literary critic Natsume Soseki (1867–1916) offer a window onto a formative period in the evolution of Japanese literature and a critical moment in Japan’s social history. Working through Soseki’s major novels and essays, students address a larger set of questions and themes relating to authorship, the relation of literary text to history, and the possibilities for imagining a non-Western mode of modernity. All readings in English.
For a description of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Smolny College) and the Bard–St. Petersburg State University exchange program, see “International Programs and Study Abroad.”
An introduction to the fundamentals of the spoken and written language as well as Russian culture. Creative expression is encouraged through autobiographical and fictional compositions. In addition to regular class meetings, students are required to attend a weekly tutorial.
This course is for students who have completed Russian 101 and those who have had the equivalent of one semester of Russian at Bard or at another institution. It culminates in a June program in St. Petersburg that includes 24 hours a week of Russian-language classes. Successful completion of this program qualifies the student to pursue study at Smolny College.
Continuing Russian I
Students increase their oral proficiency by expanding their vocabulary and studying the syntax of complex Russian sentences and grammatical nuances. They develop reading and viewing strategies appropriate to a variety of texts (literature, poetry, and newspapers) and Russian television and film. They keep a weekly diary, write short essays on numerous topics, and do audiovisual work in the language laboratory. Conducted in Russian.
Continuing Russian II
Students continue refining and engaging their practice of speaking, reading, and writing Russian. Advanced grammar topics are addressed through a variety of texts and contexts, with emphasis on literary analysis and the modern press. The course is structured around a semesterlong group project that provides an opportunity to research aspects of modern Russian culture; build a Web design dictionary; and analyze and present findings in a collaborative creative effort, such as a play, news broadcast, or newspaper.
An Appointment with Dr. Chekhov
While studying to become a doctor at Moscow University, Chekhov began writing in order to earn money. Students analyze how his “general theory of objectivity” had an impact on his writing and how his “treatment” of human nature and social issues brought an entirely new dimension to Russian literature. Readings include Chekhov’s prose, plays, and letters.
Students increase oral proficiency and develop reading strategies appropriate to the widest variety of written texts, including artistic literature, poetry, and newspapers. Study includes vocabulary, syntax of the complex Russian sentence, and grammatical nuances. Students write essays on a variety of topics and study audiovisual materials in the language laboratory. In Russian.
Advanced Russian through Reading and Writing
Designed for students with at least two years of Russian language study and for heritage speakers who want to practice reading and speaking Russian. A variety of written and oral exercises serve to improve students’ grammar, morphology, and syntax; narrative and conceptual proficiency is enhanced through readings of selected texts by leading Russian writers, including Chekhov, Pushkin, and Dostoevsky. Writing in Russian is an important part of the course.
Body, Mind, and Spirit in Dostoevsky
An exploration of Dostoevsky’s multifaceted world. Particular attention is paid to the way the writer experiments with the themes of body and sexuality, intellectual pursuit and philosophy, spiritual quest and religion. Readings include “Bobok,” “A Gentle Creature,” Notes from Underground, Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Brothers Karamazov; letters and excerpts from A Diary of a Writer; and major critical and theoretical writings. In English.
Translation: Russian to English
This practical and theoretical course consists of regular weekly reading and translation of a variety of literary texts. Students also work on an independent project throughout the semester. Texts include short stories and poems by Bunin, Chekhov, Babel, Tolstaya, Dovlatov, Akhmatova, Pasternak, and others.
A historical study of Russian versification—the technical aspects of poetry, structural analysis of poetic texts, and translation of selected poems. Poets studied include Pushkin, Lermontov, Baratynsky, Tyutchev, Fet, Blok, Akhmatova, Mandelstam, Tsvetaeva, Tarkovsky, Pasternak, Mayakovsky, Brodsky, and Rein. In Russian.
Basic Intensive Spanish
This course enables students with little or no previous knowledge of Spanish to complete three semesters of college Spanish in five months (8 credits at Bard and 4 credits in Mexico). Students attend eight hours of class per week, plus two hours with a Spanish tutor. Oral communication and reading and writing skills are developed through a variety of approaches. Admission is by permission of the instructor.
Accelerated First-Year Spanish
This course, designed for the student with prior exposure to Spanish or command of another Romance language, covers major topics in grammar with intensive practice in speaking, comprehension, reading, and writing. Practice with a Spanish tutor and work in the language lab are required. The course prepares students for summer language programs abroad or Spanish 201. Admission by permission of the instructor.
Intermediate Spanish I
This course is designed to perfect the command of all four language skills (speaking, comprehension, reading, writing) through intensive grammar review, conversation practice, reading of modern Spanish texts, writing simple compositions, and language lab work. Prerequisites: Spanish 106 or 110 or the equivalent, and permission of the instructor.
Intermediate Spanish II
This course continues to refine the student’s mastery of speaking, reading, comprehension, and writing. Advanced study of grammar is supplemented with a video series and reading on a variety of topics related to Spanish and Latin American history, literature, music, and art. Reading includes excerpts from Don Quijote, indigenous Mexican poetry, and a short modern novel. Prerequisite: Spanish 201 or permission of the instructor.
Spanish for Heritage Speakers
This course is for students who have been exposed to Spanish at home and wish to achieve confidence in speaking, writing, and reading the language. Emphasis is placed on written composition, accelerated grammar review, and the discussion of issues pertinent to Hispanic cultures. Admission is by permission of the instructor.
Hispanic Presence in the United States
cross-listed: human rights
This multidisciplinary course provides an in-depth study of historical, social, political, legal, and linguistic issues surrounding the Hispanic presence in the United States. It also gives advanced Spanish students an opportunity to utilize and improve their communication skills and broaden their cultural perspectives. Conducted in Spanish and English. Prerequisites: at least one year of college-level Spanish and permission of the instructor.
Literature, Film, and Theater in Spain’s Transition to Democracy
Thirty years after the events that led Spain to a democratic form of government, politicians are still praised as the agents of change. However, playwrights, novelists, filmmakers, and artists paved the way. This course explores how the transition is perceived in Spain today and analyzes films and dramas produced during those years by Pedro Almodóvar, Víctor Erice, José Luis Alonso de Santos, and Fernando Fernán Gómez. Topics include censorship, sexual liberation, urban culture, women and workers’ rights, and collective memory. In Spanish.
The Moral of the Story
The tension between didactic and aesthetic imperatives provides this course with a framework with which to examine a wide range of short stories and think about the function of art in general. Writers studied include Don Juan Manuel, Miguel de Cervantes, Mariano José de Larra, Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, Emilia Pardo Bazán, Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, Pío Baroja, Ignacio Aldecoa, and Ana María Matute.
Representations of the Spanish Civil War
cross-listed: human rights, lais
This course reviews representations of the Spanish Civil War in literature, art, and film since its outbreak in 1936. Topics include how the war has been thematized by exiles (Ayala, Aub) and contemporary novelists (Rivas, Méndez), and how theater (Sanchis Sinisterra, Alberti) and film (Erice’s The Spirit of the Beehive and Del Toro’s Devil’s Backbone) have used the motif of haunting as an allegory of the past. International reactions to the war by Orwell, Hemingway, Malraux, Neruda, and Vallejo are also addressed. In English.
Testimonies of Latin America: Perspectives from the Margins
cross-listed: gss, human rights
Students engage critically with texts that serve as a public forum for voices often silenced in the past. Some of the questions discussed are: How best to represent memories of violence and pain? What are the ultimate effects of mediations of the written word, translations to hegemonic languages, and interventions of well-intentioned intellectuals? The course integrates diaries, testimonial narratives, and films that portray the issues and time periods documented in them.
Introduction to Literary Analysis
This course, designed to bridge Spanish language classes and 300-level seminars on literature and culture from Spain and Latin America, is primarily engaged with four literary genres: poetry, narrative, drama, and essays. Works studied span the vast historical period from the Middle Ages to contemporary times, but the focus is on acquiring the basic skills for literary analysis. Conducted in Spanish.
Introduction to Spanish Literature
An introduction to Spanish literature through a variety of genres, including poetry, short stories, novels, dramas, and essays, from the 11th through the 20th century. Students read texts closely, in the original language, and also explore music, painting, and sculpture. Writers include Gonzalo de Berceo, Miguel de Cervantes, Teresa de Jesús, Lope de Vega, Benito Pérez Galdós, Ramón del Valle-Inclán, and Federico García Lorca, among others. Conducted in Spanish.
Introduction to Latin American Literature
This writing-intensive course covers a broad historical range, presents all literary genres, and prepares students for more advanced and specialized courses in Hispanic literature. Critical skills, both verbal and written, are developed. Students spend an hour a week in a writing lab, and regular short writing assignments are required. Conducted in Spanish.
Five Latin American Poets
A study of works by Pablo Neruda (Chile), César Vallejo (Peru), Octavio Paz (Mexico), Nicolás Guillén (Cuba), and Alejandra Pizarnik (Argentina). Outside readings orient students to the historical, social, and political contexts in which these writers worked.
Introduction to Latin American Poetry
This course traces the development of poetry in Latin America from the colonial period to the present day. Certain early figures, such as Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (Mexico), are examined in depth, but the majority of the course focuses on 20th-century poetry—from the work of José Martí (Cuba) to that of Alejandra Pizarnik (Argentina). Class discussions also attempt to locate those texts within historical, social, and political contexts. Conducted in Spanish.
20th-Century Mexican Literature
This writing-intensive course begins with the novel of the Mexican Revolution, ends with contemporary poetry, and includes short stories, essays, drama, and certain works of art and music. The common thread is the notion of La Mexicanidad, or authentic “Mexican-ness.” Students spend an hour a week in a writing lab, learning to develop, compose, organize, revise, and edit analytical prose. Conducted in Spanish (writing lab in English). Prerequisite: Spanish 301 or 302, or permission of instructor.
The 20th-Century Latin American Novel
Spanish 323 / Literature 323
With the publication of works such as Julio Cortázar’s Rayuela (1963) and Gabriel García Márquez’s Cien años de soledad (1967), the Latin American novel achieved an international reputation and readership. This course begins by analyzing several novels of the “boom” period and then moves to selected later novels, examining the relationship of these works to theoretical articulations of postmodernism and feminism. Authors: Allende, Arenas, Asturias, Carpentier, Cortázar, Ferré, Fuentes, García Márquez, Peri Rossi, Puig, Skármeta, and Valenzuela.
Introduction to Central American Literature
Students read a selection of 20th-century authors from this region and explore aesthetic and ideological concerns within the violent political and historical context that often becomes a theme in Central American fiction. Authors studied include Miguel Ángel Asturias, Gioconda Belli, Roque Dalton, Tatiana Lobo, and Sergio Ramírez. Conducted in Spanish. Prerequisites: Spanish 301 or 302, and permission of the instructor.
Love, Honor, and Power in the Spanish Drama
This course takes its title from Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s Amor, honor, y poder, a title that summarizes some of the most urgent concerns of Spain’s early modern period. How did the leading playwrights of the day use the stage to reenact the anxieties and fantasies of their society? Why did the theater enjoy unprecedented success at a moment of national crisis? These questions are explored in works by Calderón de la Barca, Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina, Juan Ruiz de Alarcón, and others.
Mayan Identities: Negotiating Tradition and Modernity
cross-listed: anthropology, human rights
What does it mean to be Maya today and what has it meant in the past? Using materials from Guatemala and southern Mexico, this course approaches this question from many different angles, drawing from the fields of literature, anthropology, and history. Students read selections from precolonial texts, such as the Popol Vuh or Rabinal Achi, and contemporary Mayan novels, poetry, and testimonies. In English.
Through Spanish Eyes: Recent and Past Cinema from Spain
An examination of a selection of films from 1929—the year in which Buñuel made Un chien andalou—to the present. Special attention is given to the historical and cultural frameworks of these films, particularly to the period of the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s subsequent dictatorship. Conducted in Spanish.
Contemporary Spain: Literature, Film, and Culture
How do novels and films deal with immigration? How is domestic and international terrorism represented in fictional works? Why does the Spanish Civil War and Francoism still shape public debate? This seminar explores these and other current issues through literary and cultural production. Texts include Marsé’s El amante bilingüe, Pedrero’s Ana el once de marzo, Nini’s Diario de un ilegal, recent scholarship on cultural analysis, newspapers, photographic works, and documentary and feature films.
Spanish Literary Translation
The focus of this course, designed for students who have completed at least two years of college Spanish, is theoretical texts on translation. Students first translate brief texts from genres selected by the instructor and then choose texts to translate. The goal is to encourage thoughtful examination of literary language across linguistic and cultural boundaries. Conducted primarily in Spanish. Prerequisites: thorough knowledge of Spanish grammar, broad vocabulary in Spanish, and permission of the instructor.
Writing Toward Hope: The Literature of Human Rights in Latin America
cross-listed: human rights
Based on Marjorie Agosín’s anthology of the same title, this seminar considers the regenerative power of language after the experience of traumatic historical and political events in Latin America. Among the authors read are Timerman, Arenas, Velenzuela, and Alegría. Conducted in Spanish. Prerequisites: Spanish 301 or 302, and permission of the instructor.