Course Descriptions

FL 6143 Classical Mythology
Three hours lecture. Myths and legends of Greece and Rome and their use in literature and the arts through the ages.

FL 8693 Advanced Foreign Language Pedagogy
Three hours lecture. Advanced examination of the effective practices for teaching and evaluating college level foreign language students. The course provides a foundation in foreign language (FL) learning theories, teaching methods and approaches, classroom best practices, and assessment. The goal is to contribute to the ongoing professional development of in-service K-12 teachers and pre-/in-service university teachers of introductory- and intermediate-level FL courses. Our exploration of FL teaching and learning will be grounded in praxis: We will consider how theoretical and research-based concepts inform practices, experiences, and beliefs. As such, the course will provide opportunities to bridge theory and practice through an ongoing cycle of discussion, practical application, and learning experiences such as collaborative activities, peer feedback, self-reflection, in-class presentations, and design of instructional materials.

FL 8333 Cultural Studies
Three hours lecture. A study of the theory and methodologies of cultural studies. This course introduces students to the fundamentals of the theory and methodologies of Cultural Studies. Focus on works associated with the Birmingham School, Frankfurt School, feminism, postmodernism, and others is geared towards becoming conscious of various modes of cultural production, specifically thinking about how cultural production and consumption affect identity and precondition human relationships.

FL 8023 Introduction to Literary Criticism
Three hours lecture. An introduction to key theories and practices of literary analysis designed for foreign language graduate students.Note: Although this course will be taught in English, you are highly encouraged to read texts in the original language corresponding to your specific concentration (i.e. French, German, Spanish) when possible. This interactive seminar focuses on many of the basic tenets of postmodern contemporary thought and how to apply them to literary analysis. Given that theory is never produced in a vacuum, or in complete isolation from the real world in which we live and die, this class will also underscore how the frameworks proposed by various thinkers help us to understand the postmodern-contemporary human condition more fully. Specifically, we will address several of the most crucial issues that concertize the plight of the (post-) modern subject such as media saturation, the advent of the age of information, unheralded economic inequalities, and the impending environmental crisis that threatens the continued existence of all organisms on this biosphere including Homo sapiens at the dawn of the Anthropocene. In the face of these daunting and unprecedented challenges inherited by millennials, we will explore what postmodern-contemporary literary theory and literature in general have to offer a globalized world in dire need of a radical paradigm shift reflecting the basic principles of social and ecological justice.

FL 8113 Capstone Seminar
Three hours lecture. Graduate seminar on selected topics in classical and modern literatures. Potential Topic: Introduction to Ecolinguistics. This course serves as an introduction to the basic tenets of Ecolinguistics. After outlining all of the rudimentary principles that are emblematic of this exciting new interdiscipline, we will investigate how researchers in the extremely diverse field of Ecolinguistics engage in dialogue with the interrelated discipline of Biosemiotics in addition to other evolutionary theories related to human and other-than-human languages. At the end of the semester, we will move from theory to practice through literary analysis of short texts from an ecolinguistic-biosemiotic angle. Upon completion of this transdisciplinary seminar, which incessantly weaves connections between the humanities and hard sciences, you will be able to understand ecolinguistic concepts and apply them to daily life in the modern world. As future literary scholars, you will also realize the myriad of connections between literature and ecology that enrich our comprehension of the biosphere and our small place in it.

FLS 6293 Cinema and Spanish Culture
Three hours lecture. An introduction to Spanish cinema, focusing on key films from the time of the Franco dictatorship and after, with a focus on the political and social contexts of the Spanish film industry. Spanish cinema began roughly in line with that of other Western countries, in the first decade of the 20th century. However, Spanish cinema remained fairly derivative for several decades, focusing largely on musical comedies and melodramas. By the 1950s, in response to widespread problems in the Spanish economy, filmmakers began to challenge the Franco dictatorship and its cultural expectations, often with highly successful films, and helping to lead to the less repressive period referred to as “Segundo Franquismo.” From this point on, the country produced two remarkable film industries, one in Madrid and a short-lived but significant one in Barcelona, evading censorship by using allegory and veiled references to the regime and following the developments of the French New Wave of the 1960s. With the transition to democracy in the mid- 1970s, Spanish cinema broke out of many of its earlier molds, emerging into a global market with films that were successful due to shockingly frank depictions of sex and violence, or lighthearted films featuring popular actors and directors, many of whom continue to be commercially and critically successful in Spain and the wider world. The course will begin with a brief introduction to Spanish cinema prior to the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) and will then proceed chronologically through the dictatorship of Francisco Franco (1939-1975). Following this, we will look at several examples of experimental cinema from before, during, and after Franquismo. We will then close the course with films made following the transition to democracy. At the close of the course, students should have a clear understanding of the development of Spanish cinema through the 20th century, and acquaintance with many of the key films from Spain’s cinema history. Furthermore, students will have practiced writing on and analyzing films from a formal perspective and be acquainted with many of the major terms associated with film analysis.

FLS 6453 Spanish Culture, 1898-1936
Three hours lecture. A study of the literary and cultural production of early 20th century Spain, including literary works, visual art, architecture, music, and film from the loss of empire until the Civil War. Course description: The fall of the Spanish empire in 1898, which resulted in the loss of Spanish territories in Cuba, the Philippines, and Guam, led to a strong questioning of Spanish identity after 400 years of empire, but simultaneously the birth of a cultural tradition that had worldwide implications. With the growth of industrialization in Spain’s urban centers in Madrid, Cataluña, and the Basque Country, Spanish culture confronted its newfound urbanization, its connection to the wider currents of artistic and literary production in Europe and Latin America, and its efforts to create a culture that would last beyond the ontological crisis caused by the loss of its identity as an empire. As a result, Spanish Modernism produced remarkable advances with the architecture of Domènech, Puig, and Gaudí; the music of de Falla, Granados, and Albéniz; the literature of Unamuno and García Lorca; the paintings of Picasso, Solana, Zuloaga, Miró, and Dalí; and the films of Buñuel and Val del Omar. This cultural boom ultimately lasted until the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, when many of these cultural figures were silenced, killed, or emigrated from what would become fascist Spain. This course will explore the cultural production of Spain during this period, focusing most strongly on the intellectual history and fine arts that emerged as Spain attempted to present itself as a modern, developed nation. We will look at this artistic and intellectual production in terms of urbanization, social problems and their attempted remedies, the lack of development in rural areas, the growth of specific technologies (including photography and film), and the introduction of artistic theories, such as cubism and surrealism (both of which were partially born in Spain). Students will emerge from this course with a clearer sense of the interconnection between distinct forms of art, an understanding of how art intersects with social and cultural forces, and a working knowledge of the significance of specific works key to Spain during the first four decades of the twentieth century.

FLS 8283 The Contemporary Spanish American Novel and Short Story
Three hours lecture. A study of major contemporary Spanish American novels and short stories. This lecture/seminar will explore the relation between poetry, fiction and the real through a series of works in Latin American Literature and its different aesthetics (intimate and social poetry, indigenist, realist, magic realist, fantastic, allegorical, experimental, testimonial and postmodernist) from the 40’s to today. We will read significant texts while focusing on the key debates in the field on that period. We will discuss, among others, Mistral, Neruda, Borges, Cortázar, Rulfo, Vargas Llosa, Poniatowska, and Castellanos Moya. These texts are historically framed, first, by the cycle of triumph and defeat of the revolutionary ideals; secondly, by the crisis of the populist national project that led to the transition to neoliberalism and globalization. In this context, literature supported, questioned, and resisted these historical processes through different aesthetic proposals to narrate the real of these transformations. In this seminar, we will ask ourselves about the function of literature in front of the historical processes taking as axis the problem of the relation between art and truth. This seminar is directed to graduate students, so it requires continuous participation of the students in the discussions in class in Spanish. [Note emphasis on certain aesthetics trends or authors, or problems to articulate the selection of texts might vary. Yet the class always presents a broad range of literary movements, authors, and debates] Note: If a critical source or text is in English, class discussion will still be in Spanish.

FLF 6073 French Drama of the 20th Century
Three hours lecture. Reading of works of outstanding writers and discussions of literary currents of the century. This interactive seminar takes advantage of the semiotic approach to analyzing French drama of the twentieth century. Deriving inspiration from Antonin Artaud’s The Theater and its Double, students will be asked to reflect upon the importance of “signs” (e.g. lighting, costumes, objects, soundtrack, etc.) that lie at the heart of this genre. Specifically, we will investigate how French playwrights from this time period started to contest theatrical conventions (les bienséances) in an effort to be more innovative and original. In this regard, Alfred Jarry, Eugène Ionesco, Samuel Beckett, and Jean Genet have inspired a generation of new playwrights who continue to push the boundaries of artistic expression. Moreover, this course will demonstrate that the “philosophical theater” of Sartre and Camus played a major role in the promotion of new theatrical techniques as well.

FLF 6273 The Human Condition
Three hours lecture. A course emphasizing the concept of the “human condition” as conceptualized by seminal French writers and thinkers. In this interactive seminar, we will broach many different conceptions of the human condition from a transdisciplinary perspective. Our point of departure for this (re-) investigation of what it means to be human will be French existentialism. Given that seminal authors from this time period such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, André Malraux, and Simone de Beauvoir paint a rending picture of the human condition, their contributions to this timeless philosophical question are a logical starting point in the French tradition. During the second half of the semester, we will be investigating the maverick French thinker Michel Serre’s bold philosophical claims related to a new human condition that he posits has never existed before. Not only does the inception of the Anthropocene force us to confront new existential dilemmas in comparison to our not-so-distant ancestors, but Serres also affirms that the birth of modern medicine has created a sharp ontological gap between contemporary Homo sapiens and our human predecessors. Moreover, both Michel Serres and Jean Baudrillard contend that the age of information has profoundly altered the very essence of humanity itself.

FLF 6163 Francophone Literature
Three hours lecture. A survey of important authors and literary movements from around the French-speaking world outside of mainland France. This course serves as a basic introduction to Francophone cultures through texts representing various cultural and geographical areas. It provides an opportunity for students to hone their growing sense of intercultural competence. It enables learners to explore how literature is inextricably linked to major historical, political, social and cultural forces. A few of the many topics investigated include the distinctions between literary movements, colonialism/post-colonialism, the importance of myths and legends, the tension between traditional values and modernity, gender theory, and questions related to identity.

FLG 6203 German Lyric Poetry
Three hours lecture. Reading lyric poetry by authors writing in German. The course may cover various periods, authors, or themes. This course will provide students with an in-depth engagement with major poems by authors writing in German as well as an overview of literary movements from a variety of periods in German literary history. This particular offering of this course will focus on the period from approximately 1600 to 1848 and will examine authors from the Baroque period, the Enlightenment, Sensibility, Storm and Stress, Classicism, Romanticism, and Vormärz. In our discussions of our readings, we will also be making connections between the texts and the cultural-historical environment in which they arose in addition to connecting our discussions to cultural concerns that are still prevalent in modern Germany, Austria, and Switzerland as well. Students will not only familiarize themselves with a major aspect of German culture, but they will also improve their spoken German and listening comprehension in the form of short lectures, class discussions, and oral presentations as well as improving their reading comprehension and writing skills. The class will be conducted in German. Students are expected to come to class prepared and to participate actively.

FLG 4123/6123 German Fairy Tales
Three hours lecture. A study of classic Grimm’s Fairy Tales. German fairy tales, centuries old, but which continue to be widely read, illustrated, and filmed, transcend cultural and temporal boundaries. Their endurance serves as proof of the often-dismissed Romantic idea in our material culture of the transcendence of art. While students are familiar with stories such as “Sleeping Beauty” and “Little Red Riding Hood”, they will be surprised by the twists and turns of the actual Grimm tales, which can be much more violent, bawdy, and sexual. As they unpack material, which is both familiar and foreign, students will discover that what may have seemed like a simple children’s story can be approached from many different perspectives and reveal the development of Enlightenment as well as Romantic ideas in Europe. Fairy tales document a development of a modern concept of childhood and of the human being, while also providing fertile material for modern psychological interpretation. The effort to document traditional folk tales of the German-speaking lands during the Napoleonic era was also political, an act in defiance toward the French ruling culture. The celebration of a uniquely German cultural tradition helped to shape a German identity during a time before Germany existed as a nation. In our discussions of these texts, we will be examining these and various other issues. Through class discussions and brief presentations, students will improve their German speaking and listening skills. Students will also improve their German reading and writing skills. Students are expected to come to class prepared and to participate actively in class discussions. This course is conducted in German.

FLG 6533 Art, Politics and Propaganda
Three hours lecture. A study of the inter-connections of German aesthetics, artistic movements, and political theory from the age of Enlightenment through the 20th Century. From Plato’s critique of the poets in the Republic to Hitler’s degenerate art exhibitions, art has been seen as a powerful threat to the polity. Contemporary efforts online to advocate, inspire, enlighten, as well as to misdirect and to create false conceptions of reality demonstrate that art continues to be politically controversial and may be used as political propaganda. At the same time, as with the Nazis in Germany, politics can be aesthetical. Focusing on aesthetics and politics across time, this course will bring to light discussions surrounding art and politics in German intellectual history and in the context of actual artistic and political movements. In so doing, it will cross genres to include philosophy, political treatises, and essays on aesthetics alongside of discussions of art movements, paintings, and film. The semester plan of this proposal, while very specific, is not meant to be exclusionary. The theme of this course could be taught with varied text, film, and art selections, while including ideas of art developed during the 18thcentury and following developments in the 19th and 20th centuries. Students will gain a broad understanding of the relationship between art theory, art movements and political movements in Germany. They will also learn to read and think critically and should be able to use knowledge gained in this course to recognize aesthetics found in politics when they see it in other contexts.