Spring 2022

Spring 2022 Courses 

Undergraduate Courses

COM 001 Major Works  of the Ancient World 

  • Sec 001 CRN 37059
  • Sec 002 CRN 37060

COM 002 Major Works of the Medieval and Early Modern World

  • Sec 001 CRN 37062
  • Sec 002 CRN 37063

COM 003 Major Works of the Modern World

  • Sec 001 CRN 37064
  • Sec 002 CRN 37065

COM 004 Major Works of the Contemporary World

  • Sec 001 CRN 37066
  • Sec 002 CRN 37067
  • Sec 003 CRN 37068
  • Sec 004 CRN 37069

COM 006 Myths & Legends
Professor Cheri Ross

COM 007 Literature of Fantasy & the Supernatural 
Professor Timothy Parrish

COM 010L Master Authors in World Literature 

COM 100 World Cinema: "Chinese Cinema"
Professor Sheldon Lu

Course Description:
In this quarter, we focus on the rich cinematic traditions of China. We begin with early Chinese cinema and move all the way to the twenty-first century. Students will explore the themes, styles, aesthetics, stars, and socio-political contexts of individual films as well as the evolution of entire film industries. We discuss representative directors and internationally renowned filmmakers such as Wu Yonggang, Xie Jin, Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige, Ang Lee, Feng Xiaogang, Jia Zhangke, and Jiang Wen. We examine Chinese cinema as an outgrowth of indigenous, national roots as well as a necessary response to international film culture. We look at how films engage in social critique and cultural reflection, and how film artists react to the conditions and forces of socialist politics, capitalist economy, tradition, modernization, and globalization in Chinese-speaking regions.

Prerequisite: Upper division standing or consent of instructor
GE credit: Arts & Humanities, Visual Literacy, World Cultures and Writing Experience.
Format: Lecture/Discussion - 3 hours; Film Viewing - 3 hours.

No need to purchase textbooks.  Students will read relevant book chapters and journal articles via the online resources of the UC Davis library. Reading materials include chapters from the anthology Transnational Chinese Cinemas: Identity, Nationhood, Gender edited by Sheldon Lu; Contemporary Chinese Cinema and Visual Culture: Envisioning the Nation (2021) written by Sheldon Lu; and more.

COM 142: The Romantic Self(ie)
Professor Stefan H. Uhlig

Much European writing in the decades around 1800 offered literary explorations of the self. The internet and social media have more recently recast how we experience and present ourselves, how we engage each other and our lived environment. This course is dedicated to a handful of quite complex poems by William Wordsworth (1770-1850), Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843), and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) in conjunction with contemporary scholarship on networked subjectivity, fame, privacy, exposure, and the public sphere. I think Romantic poetry can help us understand what is at stake in new technologies that have outpaced most of our critical capacities. There is no textbook for this course. All readings will be made available as pdfs. If you prefer to use a printed text, or want to read more poems, I suggest these fairly inexpensive books:

William Wordsworth, Poetry and Prose, ed. Nicholas Halmi (New York: Norton, 2014)

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Selected Poetry, ed. and trans. David Luke (New York: Penguin, 2005)

Friedrich Hölderlin, Selected Poems and Fragments, ed. Jeremy Adler and trans. Michael Hamburger (New York: Penguin, 1998)

COM 153A: Asian Literature - Special Topic: Modern Chinese Literature In Translation
Professor Sheldon Lu

Description: For this quarter, the course focuses on modern Chinese literature from the beginning of the 20th century to the present time. Students will read short stories, excerpts of novels and novellas, poems, and essays written by leading Chinese writers. Relevant films will be selected to be shown and discussed in conjunction with literary texts. The class will analyze recurrent themes and topics such as love, death, revolution, war, tradition, modernization, westernization, and globalization. Literary developments in modern China will be examined in broad international contexts. Students are expected to gain a better understanding of the cultural and literary tradition of China as well as important social issues that confront Chinese people in modern times as reflected in literature. The course fulfills the requirements of Arts and Humanities, World Cultures, and Writing.
Format: Mandatory class attendance, weekly reading assignments, participation in class discussion, class presentation, midterm paper, and final paper.
Joseph S. M. Lau and Howard Goldblatt, eds. The Columbia Anthology of Modern Chinese Literature. Columbia University Press, 2007. Paperback, 2nd edition.
Yunte Huang, ed. The Big Red Book of Modern Chinese Literature: Writings from the Mainland in the Long Twentieth Century. Norton, 2016. Paperback.
Students will also read selected journal essays that can be accessed online in the UC Library System. pdf files or handouts of relevant writings will be provided as well.

COM 158 The Detective Story as Literature
Professor Tim Parrish

COM 159 Women in Literature - Feminist Literature
Professor Michiko Suzuki

The topic for Spring 2022 is “Feminist literature.” This lecture/discussion course examines representations of women in feminist literature. We focus particularly on late 19th and early 20th century texts that were influential in East Asia (Japan, Korea, China), while comparing them to some Western texts and contemporary East Asian works from the late 20th and early 21st centuries. What constitutes “feminist literature” and how do authors depict women in this genre? What are the major concerns/issues in these works and how do they change over time, geographical location, etc.? In addition to learning about various authors and representations of women, we will also examine key issues in feminism especially in the East Asian context and develop skills in comparative literary analysis. Lectures, readings and discussions are in English; no prior knowledge of East Asian cultures or languages is necessary.

GE credit: AH, WC, WE. 

Prerequisite(s): COM 001, COM 002, COM 003, or COM 004 or the equivalent recommended. 

COM 195 Senior Seminar Comparative Literature - The Imagination
Professor Jocelyn Sharlet

This course investigates the way writers use the theme of the imagination in order to explore competing values, ideas about justice, and proximity/resistance to political power. In particular, we will focus on the way writers use the theme of the imagination to portray the issue of missing persons, such as characters who are absent, displaced, or exiled. The imagination in these works includes the perception of the supernatural, fantasy, desire, deceit, the absurd, illusions, and dreams. We will consider this topic in the epic, the frame tale, mystical romance, a range of pre-modern and modern lyric poetry, and novels that deal with colonial encounters, anxiety about modernity and globalization, and absurd experiences of contemporary authoritarianism.


Ferdowsi, The Persian Book of Kings (selections), tr. Davis (course site)
The Thousand and One Nights (The Arabian Nights, selections), tr. Haddawy (course site)
Seyh Galip, Beauty and Love, tr. Holbrook
Muwaylihi, A Period of Time, tr. Allen
Hedayat, The Blind Owl, tr. Costello
Ibrahim, The Smell of It, tr. Creswell
Parsipur, Women Without Men, tr. Farrokh
Gavron, The Hilltop, Cohen
Lyric poetry: Layla al-Akhyaliyya, Abu Nuwas, al-Buhturi, Farrokhi, Halevi, Hafez, Mihri Hatun, Mir Taqi Mir, Mahmoud Darwish, Forough Farrokhzad (course site)

Graduate Courses

COM 210: Reading Comparatists
Professor Stefan H. Uhlig

This course explores the promise, and the difficulties, of comparison as a descriptor for our branch of literary studies. It will do so not by recapitulating histories or theories of what we do (more the domain of COM 255), but by close-reading scholarship that has been hugely influential. The hope is that examples of these writings by exceptional comparatists will reassure us that comparison is real (though hard to pin down in the abstract or by charting histories), and that they will inspire our own work. I will select some writings by the following, and upload all of them as pdfs.

Georg Lukács; Leo Spitzer; Ernst Curtius; Erich Auerbach; René Wellek; Paul de Man; Franco Moretti; Natalie Melas; Emily Apter; Gayatri Spivak

COM 298 Direct Gp Study
Professor Joshua Clover

COM 298, R 12:10-2:00.  CRN 37255
Prospectus Workshop

This is a workshop in prospectus writing, designed for COM students but open to all students facing the task of drafting a prospectus. We will engage in four basic activities. One, discussing the goals and purposes of a prospectus in relation to a dissertation of equivalent project. Two, reading and discussing some sample prospectuses from successful dissertations (and other examples of relevant writing). Three, drafting documents related to and pointed toward the completion of a clear and functional prospectus. And four, engaging in peer review of each other's relevant writing. Course participants will also receive regular feedback from the professor, either in writing or in conference. In the final two weeks, we'll be all individual meetings all the time, refining the writing and practicing the prospectus conference. Final draft of prospectus or equivalent document due during finals week.

*Please note this is currently listed as a 3-hour course, but will only be meeting for two hours.

COM 396 Teaching Assistant Training Practicum

  • Professor Cheri Ross / CRN 37321
  • Professor Tim Parrish / CRN 37322