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COMPLIT 101: What Is Comparative Literature?

What is literature, and how has it been imagined, institutionalized, praised, and criticized over the centuries by authors ranging from Aristotle to Schiller, from Arnold to Auerbach, Woolf, Said, Achebe, Spivak and others, who have understood literature as a powerful tool for individual and social change? What does it mean to "compare" literature or study texts that belong or tap into more than one national literary and cultural tradition or consciously posit themselves as participating in international movements (such as European Decadence or Modernism), or authors who live and produce their work in transcultural contexts and often write in different languages, such as Samuel Beckett or Gloria Anzaldúa? How do markers of identity such as gender, sexuality, and race (and our changing conceptions of them over time) factor into our intellectual theories and practices in comparing texts and authors? Along with several case studies of texts and authors that will help us explore and probe these questions, we will also gain familiarity with major theories and developments in the field of comparative literature. NOTE: This course must be taken for a minimum of 5 units and a letter grade to be eligible for WIM credit.
Terms: Aut | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
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