2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog

Comparative Literature

Students may complete a major or minor in Comparative Literature.

Directors

Azade Seyhan, at Bryn Mawr College
Israel Burshatin, at Haverford College

Advisory Faculty at Bryn Mawr

Elizabeth C. Allen, Russian (on leave semester II)
Francis Higginson, French and Francophone Studies
Pauline Lin, East Asian Studies (on leave semester I)
Hoang Tan Nguyen, English
Maria C. Quintero, Spanish
Roberta Ricci, Italian (on leave semesters I and II)
Lisa Saltzman, History of Art
Azade Seyhan, German and German Studies (on leave semester II)

Advisory Faculty at Haverford College

Israel Burshatin, Comparative Literature and Spanish
Roberto Castillo-Sandoval, Spanish
Maud McInerney, English
Jerry Miller, Philosophy
Deborah Roberts, Classics
Ulrich Schoenherr, German
David Sedley, French
Travis Zadeh, Religion

The study of Comparative Literature situates literature in an international perspective; examines transnational cultural connections through literary history, literary criticism, critical theory, and poetics; and works toward a nuanced understanding of the socio-cultural functions of literature. The structure of the program allows students to engage in such diverse areas of critical inquiry as East-West cultural relations, global censorship and human rights, diaspora studies, film history and theory, and aesthetics of modernity. Therefore, interpretive methods from other disciplines also play a role in the comparative study of literature; among these are anthropology, ethnology, philosophy, history, history of art, religion, classical studies, area studies (Africana studies, Middle Eastern studies, Latin American studies, among others), gender studies, and other arts.

Comparative Literature students are required to have a reading knowledge of at least one foreign language adequate to the advanced study of literature in that language. Some Comparative Literature courses may require reading knowledge of a foreign language as a prerequisite for admission. Students considering graduate work in Comparative Literature should also study a second foreign language.

Major Requirements

Requirements for the Comparative Literature major are COML 200: Introduction to Comparative Literature (normally taken in the sophomore year); six literature courses at the 200 level or above, balanced between two literature departments (of which English may be one)—at least two of these (one in each national literature) must be at the 300 level or above, or its equivalent as approved in advance by the adviser; one course in critical theory; two electives; COML 398: Theories and Methods in Comparative Literature and 399: Senior Seminar in Comparative Literature.

Honors

Students who, in the judgment of the advisory committee, have done distinguished work in their courses and in the senior seminar will be considered for departmental honors.

Minor Requirements

Requirements for the minor are COML 200 and 398, plus four additional courses—two each in the literature of two languages. At least one of these four courses must be at the 300 level. Students who minor in comparative literature are encouraged to choose their national literature courses from those with a comparative component.

Both majors and minors are encouraged to work closely with the chairs and members of the advisory committee in shaping their programs.

COML B200 Introduction to Comparative Literature
This course explores a variety of approaches to the comparative or transnational study of literature through readings of several kinds: texts from different cultural traditions that raise questions about the nature and function of storytelling and literature; texts that comment on, respond to, and rewrite other texts from different historical periods and nations; translations; and readings in critical theory.
(Quintero, Division III: Humanities)

COML B202 Culture and Interpretation
(Krausz, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as PHIL B202
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B209 Introduction to Literary Analysis: Philosophical Approaches to Criticism
Designated theory course. An introduction to various methods of reading the literary text from the perspective of critical methods informed by philosophical ideas. In their quest for self-understanding and knowledge, literature and philosophy share similar forms of inquiry and imaginative modeling. Selected literary texts and critical essays focus on questions of language, translation, understanding, and identity in their relation to history, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics. One of the main objectives of the course is to provide students with the critical tools necessary for an informed reading of texts.
(Seyhan, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as GERM B209
Cross-listed as PHIL B209
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B211 Primo Levi, the Holocaust and Its Aftermath
(Patruno, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as ITAL B211
Cross-listed as HEBR B211

COML B212 Borges y sus lectores
(Sacerio-Gari, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as SPAN B211
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B213 Theory in Practice: Critical Discourses in the Humanities
Designated theory course.
(Higginson, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as FREN B213
Cross-listed as GERM B213
Cross-listed as HART 213
Cross-listed as PHIL B253

COML B220 Writing the Self
(Conybeare, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as CSTS B220

COML B222 Aesthetics: The Nature and Experience of Art
Designated theory course.
(Krausz, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as PHIL B222
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML M223 Topics In German Cultural Studies
(Kenosian, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as GERM B223
Cross-listed as HART B223
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B229 Movies and Mass Politics
(Tratner, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as ENGL B229
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B231 Cultural Profiles in Modern Exile
This course is a critical introduction to the anthropological, philosophical, psychological, and, most importantly, literary aspects of modern exile. It investigates exile as the defining experience and metaphor of modernity and examines the dialectical relationship between imagined/remembered homelands and transnational identities and between language loss and bi- and multilingualism. Readings by Meena Alexander, Gloria Anzaldúa, Julia Alvarez, Ana Castillo, Assia Djebar, Eva Hoffman, Milan Kundera, Amin Maalouf, E.S. Özdamar, Zadie Smith, among others.
(Seyhan, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as GERM B231
Cross-listed as ANTH B231
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B234 Postcolonial Literature in English
(Tratner, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as ENGL B234
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B238 History of Cinema: 1895-1945 Silent Film: From United States to Soviet Russia and Beyond
(Harte, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as ENGL B238
Cross-listed as HART B238
Cross-listed as RUSS B238

COML B240 Literary Translation Workshop
(Kirchwey, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as ARTW B240
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B245 Interdisciplinary Approaches to German Literature and Culture
(Seyhan Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as GERM B245
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B248 Reception of Classical Literature in the Hispanic World
(Barrenechea, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as CSTS B248
Cross-listed as SPAN B248

COML B251 Romantic Prose Fiction
This seminar studies representative works of Romantic poetry’s “poor relation”—prose fiction. Readings include novels from England, France, Germany and Russia, such as Frankenstein, A Hero of Our Time, The Red and the Black, The Sorrows of Young Werther and Wuthering Heights, as well as short stories. Discussions include such topics as national varieties of Romanticism, the Romantic ideals of nature, love and the self, and the impact of the revolutionary era on art. Illustrative examples of Romantic painting and music are also considered. All readings and discussions in English.
(Allen, Division III: Humanities)
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B252 The Art of Athletics: Modern Sport in 20th Century Culture
This course, drawing upon a range of artistic media—literature, painting, and cinema—from the United States, Western Europe and Russia, explores how artists throughout the 20th century celebrated the beauty and vigorous spirit of athletics. Course discussion will focus on artists’ use of sports to probe issues of gender, race, class, and ideology.
(Harte, Division III: Humanities)
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B257 The Realist Novel Revisited
This seminar undertakes the study of a deceptively simple cultural and literary historical concept—realism—by closely reading well-known 19th-century novels by George Eliot, Gustave Flaubert, Theodor Fontane, Henry James, Stendhal, Leo Tolstoy and Ivan Turgenev, all of which have traditionally been placed within realism’s parameters. Critical essays exploring the nature of realism, either in general or in a particular author’s works, are also discussed. The ethical implications of the realist enterprise and, more broadly, the possible relations between art and life receive special scrutiny.
(Allen, Division III: Humanities)

COML B260 Ariel/Caliban y el discurso americano
(Sacerio-Gari, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as SPAN B260

COML B261 The Russian Anti-Novel
(Allen, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as RUSS B261
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B265 The Islamic Literary Tradition
(Staff, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as GNST B265
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B270 Classical Heroes and Heroines
(Baertschi, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as CSTS B270
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B274 From Myth to Modern Cinema: From Dionysus to the Silver Screen
(Baertschi, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as CSTS B274
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B278 Reading the Middle East
This course examines major themes in modern Middle Eastern literatures through selected prose works by prominent modern writers in translation from Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish. Topics include tradition versus modernity, gender and the family, the individual and the state, and the impact of regional conflict.
(Staff, Division III: Humanities)
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B279 Introduction to African Literature
(Beard, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as ENGL B279
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B293 The Play of Interpretation
Designated theory course. A study of the methodologies and regimes of interpretation in the arts, humanistic sciences, and media and cultural studies, this course focuses on common problems of text, authorship, reader/spectator, and translation in their historical and formal contexts. Literary, oral, and visual texts from different cultural traditions and histories will be studied through interpretive approaches informed by modern critical theories. Readings in literature, philosophy, popular culture, and film will illustrate how theory enhances our understanding of the complexities of history, memory, identity, and the trials of modernity.
(Seyhan, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as ENGL B292
Cross-listed as PHIL B293

COML B299 Cultural Diversity and Its Representations
This course focuses on the literary and aesthetic production of writers, artists, and filmmakers from Turkey, the Arab countries, Iran, and Israel, living and working in contemporary Germany. The course requires a reading knowledge of German.
(Seyhan, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as GERM B299
Cross-listed as CITY B299
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B302 Le printemps de la parole féminine: femmes écrivains des débuts
(Armstrong, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as FREN B302
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B305 Modern German Drama—Faust: Approaches to a Legend in Literature, Drama, and Film
(Seyhan, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as GERM B305
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B306 Film Theory
(King, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as ENGL B306
Cross-listed as HART B306

COML B310 Genres of Italian Popular Fiction in a Comparative Context

Popular fiction in its varied forms and genres has become more and more often object of scholarly studies in all literary disciplines. Detective fiction, noir, romance, fantasy, graphic novels, science fiction are all popular fiction genres that, nowadays, have a well respected niche in literary studies, and Italian literature is no exception to this. This course will focus on one or more of these popular genres in a given semester. It will be taught in Italian as well as in English.
(Perco, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as ITAL 310

COML B312 Crimen y detectives en la narrativa hispánica contemporánea
(Song, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as SPAN B311
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B313 Classical Bodies
(Donohue, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as ARCH B303

COML B314 Troilus and Criseyde
(Taylor)
Cross-listed as ENGL B314

COML B321 Advanced Topics in German Cultural Studies
(Kenosian, Seyhan, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as GERM B321
Cross-listed as CITY B319
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B323 Culture and Interpretation
Designated theory course.
(Krausz, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as PHIL B323

COML B325 Etudes avancées: Crimes et criminalité
(Mahuzier, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as FREN B325

COML B340 Topics in Baroque Art
(McKim-Smith, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as HART B340
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B350 Voix médiévales et échos modernes
(Armstrong, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as FREN B350
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B351 Medieval Encounters in Contemporary Fiction
Muslim, Christian and Jewish relations, particularly in the medieval period, have occupied a number of recent works of fiction in English and other languages. Why that subject has so captured the literary imagination and how individual authors treat it are the central issues the course aims to ad-dress. Selected works of fiction will serve as entry points into questions of how different religious communities interacted with and perceived one another before modern times. Another goal of the course is to make students think about how works of historical fiction serve to shape as well as to challenge current religious sensibilities.
(Staff, Division III: Humanities)
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B375 Interpreting Mythology
(Edmonds, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as CSTS B375
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B387 Allegory in Theory & Practice
(Hedley)
Cross-listed as ENGL B387
Not offered in 2010-11.

COML B388 Contemporary African Fiction
(Beard, Division III: Humanities)
Cross-listed as ENGL B388

COML B398 Theories and Methods in Comparative Literature
This course, required of all senior comparative literature majors in preparation for writing the senior thesis in the spring semester, has a twofold purpose: to review interpretive approaches informed by critical theories that enhance our understanding of literary and cultural texts; and to help students prepare a preliminary outline of their senior theses. Throughout the semester, students research theoretical paradigms that bear on their own comparative thesis topics in order to situate those topics in an appropriate critical context.
(Seyhan)

COML B399 Senior Seminar in Comparative Literature
(Staff)

COML B403 Supervised Work
(Seyhan)

Haverford College currently offers the following courses in Comparative Literature:

Fall 2010
COML H210         Spanish and Spanish American Film Studies
COML H220         The Epic in English
COML H223         Topics in German Cultural Studies
COML H242         Introduction to Visual Studies
COML H282         The Allegorical Imagination
COML H290         History of Literary Theory: Plato to Shelley
COML H312         Advanced Topics
COML H322         Politics of Memory in Latin America
COML H332         Topics in Twentieth Century Continental Philosophy: Levinas

Spring 2011
COML H200         Introduction to Comparative Literature
COML H209         Classical Mythology
COML H211         Introduction to Postcolonial Literature
COML H217         Latin American Documentary Cinema
COML H221         The Ancient Novel
COML H222         Rethinking Latin America in Contemporary Narrative
COML H235         Spanish American Theater
COML H250         Tones, Words, and Images
COML H312         Advanced Topics
COML H318         The Western Dramatic Tradition
COML H321         Topics in German Literature
COML H399         Senior Seminar