Literature in Translation Courses Fall 2021

  • LITTRANS 201 – Survey Of 19th And 20th Century Russian Literature In Translation I

    (3 credits)

    • MWF 11:00-11:50 am          Instructor: Kirill Ospovat

    Course Description: Pushkin to Tolstoy; reading and lecture in English.

    Prerequisites: None.

  • LITTRANS 203 – Survey Of 19th And 20th Century Russian Literature In Translation I (with Comm B credit)

    (4 credits)

    • MWF 11:00-11:50 am          Instructor: Kirill Ospovat
      • DIS 301: T 9:55-10:45 am
      • DIS 302: T 11:00-11:50 am
      • DIS 303: T 12:05-12:55 pm
      • DIS 304: T 1:20-2:10 pm

    Course Description: Pushkin to Tolstoy; reading and lecture in English; 4th hour discussion section for Communication-B credit.

    Prerequisites: None.

  • LITTRANS 205 – Women In Russian Literature In Translation

    (3 credits)

    • MWF 11:00-11:50 am          Instructor: Karen Evans-Romaine

    Course Description: The focus of this course will be gender dynamics, family, women’s fates and roles in Russian history, and the portrayal of women, first in literature written by men in the nineteenth-century canon, and then primarily by women writers in nineteenth-, twentieth- and twenty-first-century Russian literature. We will examine Russian prose and poetry spanning two centuries, including poetry and a novel in verse, prose fiction, memoirs, and political tracts, from the point of view of gender roles and portrayals, sex, family, and career in a society that has gone through radical changes. In class discussions, we will explore such questions as the following: Who is portrayed as the ideal Russian/Soviet man or woman? How have political and social turmoil affected their roles and relationships? Who are portrayed as transgressors of societal norms, and how? What happens to these transgressors, and to those who decline to transgress? To what degree are the sexes divided, and to what degree do they intersect and blend? What is a family? When is private life no longer private? What is social and sexual freedom? We will also discuss many other aspects of these rich and thought-provoking texts.

    Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or higher.

  • LITTRANS 215 – Polish Literature In Translation: 14th To The Mid-19th Century

    (3 credits)

    • TR 1:00-2:15 pm          Instructor: Łukasz Wodzyński

    Course Description: The Beginnings, Baroque, Enlightenment and Romanticism.

    Prerequisites: None.

  • LITTRANS 220 – Chekhov in Translation

    (3 credits)

    • TR 11:00 am-12:15 pm          Instructor: Maksim Hanukai

    Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or higher.

  • LITTRANS 222 – Dostoevsky In Translation

    (3 credits)

    • MWF 12:05-12:55 pm          Instructor: Andrew Reynolds

    Course Description: Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky (1821-1881) is generally considered to be one of the greatest novelists in world literature. His insights into human psychology and his analysis of the political and spiritual climate of 19th-century Russia (and of European thought more broadly) have influenced many major writers and philosophers, from Freud and Nietzsche to Faulkner and Camus. We will study some of his early works, including the seminal Notes from Underground, one of the most important proto-existentialist works, but our main focus will be on his four greatest novels. Crime and Punishment is perhaps the most accessible of all Dostoevsky’s works, and develops the critique of rationalism and utilitarianism begun in Notes from Underground. The Idiot provides particularly revealing insights into human psychology and sexuality and foregrounds many of the complex and problematic elements of Dostoevsky’s religious thought; Demons (also known as The Possessed or The Devils) is an increasingly relevant analysis of, among other things, political terrorism, and, together with his masterpiece, The Brothers Karamazov, foretells the rise of totalitarianism.

    Prerequisites: Sophomore status or higher or consent of instructor.

  • LITTRANS 223 – Vladimir Nabokov: Russian And American Writings

    (3 credits)

    • MWF 11:00-11:50 am          Instructor: S. A. Karpukhin

    Course Description: The major novels of Vladimir Nabokov studied in the context of Russian and American literatures. Nabokov as a quintessential artist in exile, whose work explores loss of language, country and home.

    Prerequisites: Sophomore status or higher.

  • LITTRANS 233 – Russian Life And Culture Through Literature And Art (To 1917)

    (3-4 credits)

    • Section 001: MWF 2:25-3:15 pm          Instructor: Jennifer Tishler          (4 credits w/discussion)
      • DIS 301: T 2:25-3:15 pm
    • Section 002: MWF 2:25-3:15 pm          Instructor: Jennifer Tishler          (3 credits)

    Course Description: Lit Trans 233– “Russian Life and Culture through Literature and Art (to 1917)” presents an introduction to the culture of Russia—its art and architecture, folklore, literature, music, religious life, and philosophy—from its origins through the beginning of the twentieth century. As we move through nearly one thousand years of Russian civilization, we will pay special attention to such recurring themes as the myth of Russia’s cultural hospitality, the theme of authoritarianism and censorship, the concept of a Russian “people,” the status of women in Russian society, the views of “outsiders” to Russia (in the form of letters and essays written by non-Russians about Russia) and the acceptance or rejection of cultural values and innovations as “Western” or “Eastern,” “Russian” or “foreign.” Enrollment is capped at 30 and class is run as a combination of lecture and active discussion. Students may enroll for LT 233 for either 3 or 4 credits. Those who enroll for 4 credits attend discussion sections on Tuesdays and complete an additional research project, which includes library research sessions, consultations with the instructor, an in-class presentation, and a final paper (in two drafts). When taken for 4 credits, LT 233 fulfills the Comm-B requirement.

    Prerequisites: None.

  • LITTRANS 235 – The World Of Sagas

    (3 credits)

    • MW 2:30-3:45 pm          Instructor: Scott Mellor

    Course Description: The Icelandic sagas viewed in their social, cultural, and literary contexts. An introduction to one of the greatest bodies of vernacular literature of the early Middle Ages.

    Prerequisites: None.

  • LITTRANS 247 – Adventure In Literature & Film

    (3 credits)

    • TR 2:30-3:45 pm          Instructor: Łukasz Wodzynski

    Course Description: How do we define adventure and who gets to experience it? What role has it played in modern culture? What do adventure stories tell us about our values and changing attitudes to risk and violence? We will address these and similar questions on our intellectual journey through some of the most iconic adventures in Western cultural tradition, from The Odyssey to Indiana Jones, and beyond. The course meets Literature requirement and has no prerequisites.

    Prerequisites: None.

  • LITTRANS 247 – Reading Putin's Russia

    (3 credits)

    • MWF 1:20-2:10 pm          Instructor: Kirill Ospovat

    Course Description: This course, situated between literary, political, cultural, and art studies, addresses contemporary Russia and the symbolic patterns that govern its erratic and seemingly irrational policies. We draw on political theory and investigative journalism as well as contemporary Russian film, fiction, and art in order to explore the peculiar, yet not unprecedented cult of violence that underlies Putin’s regime. We examine the origins of this cult in Russian imperial and Soviet culture and its implications for our understanding of current events.

    Prerequisites: None.

  • LITTRANS 247 – Russian & Jews: Tradition

    (3 credits)

    • TR 2:30-3:45 pm          Instructor: Marina Zilbergerts

    Prerequisites: None.

  • LITTRANS 270 – German Women Writers In Translation

    (3 credits)

    • TR 1:00-2:15 pm          Instructor: Sonja Klocke

    Course Description: Do you like reading novels? Are you particularly interested in reading novels by women? Would you like to learn more about German women’s writing? This term, German Women Writers in Translation focuses on the topic of “Love and Violence.” We will read various contemporary novels on that subject, all written by women with diverse backgrounds. For example, you will become familiar with women writers from East Germany and from West Germany, which means that some of them were socialized in the socialist German Democratic Republic while others were raised in the more capitalist Federal Republic of Germany. Other women writers we read migrated to Germany from Turkey, Russia, Japan or Great Britain, and now write in German. Many of the books we want to discuss have won prestigious prizes, and all of them will allow you to expand your horizon with regards to German culture as well as the question: What does it mean to write as a woman? And how does your cultural background influence your writing? In addition to the novels (all easily available in the USA), we will read short stories, poems, and short texts about women’s writing, gender theory, and narrative texts. All of these will be provided on canvas.

    Prerequisites: None.

  • LITTRANS 276 – From Grimm to Gryffindor: German Fairytales (Re)imagined

    (3 credits)

    • TR 1:00-2:15 pm          Instructor: Melissa Sheedy

    Course Description: From wolves to witches, Rumpelstiltskin to Rapunzel, the German fairy-tale tradition is filled with rich imagery, familiar themes, and political and social subversion. Of enduring popularity and as constant subjects of reimagination and revitalization, German tales and their manifold retellings serve as a unique lens through which to view the social, political, and cultural contexts in which they were produced. Through the texts emphasized in this course, we will glimpse the underlying perceptions and values regarding family, gender, nation, nature, religion, and society both in the first half of the nineteenth century and in the Germany of the last 25 years. With an eye to depictions of gender and gender roles as well as to conceptions of the environment and civilization, we will critically engage with these works and contextualize them within the social and political landscapes that shaped them. Our investigations will center on fairytales and their recent retellings in a variety of forms, including familiar and unfamiliar tales by the Grimm Brothers, and with a special focus on fairytales by women writers. All readings, materials, and discussions will be in English.

    Learning outcomes:

    • Critically engage with German fairytales from different time periods and contextualize them within the social and political landscapes that shaped them.
    • Explore fairytales through a variety of analytical lenses, including feminist and queer theories, ecocriticism, and psychoanalytic perspectives.
    • Recognize and analyze the fairytale’s transcultural influences in literature, art, music, poetry, and pop culture.

    Prerequisites: None.

  • LITTRANS 324 – Criminal Utopias

    (3 credits)

    • TR 1:00-2:15 pm          Instructor: Benjamin Mier-Cruz

    Prerequisites: None.

  • LITTRANS 326 – Anne Frank

    (3 credits)

    • T 2:30-3:45 pm and ONLINE R 2:30-3:45 pm          Instructor: Jolanda Vanderwal Taylor

    Course Description: Anne Frank counts as one of the most widely read writers in recent world history, and yet some wonder whether she should be called a writer. Her work is widely loved. It has been the inspiration for many other cultural artifacts and institutions: editions; biographies; works of fiction and non-fiction; plays; autobiographies (e.g. by friends of Anne Frank); scholarly research: literary-, cultural-, historical-, as well as research in the various sciences of manuscript authentication; exhibitions; museums; foundations. In this course we will study the context in which the Diaries were written and consider the various ways in which they were received. We will look at what was done with the Diaries and with Anne Frank: how they have been read, interpreted, used, and argued about. We will engage in critical thinking, asking not just: what? but also: why? We will consider what her work and life have to say to us as we face the legacy and continued scourge of racism. We will certainly consider some of her laments as we consider out own, somewhat confined, existence. We will take Anne seriously as a writer by reading her works (the Diaries and other short texts) attentively. And then we will also think about the nature of literature: is what Ms. Frank wrote literature? Why, or why not?

    Prerequisites: At least one intermediate level literature course.

  • LITTRANS 337 – In Translation: 19th Century Scandinavian Fiction

    (3-4 credits)

    • ONLINE September 8th-December 15th         Instructor: Susan Brantly

    Course Description: The 19th-Century generated some of Scandinavia’s best-known writers. The course begins with Romanticism and looks at Norwegian folktales, Esaias Tegner’s popular Viking tale (Frithiof’s Saga), and Hans Christian Andersen’s world-famous stories, to name but a few highlights. From there, we move to the Modern Breakthrough, perhaps the most important period in Scandinavian literary history, during which writers were urged to take up current issues for public debate and let science be their inspiration. Internationally famous Nordic writers did just that in classics such as Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and Strindberg’s The Father. We will trace how these influential social debates about class and gender took literary form. As the century comes to a close, some writers, such as Nobel laureates Knut Hamsun and Selma Lagerlôf, react against the rationality of the Modern Breakthrough by turning to literary Decadence and Neo-Romanticism. This course on 19th-Century Scandinavian Literature is being taught entirely online.

    Prerequisites: Junior standing or higher or consent of instructor.

  • LITTRANS 438 – Sexual Politics In Scandinavia

    (3 credits)

    • TR 4:00-5:15 pm          Instructor: Liina-Ly Roos

    Course Description: The Nordic countries are known for being some of the most egalitarian and sexually open countries in the world. In this course we will explore how they have achieved this reputation, focusing on a variety of sources since the Moral Debates of the 1880s. We will discuss literary works, films, art, television, and critical articles to explore the ways in which Nordic societies and cultures perceive and understand gender and sexuality. We will also complicate some of myths regarding sexuality in the Nordic countries and explore how gender and sexuality are intersected with race, ethnicity, social class, and the rhetoric of the welfare state.

    Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or higher.

  • LITTRANS 471 – Polish Literature (In Translation), Middle Ages To 1863

    (3 credits)

    • TR 1:00-2:15 pm          Instructor: Łukasz Wodzyński

    Course Description: Intensive study of major writers such as Kochanowski, Krasicki, and Mickiewicz.

    Prerequisites: Junior standing or higher.