Arts & Literature

56:606:608:90 Love Story in Contemporary Literature
Instructor: Professor Kunze

Description: This course takes the contemporary love story in film and literature as its focus to examine how writers and filmmakers around the world have used the couple as a means to examine cultural, historical, political, and social tensions. A time-honored tradition, the love story traditionally underscores the values of a culture, but as revisionist approaches emerged in the 20th century, it increasingly became a genre for foregrounding conflicts between ideologies and individuals. This course will draw on a range of methodologies – feminism, queer theory, postcolonial studies, among others – to understand both the texts and the national traditions out of which they emerge. The relationship between literature and history also will be emphasized to show how art reflects the era of its creation by fostering a dialogue with it. Throughout the course, we seek to develop key skills of close reading, argumentation, and critical writing for appreciating what narrative is and its relevance to our everyday lives.

Cultural & Criticism

56:606:631:90 Technology’s Impact on Literature
Instructor: Professor Cohen

Description: In this course, we will investigate the ways that technology shapes literature and literary distribution, reception, and analysis. We will explore foundational theories that attempt to explain how technologies – from trains to the Internet – change the way authors view the world and the expectations of readers. We will also analyze fiction and other narrative forms written during pivotal moments of technological disruption to see how these technologies are reflected in the literature and literary culture. Finally, students will explore digital literature and online literary communities and participate in current debates about digital humanities with scholars working in the field.

Politics & Society

56:606:622:90 Middle East History and Politics
Instructor: Professor Snow

Description: The history and politics of the Middle East are more important today than ever before, yet are widely misunderstood or mischaracterized. This course focuses on events and dynamics from the 19th century to the present, and how they affect the wider world. Topics include: religious schism; European imperialism; political Islamism; the Arab-Israeli conflict; and the Arab Spring. We will examine these and other issues from a variety of perspectives.