2013 Fall

French 220A: Travel and Narrative in Early Modern France

Instructor: Timothy Hampton

In this seminar we will study the intersection between major works of French Renaissance literature and the rich body of "travel literature" that begins to be produced during the period--both in response to the "voyages of discovery" to the Americas and Asia, and in response to increasing engagement between France and the Ottoman Empire. Beginning with a look at such canonical genres as the "natural history" and the pilgrimage narrative, we will study the ways in which conventions, clichés and material from travel begin to find their way into that discourse that would come to be called "literature"--poems, plays, essays, fiction. [more]

French 230B, History 280B: Louis XIV – The Court and Culture of Absolutism

Instructor: Nicholas Paige and Peter Sahlins

This course will introduce students to a range of work on early modern court societies via a consideration of the paradigmatic example of such a society, Louis XIV's "absolutist" court. Moving out from the foundational studies of Foucault, Elias, and Marin, we will explore a number of more recent efforts - coming from the disciplines of both literary studies and history - to parse the historical and historiographical category of "absolutism" and some of the received ideas associated with it (the "Classical Age," "subjectivity," indeed "modernity" itself). [more]

History 280B: The Problem of Enlightenment: Intellectual and Cultural Histories

Instructor: Professors Carla Hesse and Jonathan Sheehan

Arguably, in the past 25 years, the Enlightenment has effectively collapsed as a set of philosophical, political, and social prescriptions. It has, at the same time, become far more various, plural, and local in its historical character. This course proposes to take up the problem of Enlightenment as a topic of historical research in this post-national moment, and aims both to survey recent historiography and to identify directions for promising future work [more]

History of Art 262: The Alterity of Ornament

Instructor: Professors Todd Olson and Kathryn Blair-Moore

This course proposes to explore the Renaissance origins of three closely interrelated stylistic categories, the Gothic, grotesque, and arabesque, and the ways in which they engage with the perceived alterity of ornament. Both the Gothic and grotesque were defined in terms of bodily deformity, femininity, perverse hybridity, and lack of regulation and control, and used to characterize the foreignness of the arabesque, and vice versa. [more]

Italian 215: Boccaccio’s Renaissance

Instructor: Professor Albert Ascoli

A dated and yet not entirely discarded cliché calls Petrarch the “first modern man,” and the pervasive influence of Petrarch on both the growth of Latin Humanism and lyric Petrarchism in the 15th and 16th centuries is widely acknowledged. The thesis of this course (and of a conference that will also be held during fall 2013) is that Petrarch’s contemporary, friend and follower, Giovanni Boccaccio, had an influence no less pervasive—indeed perhaps far more so—but far less widely considered by the scholarship. [more]

Spanish 260 : Cervantes

Instructor: Professor Ignacio Navarrete

This class is designed to help graduate students develop their own reading and interpretation of Don Quijote. Emphasis will be on close reading of the novel; among the topics to be considered are the relationship between Don Quijote and the origins and development of the modern novel, as well as views on love, beauty, freedom, religion, empire, justice, duty, verisimilitude, poetic theory, and many other topics. [more]

Spanish 280, section 2: Barroco

Instructor: Professor Ivonne del Valle

In this seminar we will explore some of the aesthetic and sociopolitical debates linked to the term "Baroque." Even though in the case of the Americas, many studies situate the emergence of the Baroque in European settings that later on "exported" its form and style to the Indies, we will contemplate connecting the Baroque's rhetorical style to 16th century debates about the new territories, and to the role of the colonial experience in the development of aesthetics and politics on the other side of the Atlantic. [more]