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Fall 2020 Course Supplement IAP 2020 Spring 2020 Course Supplement
Show Descriptions

Introductory

21L.003 Reading Fiction: Voyages Wyn Kelley MW 9:30 - 11:00am 4-144

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H

Voyages inspire literary works; fiction often relies upon metaphors of travel and discovery. This class examines the voyage as a mythic & idea that shapes literary forms and fantasies, tests social, geographical, and historical boundaries, and reckons with a dangerous world. Readings will consider structuring themes of the literary voyage and their consequences: in, for example, the uses of shipwreck (Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno), monsters (Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Toni Morrison’s A Mercy), journeys out (M. Forster’s A Passage to India, Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West), and ambiguous return (Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing, and Mia Heavener’s Under Nushagak Bluff). No passports required.

21L.004 Reading Poetry: From Ben Jonson to Beyoncé Joaquín Terrones MW 3:30 - 5:00pm 2-103

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H

How do poems work?  Who and what are they for?  This course will introduce you to the pleasures of poetry in English, seeking to develop the tools and vocabulary in order to better appreciate the full range of what verse can do.  In the first two-thirds, we will read key poets from the Renaissance to Modernism, including Shakespeare, Milton, Keats, Whitman, Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot and William Carlos Williams.  In the last third, we will turn to contemporary American poetry and song in order to consider how they intervene in ongoing national conversations about democracy and identity.  The poets and lyricists studied include Mos Def, Bob Dylan, Rita Dove, Claudia Rankine, Kendrick Lamar, Richard Blanco and Beyoncé.

21L.004 Reading Poetry: Or, Forms of Innovation Janet Sylvester TR 11:00 - 12:30p 5-232

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H

An introduction to poetry in English, chiefly British and American, from Shakespeare through Terrance Hayes. Organized by poetic forms (sonnets, sestinas, villanelles, blank verse, free verse, and rap, this course will consider each form from some of its earliest examples in English to contemporary modifications in form and content.  Doing so, we will consider how poets, over the centuries, have carried on wide-ranging conversations—aesthetic, historical, political– through the rhythms, images, and ideas of poetry. Emphasis in the course will be on cultivating your pleasure in the richness of poetry and learning how to articulate that pleasure with precision in essays and oral presentations.

21L.005 Introduction to Drama Anne Fleche 3:30 - 5:00pm 5-234

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-A, CI-H

This introductory course will explore theater and theatricality across periods and cultures through intensive engagement with performance texts. We will study and discuss plays that exemplify different kinds of dramatic structure, and class members will also attend and review dramatic performances and have a chance to perform scenes on their own. In addition to modern and contemporary plays, readings will range from ancient Greece to Medieval England, Renaissance Spain and Classical Japan.

21L.006 American Literature Sandy Alexandre TR 9:30 - 11:00am 2-103

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H

This course surveys the texts and contexts that have shaped and continue to shape North American literature. From Walt Whitman’s proud assertion of his notion of an American selfhood in “Song of Myself” (1855) to Tommy Orange’s engaging method of writing contemporary Native Americans into a clear and similarly assertive focus in There There (2018), we will explore multiple versions of American identity as they have developed through time, across different regions both inside and outside the U.S., and through representation in the major literary genres of prose narrative, poetry, and drama. Readings include, but are not limited to the following authors: Henry James, Elizabeth Bishop, James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry, Min Jin Lee, Toni Morrison.

21L.008[J] Black Matters: Introduction to Black Studies
24.912[J], 21H.106[J], 21W.741[J], WGS.190[J]
Michel DeGraff T 2:00 - 5:00pm 36-372

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-A/H, CI-H

21L.011 Introduction to Film Kyle Stevens
Lecture T 3:30 - 5:00pm 3-270
Screening M 7:00 - 10:00pm 3-270
R1 R 3:00 - 4:00pm 1-273
R2 R 3:00 - 4:00pm 1-277
R3 R 4:00 - 5:00pm 1-273
R4 R 4:00 - 5:00pm 1-277

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

Cinema was arguably the first form of global culture, and there can be no doubt that the many screen fictions it has spawned dominate our contemporary cultural landscape. This course will teach you to develop sophisticated approaches to understanding screen fiction through the study of exemplary movies, assigned readings, lectures, and discussions. In the first half of the semester, you will learn to analyze screen narratives, concentrating on specific elements of film language and visual grammar, such as editing and cinematography.

The second half of the class will focus on more theoretical issues, such as authorship, genre, and the nature of interpretation. By the end of the course, you will be better equipped to think about how films create meaning and circulate values—that is, how they entertain us and how they shape our socio-political environments and personal identities, both within US culture and globally.

21L.015 Children's Literature: Imagining Alternative Worlds Marah Gubar MW 11:00 - 12:30pm 5-217

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H

In this course, we will study fantastic fictions that invite readers to immerse themselves in enchanted alternative worlds. Besides revisiting such famous imaginary locales as Never Land, Narnia, Middle-Earth, and Hogwarts, we will also journey through less well-known fantasylands created by writers such as Ursula Le Guin, Nnedi Okorafor, and Daniel José Older. To enrich our understanding of these immersive stories, we will ask: What stylistic and structural choices do writers make in order to craft such convincing fictional worlds? And what difference does it make that these books are addressed to children? Besides analyzing what type of image of childhood emerges from these fictions, we’ll also discuss the question of how “escapist” (or not) these stories are. To what extent do they reflect—and sometimes, resist—the sociopolitical struggles and social norms of the eras in which they were written? Although we will sometimes identify and analyze problematic aspects of these narratives, I want us to resist the notion that creative writers build up alternative worlds and we-as-critics tear them down. Creative writers are themselves astute critics of fantasy, as we will see, and criticism itself can be a creative act—especially if we employ metaphorical language and other artistic techniques to enliven our own analytical writing.

21L.019 Introduction to European and Latin American Fiction: Dangerous Women in Novel & Film Kavita Mudan Finn TR 1:00 - 2:30pm 14N-112

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H

The dangerous woman has been a fixture in literature from Eve and Helen of Troy to the ruthless protagonists of modern film and television. Who is she? What makes her dangerous? How should we, as readers and viewers, respond to her? How do depictions of her change over time and across geographic, cultural, and gender borders? This class will introduce European and Latin American fiction from the eighteenth century to the present day through a series of dangerous women, some of whom incited controversy from the second they first appeared in print. Some of the works we will explore include Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate, and Isabelle Allende’s The House of the Spirits, as well as selections of short fiction and film. Class projects will include creative as well as critical writing, and the opportunity to rework and adapt class texts.

Samplings

21H.343[J] Making Books in the Renaissance and Today
CC.120[J])
Erica Zimmer TR 9:30 - 11:00am 4-253

Prereq: none
3-0-9

What have books been, and what might they be? How can actually making books “edit” our expectations about them? In this course, we undertake three main activities. First, we study the history of the book in Europe and the world, from Gutenberg (ca. 1450) to the Industrial Revolution. Second, we examine in detail books, prints, and related artifacts from the MIT Libraries and MIT Museum collections. Third, working in the Beaver Press print shop on the eighth floor of Barker Library, we will use a movable-type printing press built by MIT students for a series of printing exercises, culminating in an 8-page pamphlet designed and printed entirely by hand. (We also plan to make paper!) Through these activities, we will develop a holistic view of print: its stakes, its requirements, its valances, and its possible iterations. Along the way, we consider parallels between the Early Modern textual world and today’s rapidly changing media landscape. How might “affordances” of particular media contribute to shaping texts themselves? And how might placing new media in historical context help us understand the book’s future potential?

Assignments include essays and online projects. Students participate in the design and construction of a hand-set printing press. Limited to 12.

21L.320 Big Books: Pearl, the Most Beautiful Work You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of Arthur Bahr MW 9:30 - 11:00am 2-103

Prereq: none
2-0-4 Can be repeated for credit

(Beings March 30) It’s been called “the most intricate poem ever wrought in English” and “one of the most effective verbal melodies in all of literature,” whose “strangeness …magnifies its emotional power,” to quote just three of its many fans. Rhyming, alliterating, AND linking its 101 stanzas with kaleidoscopic wordplay, the fourteenth-century Pearl tells of a man who falls asleep in a lush garden mourning the loss of his precious pearl. Then, in a phantasmagoric dreamscape, he sees her, and we gradually realize that the pearl is his daughter, who died before her second birthday; the garden, the graveyard in which she’s buried, “all clad in clot.” But in this richly layered text, no word or image means just one thing; Pearl insists upon, and performs, the complexity of grief, love, and beauty.

Students won’t write formal essays. Instead, after reading and discussing the poem itself, they will produce a poetic rendering of their favorite stanzas and reflect on the act of translating, which involves forms of loss—of meaning and beauty—eerily similar to what the poem itself describes. No experience withmedieval literature is required or expected, just willingness to enter a strange and gorgeous verbal landscape.

21L.325 Small Wonders: The Romantic Lyric Noel Jackson MW 1:00 - 2:30pm 4-251

Prereq: none
2-0-4 Can be repeated for credit; second half of term

(Begins March 30th) The “small wonders” of this class are short poems, songs, sonnets, odes, and others from a period famed for excellence in these short literary forms. The poetry produced in England in the years 1789-1820 revolutionized the themes and diction of poetry and substantially rethought the nature of poetic thinking. This subject will read ample selections of lyric writing from the major poets of English Romanticism, and will situate this poetry in relation to what William Wordsworth described as “the great national events” of his moment (the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, economic modernization, urbanization and industrialization, the early feminist and abolitionist movements, etc.). Our readings will attend more particularly to the invention of a formal literary language responsive to these contexts. Authors will include William Blake, Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Shelley, John Keats, Lord Byron. The student who takes this subject can expect to gain an intimate familiarity with some of the most exhilarating, challenging, and beautiful short poems in the language.

 

21L.350 Science and Literature: The Frankenstein Project Noel Jackson MW 1:00 - 2:30pm 4-251

Prereq: none
2-0-4 Can be repeated for credit

(Ends March 18th) Mary Shelley’s classic tale Frankenstein is often called the first science fiction novel. The Frankenstein Project will examine in depth one of English literature’s most famous pieces of fiction, the tale of a brilliant scientist with overweening ambition and his misbegotten creation. The daughter of famous literary parents, both renowned philosophers and novelists, Mary Shelley was highly conversant with the intellectual debates of the day. This subject will explore some of the familial, literary, scientific and political contexts of Shelley’s novel. We will read Frankenstein in its editions of 1818 and 1831, and will examine some of the afterlives, adaptations, and remixes of the novel in fiction and film, including H. G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, and Shelley Jackson’s Patchwork Girl.

Intermediate

21L.430 Popular Culture and Narrative: The Use & Abuse of the Fairytales
CMS.920
William Donaldson TR 11:00 - 12:30pm 1-273

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H; Can be repeated for credit

This course takes a deep look at a big subject. We ask where Fairy Tales come from, surveying the work of the famous Brothers Grimm, before moving on to
historic fairy belief in traditional Celtic societies, centering on the folkloristic work of Robert Kirk in late seventeenth-century Scotland, and his links with the Royal Society. We look at the structure of Fairy Tales, and how they are conditioned by oral transmission, and inherited story-telling techniques. We ask what Fairy Tales mean, considering a range of Freudian and Jungian interpretations, and the claims made for them as a key psychological tool.

There follow two case studies of the abuse of Fairy Tales, firstly by the Nazis in 1930s Germany for the purposes of political indoctrination, and, secondly, by Walt Disney in the famous series of animated movies starting with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. We consider the filmic techniques involved, and the charges of sexism and political conservatism frequently laid at Disney’s door. We end with a close study of modern literary written Fairy Tales from writers including Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Dickens, L. Frank Baum, Margaret Atwood, and Angela Carter.

The goal of the class is to teach students how to approach cultural history in a broadbased multi-disciplinary manner, using a blend of folklore, history, psychology and film and textual studies. The student will gain a detailed appreciation of the links between oral tradition and print, and the means by which culture is transmitted down the centuries via a wide range of media.

21L.434 Science Fiction and Fantasy: The Medieval Roots of Game of Thrones Kavita Mudan Finn TR 11:00 - 12:30pm 14N-112

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H

This course will be a deep dive into George R.R. Martin’s award-winning 1996 novel A Game of Thrones, best known as the source text for HBO’s juggernaut series of the same name that ended this past summer. We all know that dragons and ice zombies do not exist, but the universe is so immersive that it is sometimes conflated with actual history. More accurately, Game of Thrones, and the books on which it is based, represent a mishmash of historical periods, ranging from about the tenth century (the Ironborn and the Vikings) all the way to the sixteenth (the Free Cities and their mercantile empires). We will read the novel over the course of the semester in conversation with not just contemporary criticism, reviews, and interviews, but also a selection of medieval and early modern texts: Machiavelli’s The Prince, the twelfth-century lais of Marie de France, the account of Arab diplomat Ibn Fadlān’s travels with the Vikings, and a thirteenth-century French romance, Silence, which features many tropes that recur in Game of Thrones, particularly in the character arcs of Brienne of Tarth and Arya Stark.

We will also look at specific scenes from the official graphic novel and view several episodes from the first season of Game of Thrones to consider the complexities of adaptation between different media. Students may explore other transmedia extensions (e.g. tabletop games, video games, podcasts, cosplay, fanfiction, fanart) in presentations and research projects, and will have the opportunity to produce creative work of their own. A word of warning: The night is dark and full of spoilers.

21L.449 The Wilds of Literature Marah Gubar MW 2:00 - 3:30pm 1-242

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H

Nowadays, when we think about the interaction between human beings and nature, we tend to focus on environmental damage: deforestation, pollution, climate change and the catastrophes to which it has contributed. In this course, however, we will read Anglo-American literature that represents the interaction between humans and the natural world as joyous, sublime, revelatory, and mutually sustaining. We will traverse the Lake District with William Wordsworth, Walden Pond with Henry David Thoreau, and the Grand Canyon with Lauret Savoy. We will listen to Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes “sing America,” and read breathtakingly beautiful fiction, nonfiction, and children’s literature about plants and animals, hiking and fishing, the earth, the ocean, and the sky. Without denying that human beings have damaged the world we inhabit—and that certain groups have been systematically barred from enjoying equal access to its beauty and bounty—we will focus on the role that pleasure, wonder, and hope might play in helping us to envision new modes of engagement with each other and an ever-changing environment.

21L.458 The Bible Ina Lipkowitz TR 9:30 - 11:00am 4-257

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H

The Bible – both Hebrew Bible and New Testament – is a complex and fascinating text, written by many people, in different languages, over a vast period of time, yet still displaying an overarching unity. Our purpose in this course is to consider the Bible as both a collection of disparate books and as a unified whole. Of course it is impossible to discuss the Bible without reference to religion, but religious interpretation – whether Jewish or Christian – is not our primary concern. Rather, we will explore the Bible’s literary techniques and its enormous variety of genres – everything from myth to history, from genealogy to poetry – as well as the historical periods that produced and are reflected in it. We will also consider issues arising from the history of the translation of the Bible from its original Hebrew and Greek. We will read Genesis, Exodus, selections from Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, 1 and 2 Samuel, Isaiah, Job, Daniel, the Gospels, Acts, Pauline Epistles, and Revelation.

21L.480[J] Identities and Intersections: Queer Literatures
WGS.245
Joaquín Terrones MW 2:00 - 3:30pm 4-146

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H

(Same subject as WGS.245)  This course will focus on LGBT literature from the late nineteenth century to the present with an emphasis on fiction and poetry. In particular, we will analyze how LGBT identities and their literary representations have changed over time. Our discussion will give special attention to the ways in which race, class, and disability intersect with sexuality and gender. Some of the authors we will read include James Baldwin, Virginia Woolf, Samuel Delany, Tony Kushner, Audre Lorde, Alison Bechdel, and Leslie Feinberg.

21L.485 Modern Fiction: Twentieth Century Fiction: Modernist Masters David Thorburn MW 11:00 - 12:30pm 2-103

Prereq: One subject in Literature
3-0-9 HASS-H

Tradition and innovation in a representative sampling of novels and shorter fiction by the great English and European modernists – Conrad, Woolf, Joyce, Kafka, and others. Recurring topics will include the role of the artist in the modern period, the representation of sexual and psychological experience, shifting attitudes toward gender roles and social class, and the aggressively experimental character of so many modern texts. Early classes will explore the connections between our writers and impressionist and modern painting.

21L.487 Modern Poetry Stephen Tapscott M 7:00 - 10:00pm 2-103

Prereq: One subject in Literature
3-0-9 HASS-H

We will read major poems by the most important poets in English in the twentieth century, from the period post-WW I disillusionment, through WW II internationalism and beyond. Our special focus this term will be on how the concept of “the Image”evolved during this period. The War had undercut beliefs in master-narratives of nationalism and empire, and the language-systems that supported them (religious transcendence, rationalism, and formalism). Retrieving energies from the Symbolist movements of the preceding century and from turnof-the-century technologies of vision, early twentieth-century poets began to rethink how images carry information, and in what ways the visual, visionary, and verbal image can take the place of transcendent beliefs. New theories of linguistics and anthropology helped to advance this interest in the artistic/religious/social image. So did Freud. So did Charlie Chaplin. So did the invention of the snapshot. We will read poems that pay attention both to this disillusionment and to the compensatory joyous attention to the image: to ideas of the poet as language priest, aesthetic experience as displaced religious impulse, to poems as faith, ritual, and cultural form– and to poems as witness of the ordinary, the joyous, the goofy, the strange. Poets whose work we will read include: W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Hilda Doolittle, Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, Langston Hughes, Sylvia Plath, Elizabeth Bishop. Several short papers, class presentations, no final exam. Several visiting poets, slams, readings and performances.

21L.490[J] Introduction to the Classics of Russian Literature (NEW)
21G.077[J]
Maria Khotimsky TR 2:30 - 4:00pm 16-668

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H

21L.504[J] Race and Identity in American Literature: Renewing Hope
WGS.140[J]
Sandy Alexandre TR 12:00 - 1:30pm 4-253

Prereq: Permission of instructor
3-0-9 HASS-H; Can be repeated for credit

What role does literature play in updating our understanding of hope as a concept and as an exercise we can try to emulate, practice and embody in our lives? Has another concept replaced the role that hope is meant to play? Is hope going by another name? What updates on hope have we encountered in novels, poems, or songs in the past few years? What do these new iterations of hope suggest about how stories need to be improved and modernized to make hope relevant for different generations of readers? How does hope speak in a story—what are the contours of its language? What does the future look like through its perspective, and how does it attempt to equip us with tools to wade through, endure, and even enjoy this thing called life? How many different variations of hope can we find toward creating something like the beginnings of a taxonomy of hope? What does hope look like for different kinds of writers? Might a work by Alice Walker, one by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and another by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie fall under a category we’d call epistolary hope, for example? As a practice in/of hope, students will be required to write and revise their arguments about how hope is evolving through our readings.

International Literatures

21L.609 Greek Readings Randall Colaizzi MW 4:00 - 5:00pm 14N-112

Prereq: none
2-0-4

(Ends March 18th) Begin to read ancient Greek literature in the original language. The reading selections from Homer’s Odyssey includes the famous episodes of Odysseus’ wanderings, featuring the Cyclops, Circe, the descent to the Underworld, the Sirens, and Scylla & Charybdis. This course provides a bridge for students with one semester or more of formal Greek training (Greek 1/2, high school Greek, or equivalent) between the study of Greek grammar and vocabulary and the reading of Greek authors. May be repeated for credit if the content differs.

21L.610 Advanced Greek Readings Randall Colaizzi MW 4:00 - 5:00pm 14N-112

Prereq: none
2-0-4

(Ends March 18th) Begin to read ancient Greek literature in the original language. The reading selections from Homer’s Odyssey includes the famous episodes of Odysseus’ wanderings, featuring the Cyclops, Circe, the descent to the Underworld, the Sirens, and Scylla & Charybdis. This course provides a bridge for students with one semester or more of formal Greek training (Greek 1/2, high school Greek, or equivalent) between the study of Greek grammar and vocabulary and the reading of Greek authors. May be repeated for credit if the content differs.

21L.611 Latin I Randall Colaizzi MW 1:00 - 2:30pm 14N-112

Prereq: none
3-0-3; first half of term

(begins March 18) Latin I offers an introduction for those who do not know the language, or a review for those who would like to refresh the Latin that they have previously learned. In this half-semester intensive course, students will learn the rudiments of Latin vocabulary and grammar, including basic vocabulary, word forms, and simple sentence structure. This is the equivalent of a full first semester of college-level Latin.

21L.612 Latin II Randall Colaizzi MW 1:00 - 2:30pm 14N-112

Prereq: 21L.611 or permission of instructor
3-0-3; second half of term

(begins March 30) Latin II offers a continuation of Latin I. This class will complete the basic preparation for those who have begun the language with Latin I (611), or will give a review to those who have learned some Latin previously. In this half-semester intensive course, students will reach the level necessary to read Latin texts at an intermediate level, including the full basic Latin vocabulary, word forms, and a knowledge of more complex sentence structures. This is the equivalent of the second semester of college-level Latin.

21L.636[J] Introduction to Contemporary Hispanic Literature and Film
21G.716[J]
Margery Resnick T 7:00 - 10:00pm 14N-325

Prereq: One intermediate subject in Spanish or permission of instructor
3-0-9 HASS-H

This course introduces students to the literature and cinema of contemporary Spain and Latin America. By becoming familiar with the historical, political and cultural settings that shaped these texts and films, we will consider what, if anything, makes them uniquely Hispanic. What links the Old World with the New in the 20th and 21st Centuries? How has Spain envisioned its place within Western Europe? How has Latin America defined itself in relationship to its northern neighbor? What role have revolutions played in shaping the literatures of Spanish-speaking nations? How did the rise of Fascism (Spain) and dictatorships (Latin America) shape literary responses? Myths of national identity, new gender roles and the changing relationships between State and religion will be examined. We will view six films—from Spain, Mexico and Argentina. Some of the authors and filmmakers we will study include the poets: Neruda, Vallejo, Lorca, Figuera, Cernuda, Blas de Otero, Celaya; fiction writers: Borges, Márquez, Puig, Bolaño, Martín Gaite; film directors: Salles, Buñuel, Saura and Almodóvar. The course is project-based with students defining and investigating those issues that are most important to them. The class is conducted in Spanish, and all reading and writing will be in Spanish.

Seminars

21L.702 Studies in Fiction: After Jane Austen: Great Realist Novels James Buzard TR 3:30 - 5:00pm 2-103

Prereq: Two subjects in Literature
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-M; Can be repeated for credit

Prereq: none
3-0-9, HASS-H, CI-M

Close study of three substantial novels of the Victorian period (1837-1901) written by successors to Austen’s realist fiction about English life in the provinces. We will read: Miss Marjoribanks by Margaret Oliphant (1866); The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope (1867); and the incomparable Middlemarch by George Eliot* (1871-72), widely considered one of the greatest of all novels. These large works offer richly immersive fictional worlds, so we read only three so as to take our time with them. They feature situations that raise all manner of vital social questions about family, courtship and marriage, women’s ambition and scope for action, pride and honor, interpretation and rationalization, innovation and conservatism, old and new money, authority and power – many of which remain highly  ertinent today. The Victorian period may seem a long time ago, but as these novels show it was a time when society really began to cope with the consequences and  hallenges of becoming modern. (NOTE: you do NOT need to have taken a class on Jane Austen in order to take this one. You are welcome whether you have done so or not.) Work will include frequent short response papers, one or two brief oral reports, and a final creative project or critical essay. *George Eliot was the pseudonym of Mary Ann Evans.

21L.703 Studies in Drama: Stoppard, Churchill & Company Diana Henderson MW 1:00 - 2:30pm 2-103

Prereq: Two subjects in Literature
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-M; Can be repeated for credit

Prereq: none
3-0-9, HASS-H, CI-M

Working outwards from the plays of two of Britain’s most respected, prolific—and funny—living dramatists, this seminar will explore a wide range of knowledge in fields such as mathematics, philosophy, politics, history, genetics, and art…as well as, of course, literature and theater. Our focal texts will be plays by (Sir) Tom Stoppard and his compelling contemporaries, including Howard Barker and (especially) Caryl Churchill. To illuminate them, some students will report on earlier plays by Shakespeare, Ford, Wilde, and Beckett; others will explore topics ranging from the poetry of Lord Byron to Dadaism to Pink Floyd, from the Battle of Lepanto to the bridges of Konigsberg, and from Czechoslovakian dissidents to feminist theater
collectives.

We will uncover the societal and theatrical contexts informing these postmodern plays, and consider different critical approaches to them. In the process, we will
analyze drama as performance—a distinctive art form within a rapidly changing media landscape. We will also celebrate the wit and verbal energy of these
contemporary writers…not to mention, how Fermat’s theorem, futures trading, Latin translation, and chaos theory can become the stuff of stage comedy. Plays will
include Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Top Girls, The Real Thing, Arcadia, Serious Money, A Number, and Rock ‘n’ Roll.

21L.706 Studies in Film: Cinematic Sound
CMS.830
Kyle Stevens
Lecture W 7:00 - 10:00pm 1-277
Screening T 7:00 - 10:00 p 1-277

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

In a world where screen sizes are diminishing and speakers—especially headphones—are improving, sound is becoming an increasingly important aspect of contemporary aesthetic experience. Yet film scholars persistently theorize the medium in terms of images and visual spectacles. We say we watch or go see a movie. However, as we all know, we also listen to films! Our class is going to explore cinema as an audiovisual medium, learning about the history of filmmakers’ experiments with relations of sight and sound. We shall look and listen carefully to ways that the mechanical reproduction of sound has been used to create both pleasure and meaning—as speech, music, and noise—by experiencing, among others, films by Jane Campion, Alfred Hitchcock, Derek Jarman, Fritz Lang, Lynne Ramsay, and Jacques Tati. We will also explore philosophical conceptualizations of what makes listening distinctive, reminding ourselves, for instance, that unlike the eye the ear has no lid. In doing so, this class is positioned at the cutting edge of a rapidly growing field within Film Studies interested in sonic aesthetics, as well as within the field of Sound Studies more broadly.

21L.707 Problems in Cultural Interpretation: Women Reading/Women Writing Ruth Perry TR 1:00 - 2:30pm 2-103

Prereq: Two subjects in Literature or permission of instructor
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-M; Can be repeated for credit

In this class we will read great classic novels by Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot, Edith Wharton, Sarah Orne Jewett, Gloria Naylor, and some delicious stories by Toni Cade Bambara. We will interpret these texts, themselves fun to read, in the light of some powerful feminist literary analyses written about them in the last two decades of the twentieth century—analyses which together constitute a decisive contribution to feminist thinking. This major body of cultural theory retains its vital significance, although it is rarely read today. But it has not been superseded— and rarely equaled—and its insights are as important today for thinking about society and culture as when it was first written. This class takes us into a key feminist moment in recent cultural history as well as developing the higher skills in reading fiction and giving us a fresh slant on gender politics.

Special Subjects and Topics

4.S63 Special Subject: History, Theory & Criticism of Architecture & Art — Media Theory Eugenie Brinkema, Caroline Jones F 9:00 - 12:00pm 5-216

Prereq: Permission of instructor
3-0-9 G

“Medium” (pl. media) here designates the means and technologies by which temporal events are materially fixed and conveyed to aesthetic experience. Linked to waves of successive technological innovations in image-making, “media theory” established itself historically by taking the measure of phantasmagorical lantern shows, stereographic photography, cinema, and television. Makers were deeply involved in the project of theorizing their image-making practices, from Talbot with his “pencil of nature” to Soviet Russian filmmakers’ concepts of estrangement and montage. The extensive literature on medium-specificity received a profound jolt during the epoch of “digital convergence.” Are digital media still capable of theorization, or are we only capable of accounting for the platforms that circulate them? Does the concept of transmedia achieve the theorization of this mediation-by-platform? This seminar will take a deeply historical view of what has been known as media theory, and will engage the tensions that vex this discursive position today. Taught by an art historian and by a film scholar, Media Theory asks an overarching question: how are subjects formed by, and in, durational visual media?

Open to graduate students in any department, and advanced undergraduates (by petition to the instructors).