:: Graduate Courses
Fall 2013 Graduate Courses
COL 580 Biopolitics and Literary Theory
Course Number: 010270
In this seminar we will consider different orientations within theories of biopolitics and their relevance to literary studies and feminism. Biopolitics is usually regarded as a new form of power, which targets life: individual bodies, sexuality, or populations. We will begin the seminar with Foucault’s paradigms of disciplinary power and normalization and consider their impact on the formations of sexuality, gender, and modern racism. Subsequently we will discuss the controversial relationship between biopolitics and the older paradigm of sovereignty in the context of Agamben’s Homo Sacer. The main question here is whether biopolitics supersedes sovereignty or whether it constitutes its crucial dimension, evident for example in the production of bare life. Foucault’s and Agamben’s theories will provide the framework for reconsiderating Hannah Arendt’s analysis of the social as the most important, though unacknowledged, precursor of biopolitics and its relationship to labor, racism, and totalitarianism.
Throughout the seminar we will raise questions about the importance of biopolitics for literary analysis. Toward this end we will also read Foucault’s, Agamben’s and Arendt’s selected literary essays and their analyses of modern literature.
Requirements: Active participation in class discussion, oral presentations, research paper
COL703 Greek Religion
Course numbers: (A) 018398, (B) 018397
This seminar takes the topic of Greek religion in order to examine various philosophical questions at the heart of the disjunction between ancients and moderns. What is the role of nature in religion and what are the ethical consequences of the dismissal of nature in "revealed" religion? In what ways is this dismissal of nature an anthropocentrism to which modernity remains blind all the while critiquing classical humanism? Is Greek religion really "humanist" in the sense this term has had in postwar theory? What is the epistemological value of myth? We will ask these and other relevant questions while following the two often contrasted strains of Greek religion: the Olympian (Homeric) and the Orphic (mystical). Potential authors: Aeschylus, Euripides, Jane Ellen Harrison, Karl Kerenyi, Walter Otto, Walter Burkert, Angelos Sikelianos.
COL 704 Messianism & Modernity
Course Numbers:(A) 018400, (B) 018399
How do ancient literary figures of Messiah inform modern thinking?The seminar will approach a more specific form of the question: How does an either explicit or implicit reinvention of the ancient figure of Messiah, and more broadly, of the "religious law" or "positive law" inform thinking about time, past, future, and personhood in modernity. We will begin the journey by reading Kant's critique of Jewish and Catholic Messianism in terms of "positive law." With that framework of critique in mind, we will continue by reading Gershom Scholem, first as a secondary text on late ancient figures of the Messiah, and secondly as a primary text among other modern authors both constructing and informed by literary and intellectual figures of messiah: from Hermann Cohen to Franz Rosenzweig, to Franz Kafka, to Walter Benjamin, to Jacob Taubes, to Jacques Derrida, and Giorgio Agamen.
COL 705 Poetics of Modernism: Language and Event
Course Numbers: (A) 018402, (B) 018401
This course will look at the ways in which the explorations of language, everydayness, and the event come to shape the poetics of Modernism and, more broadly, the 20th century avant-garde. We will focus on the works of Gertrude Stein, Mina Loy, Velimir Khlebnikov, and Wallace Stevens. Their poetry will be read against the backdrop of Futurism (Italian and Russian), Cubism, and Dadaism. We will also read relevant texts on language, signs, and the event (Saussure, Heidegger, Lyotard, Badiou).
COL 706 Specters of Rwanda: Representing Postcolonial Genocide
Course Numbers: (A) 018404, (B) 018403
On April 6, 1994, a plane crashed into the grounds of the Presidential palace in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, as it approached the airport. The plane was shot out of the sky by assailants still unknown. On board was President of Rwanda, Juvénal Habyarimana; he died in his own garden. This assassination was the decisive event that pulled the trigger on the Rwandan genocide -- 100 frenzied days of bloody slaughter that engulfed the nation and left an estimated 800,000 to 1,000,000 Tutsi citizens and Hutu moderates dead. It was the swiftest and deadliest collapse of any postcolonial state in Africa, but the genesis of this small nation’s troubles starts with Genesis and the tribe of Ham….
Through a selection of the accumulating literature of testimonies, memoirs, histories, fiction, graphic novels and films about the Rwandan genocide, this course seeks to understand the dark heart of genocide on the eve of its 20th anniversary. The unquiet demons of ethnicity and revenants of genocide teach us unforgettable lessons about the challenges and pitfalls facing the postcolonial state.
The course provides an opportunity to examine those nervous conditions we call postcolonial states and to ask whether postcolonial theory can address violent conflict and human rights in contemporary postcolonial nations. We shall also explore the politics of representation and veracity raised by discourses of witness and testimony and analyse the broader challenges of comprehending and representing histories of trauma through various forms of cultural and creative expression associated with the Rwandan genocide of 1994.
Though not a prerequisite, some facility with French is an advantage.
COL 525 French and Italian Postwar Culture
Laura Chiesa & Jean-Jacques Thomas
Tuesday 4:00-6:40, Baldy 106
Course Number: 018384
In this course we intend to explore the multiple connections at play between French and Italian cultures as they unfolded in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War and on up to the 1970s. These two neighboring national cultures are very permeable to exchanges, and they each mutually illuminate the other, allowing for a deeper understanding of both. We will start with the immediate post-war period, after moving into the 1950s, we will study several different threads that continue into the two following decades during the emergence of a new modernization: from consumer society up to 1968 and beyond, from the refusal of neorealist poetics to the first neo-avantgardes and on to the Oulipian avantgarde (authors and filmakers may include: Italo Calvino, Roberto Rossellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Amelia Rosselli, Francis Ponge, Raymond Queneau, Chris Marker, Jean-Luc Godard, Georges Perec). We will pay attention to the singular experimentations of each author as well as to the authors’ renewed interdisciplinarity and the way such a cross-pollination was intrinsically connected with the field of critical theory (Barthes, Derrida, Eco, Deleuze, Agamben, Stiegler, and Szendy, just to mention a few).
COL : (top)
All sections with individual registration numbers for the COL Independent Studies, Supervised Readings, Thesis Guidance courses are listed on the Student Response Center website: http://www.src.buffalo.edu
OTHER COURSES (top)
COL 598 Masters Project Guidance (1 thru 3 credit hours)
Courses 598, 600, 650, 700 first require approval from professors, then email COL Graduate Secretary, Mary Ann Carrick (firstname.lastname@example.org) to register through the department.
Registration numbers are instructor-specific, COL Graduate Faculty and Associate Faculty have individual course sections.
For University policies and procedures regarding registration dates and avoiding late fees, please check the University Student Response Center website: http://src.buffalo.edu
Comparative Literature Degree Requirements (top)
The Undergraduate Minor (18 Credits)
The Undergraduate Major (45 credits; varies)
All Comparative Literature Majors are self-designed and must be approved by the College of Arts and Sciences Special Major Advisor, as well as by two faculty advisors from the COL Department. If you are interested in designing a Comparative Literature Special Major, please consult the COL Director of Undergraduate Studies.
The M.A. (30 credits)
The Ph.D. (72 Credits)
The above information is provided as a guide. Requirements may vary. Please see the Department Director of Graduate Studies, the Director of Undergraduate Studies, or your advisor for information tailored to your situation.