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Bard College Catalogue 2022-23
Foreign Languages, Cultures, and Literatures
Patricia López-Gay (director), Stephanie Kufner (coordinator), Franco Baldasso, John Burns, Nicole Caso, Odile S. Chilton, Robert L. Cioffi, Lauren Curtis, Ziad Dallal, Elizabeth N. Holt, Franz R. Kempf, Marina Kostalevsky, Huiwen Li, Gabriella Lindsay, Patricia López-Gay, Oleg Minin, Phoung Ngo, Melanie Nicholson, Karen Raizen, Dina Ramadan, James Romm, Nathan Shockey, Wakako Suzuki, Éric Trudel, David Ungvary, Marina van Zuylen, Olga Voronina, Thomas Wild, Shuangting Xiong, 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 its use 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, and ancient Greek and Latin. Bard maintains a state-of-the-art language facility, the Center for Foreign Languages and Cultures, at the F. W. Olin Language Center, which offers the Bard community many different ways to explore foreign languages and cultures outside the regular language and literature classes. See flcl.bard.edu/language-lab for more details.
Most of the languages taught through the Foreign Languages, Cultures, and Literatures (FLCL) Program offer an intensive format that allows students to complete the equivalent of one and a half years of language study within just a few months. Such courses include a one- or two-month summer or winter program in a country where the target language is spoken. After studying abroad, students demonstrate an impressive increase in linguistic capacity. They also gain cultural knowledge, and the exposure to different manifestations of cultural activity makes them aware of the interrelatedness of diverse disciplines. Most students choose to continue their path toward linguistic and cultural fluency by taking courses at the intermediate and advanced levels.
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 (typically involving critical interpretation and translation) or any combination of literary and nonliterary expressions of a given culture.
Recent Senior Projects
- “Bodies Inscribed in the Landscape: Poetic ‘Exhumations’ of Chile and Argentina’s Desaparecidos” (with Spanish Studies)
- “Death of a Hero: A Translation of Sophocles’s Ajax”
- “Francesa’s Sweet Lament: An Operatic Adaptation of Canto V from Dante’s Inferno”
- “Obsessions Semblables: The Creation of Two American Gothic Authors in the French Imagination”
CoursesThe descriptions below are a sampling of courses from the past four years.
This course focuses on speaking, reading, writing, and comprehension skills in Modern Standard Arabic, the form of Arabic shared by all Arab countries. Classroom time is devoted to conversation and grammar exercises stemming from DVDs and other materials. Emphasis is also placed on authentic resources that derive from current cultural contexts, realities, and creative work of the Arab world.
The class focuses on the functional use of Arabic in a natural communication setting. The basic language skills—reading, speaking, listening, and writing—are dealt with simultaneously. Aspects of Arab culture and differences between Modern Standard Arabic and the spoken language are highlighted.
Students in the course develop a significant level of linguistic and communicative competence in the language. Modern literary and expository texts, as well as a selection of texts from Arab media, are read in order to expand active and passive lexicon and grammatical structures. Aspects of Arab cultures are also highlighted.
An introduction to Mandarin Chinese, designed to help students understand, speak, read, and write everyday Chinese language—and have fun in the process. By the end of the course, students are able to conduct simple, practical conversations with Chinese speakers on a variety of topics, and read and write short passages in Chinese. The course is a prelude to Chinese 106 (Intensive Chinese), at the culmination of which students can choose to travel to Qingdao, China, for an eight-week summer program.
The course focuses on both the oral and written aspects of the language, giving students a basic understanding of standard Chinese and the ability to engage in simple conversations. A summer immersion program in China follows (financial aid is available to cover part of the costs).
Intermediate Chinese I-II
For students who have taken one year of basic Chinese and want to expand their reading and speaking capacity and enrich their cultural experiences. Audio and video materials emphasize communicative activities and language games. In addition to the central language textbook, texts include selections from newspapers, journals, and fictional works. Conducted in Chinese.
Exotic Landscapes: Travel and Travel Writing in China’s Borderlands
CROSS-LISTED: ASIAN STUDIES, EUS, HUMAN RIGHTS, LITERATURE
Representations of China’s borderlands (Mongolia, Tibet, Xinjiang, Yunnan, etc.) and its ethnic minorities are explored through Western and Chinese travel writings. The focus is on two periods, the first between 1850 and 1911, a time of extensive and often violent encounters between China and the West; and the early 1980s to the present. Authors include Sven Hedin, Isabella Bird, Archibald J. Little, Alexandra David-Neel, George E. Morrison, Ma Jian, and Sun Shuyun.
Modern Chinese Fiction
Chinese 230 / Literature 230
See Literature 230 for a full course description.
Advanced Chinese I-II
These courses are for students who have taken at least four semesters of basic Chinese at Bard or elsewhere. The goal is to expand students’ reading and speaking capacity and enrich their cultural experiences. Texts are mostly selected from Chinese newspapers, journals, and fictional works.
CROSS-LISTED: ASIAN STUDIES
An introduction to calligraphy—“shufa” in Chinese and “shodo” in Japanese—long regarded as the highest form of art in East Asia. Calligraphy, painting, and poetry form the so-called “three perfections” in the literati tradition. The course examines the aesthetic principles that connect these forms, with a focus on the philosophical traditions of Taoism, Zen Buddhism and Confucianism. The emphasis, however, is on learning the techniques of writing with the brush and developing individual styles.
Chinese Calligraphy Workshop
This workshop introduces students to the venerated tradition of calligraphy through hands-on practice with brush and ink. It focuses on three major scripts: clerical, regular, and running. The course also examines the cultural, intellectual, and personal values that Chinese calligraphy embodies to further understanding of this unique art form. Prerequisite: Chinese 315 or prior experience in calligraphy or writing Chinese characters by hand.
Beyond China: Chinese Literature in the Diaspora
CROSS-LISTED: ASIAN STUDIES
An introduction to contemporary Chinese literature, with a focus on Chinese cultural spheres beyond the People’s Republic and Taiwan. The class reads Chinese diasporic poetry and fiction from Southeast Asia, Europe, and the United States. Topics discussed include exile and alienation, conceptions about being Chinese, understanding of the self and other, ways to narrate belonging and cultural identity, and the impact of globalization on literary production and dissemination. Prerequisite: three or more years of college Chinese language instruction or with permission of the instructor.
Chinese Pop Culture
The course examines contemporary Chinese popular culture and asks how it represents, reflects, and negotiates the drastic social and political changes that happened in China from 1949 to 2019. It also focuses on the politics of popular art in China: how popular culture becomes a “weapon” wielded by the proletariat to instigate revolution; how it embraces global capitalism; and how it serves as a propaganda machine to shape collective mentality. Taught in Chinese.
Performing Chinese: Culture, Identity, and Politics
How does performance in everyday Chinese society shape one’s identity, culture, and political affiliation? Can a person of non-Chinese origin who speaks and writes the language claim to be Chinese? How does one perform “Chinese-ness”? This course examines the relationship between the individual, state, and society, with a focus on the ways that language, politics, and culture shape identity. Texts include newspaper articles, films, political treatises, and plays that have shaped and/or divided Chinese communities.
The Ancient World, 750–480 BC
CROSS-LISTED: HISTORICAL STUDIES
An introduction to the Archaic age of ancient history (eighth to fifth centuries bce), an era of great transformation in Greece, Persia, India, Egypt, Judaea, and Mesopotamia. The central text is Herodotus’s Histories, a work that surveys the ancient world from a Greek perspective and recounts the rises and falls of the great empires that dominated that world. The class examines various artistic and literary forms, religious movements, and philosophic ideas of that period as well as cultural differences encountered when reading Greek source materials versus Hebrew, Egyptian, Sanskrit, or Persian texts.
The Greek World: An Introduction
This introductory course explores the social, cultural, and political history of the Greek world from its earliest beginnings in the Bronze Age to the “renaissance” of Greek literature and culture under the Roman Empire. The class examines the creation of political forms (from democracy to tyranny), contacts and conflicts between Greece and the East, the rise and fall of world empires, and the invention of literary genres. Materials studied include vase paintings, inscriptions, and texts by Aeschylus and Aristophanes. All readings in English.
Greek Tragedy in the 21st Century
In ancient Athens, citizens used the spectacle and storytelling of Greek tragedy to explore urgent questions. How do we deal with the trauma of war? How can marginalized people navigate an oppressive state? In an uncertain world, why should we put our faith in traditional religion? Centuries later, artists continue to adapt classical tragedies in response to pressing issues. This course examines Aeschylus’s Oresteia, Sophocles’s Antigone, and Euripides’s Medea and Trojan Women in relation to adaptations by, among others, Luis Alfaro, Yaël Farber, Sara Uribe Sánchez, and Itab Azzam.
The Roman World: An Introduction
CROSS-LISTED: HISTORICAL STUDIES
How did a small village in Italy become the center of one of the largest empires in the ancient world? What did it mean to be “Roman” in a multicultural empire that stretched, at its height, from the Atlantic coast of Europe and north Africa to Albania, Egypt, and Iraq? This course offers a broad overview of Roman history and explores, via ancient evidence such as coins, visual culture, and literary documents, how Romans from all walks of life shaped and were shaped by the society in which they lived.
Alexander the Great
Classics 201 / History 201
See History 201 for a full course description.
The Odyssey of Homer
An intensive reading of Homer’s Odyssey over the course of a semester. The class considers issues particular to the genre (the culture of the Archaic Greek world, oral composition) and to the text itself (the question of “sequels,” the epic cycle, gender issues, and narrative closure). Other topics considered: travel as a narrative vehicle for (self-) discovery; the competing satisfactions of the journey and the arrival; and what is at stake in the division between god and man, man and beast, Greek and “other.”
Thinking Politically with the Greeks
DESIGNATED: COURAGE TO BE SEMINAR, ELAS COURSE
Students learn to creatively apply knowledge of ancient Greek politics to political problems that matter to them today. The course develops a multifaceted picture of the Greek polis, from readings by Plato and Aristotle to ancient Greek history, poetry, oratory, tragedy, and comedy. Also considered: how modern thinkers, including Hannah Arendt, Paul Tillich, and C. L. R. James, have drawn inspiration from the Greeks. Concepts discussed: democracy, equality, freedom, justice, revolution, imperialism, slavery, elitism, tyranny, and dissent.
The Fall of the Roman Empire
At the end of the third century AD, the Roman Empire stretched from Spain to Asia Minor. It was so vast that its administration was divided into eastern and western zones. Two hundred years later, the empire lost control of most of its western provinces. The events associated with these losses constitute the “Fall of the Roman Empire.” This course explores the causes behind the collapse and assesses the afterlife of Roman culture in the “Barbarian” West. Readings (in English) from Gregory of Tours, Boethius, Augustine, and Sidonius Apollinaris.
The Classical Epic
Epic poetry was the most prestigious form of poetic expression throughout antiquity, and a grasp of its history, techniques, themes, structure, and ideologies is essential to understanding the classical and, indeed, world literary tradition. This course examines the evolution of the epic in the Greek and Roman worlds from its origins as an oral genre in the Archaic Greek period to its final efflorescence in the Late Antique period (late fourth/early fifth century CE). Readings from Homer, Apollonius, Lucretius, Vergil, Lucan, and others.
Houses of the Gods: Ancient Greek Sacred Space
CROSS-LISTED: ARCHITECTURE, ART HISTORY AND VISUAL CULTURE, RELIGION
In ancient Greece, gods were everywhere, living alongside their human worshippers in temples, shrines, and other houses of worship. What did these temples look like? What activities occurred within? What made temples “sacred”? This course applies modern theories of materiality, space, and religion to the ancient Greek material, as well as literary evidence, to interpret ancient Greek sacred spaces. The first half of the course focuses on the art and architecture of ancient Greek temples; the second half considers the human experience of sacred space.
What is the meaning of our mythologies? How do we understand and interpret traditional stories about the past? What is the relationship between mythology and history? This course seeks to answer these questions by examining selected myths of ancient Greece and Rome and applying to them theoretical approaches to interpreting myth. Topics include origin myths, Greek gods and heroes, war, the human-divine relationship, madness, divine love and lust, death and the afterlife, and Greco-Roman mythology in its wider Mediterranean context. Readings in English translation.
The Iliad of Homer
This intensive reading of The Iliad begins by introducing the large issues particular both to the epic genre (the values of the Archaic Greek world, oral composition, the Homeric Question) and this particular text (the epic cycle, the “heroic code,” violence and warfare, the clash of civilizations, the role of the gods in human history). Students then read through the epic at a rate of two books per week and are introduced, by means of excerpts and articles, to the arc of the scholarly tradition from ancient commentators to the present.
Long before Fyodor Dostoevsky and Virginia Woolf, Henry James and Zadie Smith, there were action-packed narratives full of youthful romance, travel to the edges of the earth, human travails, shipwrecks, and pirates. Best known to modern readers through Petronius’s Satyricon, Apuleius’s Golden Ass, and Longus’s Daphnis and Chloe, these texts represent an important new literary form in the Roman imperial period: prose fiction. The class reads all surviving Greek and Roman novels, selected prose fiction from other cultures, and works by contemporary literary theorists and critics.
Touching the Gods: Sacred Images in the Ancient Mediterranean World
CROSS-LISTED: ART HISTORY AND VISUAL CULTURE, RELIGION
In the ancient Mediterranean world, images of the gods routinely spoke, moved, and interacted with their human worshippers. In return, ancient Greeks worshipped, kissed, bathed, fed, and sometimes even hit these sacred images. The course explores material modes of representing divine beings from the Archaic period to the third century ce, when many of these images were mutilated and destroyed. Comparisons to other ancient regions help situate Greek religion apart from a Western, colonial lens.
Roman Arts of Self-Improvement
Behind every self-help book lies the supposition that reading and self-formation are inextricably entwined. This assumption raises a host of questions about the self and its reinvention. How do we change through reading and writing? What are we endeavoring to change (a mind, a belief, a soul)? From where did we inherit these ideas, and how have they changed over time? This course explores such questions in the context of the Roman world, through readings from Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Apuleius, Boethius, and Augustine.
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. Readings include significant passages from Homer and important classical Greek authors, in Greek. No prior knowledge of Greek is required.
Intermediate Greek I: Chariton
This course, a continuation of Greek 102, further develops students’ abilities to read and translate connected Greek prose. It begins with the fundamentals of Greek grammar and concludes with selections from Chariton’s Callirhoe, the earliest of the extant Greek novels. Chariton follows the trials and tribulations of his young, beautiful, and star-crossed protagonists from the moment they fall in love through false deaths, separations, and encounters with pirates to his story’s happy conclusion. Prerequisite: Greek 102 or its equivalent.
Intermediate Greek II: Euripides’s Alcestis
A close examination of Euripides’s tragicomic play Alcestis, which explores themes such as gender dynamics, the nature of sacrifice, and the possibility of cheating death. Students read extensive passages in ancient Greek and the entire play in English translation. Along the way, they also review essential points of grammar and syntax, investigate poetic meters, and develop an understanding of the social and political environment in Classical Athens.
Plato’s dialogue Symposium is an exploration of erotic love and its place in the life of the philosopher. The course considers its central ideas, structure and style, and the insight it gives into sexual mores in classical Athens. Readings in Ancient Greek. Prerequisite: Greek 201/202 or permission of the instructor.
Advanced Greek: Euripides’s Bacchae
Performed posthumously in 405 BCE, the Bacchae narrates the return of Dionysos, the Greek god of theater, wine, and ecstasy, to his birthplace in Thebes. The tragedy is both a traditional story of homecoming and vengeance and an innovative exploration of the nature of divinity and myth, self and society, and tragedy itself. The class further develops reading fluency while gaining a range of critical approaches to the play. Prerequisite: Greek 201-202 or permission of the instructor.
Advanced Greek: Comedy and the City, Aristophanes’s Frogs
Aristophanes’s comedies, at once bawdy and wordy, revolutionary and reactionary, combine spectacular mass entertainment with topical social commentary. Students read Frogs, first performed in 405 bce, in the original Greek. In the play, the god Dionysus descends to the Underworld to choose one of two recently deceased tragic playwrights, Aeschylus or Euripides, to return to help a city in crisis. Part biting literary satire, part absurdist fantasy, the play puts under the microscope the relationship between drama and society in Athens. Prerequisite: Greek 201/202 or permission of the instructor.
Lucian of Samosata: Fantasy, Literary History, and Satirical Imagination
Students read selections from the works of Lucian, a Syrian intellectual from the second century ce whose wide-ranging writings influenced the history of satire, comedy, fantasy, and science fiction from Shakespeare to Rabelais. Texts include the True History, the earliest known work of fiction to include travel to outer space; The Dream, in which he narrates his self-discovery as a writer; and other stories and dialogues. Students develop their reading fluency in Attic Greek while exploring critical approaches to Lucian. Prerequisite: Greek 201-202 or permission of the instructor.
In the first semester of a two-semester sequence, students begin to master classical Latin—the language of Cicero, Tacitus, Ovid, and Vergil. The approach foregrounds reading original Latin literary texts and primary documents with an emphasis on mastering grammar and syntax; by the end of the full-year sequence, students are ready to read most Latin texts in the original. No prior experience is expected.
Basic Intensive Latin
Students learn to read authors such as Vergil, Ovid, Cicero, and Augustine in the original language after one semester’s intensive work (the equivalent of two semesters of college Latin). Daily drills and frequent quizzes are combined with readings: students begin with short selections and read longer passages by midterm.
Intermediate Latin: Vergil
Students read portions of the first half of Vergil’s Aeneid, the greatest Roman epic, in Latin, concentrating on increasing their confidence in Latin forms and syntax, and exploring the poem’s themes and literary characteristics (figures of speech, structure, tropes, depiction of character, construction of the action, etc.). The class also reads the Aeneid in its entirety in English. Prerequisite: Latin 102 or its equivalent.
Love and Politics in Republican Rome
Students read selections in Latin of the poetry of Catullus and the Pro Caelio, Cicero’s withering defense speech of 56 BCE. Composed in the last days of the Roman Republic, these texts offer insights into the intersection of political power, public speech, literary culture, gender, sexuality, and shifting morals in the first century bce. In addition to developing students’ reading fluency, the course considers questions of literary style and situates these authors within their cultural and historical context. Prerequisite: Latin 102 or permission of the instructor.
Reading Medieval Latin
In this introduction to the traditions of postclassical Latin literature, readings include a wide range of styles, in both poetry and prose, from the period of Late Antiquity to the end of the Middle Ages (c. 500–1500 CE). Texts may include selections from Boethius, the Carmina Burana, and Petrarch. The course also explores concepts and disciplines integral to the study of Medieval Latin, such as textual transmission, paleography, and the cultural history of the Middle Ages.
Advanced Latin I: Remaking the Classics
In the fourth century AD, citizens of the Latin West underwent a profound intellectual and identity crisis. The spread of Christianity, especially among the Roman elite, not only instigated reflections on theology and cosmology, but also triggered reconsiderations of canonicity, authority, and authorship in the fields of education and literature. This course examines two works that embody those emergent tensions between the classical and the Christian in the late Roman world: Proba’s Cento and Augustine’s Confessions. Prerequisite: Latin 202 or permission of the instructor.
Advanced Latin Readings
Readings in Latin literature with close attention to grammar, themes and historical context. Selection of readings to be determined in consultation with those enrolled in the course. Prerequisite: Latin 201/202 or permission of the instructor.
The Idea of Latin Lyric
Among its ancient Greek inventors, lyric verse was primarily defined by its specific meters and musicality. When Roman poets, especially Catullus and Horace, appropriated it, the theory and practice of lyric became a subject of constant renegotiation. The course seeks to understand how lyric evolved socially and aesthetically in the hands of these Latin poets and their successors from a genre of musical performance into a literary vehicle for exploring the complexities of emotion, personal experience, and voice. Prerequisite: Latin 202 or permission of the instructor.
Advanced Latin: Roman Elegiac Poetry
In the first century BCE, Tibullus, Propertius, and Ovid made the elegiac couplet synonymous with their love poetry, but the form—often written on Greek and Roman gravestones—had ancient connections to death. These lover-poets cultivated a charismatic private voice, but their work engages with Roman popular culture, global travel and trade, and imperial politics. Students read selections from major elegiac poets as well as from lesser-known and anonymous authors from across the Roman world. Prerequisite: Latin 201/202 or permission of the instructor
The class reads a selection of Horace’s Odes, four books of Latin lyric that range from the funny to the philosophical, and considers the poetry’s relationship to Greek and Roman literary traditions, Horace’s other works, and his cultural and historical contexts. Prerequisite: Latin 201-202 or permission of the instructor.
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 or more 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
For students with three to four years of high school French or who have acquired a solid knowledge of elementary grammar. In this course, designed as an introduction to contemporary French civilization and culture, students are able to reinforce their skills in grammar, composition, and spoken proficiency, through the use of short texts, newspaper and magazine articles, as well as video. They meet in small groups with the French tutor for one extra hour per week.
French through Film
This course explores 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. The class considers the interaction between the French and their cinema in terms of historical circumstances, aesthetic ambitions, and self-representation. Conducted in French.
Topics in Francophone Literature
This course introduces literary texts in French written outside of France. Students read works from North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, Canada, etc.
Comic Literature in the French Tradition
Laughter, an essentially humanizing behavior, can be as much a release of tension as a form of malice. Its ambiguity has been exploited in literary works over the centuries, from Rabelais’s fart jokes to Flaubert’s digs at bourgeois values, and from Molière’s critique of hypocrisy to Vian’s mockery of philosophical fads (Jean-Sol Partre!). This course delves into examples of humor in French and Francophone literatures, and explores several texts of a theoretical nature dedicated to the mechanics and messages of comedic writing.
Quarrels of the Ancients and the Moderns: Past, Present, and Future in the French Literary Tradition
The “querelle des anciens et des modernes,” the conflict that raged at the heart of French letters from the late 17th century to the early 18th, pitted those who found the ancient Greeks and Romans to be untouchable in terms of artistic merit against those who considered contemporary innovations to be a progression beyond the inheritance of antiquity. This course explores the roles played by the past, present, and future in the French literary tradition, with a focus on several authorial oppositions: Corneille/Racine, Voltaire/Rousseau, Balzac/Flaubert, and Sartre/Blanchot.
Advanced Composition and Conversation
Students consider a diverse selection of writings (short works of fiction, poems, philosophical essays, political analysis, newspaper editorials, magazine articles) 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. A general review of grammar is also conducted.
Representing Violence: The Algerian War and Its Afterlives
CROSS-LISTED: AFRICANA STUDIES, MES
How do aesthetic works deepen or destabilize political or social discourses on violence? Is this their role? Are some forms, media, or genres more legitimate or effective than others to do this work? The class explores these and other questions by focusing on works that treat the Algerian War (1954–62) and its afterlives in France. Texts include a wide range of literary and filmic materials, from the late 1950s to the contemporary period. Conducted in French.
Class Matters: Vocabularies of Contempt from Balzac to Eribon
In Le Peuple (1846), the French historian Michelet proclaims that almost all those who benefit from social mobility end up betraying the character of their initial class. “The hard thing,” he writes, “is not [so much] to ascend, but while ascending, to remain oneself.” What is gained in culture and knowledge, he adds, is lost in “originality and authentic distinction.” This seminar scrutinizes works by Stendhal, Balzac, Eribon, Huysmans, and Proust for insights into the psychodynamics of prestige and acceptance, success and failure, and the symbolic violence that marks social cleavages
Baudelaire, Rimbaud, and Mallarmé
A poetic revolution was brought to the theory and practices of 19th-century French poetry by three of its most illustrious figures: Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, and Stéphane Mallarmé. As Victor Hugo’s age of lyric romanticism came to an end, these poets took full measure of a modern subjectivity in crisis by making it a crisis of form, with increasing disenchantment, irony, self-reflexivity, and obscurity. Readings: Les Fleurs du Mal and Le Spleen de Paris (Baudelaire), Illuminations and Une Saison en enter (Rimbaud), and Poésies (Mallarmé).
The French Novel and the Poetics of Memory
CROSS-LISTED: HUMAN RIGHTS, LITERATURE
How can literature “give voice”—to borrow the words of 19th-century French historian Jules Michelet—“to the silences of History?” This course surveys French fiction since World War II, with a focus on novels that address or revisit specific historical events or moments (the Occupation, Shoah, France’s colonial past, the Algerian War, May ’68) and texts that bear witness to an intimate past, one that may escape the historical record. Taught in French, with secondary readings in English and French.
Theorizing the French Novel
CROSS-LISTED: LITERATURE, PHILOSOPHY, SOCIOLOGY
How have philosophy and critical theory bestowed on French fiction and film a new ethical and aesthetic vocabulary, moving novelists and filmmakers to rethink their positions? Bourdieu, Rancière, Derrida, Balibar, Cixous, Levinas, and
de Fontenay, among others, have made a significant mark on French literature and cinema. This seminar explores issues including the aftermath of colonialism (Glissant/Fanon), reproductive politics (Foucault/Ernaux), social and cultural issues of secularism and identity (Plenel/Houellebecq), the clash between Paris and the banlieues (Balibar/Bon/Mathieu), and citizenship and migration (Chamoiseau/Daoud/Slimani).
The Lost and Found Art of Conversation from Montaigne to Beckett
Since Socrates, conversation has been admired for its seamless ability to integrate knowledge into society, and supplement savoir (knowledge) with savoir-vivre (the art of living). But conversation has often been condemned as merely artful, dangerous for its proximity to the decadent and the idle. This course examines how these tensions are played out on rhetorical and thematic levels. Texts by Montaigne, Beckett, Aristotle, Marx, Nietzsche, Pascal, Lafargue, Stendhal, and Proust.
Beginning German Intensive
The course enables students with little or no previous experience in German to complete three semesters of college German within five months: the spring semester at Bard plus four weeks in the summer at Bard College Berlin. Students progress from learning the language for everyday communication to reading and discussion of classical and modern texts by, among others, Goethe, Heine, Kafka, and Brecht. In Berlin, they further explore German language and culture, and participate in guided tours that introduce the city’s history, architecture, and vibrant cultural life.
Kafka, Prague, and the Fin de Siècle
German 199 / Literature 199
See Literature 199 for a full course description.
Accelerated Transitional German
An accelerated course for students with varied backgrounds in German. Emphasis is placed on a review of elementary grammar and the sharpening of all four language skills (speaking, comprehension, reading, writing), as well as cultural proficiency. Extensive reading, speaking, and vocabulary training exercises are combined with conversational practice, reading and dramatization of short classical and modern German texts, and weekly writing of simple compositions. Successful completion of this course (covering three semesters’ worth of material) allows students to continue with German 202 in the spring.
Designed to deepen the proficiency gained in German 106, this course increases students’ fluency in speaking, reading, and writing, and adds significantly to their working vocabulary. Students improve their ability to express ideas and hone their strategies for understanding spoken and written communication. The class reads and analyzes the novel Soharas Reise by Barbara Honigmann. Discussions also address issues of multiculturalism and migration in Germany.
German Opera and Ideas
This course traces 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 include Mozart’s The Magic Flute (1791), Beethoven’s Fidelio (1805/1814), Carl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischütz (1821), Richard Strauss’s Salome (1905), Bertolt Brecht’s and Kurt Weill’s Threepenny Opera (1928), and Hans Werner Henze’s Der Prinz von Homburg (1960), among others. Taught in English. Students with advanced proficiency in German can read selections in the original for extra credit.
What Makes Us Think? Critical Judgment and Moments of Crisis
Hannah Arendt’s The Life of the Mind asks whether the activity of thinking may condition human beings to abstain from evil-doing. She cites the case of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, whose great moral fault, she argues, was thoughtlessness. Students read her book on the Eichmann trial (Eichmann in Jerusalem) and follow how, in The Life of the Mind and related texts, she tries to discern what makes us think, and what thinking has to do with ethical, political and aesthetic judgments. Readings in English.
Unfortunately, we seem to know the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm only in adaptations that greatly reduce their power to touch our emotions and engage our imaginations. Through a close reading of selected tales, this course explores the tales’ poetics and politics, and their origins in folklore and myth. The class considers major critical approaches (Freudian, Marxist, feminist); creative adaptations (Disney, classical ballet, postmodern dance); and other fairy-tale traditions.
Weltschmerz: Old Style, New Style
Goethe’s early novel Die Leiden des jungen Werther (1774) and Ulrich Plenzdorf’s Die neuen Leiden des jungen W., published in 1972 in East Germany, are more than scandal-filled successes about a love triangle between a couple and an odd man out who dies in the end. They are variations on the theme of weltschmerz, a phenomenon that can be defined as the inability of a young eccentric genius to adapt to the hard realities of the world. Analysis of these works focuses on the central issue, as well as literary style and concepts such as Sturm und Drang and Empfindsamkeit.
Modern German Short Prose
A survey of great works of mainly 20th-century prose, including Novellen, Erzählungen, parables, and other short forms. Detailed literary analysis is combined with discussion of the social, political, and historical contexts of each work and interspersed with frequent creative writing assignments. Readings from Hoffmann, Kafka, Musil, Mann, Kleist, Benjamin, Bachmann, Dürrenmatt, Aichinger, Handke, Erpenbeck, Tawada, others. Conducted in German.
German Theater between Moral Institution and Postpandemic Performances
An examination of German theater, with a focus on the 20th and 21st centuries. After an overview of pivotal moments in the history and poetics of German theater (Lessing, Schiller, Hauptmann), the class considers specific developments in modern and contemporary theater, including the new aesthetics of expressionist theater, Brecht’s development of the “epic theater” before and during World War II, postwar efforts to come to terms with the Holocaust, and the voicing of multicultural experiences in reunified, pre- and postpandemic Germany. In German.
Literature between Languages
Some of the finest literary writings in German over recent decades are by authors whose first language is not German. This course explores poems, prose, and essays of writers who live and work between German and other languages, among them Japanese-born Yoko Tawada, Turkish-born Emine Özdamar, Hungarian-born Terézia Mora, and Ukranian-born Katja Petrowskaja. Also considered: theoretical writings on transnational and multilingual literature
Poetry and Philosophy
Is there something like sensory reasoning? Who has the capacity to formulate the unspeakable? Is humor a thought or a sentiment? Poetry and philosophy have for centuries offered fascinating responses to such questions—not least in the German tradition. Poets, philosophers, and poetic thinkers have addressed these concerns, including Goethe, Kant, Schiller, Hölderlin, Heidegger, Rilke, Benjamin, Brecht, and Arendt. The beauty and precision of their language(s) provokes a semester of conversations with these thinkers of and in the German language.
Life of the Mind: Hannah Arendt
German 337 / Philosophy 337
See Philosophy 337 for a full course description.
For Nietzsche, Heine was “the highest conception of the lyric poet.... He possessed that divine malice without which I cannot conceive of perfection.” Acquiring an appreciation of both the music and malice of Heine’s artistry is the seminar’s primary goal. In addition to reading the collected poems and selected prose works, attention is paid to the cultural and political contexts of Heine’s works, with readings drawn from Marx, Hegel, Feuerbach, and Madame de Staël. In German
Less a style than a Weltanschauung of a rebellious generation, German Expressionism—flourishing roughly between 1905 and 1925—is generally seen as an artistic reflection of a common feeling of crisis, the disappearance of individualism in burgeoning urban centers, the hypocrisy of Imperial Wilhelminian Germany, and the soulless materialism and (self-)alienation of increased industrialization. Texts by Wedekind, Benn, Heym, Lasker-Schüler, Kafka, Kaiser, and Trakl. Painting, music, and film are also considered.
Contemporary German Literature and Film
What is at stake for contemporary German writers, filmmakers, and intellectuals? What topics do they address in their movies, novels, poems, and plays? How do these artworks reflect Germany’s multiethnic society and its pivotal role in a rapidly changing Europe? Discussion centers on texts by Herta Müller, W. G. Sebald, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Terézia Mora, Ingo Schulze, and Emine Sevgy Özdamar, among others; and on films by Fatih Akin, Hans-Christian Schmid, and Michael Haneke.
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 collaborations: Nietzsche and Lou Andreas-Salomé, Hannah Arendt and Hilde Domin, Paul Celan and Ingeborg Bachmann, and Oskar Pastior and Nobel Prize winner Herta Müller.
Beginning Hebrew I-II
CROSS-LISTED: JEWISH STUDIES, MES
Students cover basic linguistic skills—reading, writing, and speaking—while engaging with a wide variety of texts and other media from across the many-thousand-year history of Hebrew in diaspora and modern Israel. Individual interests—in topics as diverse as Biblical and Rabbinic literature, mystic alphabets, socialist folk songs, contemporary cinema, and Hebrew’s mutually enriching bilingual entanglements (e.g., Yiddish, Arabic)—are encouraged. Hebrew 102 introduces modern Hebrew as it is spoken and written in Israel today.
CROSS-LISTED: JEWISH STUDIES, MES
This course builds on the material covered in the first year of study, and begins to engage directly, in Hebrew, with Hebrew language materials. Students continue to cover basic linguistic skills while discussing a wide variety of texts. Depending on student interest, targeted units in Biblical and Rabbinic Hebrew may be offered. Conducted mainly in Hebrew.
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.
Intermediate Italian I-II
Designed for students who have completed the equivalent of one year of college Italian, the course offers practice in writing and conversation. Students engage in discussion and must complete compositions and oral reports based on Italian literary texts and cultural material.
Elena Ferrante and Italian Society
Elena Ferrante and her Neapolitan novels have been at the center of the global literary scene for the last decade. The novels, with central characters Lila and Lenù and their heartfelt and ruthless depiction of Naples, have become synonymous with female friendship and social criticism, as well as literary tourism. Students read My Brilliant Friend in the original. By entering little by little into Ferrante’s world, the course constitutes an introduction to modern Italian society. Taught in Italian. Prerequisite: Italian 201-202.
Topics in Italian Culture: Love and Lust in 14th-Century Italy
Courtly love was big in the 14th century. Lovers and bards serenaded angelic ladies, praising their perfection. But there were also tales of earthier kinds of love and lust—a woman who, by having sex, could perhaps become a horse; a woman who placed her beloved’s decapitated head in a basil plant; lovers who fell in love because they were bad readers. This course explores these narratives of love and lust in 14th-century Italy. Texts include excerpts from Dante’s Commedia, Boccaccio’s Decameron, and Petrarch’s Rime.
Sicily and Writing
South of Europe but at the center of the Mediterranean world, Sicily has been at the crossroads of cultures and peoples since Homer. The majestic, skeptical, bitter narratives of Sicily’s writers, from Giovanni Verga to Luigi Pirandello and Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, trace a philosophical counternarrative to Italy’s modernity. Filmmakers such as Luchino Visconti and Francesco Rosi amplify the tensions of Sicilian narrative through visually striking cinematic interpretations. Prerequisite: Italian 202 or permission of the instructor.
Imagining Italian Cities
Unlike other European countries, Italy has no central stage in the construction of national culture. Instead it grounds its multifold identity on the difference and peculiarities of cities such as Florence, Venice, Naples, Trieste, and Milan. With a multidisciplinary approach from poetry to visual arts, this course constitutes an introduction to Italian civilization for students who have completed Intermediate Italian. Authors and filmmakers discussed may include Dante, Boccaccio, Machiavelli, Marinetti, Calvino, Ferrante, De Sica, Fellini, Pasolini, and Benigni.
Italy and Exile
Students enhance their oral and written production in Italian through the lens of exile, a crucial aspect of Italian consciousness from the medieval period to today. The course explores the idea of exile broadly, as both exile from a place and exile to another place, in selected works ranging from Dante to the 21st century. Texts include excerpts from Dante’s Comedy, Machiavelli’s The Prince, Antonio Gramsci’s political writings, the prison letters of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, and Igiaba Scego’s novel La mia casa è dove sono.
Love and Death in Dante
Italian 3205 / Literature 3205
See Literature 3205 for a course description.
Democracy and Defeat: Italy after Fascism
CROSS-LISTED: HUMAN RIGHTS
This seminar takes an interdisciplinary approach to the cultural and intellectual history of Italy from 1943 to 1950. The heterogeneous aspects of the Italian cultural field after World War II are considered in a wide-ranging framework, in which postwar histories are informed not simply by the external context of the Cold War but also by preceding wartime discourses. Readings from Italo Calvino, Curzio Malaparte, Carlo Levi, Primo Levi, and Rosetta Loy. Prerequisite: Italian 202 or permission of instructor.
To Remake Italy: Italian Cinema from Fellini and Rossellini to the Present
CROSS-LISTED: FILM AND ELECTRONIC ARTS, ITALIAN STUDIES
The phrase rifare l’Italia (remake Italy) was a refrain for many Italian filmmakers of the 1940s and 1950s whose works dealt with their nation’s struggle to rebuild itself after two decades of fascism and years of world (and civil) war. The course focuses on the works and legacies of the vaunted neorealist movement, whose directors (Roberto Rossellini, Vittorio De Sica, Luchino Visconti) trained or influenced a generation of the so-called auteur filmmakers (Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Pier Paolo Pasolini).
JapaneseElementary 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 basic aspects of daily life and culture in contemporary Japan.
Intermediate Japanese I-II
The first part of this two-semester sequence builds upon the foundational knowledge acquired in the first year of Japanese language study. Students develop their abilities in the four primary skills: listening, speaking, writing, and reading. Coursework consists of extensive study of basic grammar, language lab work, conversation practice, and simple composition exercises. The second semester accelerates the acquisition of Chinese characters and introduces more complex grammatical patterns and expressions.
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
In this continuation of Japanese 301, students concentrate on complex grammatical patterns while further accelerating the acquisition of characters and advanced vocabulary. They build oratory skills through debate on relevant social topics and through individual research presentations. Composition is also emphasized. Conducted in Japanese. Prerequisite: Japanese 301 or equivalent.
Readings in Japanese Culture
The course continues the introduction of complex grammatical patterns while further accelerating the acquisition of Chinese characters and advanced vocabulary, in addition to advanced reading, translation, and presentation exercises. Course materials include “real world” Japanese texts, including essays, articles, short stories, and manga. Conducted in Japanese. Prerequisite: Japanese 202 or permission of the instructor.
For students who have had at least three years of Japanese and who can read at the advanced level. The class considers the nature and limits of translation within the Japanese context. While focusing on the techniques and craft of translation, students are introduced to translation theory, both Western and Japanese, and examine well-known translations by comparing source and target texts
Beginning Russian I-II
Russian 101-102An introduction to the fundamentals of the spoken and written language as well as Russian culture. Accuracy and fluency in speaking and writing in Russian is pursued and encouraged. Grammar constructions and patterns of conversation are introduced through a wide variety of adapted texts, including poetry, fiction, and film.
Designed for beginners who have had little or no prior knowledge of Russian, the course focuses on the fundamentals of the spoken and written language, and introduces students to Russian culture. Creative expression in autobiographical and fictional compositions is also encouraged. In addition to regular class meetings, students are required to attend a weekly one-hour tutorial.
Intermediate Russian I-II
The focus of this sequence is on the continuing acquisition of advanced grammar, pertinent vocabulary, and reading and conversational skills that enable students to communicate effectively. Advanced grammar constructions are introduced through a wide variety of adapted texts and contexts. In addition to textbook material, students read literary and journalistic texts.
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.
An Appointment with Dr. Chekhov
Russian 220 / Literature 220
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.
Art of the Russian Avant-Garde (1900–34)
This multidisciplinary course addresses major developments in Russian modern and avant-garde art in the first three decades of the 20th century. It looks at particular movements, ideas, and seminal names, from Vrubel and symbolism to Tatlin and constructivism. The course also offers a methodology and context for the appreciation of the evolution of Russian visual culture and its contribution to the international art arena.
Between Friends: Letters of Russian Writers
This advanced-level course looks at everyday life, literature, and the culture of the times through the letters of famous Russian writers of the 19th century, including Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Chekhov. Conducted in Russian.
Advanced Russian: The Grammar of Poetry:
This course offers a practical approach to the fundamentals of Russian grammar and syntax through reading and analyzing poetic texts by Pushkin, Lermontov, Tyutchev, Blok, Akhmatova, Mandelstam, Tsvetaeva, Pasternak, Mayakovsky, Brodsky, and others. Also addressed: the history of Russian versification, the technical aspects of poetry, and translation of selected poems. Special attention is paid to principles of phonetics, intonation, and poetry recitation.
Dramatic Difference: Russia and Its Theater
CROSS-LISTED: THEATER AND PERFORMANCE
An examination of the evolution of Russian dramaturgy in connection with parallel developments in both literature and theater. Students explore various aspects of Russian culture by discussing the specifics of Russian drama. Special attention is given 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 Petrushevskaya, as well as theoretical texts by Stanislavsky, Meyerhold, and Mikhail Chekhov. Conducted in English.
The World Upside Down: Carnivalesque Narratives in Russian Literature
Russian 3441 / Literature 3441
See Literature 3441 for a full course description.
Translation: Russian to English
A practical and theoretical course consisting of regular weekly readings and translations 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.
Kino Po-Russki: Advanced Russian through Film
This creative exploration of the Soviet cinematic canon also offers an in-depth study of Russian idiom, grammar, and syntax. Films discussed include Grigoriy Aleksandrov’s Circus, Nadezhda Kosheverova and Mikhail Shapiro’s Cinderella, Vladimir Menshov’s Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears, Eldar Ryazanov’s The Irony of Fate, and Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Mirror. Listening comprehension, reading, and writing assignments alternate with discussions and reenactment exercises.
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.
Accelerated First-Year Spanish
Designed for the student with prior exposure to Spanish or command of another Romance language, the course 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 for Spanish 201.
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
In this course, students continue to refine their mastery of the four basic skills: reading, writing, speaking, comprehension. The textbook offers an integration of literature, culture, and film. The study of visual and written texts focuses on critical thinking, interpretation, speaking, and writing skills. Prerequisite: Spanish 201 or the equivalent.
Engaging Latin American Poetry
Spanish 2027 / Literature 2027
See Literature 2027 for a full course description.
Spanish for Heritage Speakers
Designed for students who have been exposed to Spanish at home and wish to achieve confidence in speaking, writing, and reading the language. Grammar study capitalizes on prior contact with the language and allows more rapid progress than in a standard setting. Written composition, grammar review, and discussion of issues pertinent to Hispanic cultures are emphasized.
Cultures and Societies of Latin America and Spain
The Spanish-speaking world comprises a rich variety of cultures that have historically been in dialogue, as well as resistance, over the centuries. This course focuses on key moments and events that have defined the multifaceted societies of Spain and Latin America. Special emphasis is placed on elements such as social movements, questions of race and ethnicity, postmodernity, constructions of gender and sexuality, and national and diasporic identities. Prerequisite: Spanish 202 or permission of the instructor.
Short Narrative / Latin American Literature
This course traces the development of brief narrative forms from the Modernista period at the beginning of the 20th century to the present. Expanding the boundaries of the traditional short story, the class reads the stories of Jorge Luis Borges and short novels by Juan Rulfo, Elena Poniatowska, and Antonio Skármeta. Texts also include works by Horacio Quiroga, Julio Cortázar, Rosario Castellanos, Rosario Ferré, and Roberto Bolaño, among others. Conducted in Spanish.
Latin American Crime Fiction
A look at the traditions of Latin American crime fiction and the ways in which it represents the law, justice, modernity, and the commodification of violence. Texts include detective stories by Jorge Luis Borges and fictional detective series by Paco Ignacio Taibo II (Mexico); Ramón Díaz Eterovic (Chile); and Leonardo Padura (Cuba). Prerequisite: Spanish 202 or permission of the instructor.
Testimonies of Latin America
CROSS-LISTED: GSS, HUMAN RIGHTS
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? Students engage critically with texts that serve as a public forum for voices often silenced in the past. The course integrates diaries, testimonial narratives, and films.
The 20th-Century Spanish American Short Story
CROSS-LISTED: LAIS, LITERATURE
The 20th-century Spanish American short story embodies cultural traditions and literary currents unique to the American continent and encapsulates important philosophical discussions that resonate in contexts far beyond the region. This course explores the major themes and styles of short stories by key Spanish American writers in English translation. These authors include Jorge Luis Borges, María Luisa Bombal, Juan Rulfo, Elena Garro, Gabriel García Márquez, Luisa Valenzuela, and Roberto Bolaño, among others.
Introduction to Spanish Literature
This course explores some of the major literary works produced on the Iberian Peninsula from the Middle Ages to the present day. Students become familiar with the general contours of Spanish history and study in depth masterpieces by Colón, Cervantes, Teresa de Jesús, Don Juan Manuel, Calderón de la Barca, Larra, Galdós, Unamuno, Lorca, Laforet, Llamazares, Orejudo, and Vila-Matas, among others.
Introduction to Latin American Literature
This course covers a broad range historically—from pre-Conquest times to the present—and explores all literary genres, including poetry, short stories, novels, essays, and plays. In order to make sense of the broad chronological and geographical span of this literature, the class focuses on seven separate modules, each highlighting a core moment or key figure in the development of Latin American culture.
Five Latin American Poets
The class examines the work of five 20th-century Latin American poets: Pablo Neruda (Chile), César Vallejo (Peru), Octavio Paz (Mexico), Nicolás Guillén (Cuba), and Alejandra Pizarnik (Argentina). Outside readings provide the historical, social, and political contexts in which these writers produced their work.
Rebellious Poets of the Spanish-Speaking World
Readings include late 20th- and early 21st-century Spanish language poetry defined by a sense of rebelliousness. How do these poets situate their work as markedly oppositional? What norms, expectations, or limitations are they fighting against? With a focus on work by writers from Chile, Mexico, and Spain, the class studies the poets’ distinct national contexts and the ways in which their writing enters into dialogue with the broader poetic traditions of Spanish America and Spain. Prerequisite: Spanish 301 or 302, or permission of the instructor.
Archive Fever: Literature and Film
CROSS-LISTED: HUMAN RIGHTS, LITERATURE
Contemporary societies are marked by a widely shared desire to create personal and collective archives as a way of witnessing and memorializing our lives. With an emphasis on, but not limited to, Spanish and Latin American cultures, this course invites students to explore literary and filmic manifestations that are symptomatic of today’s archive fever. Selected films by Buñuel, Almodóvar, and Varda, among others, are put in conversation with literary works by Martín Gaite, Lispector, Chacel, Semprún, Partnoy, and Cercas.
Mapping the City in Latin American Literature
This course explores 20th-century texts that address the many tensions that arise in the process of modernization, with a focus on centers and margins, inclusions and exclusions, feelings
of alienation, and, ultimately, a search for community. The class considers how state violence
enters domestic spaces, the role of mass media in shaping local culture, and the effects of globalization on identity formation. Texts by Fuentes (Mexico), Arlt (Argentina), Vallejo (Colombia), Vargas Llosa (Peru), and Eltit (Chile).
Spanish Literary Translation
Designed for students who have completed at least two years of college Spanish. In each class meeting, students discuss theoretical texts concerning translation and write short reaction papers in Spanish. The first half of the semester is dedicated to translation of brief texts from various genres, selected by the professor; during the second half, students choose their own longer texts to translate. translate.
Haunted by the Ghost of Cervantes
CROSS-LISTED: EXPERIMENTAL HUMANITIES, LAIS
Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote is intratextually attributed to a fictional Moorish author, at a time when the Moors were being expelled from Spain. Authors trapped in fiction are sometimes persecuted and then killed by their characters; others become invisible as they hide behind the lines they write. This course reflects on the notion of authorship from the birth of the modern novel in Golden Age Spain to contemporary times. Texts by Larra, Azorín, Pessoa, Martín Gaite, Buñuel, Borges, Bolaño, and others.