2016 Spring

English 203: Graduate Readings: Edmund Spenser

Instructor: Professor David Landreth

Sidney wrote that a poet's task was to "grow in effect another nature." No poet in English has fulfilled that charge more luxuriantly than Spenser. The plan of the semester will be to roam around in the leisurely, delight-filled capaciousness of The Faerie Queene, with the aim that each of us find herself at home somewhere in this alienated version of our own world. The tension between delight and didacticism, leisure and urgency, is central to any such accommodation; I'm also interested in questions of materiality and of landscape in the fiction, and I expect our inquiries will be shaped by your preoccupations as well. We'll take some detours into the shorter poems along the way, and we will try too to reckon with the genocidal despair by which Spenser articulates the project of making a home in the alien terrain of Ireland. [more]

French 220A: Rabelais and his Friends: Humanism, the Humanities, and the Fate of Reading

Instructor: Professor Timothy Hampton

This seminar will offer an extended engagement with the work of the greatest writer of prose narrative in the European Renaissance, François Rabelais. Through a reading of the work of Rabelais and several of his humanist contemporaries (Erasmus, Marot, Dolet, Marguerite de Navarre) we will pay special attention to the changing strategies of reading and interpretation that shape the genesis of modern "literature" in the sixteenth century. We will read primary texts in dialogue with a number of essays about both the history of reading practices and hermeneutics. Of central interest will be how certain features of the discourse we call "literature," as well as certain humanistic discipines familiar to us today, are sketched out as responses to early modern political and theological disputes. Among the quetions to be asked: Can one read with the body? Is muteness discursive? Can invisible writing be literary? [more]

History of Art 270: Cultural Transfer: Problems and Methods in the Study of Renaissance and Early Modern Visual Cultures (Colonial Latin America and the Trans-Atlantic World)

Instructor: Professor Todd Olson

This seminar will examine art historical theories and critical tools concerning the transmission, circulation and translation of images, artifacts, performances and visual technologies. The seminar’s readings and studies will focus on the special case of colonial Latin American, Spanish Empire, and the trans-Atlantic world. In addition to reading the recent literature in this temporal and geographic field (Cummins, Leibsohn, Mundy, Seed among others), the seminar will consider the latent potential of modes of art historical explanation that have addressed the persistence of images and the role of materiality in representation (Semper, Riegl, Warburg, Kubler). Emphasis will be placed on developing transposable models by studying transcultural historical phenomena that have been structured by a variety of legacies including Greco-Roman antiquity, Arabic epistemologies, the representation of Islam (Reconquista), indigenous pictorial survivals, cross-cultural scribal practices and biological metaphor (mestizaje) by different early modern (imperial) constituencies. [more]

Italian Studies 248: Trionfi/Triumphs

Instructor: Professor Henrike Christiane Lange

The seminar Trionfi/Triumphs will examine a variety of triumphal gestures in history: Rites, processions, monuments, and iconographies from ancient Roman triumphs to the present day. Stations of this cultural history investigation include: Ancient arches and their decoration, booty and spolia, Christian medieval adaptations in rites and reliquaries, Renaissance triumphs in painting, print, and literature (Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio), iconic imagery of triumphs (Mantegna, Dürer, Rubens), the Latino tradition of religious processions, operatic adaptations, Fascist triumphal imagery under the direction of Mussolini and Leni Riefenstahl, and other modern examples oftriumphs and reversals in contemporary Italian cinema such as in Roberto Benigni’s La vita è bella. [more]