Courses

Because we cross-list so many courses, it is inevitable that some courses that are advertised on the college catalog will be canceled, moved, altered, etc., and there are always a few grad-level courses offered through the Committee on Social Thought that do not appear in the college catalog at all. These are the courses actively offered for the academic year; it will be updated as the year progresses. To see the projected list of courses to be offered this year, see the catalog.

Autumn 2017

FNDL No. Title Instructor Description
FNDL 20502 Frank Lloyd Wright Taylor This course looks at Wright's work from multiple angles. We examine his architecture, urbanism, and relationship to the built environment, as well as the socio-cultural context of his lifetime and legend. We take advantage of the Robie House on campus and of the rich legacy of Wright's early work in Chicago; we also think about his later Usonian houses for middle-income clients and the urban framework he imagined for his work (Broadacre City), as well as his Wisconsin headquarters (Taliesin), and spectacular works like the Johnson Wax Factory (a field trip, if funds permit), Fallingwater, and the Guggenheim Museum. By examining one architect's work in context, students gain experience analyzing buildings and their siting, and interpreting them in light of their complex ingredients and circumstances. The overall goal is to provide an introduction to thinking about architecture and urbanism.
FNDL 20700 Thomas Aquinas Meredith This course considers sections from Saint Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica. Among the topics considered are God's existence; the relationship between God and Being; and human nature.
FNDL 21001 Poe: Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque Pop Though Poe wasn't the first famous writer of short stories, his tales of horror, mystery, and ratiocination made the short prose form a modern medium, inspiring artists ranging from Baudelaire and Manet to Arthur Conan Doyle and the inventors of science-fiction. Their unreliable narrators, copious displays of learning, and contrary effects of shock and verisimilitude have shaped modern fiction. At the same time, the "book" wherein Poe collected his tales on his lifetime grew in fits and bounds, absorbing both his theoretical speculations and his poems as extended means of "telling tales". Their chief concerns, subjectivity and reason in their compatibility and conflict, are still--or should be--our own. We approach Poe's short works in as close to the order of composition as we can achieve, and we read them carefully.
FNDL 21403 Shakespeare 1: Histories and Comedies MacKay This course will explore a selection of seven or eight plays representing Shakespeare’s youthful genres of Comedy and History. We will consider how each play fits, or doesn’t fit, within organizing dichotomies like playhouse versus print, popular versus elite, and early versus late. We will also consider how terms that structure our encounter with Shakespeare both form and deform his work, leaving us to ask, Can we do better? 
FNDL 21411 Art of Michelangelo Cohen The focus of this course will be Michelangelo’s sculpture, painting and architecture while making use of his writings and his extensive body of drawings to understand his artistic personality, creative processes, theories of art, and his intellectual and spiritual biography, including his changing attitudes towards Neoplatonism, Christianity and politics. Our structure will be chronological starting with his juvenilia of the 1490s in Florence at the court of Lorenzo the Magnificent through his death in Rome in 1564 as an old man who was simultaneously the deity of art and a lonely, troubled, repentant Christian. Beyond close examination of the works themselves, among the themes that will receive attention for the ways they bear upon his art are Michelangelo’s fraught relationship with patrons; his changing attitude towards religion, especially his engagement with the Catholic Reform; his sexuality and how it might bear on the representation of gender in his art and poetry; his “official” biographies during Michelangelo’s lifetime and complex, ambivalent, reception over the centuries; new ideas about Michelangelo that have emerged from the restoration and scientific imaging of many of his works. At the same time, the course will be an introduction of students with little or no background in art history to some of the major avenues for interpretation in this field, including formal, stylistic, iconographical, psychological, social, feminist, theoretical and reception.
FNDL 21700 Le Roman de la Rose Delogu The mid-thirteenth-century Roman de la Rose was arguably the single most influential vernacular text of the (French) Middle Ages. A sprawling, encyclopedic summa composed by two separate authors writing some forty years apart, whether taken as a source of inspiration or an object of condemnation, the Roman de la Rose became an obligatory point of reference for generations of authors.   

Over the course of quarter we will read the conjoined text, each student focusing their reading through a critical optic of their
choice (e.g. gender studies, animal studies, ethics and philosophy, reception studies, manuscript studies, etc). Students will select and read ancillary texts to enrich their understanding of the Rose, and will collaborate with one another to chart a rich and diverse set of interpretive paths through this complex work.

Taught in English. All reading in French.

Prerequisites: FREN 20500 and at least one other literature course taught in French
FNDL 21717 Xenophon on Leadership Tarcov An introductory reading of one of the classic treatments of political leadership Xenophon’s The Education of Cyrus. We will consider Xenophon’s art of writing and the literary character of the book. Themes will include the qualities and motives of a successful leader or ruler, especially in acquiring and expanding rule, relations between rulers and ruled, the relation between political and military leadership and more broadly between politics and war, the tension between empire and freedom, Cyrus’s bi-cultural education and multinational rule, the roles of morality, religion, and love in politics, and differences between legitimate and tyrannical or despotic rule.
FNDL 22001 Foucault: History of Sexuality Davidson This course centers on a close reading of the first volume of Michel Foucault's The History of Sexuality, with some attention to his writings on the history of ancient conceptualizations of sex. How should a history of sexuality take into account scientific theories, social relations of power, and different experiences of the self? We discuss the contrasting descriptions and conceptions of sexual behavior before and after the emergence of a science of sexuality. Other writers influenced by and critical of Foucault are also discussed. One prior philosophy course is strongly recommended. 
FNDL 22417 Greek Comedy Austin We will read in Greek Menander’s Dyskolos, with an eye to understanding “New Comedy” and its robust afterlife in Renaissance Europe and modern sitcoms. We will also devote some time to reading and assessing fragments from Menander’s contemporaries. Coursework will include translation as well as secondary readings.
FNDL 23610 Littérature et Société: Flaubert & Marx Desan Our approach to Flaubert will be sociological. Three novels will be studied (Madame Bovary, Un cœur simple, and L’Education sentimentale) in direct relation with texts from Marx, Althusser, and other critics on alienation, merchandise, value theory, and the revolution of 1848 (Capital, Manuscripts of 1844, The German Ideology, and 18 Brumaire de Louis Napoleon). 
FNDL 24003 Kieślowski: The Decalogue Shallcross In this class, we study the monumental series “The Decalogue” by one of the most influential filmmakers from Poland, Krzysztof Kieślowski. Without mechanically relating the films to the Ten Commandments, Kieślowski explores the relevance of the biblical moral rules to the state of modern man forced to make ethical choices. Each part of the series contests the absolutism of moral axioms through narrative twists and reversals in a wide, universalized sphere. An analysis of the films will be accompanied by readings from Kieślowski’s own writings and interviews, including criticism by Zizek, Insdorf, and others.
FNDL 24905 Darwin's On the Origin of Species and The Descent of Man Richards This lecture-discussion class will focus on a close reading of Darwin's two classic texts. An initial class or two will explore the state of biology prior to Darwin's Beagle voyage, and then consider the development of his theories before 1859. Then we will turn to his two books. Among the topics of central concern will be the logical, epistemological, and rhetorical status of Darwin's several theories, especially his evolutionary ethics; the religious foundations of his ideas and the religious reaction to them; and the social-political consequences of his accomplishment. The year 2009 was the two hundredth anniversary of Darwin's birth and the one hundred fiftieth of the publication of On the Origin of Species.
FNDL 25406 Hawthorne & Melville Knight In the two-year period between 1850 and 1852, Hawthorne and Melville produced five remarkable books: The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables, The Blithedale Romance, Moby-Dick, and Pierre. During this same time they lived within six miles of each other in the Berkshires, a circumstance that initiated a strong literary friendship and that prompted a number of shared literary, aesthetic, and political preoccupations. This course will focus on four texts: Hawthorne’s Mosses from an Old Manse and The Scarlet Letter, and Melville’s “Hawthorne and his Mosses” and Moby-Dick. Monomania—in its psychological, sexual, aesthetic, religious, epistemological, and political manifestations—will focus much of our inquiry into these texts and into the body of critical discourse surrounding them. 
FNDL 26401 Torquato Tasso Maggi This course investigates the entire corpus of Torquato Tasso, the major Italian poet of the second half of the sixteenth century. We read in detail the Gerusalemme Liberata and Aminta, his two most famous works, in the context of their specific literary genre. We then spend some time examining the intricacies of his vast collection of lyric poetry, including passages from his poem "Il mondo creato." We also consider some of his dialogues in prose that address essential issues of Renaissance culture, such as the theories of love, emblematic expression, and the meaning of friendship.
FNDL 26402 The Cinema of Charlie Chaplin   The course looks at Chaplin and his long film career from a number of perspectives. One of these is Chaplin’s acting technique inherited from commedia dell’arte and enriched by cinematic devices; another is Chaplin as a person involved in a series of political and sexual scandals; yet another one is Chaplin as a myth fashioned within twentieth-century art movements like German Expressionist poetry, French avant-garde painting, or Soviet Constructivist art.
PQ: CMST 10100 Introduction to Film or consent of instructor.
FNDL 26560 Shakespeare & the Ancient Classical World Bevington This course will look closely at the plays written by Shakespeare on the ancient classical world: Titus Andronicus, Julius Caesar, Troilus and Cressida, Antony and Cleopatra, Timon of Athens, and Coriolanus, with an emphasis on the second, third, and fourth titles in this list. Why did Shakespeare turn to the ancient classical world for dramatic material, and what did he find there that was not available to him in the Christian world he knew at first hand? What philosophical ideas, experiments in forms of governance, and understanding of the human condition did he discover? In what ways is Shakespeare a different writer and dramatist as a result of his imaginative journey to the world of ancient Greece and Rome?
FNDL 27620 La Boétie et le Discours de la servitude volontaire Desan This course will study one of the founding text of modern political theory.

Prerequisites: FREN 20500 and one literature course taught in French. Open to advanced undergrads.
FNDL 29117 Burke's Politics Lerner & Elden A broad but intensive examination of Edmund Burke’s principles and political practice as exhibited in his writings and parliamentary speeches.

Winter 2018

FNDL No. Title Instructor Description
FNDL 20109 Sartre's Being and Nothingness Moati We propose here a cursive reading of Sartre's masterpiece of 1943, explaining the whole project of Sartre's phenomenological ontology. For that we will focus on his polemical relation to German Idealism (mostly Hegel) and to German Phenomenology (Husserl, Heidegger) in order to clarify the meaning of notions that Sartre inherits from these two traditions like in-itself, for-itself, intentionality, existence, selfhood, pre-reflexive consciousness, negativity, nothingness etc. Prior knowledge on Descartes, Spinoza, German Idealism, Phenomenology (Husserl, Heidegger) and knowledge in French are highly recommended to attend this class.
FNDL 20120 Philosophical Investigations Bridges A close reading of Philosophical Investigations. Topics include: meaning, explanation, understanding, inference, sensation, imagination, intentionality, and the nature of philosophy. Supplementary readings will be drawn from other later writings. Prerequisite: At least one Philosophy course. 
FNDL 20604 Poetic Authonomy and Anglo-Catholic Modernism  Simmons Modernism is often said to reject traditional sources of value in favor of poetic autonomy. Yet the leading British modernist poets of three successive generations, T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden, and Geoffrey Hill, wound up, as Eliot put it, “anglo-catholic in religion.” Perhaps surprisingly, their religious commitments did not lead them to reject poetry’s claim to self-governance; rather, each sought to re-imagine autonomy in theological terms. This course will seek to understand why and how these writers arrived at their ideas of poetry, proceeding through close reading of their poetry and prose. It will also look at adjacent writers, including Hopkins, Wilde, Yeats, Joyce, Charles Williams, and David Jones, who shared their poetic concerns but not their religious commitments. NOTE: NOT A TEXT COURSE WITHOUT SPECIAL PERMISSION—CONTACT THE COORDINATOR FOR MORE DETAILS.
FNDL 21006 Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent: (In)Action, Surveillance, Terrorism Shallcross This course centers on a close reading of Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale (1907). Contemporary critics often consider this novel to be the archetypal fictional work about terrorism, as it is based on the bomb attack that occurred on the Royal Observatory in Greenwich in 1888. The Secret Agent demonstrates, however, much more than its prophetic significance rediscovered after 9/11. Therefore, the course seeks how the novel’s relevance stems in equal measure from Conrad’s interest in a wider political process and his distrust of state power; in particular, the course explores how these forces determine the individual caught in a confining situation. We read The Secret Agent as a political novel, which in its struggle for solutions defies chaos as well as an imposition of a single ideology or one authorial point of view. The novel’s ambiguities and political antinomies reveal its polyphonic structure allowing for interdisciplinary readings (Marxist, contextual, proto-existentialist, post-Lacanian) that also present an opportunity to critically overview the established approaches to main Conradian themes; for example, in order to destabilize the standard view of the writer as a conservative anti-revolutionary of Polish ilk, we consider the biographical connection, such as his family members’ radical (“Red”) social agenda of the abolishment of serfdom. In analyzing the formation of the narrative’s ideology we analyze Conrad’s historical pessimism that demonstrates with sustained irony how capitalism breeds social injustice that, in turn, breeds anarchism. The class also focuses on just how the novel exposes duplicity in staging surveillance, terrorism, as well as adjacent forms of violence or sacrifice. The critical texts include several but influential readings of the novel’s political and social dimension, as well as the most recent pronouncements of its complexity. All texts are in English.
FNDL 21103 Marsilio Ficinio On Love Maggi This course is first of all a close reading of Marsilio Ficino’s seminal book On Love (first Latin edition De amore 1484; Ficino’s own Italian translation 1544). Ficino’s philosophical masterpiece is the foundation of the Renaissance view of love from a Neo-Platonic perspective. It is impossible to overemphasize its influence on European culture. On Love is not just a radically new interpretation of Plato’s Symposium. It is the book through which sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe read the love experience. Our course will analyze its multiple classical sources and its spiritual connotations. During our close reading of Ficino’s text, we will show how European writers and philosophers appropriated specific parts of this Renaissance masterpiece. In particular, we will read extensive excerpts from some important love treatises, such as Castiglione’s The Courtier (Il cortigiano), Leone Ebreo’s Dialogues on Love, Tullia d’Aragona’s On the Infinity of Love, but also selections from a variety of European poets, such as Michelangelo’s canzoniere, Maurice Scève’s Délie, and Fray Luis de León’s Poesía.
FNDL 21205 The Tale of Genji Sternstein This course intends to read the Tale of Genji in fulsome detail, to linger on the language as best we can in English translation—though with some particular study of the original—and to delve into such topics as status, gender, duty, love, loyalty, exile, impermanence, and the stakes of narrative.

Course limit: 10 students; preference granted to third and fourth years and Fundamentals students.

All readings will be in English
.
FNDL 21210 The Enterprise of Middlemarch Redfield Students will begin by taking up the Norton edition and reading the novel through; discussion will then proceed by re-reading (along with some other materials from that edition) taking up various topics, e.g Eliot's self-presentation of her authorial aims, some important fictional choices (e.g: why a provincial town? why set the novel in 1832? etc.). Then we will consider the complex set of plots and their relation to each other. Other questions: how does the book represent itself as a model for the novel as a genre?  Where does it fit in Eliot's career?
There will be unexpected questions. This is the sort of course in which it is important to follow where the class leads.
FNDL 21404 Shakespeare II: Tragedies & Romances McKay This course is part of the College Course Cluster program, The Renaissance. This course will explore a selection of 7 or 8 plays representing Shakespeare’s mature genres of Tragedy and Romance (the latter a posthumous designation). Like Shakespeare I, this course will examine Shakespeare’s plays as well as the history and limitations of their conceptualization. We will give special attention to the biographical, formal, theatrical, historical, and cultural implications that ensue from the sequencing of Shakespeare’s corpus, before trying out alternatives to the rise and fall paradigm.
FNDL 21820 Italo Calvino: The Dark Side Mariani An intense reading of Italo Calvino’s later works: we will contemplate the orbital debris of Cosmicomics and t zero, and we will follow the labyrinthine threads of The Castle of Crossed Destinies and The Invisible Cities. After stumbling upon the suspended multiple beginnings of If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler, we will probe the possibilities of literature with the essays collected in Una pietra sopra. Finally, we will encounter Mr Palomar, who will provide us with a set of instructions on how to neutralize the self and "learn how to be dead”.
The approach will be both philosophical and historical, focusing on Calvino’s ambiguous fascination with science, his critique of the aporias of reason and the “dementia” of the intellectual, and his engagement with the nuclear threat of total annihilation. 
FNDL 23107 Introduction to Ethics Vogler  In this course, we will read, write, and think about philosophical work meant to provide a systematic and foundational account of ethics. We will focus on close reading of two books, Immanuel Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals and John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism, along with a handful of more recent essays. Throughout, our aim will be to engage in serious thought about good and bad in our lives. 
FNDL 24411 Lincoln: Slavery, War, and the Constitution Hutchinson This course is a study of Abraham Lincoln’s view of the Constitution, based on close readings of his writings, plus comparisons to judicial responses to Lincoln’s policies.
Note: Consent of the Instructor is required.
FNDL 25121 Nietzsche: Culture, Critique, Self-Transcendence Wellbery This course is conceived as an introduction to the work of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900). A range of Nietzsche’s work will be considered, but the focus will be on three themes to which Nietzsche recurred throughout his writing career:

1)    Culture: Nietzsche’s thought on the anthropological roots and the expressive forms of human meaning-making.

2)    Critique: Nietzsche’s critique of moralism, religion, and the vacuous character of much modern culture.

3)    Self-Transcendence: Nietzsche’s account of individual self-realization and freedom.

The selection of these themes is motivated by the fact that they may be considered as fundamental dimensions of humanistic inquiry and in this sense the course may be thought of as a pathway to the Humanities. Students will develop a sound understanding of a writer whose intellectual influence continues to grow, but at the same time they will become acquainted with such core concepts of humanistic/interpretive inquiry as form, expression, ideology, genealogy, discourse, self-fashioning, individuality, and value.
FNDL 25305 Inventing the Chinese Short Story Fox This class will trace the emergence of the vernacular short story as a new genre in the late Ming and early Qing. We will focus on the seveteenth-century story collections of Feng Menglong, Ling Mengchu, Aina Jushi, and Li Yu, whose stories map the social whole of late imperial China—from merchant schemes to courtesan romances, from the friendships of students to the follies of emperors. Alongside close readings of selected stories, we will examine the structure, sources, and publication histories of these collections and locate them in a broader discussion of the meanings and functions of vernacular literature. All readings in English, though students with Chinese reading ability will be encouraged to read the original texts.
FNDL 25650 Emily Dickinson Strier This course will try to give some sense of the range and power of Emily Dickinson's achievement as a poet. We will wrestle with the major issues that the poetry presents, along with its inherent difficulty: its religious content, its erotic content, its treatment of emotions and psychological states. We will reckon with questions of textual instability, but they will not be the focus of the course. A short paper and a longer paper will be required. 
FNDL 27701 Baudelaire Warren An in-depth study of Baudelaire’s works. We will read (in English translation) Les Fleurs du mal, Les Petits poèmes en prose, and selections from his art criticism, in order to develop a perspective on this great poet who was both classical and romantic, both a traditional and a revolutionary artist who helped create modernism. Students taking the course for French credit will do readings in French and participate in a weekly French discussion section.

Prerequisites: FREN 20500 or equivalent
FNDL 28202 Introduction to the New Testament Mitchell An immersion in the texts of the New Testament with the following goals: 1. through careful reading to come to know well some representative pieces of this literature; 2. to gain useful knowledge of the historical, geographical, social, religious, cultural and political contexts of these texts and the events they relate; 3. to learn the major literary genres represented in the canon ("gospels," "acts," "letters," and "apocalypses") and strategies for reading them; 4. to comprehend the various theological visions and cultural worldviews to which these texts give expression; 5. to situate oneself and one's prevailing questions about this material in the history of research, and to reflect on the goals and methods of interpretation; 6. to raise questions for further study.
 
PQ: Interest in this literature, and willingness to enter into conversation with like- and non-like-minded others on the texts and the issues involved in their interpretation.
FNDL 28210 Philosophy & Psychoanalysis Lear This course shall read the works of Sigmund Freud. We shall examine his views on the unconscious, on human sexuality, on repetition, transference and neurotic suffering. We shall also consider what therapy and "cure" consist in, and how his technique might work. We shall consider certain ties to ancient Greek conceptions of human happiness - and ask the question: what is it about human being that makes living a fulfilling life problematic? Readings from Freud's case studies as well as his essays on theory and technique. Course for Graduate Students and Upper Level Undergraduates. Student must have completed at least one 30000 level Philosophy course. 
FNDL 28750 Memory Bound: Jewish Cultural Memory and the Binding of Isaac Gottlieb Over the past three decades, the concept of cultural memory has emerged as a vital and productive form of interdisciplinary research, involving, among other fields, sociology, psychology, the neurosciences, and literary studies. The questions of whether and how cultures remember, and how individual and cultural memory interact, have become especially urgent with the advent of technologies that preserve, interpret, and distort vast quantities of information.

In this course, cultural memory theory will be explored through one of Judaism’s foundational narratives: the story of the Akedah, the Binding of Isaac, in the biblical Book of Genesis.

This course will trace the interpretation of this brief, harrowing story from rabbinic literature through contemporary commentaries, using social and literary theory to explore how the Binding of Isaac has shaped how Judaism remembers – and how Jewish cultures have used the narrative to understand, memorialize, and recover from crisis. Students will develop a familiarity with the field of cultural memory studies, and will apply its key concepts to formulate their own ideas on how canon, crisis, and interpretive creativity shape a culture of memory.

The instructor, David Gottlieb, is a PhD candidate in the History of Judaism at the Divinity School. Please email him at davidg1@uchicago.edu with any questions.
FNDL 29130 Montesquieu's Persian Letters Lerner & Warner A close reading of a challenging critique of social and political thought.
FNDL 29300 Machiavelli, Prince and Discourses Tarcov This course is devoted to reading and discussing Machiavelli’s Discourses on Livy and The Prince, supplemented by substantial selections from Livy’s History of Rome, followed by a brief reading of Machiavelli’s comedy Mandragola. Themes include the roles of princes, peoples, and elites; the merits of republics and principalities; the political effects of pagan and Christian religion and morality; war and empire; founding and reform; virtue and fortune; corruption and liberty; the relevance of ancient history to modern experience; reading and writing; and theory and practice.

Spring 2018

FNDL No. Title Instructor Description
FNDL 20228 Blake: Poet, Painter, Prophet Mitchell William Blake is arguably the most unusual figure in the history of English poetry and visual art. Recognized now as an essential part of the canon of Romantic poetry, he was almost completely unknown in his own time. His paintings, poems, and illuminated books were objects of fascination for a small group of admirers, but it was not until the late 19th century that his work began to be collected by William Butler Yeats, and not until the 1960s that he was recognized as a major figures in the history of art and literature. Dismissed as insane in his own time, his prophetic and visionary works are now seen as anticipating some of the most radical strands of modern thought, including Freud, Marx, and Nietzsche. We will study Blake’s work from a variety of perspectives, placing his poetry in relation to the prophetic ambitions of Milton and his visual images in the European iconographic tradition of MIchelangelo and Durer. The course will emphasize close readings of his lyric poems, and attempt to open up the mythic cosmology of his allegorical, epic, and prophetic books. 
FNDL 21300 Ulysses Meredith This course considers themes that include the problems of exile, homelessness, and nationality; the mysteries of paternity and maternity; the meaning of the Return; Joyce's epistemology and his use of dream, fantasy, and hallucinations; and Joyce's experimentation with and use of language.
FNDL 21600 Les Misérables Morissey In this course we read Les Misérables and discuss the work's message, structure and aesthetic vision. We will be particularly attentive to Victor Hugo's role as an observer of nineteenth-century French society as well as an actor in the political life of his times. All classes and texts in French; presentations preferred in French, but English will be acceptable depending on the concentration. Written work in French or English.
FNDL 21809 Kant's Critique of Pure Reason Schweiker This course is the examination of one of Immanuel Kant’s magisterial works in Moral Philosophy, The Critique of Practical Reason. Specifically, we will do undertake a careful reading of Kant’s text in order to grasp the argument and assess its significance for current work in Ethics. The course ends with one of Kant’s famous political essay, “On Perpetual Peace.” Admission is open to graduate students.
FNDL 22311 Rilke's Modernity Santer The course will read a selection of Rainer Maria Rilke’s poetry (including the Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus) along with his novel, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. We will accompany the readings with texts about urban modernity by Walter Benjamin, Sigfried Kracauer, and Georg Simmel.
FNDL 22517 Greek Historians: Thucydides Dik In this course we will read book 1 of Thucydides, his description of the run-up to the Peloponnesian War, in Greek. We will pay attention to Thucydides' style and approach to historiography, sinking our teeth into this difficult but endlessly fascinating text.
FNDL 22911 Many Ramayanas Doniger A close reading of the great Hindu Epic, the story of Rama’s recovery of his wife, Sita, from the demon Ravana on the island of Lanka, with special attention to changes in the telling of the story throughout Indian history, up to its present use as a political weapon against Muslims and a rallying point for Hindu fundamentalists. Readings in Paula Richman, Many Ramayanas and Questioning Ramayanas; in translations of the Ramayanas of Valmiki, Kampan, Tulsi, and Michael Dutta, as well as the Ramajataka; Rama the Steadfast, trans. Brockington; the Yogavasistha-Maharamayana; and contemporary comic books and films.
FNDL 25300 Nabokov: Lolita Sternstein “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul, Lolita: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate, to tap at three on the teeth.” Popular as Nabokov’s “all-American” novel is, it is rarely discussed beyond its psychosexual profile. This intensive text-centered and discussion-based course attempts to supersede the univocal obsession with the novel’s pedophiliac plot as such by concerning itself above all with the novel’s language: language as failure, as mania, and as conjuration.
FNDL 25802 Philosophical Petrarchism Rubini This course is a close reading of Petrarch’s Latin corpus. Readings include the Coronation Oration, The Secret, and selections from Remedies for Fortune Fair and Foul, On Illustrious Men, On Religious Leisure, and The Life of Solitude.  Special attention is devoted to Petrarch’s letter collections (Letters on Familiar Matters, Letters of Old Age, Book without a Name, etc.) and his invectives. The aim of the course is to familiarize the student with the new and complete Petrarch that emerged in 2004 on the occasion of the 700th anniversary of his birth. Discussion will focus on Petrarch’s self-consciousness as the “father of humanism,” his relationship to Dante, autobiographism, dialogical inquiry, anti-scholasticism, patriotism, and Petrarch’s “civic” reception in the Quattrocento as well as on a comparative evaluation of the nineteenth-century Petrarchs of Alfred Mézières, Georg Voigt, and Francesco De Sanctis.
FNDL 26205 Grimm's Fairy Tales and the Construction of Childhood Wild This course will study fairy tales within the broader context of the history of childhood and practices of education and socialization.  Therefore, we will address issues such as the varying historical conceptions of the child, and the role of adults – parents and pedagogues – in the shaping of fairy tales for the instruction of children.  In addition to our main focus on the socializing forces directed at children we will explore different interpretive approaches, including those that place fairy tales against the backdrop of folklore, of literary history, of psychoanalysis, of the history of gender roles. While we will consider fairy tales drawn from a number of different national traditions and historical periods, we will concentrate on the German context and in particular on Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm’s contribution to this genre.  In order to reflect on the specific mediality of fairy tales, we will examine the evolution of specific tale types and trace their history from oral traditions through print to film.  Last but not least, we will have to consider the potential strategies for reinterpreting and rewriting a genre that continues to shape the cultural imaginary today. Readings and discussions in English (German texts will be available in the original).
FNDL 26501 The Films of Alfred Hitchcock   No single filmmaker has equaled Alfred Hitchcock’s combination of popular success, critical commentary and widespread influence on other filmmakers. Currently, his work is so familiar it threatens to be taken for granted. This course will reveal Hitchcock as the filmmaker who systematically used the stylistics of late silent film to forge a dialectical approach to the so-called Classical Style. Hitchcock devised a relation among narrative, spectator and character point of view, yielding a configuration of suspense, sensation and perception. Tracing Hitchcock’s career chronologically, we will follow his intertwining of sexual desire and gender politics, and his reshaping of melodrama according to Freudian concepts of repression, memory, interpretation and abreaction, as he navigates from silent film to sound and from Great Britain to Hollywood.
PQ: CMST 10100 - Introduction to Film Analysis, and preferably CMST 28500 - History of International Cinema, Part I.
FNDL 27010 Matter of Black Lives: Hurston & Wright Brown Despite being best known as adversaries—with Richard Wright notoriously accusing Zora Neale Hurston’s writing of being “cloaked in facile sensuality” and Hurston scorning Wright for his “tone deaf” and “grim” stories of “race hatred”—these two writers shared more commonalities than their feud suggests. This class will approach Hurston and Wright not as antagonists but as coworkers experimenting with how to represent something like collective black experience through different literary genres (both turning to autobiography, folklore, novels, short stories, op-eds, literary criticism, screenplays) and in response to social science methodologies (Wright’s faith in sociology vs. Hurston’s career as an anthropologist). In reframing their relationship to one another, this class will also trace a story of the development of African American literature in the early 20th century as refracted through Hurston and Wright’s varying commitments to representing black life as both a unifying and restrictive categorization.
FNDL 25703 Nietzsche: Beyond Good and Evil Meier I shall present a new interpretation of Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil and discuss Nietzsche’s book from the beginning to its end in detail.

Undergrads with consent only
Course taught the first five weeks of the quarter, (3/26/18-4/30/18)
FNDL 29020 The Shadows of Living Things: The Writings of Mikhail Bulgakov Illieva “What would your good do if evil did not exist, and what would the earth look like if all the shadows disappeared? After all, shadows are cast by things and people…. Do you want to strip the earth of all the trees and living things just because of your fantasy of enjoying naked light?” asks the Devil. Mikhail Bulgakov worked on his novel The Master and Margarita throughout most of his writing career, in Stalin’s Moscow. Bulgakov destroyed his manuscript, re-created it from memory, and reworked it feverishly even as his body was failing him in his battle with death. The result is an intense contemplation on the nature of good and evil, on the role of art and the ethical duty of the artist, but also a dazzling world of magic, witches, and romantic love, and an irresistible seduction into the comedic. Laughter, as shadow and light, as subversive weapon but also as power’s whip, grounds human relation to both good and evil. Brief excursions to other texts that help us better understand Master and Margarita.