Current Graduate Courses
COM 500Comparative Literature Graduate Pedagogy SeminarTeaching practicum required of departmental PhD students and open only to those concurrently teaching in their first course at Princeton. A wide range of topics is discussed, based primarily upon the needs and experience of participants. These typically include: facilitating discussions, delivering lectures, grading papers, designing course syllabi, teaching with translations, using technology in the classroom, developing a statement of teaching philosophy, and preparing a teaching portfolio. Course leads to partial fulfillment of the McGraw Teaching Transcript.
COM 513Topics in Literature and Philosophy: NegationsAn exploration of some of the domains of writing and thought in which terms and ideas of negation acquire a crucial importance. Subjects that may be discussed include the grammar of negation in languages; logical treatments of negation; psychoanalytic concepts of negation, repression and disavowal; the aesthetics of je ne sais quoi; the idea of the non-finito in art; negative theology. Particular attention will be paid to the problem of "indefinite negation" and Kant's "infinite judgment."
COM 521Introduction to Comparative LiteratureThis course addresses recent developments in literary criticism, such as surface reading, distant reading, affect theory, print culture, necropolitics, queer futurity, melancholic historicism, animal studies, thing theory, systems theory, ecocriticism, critical race studies, world literature, theory from the south, critiques of neoliberalism, and so on. The class will not embrace a mastery posture toward theory, but an instrumental one, aiming to assist graduate students in conceptualizing their particular projects within and against current debates.
COM 535/ENG 528Contemporary Critical Theories: Translating Violence/Translating JusticeThis team-taught seminar examines contemporary postcoloniality and the dilemmas of decolonization in light of questions of translation. To what extent do theories and practices of translation and untranslatability inform our understanding of a globalized ostcoloniality? In what ways must the thinking and doing of translation be revised in these conditions? The class will focus on themes such as multilingual and multiethnic states, borders and checkpoints, ecological crisis, oil politics, primitive accumulation, debt, financialization, gendered violence and rape cultures, and figures of justice.
COM 536Topics in Critical Theory: Comparative Literature Writing and Dissertation ColloquiumThe Writing and Dissertation Colloquium is a biweekly forum for graduate students in Comparative Literature to share works in progress with other graduate students. The seminar welcomes drafts of your prospectus, article, dissertation chapter, conference paper, exam statement and grant or fellowship proposal. Work is pre-circulated. The 90 minute sessions, done in conjunction with a rotating COM faculty member, are designed to offer written and oral feedback.
COM 552FreudThrough close reading of primary texts, this course offers an introduction to the diversity of Freud's writings, and to the movements of his thinking until his death in 1939. Beginning with the Studies on Hysteria (co-authored with Josef Breuer in the mid-1890s), which presents the practice and theory from which twentieth-century psychoanalysis would develop, we will consider the conceptual questions and innovations that occupied Freud across the next forty years, with readings on key topics such as sexual difference, literature, culture, therapeutic practice, dreams and fantasy, and everyday life.
COM 563/FRE 563/ENG 577Studies in Forms of Narrative: Henry James and Gustave FlaubertThe seminar starts from Henry James's complex and ambivalent attitudes toward Flaubert's novels, his baffled attempts to understand Flaubert's project, and moves on to consider principally how the two novelists developed radically incompatible theories of the uses of fiction in their late work.
ENG 568/COM 568Criticism and Theory: MimesisMimesis, from its ancient to contemporary definitions, names a relation to the world that is also a formation of the self. This course emphasizes materialist and psychoanalytic understandings of mimesis, considering its imbrication in other spheres such as political economy, aesthetics, desire, mimicry, technological reproducibility, imperialism, racial politics, and play. Readings include Plato, Aristotle, Marx, Freud, Adorno, Benjamin, Auerbach, Chow, Spivak, and Taussig.
HUM 596/COM 596/ENG 529/FRE 596Humanistic Perspectives on Literature: Unpacking Derrida's Library: Secrets of the ArchivesMarking the 10th anniversary of Derrida's death, this course provides an opportunity to "unpack" Derrida's library, to remember several of his lessons - about philosophy, literature, history, politics, religion, economics, ideology, law, rights, nationalism, racism, colonialism, the media, university institutions, capitalism, rogue states, the war on terror, justice, responsibility, language, friendship, love, life, death, and mourning - all of which are more urgent and necessary than ever before.
NES 539/COM 539Studies in Persian Literature 900 - 1200 A.D.This two-term exploration of Classical Persian literature in the original acquaints students with the principal authors of chronicles, epics, imaginative tales, and stories of spiritual initiation throughout the Persian-speaking world (Iran and Central Asia and also medieval India and Anatolia) from the 10th to 19th centuries. Part I, ca. AD 900 - ca. AD 1200, addresses the formation and gradual Islamization of the ancient epic tradition, the writing of "mirrors for kings" for the Ghaznavid and Seljuk sultans, and the impact of Neoplatonic mysticism.
PHI 516/COM 501Special Topics in the History of Philosophy: NietzscheA general approach to Nietzsche's philosophy, with emphasis on his views on human action, the nature of morality, the significance of art, and the good life.
SLA 541/COM 556Czeslaw Milosz, Joseph Brodsky: Poetry and HistoryCourse considers the work of Polish-born poet Czeslaw Milosz and Russian-born poet Joseph Brodsky by combining history of literature and intellectual history, and treating their life stories as emblematic of historical, cultural and political phenomena of the second part of the 20th century. Course uses close textual analysis of major works by both poets (and some of their contemporaries) to address such topics as: literary history, World War II, Polish-Russian relations, dominance of English-language poetry, growth of high culture in the United States, and the decline of exile.