Bard College Catalogue 2013-14
Foreign Languages, Cultures, and Literatures
Nicole Caso (director) and Stephanie Kufner (coordinator), Anna Cafaro, Odile S. Chilton, Robert L. Cioffi, Lauren Curtis, Carolyn Dewald, Mika Endo, Diego Soto Hernando, Elizabeth N. Holt, Yu-Yin Hsu, Franz R. Kempf, Marina Kostalevsky, Patricia López-Gay, Joseph Luzzi, Oleg Minin, Amir Moosavi, William Mullen, Melanie Nicholson, Dina Ramadan, James Romm, Nathan Shockey, Eric Trudel, Marina van Zuylen, Olga Voronina, Sara Pankenier Weld, Thomas Wild, Li-Hua Ying
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.
Recent Senior Projects
- “Allers et Retour Littéraires: Franco-Chinese Literary Connections from Voltaire to Gao Xingiian”
- “Euripides’ Ion: Threads of Self in the Web of the Cosmos
- ““The Homecoming,” a translation of the play Il Ritorno by contemporary Italian playwright Sergio Pierattin
- “Translation of Bernard Werber’s Nos amis les Humains”
- “Un libro más justiciero: Violeta Parra’s Political Mysticism,” a translation and analysis of Parra’s sung poetry
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. 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.
Representations of Tibet
Chinese 205 / Literature 205
See Literature 205 for a full course description.
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
These courses are 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 Fantastic 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.
China in Film and Literature I, II
Chinese 403, 404
An exploration—through screenings, lectures, and discussions—of such topics as 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.
The Odyssey of Homer
Classics 125 / Literature 125
See Literature 125 for a full description.
The Iliad of Homer
Classics 145 / Literature 145
See Literature 145 for a full description.
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.
Life and Literature in the Late Roman Republic
cross-listed: human rights, literature
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 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.
Life and Literature in the Age of Augustus
cross-listed: human rights, literature
An exploration of the Age of Augustus in Rome as represented in the period’s literature. Readings, all in English translation, are drawn from poets including Virgil (epic), Horace (lyric), and Ovid (elegy and epic), and from prose authors including Livy and Tacitus (historiography), Suetonius (biography), and the emperor himself (autobiography).
An introduction to selected myths of ancient Greece and Rome, through texts in a variety of genres—epic, lyric, dramatic, and ancient prose summaries. Readings, all in English, are largely of primary texts from Greek and Roman literature, with occasional texts for comparison from the Indo-European (Sanskrit, Norse, Irish) and Near Eastern (primarily Egyptian and Mesopotamian) civilizations. Along the way, the class examines various theoretical approaches to myth—psychological, ritual, structuralist, ideological, catastrophist, and environmentalist.
Greek Choral Poetry
Some of the most gorgeous and profound poetry of the West was devised by those Greek poets who composed their odes to be performed by choruses singing and dancing to the intricate rhythms dictated by the ode’s words. This course surveys, in English, works of the principal choral poets, with a particular focus on their myths, their wisdom, and their performance.
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.
This course covers a temporal span from roughly the 7th century b.c.e. 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.
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.
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
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.
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; Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida; Dante’s Inferno; Fénelon’s Télémaque; Walcott’s Omeros; and selections from the poetry of Tennyson, Cavafy, Glück, and others.
Socrates: Man, Myth, Monster
Classics 325 / Literature 325
See Literature 325 for a full course description.
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: The Historian and the Dramatist
Readings include early portions of text by Herodotus that explore causes for the Persian Wars of 481–479 b.c.e. Students continue reading Euripides’ Alcestis and explore the ways in which Herodotus and Euripides were both important participants in the Greek Enlightenment. Grammar, syntax, and morphology are reviewed throughout the semester. Prerequisite: one year of classical Greek.
Euripides’ last tragedy—and greatest masterpiece—was named after its choruses of women followers of Dionysos, god not only of wine but also of transformation and theater. Students read the entire play, with attention to the meters of the speaking parts and choruses, and to the interplay between metrical pattern and sense in each line. Also considered is the word order peculiar to Greek poetry and the challenging word order of the choral odes.
A continuation of Greek 201 and 202.
This two-semester sequence is designed to bring students with no prior knowledge of Latin to the level of reading ancient poetry and prose. The first semester focuses on grammatical exercises and drills, but the class gradually works toward reading short selections from classical Roman and medieval literature.
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: Caesar, Catullus, Lucretius
This course builds reading proficiency by focusing on the prose and poetry of the Late Republican period. Grammar drills and review accompany selections from the three great stylists of the ’60s and ’50s b.c.e. Students with high school Latin are welcome to enroll but should consult with the instructor.
Intermediate Latin II: Virgil
In this close study of Virgil, students read substantial portions of the poems—Eclogues, Georgics, Aeneid—in Latin and all of the poems in English. The goals are to solidify knowledge of vocabulary, morphology, and syntax; develop fluency in reading Latin, especially poetry; and consider, from a variety of critical perspectives, aesthetic and thematic questions raised by the poems. Prerequisite: successful completion of Latin 201 or permission of the instructor.
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: Horace
The class reads samples of all four genres Horace chose to work in at successive phases of his literary life, beginning with the epodes and satires, then moving on to the odes and one or two of the great final epistles. Attention is paid to the poet’s positioning of his own persona against chosen Greek predecessors, notably Alcaeus in lyric poetry, and to the variety of masterful English translations of Horace from Elizabethan times to the present.
Advanced Latin II: Ovid
A survey and close study of Ovid, keeping in mind questions about literary history and intertextuality. The class reads from all of Ovid’s works both in Latin and in English translation. Texts also include selections from authors invoked by Ovid, above all Virgil, whose poetry he knew intimately. Time permitting, moments in Ovid’s afterlife in Western literature (e.g., his influence on Shakespeare) are also considered. Prerequisite: successful completion of Latin 301 or permission of instructor
Sanskrit I, II
Classics 140, 141 / Religion 140, 141
See Religion 140 and 141 for course descriptions.
Basic Intensive French
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.
Introduction to French Thought: From Montaigne to Deleuze
This course traces the major intellectual conflicts that have shaped la pensée française from Montaigne to Deleuze. Authors are often paired to encourage students to think dialectically on topics such as humanism/antihumanism (Montaigne and Rabelais), the mind/body question (Descartes and Racine), enlightenment/antienlightenment (Voltaire and Rousseau), the French Revolution (Sieyès and Olympe de Gouge), Romanticism (Sand and Madame de Staël), modernity and its enemies (Baudelaire and Haussmann), and literature and science (Balzac and Zola), among others. In French.
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.
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.
Reading for the Plot
While many 19th-century French novelists welcomed the feuilleton format (publishing their novels in cliff-hanging installments), they resisted the public’s demand that they surrender stylistic experimentation for plot and aestheticism for entertainment. This conflict figures prominently in the novels studied in the course: Balzac’s Illusions perdues, Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Zola’s L’Oeuvre, and Huysmans’ A Rebours. Readings also include secondary material about plot, resistance to pleasure in art, and mimesis. 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.
The Invention of the Avant-Garde in France
A good deal of the modern history of French literature, from Arthur Rimbaud in the late 19th century to Guy Debord and the Situationists in the 1960s, seems inseparable from that of the “avant-garde” and its repeated radical attempts to embrace the “new” and, as Rimbaud famously put it, to “change life.” This course traces the genealogy of this notion and sketches the history of its burning ambition. Taught in French, with secondary readings in English.
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. In English.
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.
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 through Film
This interdisciplinary course explores 100 years of German history, language, and culture through the lens of contemporary German film. Films, essays, poetry, and manifestos provide a road map through the century between World War I and reunification. Directors and writers considered: Fassbinder, Wenders, Akin, Fischer, Hofmannsthal, Döblin, and Enzensberger. Prerequisite: German 202 or the equivalent.
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.
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.
Correspondences: Figures of Writing
“One alone is always wrong; but with two involved, the truth begins,” reads an aphorism by Friedrich Nietzsche. He also proposes an alternative mode of thinking and writing to the isolated genius: creative collaboration. This seminar explores several such creative collaborations: Hannah Arendt and Hilde Domin, Bertolt Brecht and Walter Benjamin, Paul Celan and Ingeborg Bachmann. Canonical writings of modern literary criticism are also explored, as are materials from the Stevenson Library’s Hannah Arendt Collection.
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 intersession program in Italy, continues to cover the major topics of grammar through intensive practice in speaking, comprehension, reading, and writing.
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.
Food, Art, and Identity
Employing a multidisciplinary approach in a variety of media, the course invites students to consider such issues as the intimate relationships between food and territory, food and cultural expression, and the role that food played—and still plays—in shaping the Italian identity. Topics discussed include the slow food manifesto and its politics in relation to globalization and localization, food as a means of interaction among immigrants and locals, and the construction of new identities in today’s multicultural Italy. Taught in Italian.
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.
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.
This course is intended to improve students’ command of spoken and written Italian as well as to examine the complexity of contemporary Italian society. Topics such as immigration, intergenerational relationships, and identity are analyzed through works of fiction, movies, and magazine articles. Students read works by new Italian writers and first- and second-generation artists, such as Ghermandi and Lakhous, and write on a regular basis. Prerequisite: two years of Italian or equivalent.
Italian 3205 / Literature 3205
See Literature 3205 for a course description.
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.
Asian Humanities Seminar
An introduction to a number of canonical literary, philosophical, and religious texts from China, India, and Japan. Readings span more than 2000 years, from the 4th century b.c.e. to the 18th century; across this broad reach of time and space, the seminar explores how these works formulate conceptions of self, society, and the good life. The focus is on direct engagement with these major texts, with the aim of developing students’ understanding of the diversity of world thought and literature.
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, 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. 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 Japanese III
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.
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.
For students who have completed Russian 101 (or the equivalent). The course culminates in a June program in St. Petersburg that includes 24 hours a week of Russian-language classes. Successful completion of the course qualifies the student to pursue study at the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences of St. Petersburg State University (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.
Dramatic Difference: Russia and Its Theater
cross-listed: theater and performance
This course examines the evolution of Russian dramaturgy in connection with parallel developments in literature and theater. Special attention is paid to issues of genre and style, tradition and innovation, criticism and theory. Readings include plays by Fonvizin, Griboedov, Gogol, Pushkin, Ostrovsky, Chekhov, Bulgakov, Mayakovsky, Erdman, and Petrushevskaia, and theoretical texts by Stanislavsky, Meyerhold, and Mikhail Chekhov. In English.
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.
Detskii mir / A Child’s World
This course consists of reading, discussion, and lexical analysis of Russian literature for and about children. In addition to fairy tales, texts include works by Pushkin, Odoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Sologub, Mayakovsky, Chukovsky, Kharms, Marshak, and Zakhoder. 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 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.
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.
Travelers, Gypsies, and Tricksters: 19th-Century Spain
Many 19th-century travelers and writers, such as Prosper Merimée, Théophile Gautier, and Richard Ford, imagined a nation of gypsies and tricksters attached to Spain’s Moorish past, but this image also made its way into texts by Spanish writers (Zorrilla’s Don Juan Tenorio) and the European imaginary (Bizet’s Carmen). The course explores stereotypical representations of Spain in the second half of the 19th century and the ways in which the representations became an obstacle to modernization.
Latin American Short Narrative
This course traces the development of brief narrative forms from the Modernista period at the beginning of the 20th century to the present. Texts include the prose vignettes of Juan José Arreola; the ficciones of Jorge Luis Borges; short novels by Juan Rulfo and Elena Poniatowska; works by Horacio Quiroga, Ernesto Sábato, Julio Cortázar, Gabriel García Marquez, Ana Lydia Vega, and Rosario Castellanos; and relevant critical, historical, and cultural texts.
Buñuel, Saura, Almodóvar: Spanish Auteurs
Spanish 234 / Film 234
This course considers the filmography of directors who have borne the “auteur” label, within Spanish and transnational cinema. Students explore how “auteuristic” cinema has been used to brand Spanish films and study stylistic features associated with each auteur. Topics include fetishism and dream sequences (Buñuel), opposition to Francoism (Saura), and the language of melodrama (Almodóvar). Lesser-known auteurs such as Luis García Berlanga, Víctor Erice, and Isabel Coixet are also discussed. Conducted in English.
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.
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 literatures and cultures from the Middle Ages to the 21st century, organized around the topic of food and famine. Texts include Don Quijote, Lazarillo, Galdós’s Torquemada novellas, Lope de Vega’s Fuenteovejuna, García Lorca’s Bodas de sangre, and contemporary works that reflect on the effects of food shortage in post–Civil War literature (Laforet), eating out (Vázquez Montalbán, Gil de Biedma), and ties between food and national identity in Spanish, Basque, Galician, and Catalan cultures (Atxaga, Cunqueiro).
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.
Federico García Lorca
Poet, playwright, stage director, screenwriter, musician, and painter, García Lorca is also a symbol of resistance to Francoist repression and an icon for gay and left-wing activists. This course studies Lorca’s poetic and dramatic production, from the texts closest to realism, such as the Romancero gitano and Bodas de sangre, to the surrealist Poeta en Nueva York and El público. Conducted in Spanish. Prerequisites: Spanish 301 and 302, or by permission of the 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 explore aesthetic and ideological concerns within the violent political and historical context that is often 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.
Mapping the City in Latin American Literature
Latin American cities have often imitated and rearticulated received codes from abroad, based on local particularities. This course explores 20th-century texts that address the tensions that arise in the process of modernization, with a focus on considerations of centers and margins, inclusions and exclusions, feelings of alienation and, ultimately, a search for community. Among the authors read are Carlos Fuentes (Mexico), Roberto Arlt (Argentina), Fernando Vallejo (Colombia), Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru), and Diamela Eltit (Chile).
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.
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.