Fall 2022

Fall 2022 Courses

Jump to --> Lower-Division | Upper-Division | Graduate Courses

Undergraduate Courses


COM 001Major Works of the Ancient World

Course Description:

Instructor: Leonardo Giorgetti - Section: 3

What is the nature of the sacred? In which ways do deities preside over human life? To what extent can they shape the course of individual existence as well as that of entire human history? This course surveys some of the major books of ancient literature, from the Iraqi-Sumerian poem The Epic of Gilgamesh (2100 BCE), Homer’s Odyssey, and Virgil’s Aeneid, to the Hebrew Bible and Augustine’s Confessions (IV cent. CE). These books, which originate from the ancient Middle East and Mediterranean traditions, have inspired literature on every continent as now belong to a world republic of letters; while exploring their historical-cultural context, we will read them critically from a comparative, transnational perspective that would elucidate the ways these texts adapt and reformulate themes and motifs of world mythology and epic literature. The emphasis on the fluid relationship between humanity and the sacred will allow us to explore the mystery that is quintessential to every ancient religious experience. 

Instructor: Mary Elliott - Section: 4

This course will examine the origin stories of many things: of light and life on earth, of religions, and of thought. But we will also explore the way these stories came to be: How they were created, catalogued, preserved, lost and found again. We will delve into the plots, ideas and archetypal characters presented in some of man’s earliest written/recorded works and examine how and why these stories are perpetually reproduced, keeping them fresh and relevant in the present day. We will read ancient works of philosophy by Plato and Aristotle, explore the origins of man and religion in The Hebrew Bible, The Baghavad Gita and the Tao Te Ching. We will read about man’s quest for immortality in the Epic of Gilgamesh, the perpetual search for love in Sappho and the ethics of action in Antigone. Throughout, we will engage in close-reading practices and will use myriad methods of analysis to understand, discuss and write about these fascinating, ancient and yet, timeless texts. 

COM 002Major Works of the Medieval & Early Modern World

COM 003Major Works of the Modern World

COM 004Major Works of the Contemporary World

COM 005Fairy Tales, Fables, & Parables
Prof. Noah Guynn

Course Description: This course offers an introduction to three narrative genres in which seemingly anything can happen: fable (in which animals behave like human beings), parable (in which mundane life reveals otherworldly truths), and fairy tale (in which both fantasies and nightmares become real). We will explore these genres in a variety of cultural and historical forms. Our primary texts will include folkloric sources, literary narratives, a graphic novel, and live action and animated films. We will also discuss a number of secondary texts, including scholarship in literary, historical, cultural, and feminist/queer studies. Throughout the quarter, we will be interested in exploring both the formal properties of our three genres and the ways in which those properties are used to shape and reshape social identities, power relations, moral values, and metaphysical truths. Fables, parables, and fairy tales exist in many cultures and periods and remain popular, even ubiquitous, today. One major impetus for the course will be to ask why we return to these genres so consistently and what they reveal about the predicaments of human existence and our desire to overcome (or at least make sense of) those predicaments.

Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Introduction to fairy tales, fables, and parables as recurrent forms in literature, with such readings as tales from Aesop & Grimm, Chaucer & Shakespeare, Kafka & Borges, Buddhist & Taoist parables, the Arabian Nights, and African American folklore. GE credit: AH, WC, WE. Effective: 1997 Winter Quarter.

COM 007Literature of Fantasy & the Supernatural 
Prof. Tim Parrish



COM 135 Women Writers
Dr. Amy Riddle

How are women writers using speculative fiction to think about class, gender, nature and race? The class will focus on the political elements of the story--in particular how film, the novel, poetry and short stories depict contemporary social problems and imagine alternative social organizations.  We will examine a range of authors from different time periods and ethnicities, with many of the works set in the African continent.

COM 139 Shakespeare & the Classical World
Prof. Cheri Ross

Shakespeare’s fascination with the classical world is evident throughout his career.  In this course we will study selected plays through this lens, learning how Shakespeare responds to and reworks both ancient texts and renaissance conceptions of antiquity, and how his work matures within this conceptual framework. Through this lens we will practice our own interpretive and argumentative skills on these compelling poetic works.

COM 141 Intro to Critical Theory (Cross-listed with CRI 101)
Prof. Stefan Uhlig

This course provides an introduction to the history and recent place of critical theory in comparative literary studies. We begin by asking what led critics in the 60s and 70s to borrow methods from adjacent disciplines like linguistics, anthropology, or continental philosophy. We pursue this process until the discovery of Paul de Man’s wartime writings seemingly confirmed suspicions about deconstruction. In between, we study questions raised by psychoanalysis, structuralism, Derridean difference, Foucault’s discursive histories, de Manian deconstruction, race, and gender. We conclude this course by testing how our thinking about literary texts, images, and movies may have changed as a result of what we have discussed and read. There is no textbook for this course and all readings will be available as pdfs on Canvas.

COM 161B Comedy


Prof. Ralph Hexter

COM 166B The Novel
Prof. Tim Parrish

Graduate Courses

COM 210 Topics (TBD)
Prof. Noha Radwan

COM 255 Intro to Comp Lit
Prof. Amy Motlagh

COM 392 Teaching Internship
Prof. Cheri Ross