Spring 2024 Courses

Spring Quarter 2024

Undergraduate Courses


COM 001—Major Works of the Ancient World

COM 002—Major Works of the Medieval & Early Modern World

COM 003—Major Works of the Modern World

COM 004—Major Works of the Contemporary World

COM 006—Myths & Legends
Ralph Hexter

Myths and legends are stories created, handed down, and reshaped in each retelling, for purposes that range from explanation to entertainment, from supporting the status quo to moving minds in new directions. The course will explore and interrogate both types of narratives through readings (in translation) from the third millennium BCE to the present day. While examples come from multiple cultures and languages, most will derive from Eurasia, often with an emphasis on how both myths and legends are transformed as they are carried across borders. The four units proceed in rough chronological order: (1) stories about the gods and legendary heroes primarily of the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean; (2) legends based at least ultimately on historical figures from the “Axial Age” through the time of the movement of peoples into Western Europe drawing on texts recorded between c. 500 B.C.E. and 1270 C.E.; (3) nineteenth- and twentieth-century reworkings of some of the material; and (4) examples of and critical observations on the creation and deployment for political purposes of myths and legends about peoples and groups.

COM 007—Literature of Fantasy & The Supernatural
Michael Subialka


COM 112—Japanese Cinema
Michiko Suzuki

This class is an introduction to Japanese film from the early silent films to contemporary cinema. While exploring the history of Japanese film and its social and cultural contexts, we examine works by important directors (such as Kurosawa and Ozu), genres (such as avant-garde film and samurai film), themes and techniques. We will also read secondary critical materials on Japanese film and history. Particular areas of focus include gender, war, memory, censorship, visuality and narrative. Watching all films (through links on Canvas site) is mandatory. Lectures, readings and discussions will be in English. No previous knowledge of Japanese language or culture is required. GE: AH, WC, WE, VL

COM 154 African Literature

Moradewun Adejunmobi

COM 168A—Romanticism
Stefan Uhlig

The term Romanticism is a strong example of how period concepts help, or hinder, how we think about the past. Some critics have insisted that the period between, roughly, 1770 and 1830 saw a transformation in how European intellectuals and artists thought about the world that shaped modernity. Others have argued that this notion of a period concept of Romanticism is misguided. For these skeptics, thought and creativity within the period is so diverse that we should move to lower case, and call it merely the romantic period. This course works through select examples of what may be new, or even radical, enough within this timeframe to define a threshold between old routines and new ways to conceive of self-expression, creativity, the natural world, or sociability. Where possible, we will read key romantic texts in contrast with the kinds of writing they defined themselves against to work out just what might be special about what we call Romanticism. I will provide all readings for this course as pdfs via Canvas.

COM 173—Sakuntala
Archana Venkatesan


COM 195—Senior Seminar:  Twins, Double, and Dead Ringers
Cheri Ross

The birth of twins calls forth a variety of responses: celebration at nature’s unexpected largesse; horror at the uncanny paradox of two-in-one; scientific curiosity at the possibility of the ultimate human experiment. This course will focus on various representations of twins in written texts and films with the purpose of teasing out the complexities and contradictions of doubles. Written texts will be chosen from traditional legends from the ancient Near East and Pacific Northwest First Nations; novels by Dostoevsky and Wilde. The films will be chosen from classics and more recent films, including The Prestige (dir. Nolan), Vertigo (dir. Hitchcock), The Talented Mr. Ripley (dir. Minghella), and Black Swan (dir. Aronofsky).  Each session of the class will focus on a written work or film that features some intriguing angle on the question of twins:  for example, sibling love and rivalry, split selves and identity questions, evil twins, clones. The course will be conducted primarily through discussion, with introductory and framing lectures offered by the instructor.

GE credits:  Arts & Humanities, World Cultures, Writing Experience


Graduate Courses

COM 210—Topics/Themes in Comparative Literature
Archana Venkatesan

COM 298 (CRN 35861) / ENL 289 (CRN 57535) —Article Writing Workshop
Stefan Uhlig

This course seeks to help you write an article for publication. We will discuss writing practices, academic style and argumentation, and the conventions of scholarly publication. In addition to set exercises and readings, you should aim to spend three to four hours each week researching and reading (primary and secondary texts) and three to four hours each week writing (composing and revising sentences). We will check in at the beginning of each meeting to talk about the progress you have made.