Summer 2014

Summer Session I

(June 23 - August 1, 2014)

Navid Saberi-Najafi, PhD student in Comparative Literature

MTW 2:10-4:25P
107 Wellman
CRN 53587

Course Description: In this course, we will read ancient and medieval myths, legends, and folktales which are Mesopotamian, Indian, Persian, Arabic, Egyptian, Spanish, and Celtic in origin. We shall embark upon our journey with Gilgamesh—the most renowned Mesopotamian hero. Next, the unique and exceedingly influential folk wisdom of The Pancatantra will entertain us with its monkey, owl, crab, and other non-human animals. Further, we will explore some of the most significant themes of The Shahnameh—a Persian epic that has preserved the Iranian identity with its puissant Rustam. We will continue our journey by reading a selection of tales from the Arabian Nights’ Entertainments—a collection of Arabic, Persian, Indian, and Egyptian tales—in which Scheherazade will teach us, inter alia, the powerful influence of story-telling. The Song of the Cid will give us an insight into the life of Rodrigo Diaz of Bivar—the symbol of early Spanish nationalism and humanism. Finally, we will conclude the course with Sir Gawain and the Green Knight—a Middle English romance influenced by Welsh and Irish traditions—by exploring the mystifying motif of the Green Man. All works will be read in English translation.

Format: Lecture/Discussion - 4 hours.

Prerequisite: None.

GE credit (Old): Arts & Humanities, Diversity, and Writing Experience.
GE credit (New): Arts & Humanities, World Cultures, and Writing Experience.


  • Anonymous, The Epic of Gilgamesh, translated by Benjamin R. Foster  (W.W. Norton & Company, 2001)
  • Anonymous, The Pañcatantra: The Book of India's Folk Wisdom, translated by Patick Olivelle  (Oxford University Press, 2009)
  • Abolqasem Ferdowsi, The Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings. translated by Dick Davis  (Penguin Classics, 2007)
  • Ed. Robert L. Mack, Arabian Nights’ Entertainments  (Oxford University Press, 2009)
  • Anonymous, The Song of the Cid: Dual Language Edition with Parallel Text, translated by Burton Raffel  (Penguin Classics, 2009)
  • Anonymous, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, translated by Marie Boroff  (W.W. Norton, 2009)

Summer Session II

(August 4 - September 12, 2014)

Kevin Smith, PhD student in Comparative Literature

MTW 2:10-4:25P
1120 Hart
CRN 73901

Course Description: This course will provide students with a comparative introduction to literary and cultural production – poetry, fiction, autobiography, blog, and film – responding critically to three major moments of warfare in late modernity: Japan during and after WWII; Korea in the aftermath of "The Forgotten War”; and Iraq during the two Gulf Wars.

The course will focus on the relationship between war and literary form and will inspire students to critically analyze mainstream representations of war and its multifaceted social consequences.

Films shown in class will include Fires on the PlainThe Thin Red LineHiroshima Mon AmourThe Taebaek MountainsWelcome to DongmakgolRedacted, and About Baghdad.

Format: Lecture/Discussion - 4 hours.

Prerequisite: Completion of Entry-Level Writing (formerly Subject A) Requirement.

GE credit (Old): Arts & Humanities and Writing Experience.
GE credit (New): Arts & Humanities, World Cultures, and Writing Experience.
(Note: This course cannot be used to satisfy a college or university composition requirement and GE writing experience simultaneously)


  • Shohei Ooka, Fires on the Plain: A Novel  (Tuttle Publishing, 2001)
  • Eds. Takako Lento and Wayne Miller, Tamura Ryuichi: On the Life and Work of a 20th Century Master  (Pleiades of University of Missouri Press, 2011)
  • Park Wan-So, The Naked Tree  (Cornell University Press, 1995)
  • Myung Mi Kim, Under Flag [3rd Edition]  (Kelsey Street Press, 2008)
  • Salam Pax, Salam Pax: The Clandestine Diary of an Ordinary Iraqi  (Grove Press, 2003)
  • Dunya Mikhail, The War Works Hard  (New Directions Press, 2005)