To find subjects taught in previous semesters, you may also look at the archived Literature Supplements.

Fall 2018 Course Supplement IAP 2019 Spring 2019 Course Supplement
Show Descriptions


21L.011 The Film Experience David Thorburn
Lecture T 4:00 - 5:00 3-270
Lecture T 7:00 - 8:00 3-270
Screening T 8:00 - 10:00 PM 3-270
Recitation 1 R 3:00 - 4:00 1-277
Recitation 2 R 3:00 - 4:00 1-273
Recitation 3 R 4:00 - 5:00 1-277
Recitation 4 R 4:00 - 5:00 1-273

Prereq: none
3-3-6 HASS-A, CI-H
Topics: Film

This course is an introductory survey of classic films. Emphasis falls equally on cultural and on artistic matters: on films as anthropological and historical artifacts that articulate the values and assumptions of particular societies and eras and on films as works of art. The course aims to sharpen students’ analytic skills, to give them a sense of the history and cultural significance of movies, and to improve their writing. The course is organized in three segments: the silent era (films by such directors as Chaplin, Keaton and Murnau); Hollywood genres (Capra, Ford, Huston, Hitchcock, Fosse); international masters (Renoir, DeSica, Kurosawa, Wong Kar-wai).
Format: two lectures, one recitation section, one three-hour screening each week.


21L.504[J] Race and Identity in American Literature: Woke Lit: The Protest Tradition Today
Joaquín Terrones MW 7:00 - 8:30 PM 8-119

Prereq: Permission of instructor
3-0-9 HASS-H; Can be repeated for credit
Topics: Culture, Fiction, Film, New Media

What role do writers play in a social movement? How does literature today respond to systemic racism and rampant xenophobia; travel bans and deportation sweeps; police brutality and mass incarceration? Can a poem, a novel, or an essay make a difference? This course will tackle these questions by pairing contemporary literature, music, film, and television with works by earlier writers who used literature to speak out, fight back, and bear witness.

The pairings we will analyze and discuss include:

James Baldwin and Ta-Nehisi Coates
Audre Lorde and Toni Morrison
Frederick Douglass and Colson Whitehead
Gloria Anzaldúa and Valeria Luiselli
José Martí and Lin Manuel-Miranda
Nina Simone and Solange Knowles
Marvin Gaye and D’Angelo
W.E.B. DuBois’s The Souls of Black Folk and Jordan Peele’s Get Out
Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and Sam Esmail’s Mr. Robot


21L.706 Studies in Film: The Contemporary Horror Film
Eugenie Brinkema
Lecture W 1:00 - 4:00 1-375
Screening M 7:00 - 10:00 PM 1-379

Prereq: 21L.011, one subject in Literature or Comparative Media Studies; or permission of instructor
3-3-6 HASS-H, CI-M; Can be repeated for credit
Topics: Film

While one popular image of horror is the 1970s American slasher film, the cinema of repugnance and fear is a vibrant transhistorical and transnational mode of filmmaking that has undergone extraordinary shifts in the last thirty years. This seminar will focus on horror films of the last three decades hailing from a dozen different countries, examining films comparatively, noting stylistic connections and theorizing the many ways violence, shock, trauma, disgust, anxiety and every manner of the terrible are portrayed. Each week will focus on a different conceptual area, including monstrosity, surrealism, rules, reflexivity, gender and sexuality, extremity, and the postmodern turn.

Films include: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, The Shining, Pan’s Labyrinth, Ringu, Let the Right One In, Shaun of the Dead, Haute Tension, Martyrs, Scream, [REC], Saw, The Human Centipede, Rubber, The Cabin in the Woods, Only Lovers Left Alive, and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. Readings from philosophers and film theorists will help us understand the way horror films negotiate violence, trauma, and pain; how they grapple with ethics, politics, and historical allegory; their representations of gender, sexuality and embodiment; formal questions, including narrative, sonic and visual style; and how their relationship to violence intersects with (is influenced by, is in dialogue with) or departs from (even opposes, radically upends), our more ordinary language sense of “horror film.”