UB Undergraduate Catalog 2006-2007: Comparative Literature<sup>*</sup>

Comparative Literature*

Department of Comparative Literature

College of Arts and Sciences
638 Clemens Hall
North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260

Phone: 716.645.2066
Fax: 716.645.5979
Web: wings.buffalo.edu/academic/department/AandL/col/

Shaun Irlam
Chair

About the Program

*Not a baccalaureate degree program

Comparative literature offers interdisciplinary and international study of literature, philosophy, and culture, from Plato to "Blade Runner." Rather than specializing in periods and nationalities, we ask fundamental questions about what makes culture work, how language operates, what is the relationship between politics and art, and what are the underlying motives for religion. This is why we teach enduring works of literature (e.g. by Cervantes, Flaubert, Dostoyevsky, Woolf, Borges, and Kafka). Our courses thus establish a meeting ground between philosophy, psychoanalysis, feminism, political theory, ethics, and religion. They regularly include major thinkers including Plato, Freud, Nietzsche, Foucault, and Derrida. Artists, whether of �high art� or the mass media, are central to our curriculum because they have posed indispensable questions about the nature of culture, literature, and community. Our literary and cultural offerings have traditionally been small and intensive, focusing on individualized education. Because Comparative Literature is such a small department, our undergraduate courses are seminar classes. This means that students sit around a conference table in and discuss the texts and ideas in detail. The Comparative Literature department offers a small college experience and intellectual community in a huge multiversity. Of recent years, an increasing number of UB undergraduates have opted either for the Minor in Comparative Literature or the Special Major offered under the auspices of the College of Arts and Sciences. Many students taking a comparative literature minor find that it provides an indispensable background to almost any major in the College of Arts and Sciences. Because of its rigorous training in analytical and interpretative skills, comparative literature also provides an invaluable preparation for graduate school and for careers in law, medicine, psychology, the media, history, sociology, anthropology, and arts management.

Comparative Literature - Minor

Acceptance Criteria

Minimum GPA of 2.0 overall.

Advising Notes

Our minor complements a variety of major courses of study in the social sciences and humanities. All students interested in the minor in comparative literature are encouraged to discuss possible courses of study with the department's undergraduate advisor.

For current courses, see http://wings.buffalo.edu/academic/department/AandL/col/courses/cd.html.

Required Courses

COL 301 Literary Theory: Twentieth Century
COL 302 Literary Theory: History

Electives and Course Groupings

Students select five additional courses at upper and lower levels. Specific requirements vary slightly according to affiliation with the College of Arts and Sciences. Certain credits from the Departments of English, Media Study, Philosophy, and Romance Languages and Literatures can be credited toward this minor.

The Department of Comparative Literature offers a wide range of courses in literature, film, popular culture and gender and post-colonial studies.

Course Descriptions

COL 130 Introduction to the Twentieth Century

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC

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Offers the student who is beginning to read modernist texts an overview of the various movements that shaped and influenced the cultural scene in the early part of the century. Attempts to distinguish between modernism and the avant-garde with reference to such movements as futurism, dadaism, surrealism, expressionism, and socialist realism.

COL 150 World Literature: The Fantastic

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC

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An international survey of the literature of the fantastic. Pays particular attention to modernism�s fascination with the eerie and the uncanny. Asks why the fantastic seems to serve as such a suitable emblem for our age through a reading of international texts in a comparative context. Also considers the way in which the fantastic serves as a social commentary on the society that produces it.

COL 226 Special Topics

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC

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The content of this course is variable and therefore it is repeatable for credit. The University Grade Repeat Policy does not apply.

Course content varies according to the interests of the instructor. Topics may explore a specific philosophical, literary, and/or cultural issue or problem.

COL 251 Masterpieces of World Literature

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC

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The content of this course is variable, and, therefore, it is repeatable for credit. The University Grade Repeat Policy does not apply.

Invites students in all fields to explore the study of literature. Introduces a wide variety of texts, both in terms of historical breadth and genre. The courses are not a survey with a program of systematic, obligatory coverage. Rather, in readings that run from Homer to contemporary cinema and that investigate the epic, poetry, political documents, fiction, and film, we consider the ways in which such texts function and why the place of such works is crucial to understanding ourselves.

COL 255 Crime and Punishment

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC

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Considers a range of major literary and philosophical texts dealing with crime, guilt, retribution, and punishment. Students discuss these texts in their social and literary contexts.

COL 275 Special Topics

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC

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The content of this course is variable and therefore it is repeatable for credit. The University Grade Repeat Policy does not apply.

Course content varies according to the interests of the instructor. Topics may explore a specific philosophical, literary, and/or cultural issue or problem.

COL 280 City in Literature

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC

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The city has undergone revolutionary changes in recent times, yet has itself always been a witness to progress and a site of history and storytelling. Studies the city in a modern or postmodern manner by examining the way in which it serves as a model for design, government, and policing. Examines the commonality and differences linking the modern city to its predecessors. While drawing mainly on literary works, we also work in the fields of history, sociology, anthropology, and philosophy.

COL 301 Literary Theory�Twentieth Century

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  SEM

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Examines the most recent, and often controversial, developments in literary theory. As well as covering theoretical strains, such as formalism, New Criticism, structuralism, poststructuralism, Marxism, and the Frankfurt School, the course interpolates literary texts as examples of interpretive possibilities. Part of a two-course module with COL 302.

COL 302 Literary Theory - History

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  SEM

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Charts the development of the theories of culture and literature, which both reflect and, in turn, shape the great works of our literary tradition. Students read aesthetic theory from the ancient Greeks through to the nineteenth century, covering such diverse periods as the Middle Ages, the Enlightenment, and Romanticism. Also studies literary texts for the way in which they help elucidate some of the issues being covered in the theory. Students should expect to develop an awareness of the historical import of such notions as genre, the beautiful, and so forth. See COL 301.

COL 311 Special Topics

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC

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The content of this course is variable and therefore it is repeatable for credit. The University Grade Repeat Policy does not apply.

Course content varies according to the interests of the instructor. Topics may explore a specific philosophical, literary, and/or cultural issue or problem.

COL 315 Signs and Representation

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  SEM

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The content of this course is variable, and, therefore, it is repeatable for credit. The University Grade Repeat Policy does not apply.

Introduces theories of the sign and representation, and the development of these accounts in the twentieth century. The course is divided into three parts. Part one introduces basic concepts and pioneering theories: the work of Saussure and Peirce, formalism and structuralism (Levi-Strauss, Piaget, Jackobson, Benveniste), their similarities and differences, and the debates their works have engendered. Part two considers developments and refinements of their work, particularly in various analyses of social power; among the figures analyzed here are Roland Barthes and his examination of bourgeois cultural life, and Michel Foucault and his understanding of social power and its investment in the production and control of discourse. Part three discusses poststructuralist critiques of structuralism, concentrating particularly on the work of the Derrideans, including a session on Kristeva, Cixous, and the writing of otherness.

COL 320 Literature and Desire

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC

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The content of this course is variable, and, therefore, it is repeatable for credit. The University Grade Repeat Policy does not apply.

The psychological thrust of many literary works is a long-established truism. This is a course situated on the interstice between literary works, mostly fictive, and the intricate web of social and psychological factors involved in desire, whether for love, power, or wealth. Combines philosophical and psychological approaches to literature.

COL 328 Rethinking Bodies

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  SEM

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The content of this course is variable and therefore it is repeatable for credit. The University Grade Repeat Policy does not apply.

Introduces various philosophical and theoretical accounts of the body. The concept of the body is generally relegated to a secondary or subordinate category relative to the privilege of mind or Reason in the history of Western thought. Examines the work of a number of theorists who have questioned and problematized the subordination of body to mind. The course is divided into four parts. Part one introduces and selectively surveys the ways in which the body (and mind) have been formulated in modern Western thought. Part two focuses on phenomenological and psychoanalytic concepts of the lived body, the body of experience or the corporeal schema. Part three examines the body as a (writing) surface, a surface of social inscription, marking, and training. The fourth and final part explores the implications of acknowledging the sexual specificity of the body for notions of knowledge and representation.

COL 340 Berlin, Paris, and Vienna at the Turn of the Century

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC

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Involves a general introduction to twentieth-century culture and art. Focuses on three centers of modernism: Vienna, Paris, and Berlin, and reaches toward that moment when innovations in linguistics, psychoanalysis, logical analysis, and radical literary works were at the peak of ferment. Literary texts, clinical texts, and visual texts form the material for the course, which aims to develop a notion of modernity equally applicable to all.

COL 345 Special Topics

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC

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The content of this course is variable and therefore it is repeatable for credit. The University Grade Repeat Policy does not apply.

Course content varies according to the interests of the instructor. Topics may explore a specific philosophical, literary, and/or cultural issue or problem.

COL 387 Freud and Feminism

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  SEM

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Introduces some of the central concepts in the writings of Sigmund Freud, focusing mainly on his understanding of the development of the ego or sense of self, the operations of the unconscious, and the genesis of sexual drives in the constitution of male and female subjects. The course explains these basic Freudian concepts through the central feminist question of sexual difference.

COL 443 Literature and War

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  SEM

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Analyzes some of the most important war novels, both European and American, from the perspective of the major theories of war. Theoretical texts include Sun Tsu, Huisinga, Clausewitz, and Freud. Literary texts include Swift, Crane, Flaubert, Tolstoy, and Junger.

COL 451 Modernism

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC

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The content of this course is variable, and, therefore, it is repeatable for credit. The University Grade Repeat Policy does not apply.

Pursues the great experiments of modernism in Europe and the United States over the period 1890�1945. Emphasizes the culture of combination, expansion, and distortion that characterized not only literature, but art, music, drama, and architecture. Readings by Rilke, Kafka, Proust, Joyce, Freud, Stein, Woolf, Barnes, and Borges.

COL 452 Romanticism

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC

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The content of this course is variable, and, therefore, it is repeatable for credit. The University Grade Repeat Policy does not apply.

Examines studies in British and European Romanticism across genres (poetry and the novel) and disciplines (philosophy, historiography, literature, music, and art). Particularly concerned with Romantic conceptions of language and subjectivity.

COL 470 Special Topics

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  SEM

View Schedule

The content of this course is variable, and, therefore, it is repeatable for credit. The University Grade Repeat Policy does not apply.

Course content varies. Topics are generally related to the research interests of the specific instructor. Could be entirely devoted to particular literary, philosophical or theoretical problems that range across centuries, or could be devoted to the study of a single author, period, or genre of literature, philosophy, or theory.

Updated: Aug 17, 2006 9:48:26 AM