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COMPLIT 101: What Is Comparative Literature?

What makes comparative literature a distinct field? More than simply reading literature from different places and times, at base comparative literature emerges from a cosmopolitan and anthropological project, attempting to use literature (as an aesthetic object) as a particular index to Otherness. This means at its best comp lit also engages with (directly or indirectly) issues of ethics and responsibility. We will read early studies of folklore (Stith Thompson), philosophical texts of Otherness (Hegel, Fanon, Derrida, Levinas), feminist critique (Butler, Beauvoir), and anthropologists writing in a literary vein (Clifford). Finally, we address how the "human" finds itself offset by its environment (Tsing). Literary works include Al-Koni, The Bleeding of the Stone, Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower, Carpentier, The Kingdom of This World; Gao Xingjian, Soul Mountain (excerpts), Goethe, The East-West Divan (excerpts), LeGuin, "Those who walk away from Omelas," and Rhys, The Wide Sargasso Sea.
Terms: Aut | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II
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