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Graduate Courses

Sample Graduate Level Courses

Instructor: Yopie Prins
Course: Comp Lit 750: Comparing Approaches to Classical Reception; Greek 840/Latin 840: Classical Receptions
Term: Winter 2019

Description: This graduate seminar is an introduction to classical reception studies as an interdisciplinary field that has gained momentum over the past two decades, connecting the study of classical Greek and Latin to a broad range of disciplines and historical periods (in literary and cultural studies, critical translation studies, gender and sexuality studies, philosophy and political theory, history of art and architecture, history of the book, film and new media studies, just to name a few). What are the possibilities for doing new work in classical reception studies, in theory and in practice?

To explore various answers to this question, we will compare different approaches to the study of classical reception and we will learn from visiting speakers (faculty from different U-M departments, and several external visitors) who are currently working on diverse projects in classical reception studies. Students in the seminar will also develop their own projects for presentation in a mini-symposium at the end of the semester.

Instructor: Artemis Leontis
Course: Greek and Latin 840: Theory and Practice of Classical Reception Studies
Term: Fall 2014

Description: Classical Reception Studies is a dynamic field of research and teaching exploring the dialogue of present and past in the ongoing recreation of the Classical legacy. This course introduces graduate students to its theory and practice as a set of critical, historical, and pedagogical approaches by working through case studies. In the fall of 2014 the case studies focus on American engagements with Greece since 1900 in several media and spheres. While Greek subjects have been losing institutional and instructional support, they have entered the rapidly multiplying media of politics, life style, popular culture, and the arts, which keep returning to Greece, whether explicitly or unknowingly, to illuminate the past, present, and future of modern American life. Each case involves a contestation with reference to Greece and raises questions of the materialization, enactment, and realization of meaning and the investment in Greece at the point of reception. It introduces students to a theoretical approach and encourages them to bring additional critical, comparative perspectives and methodologies. Some cases focus on the present cultural moment; others highlight the presence of the ancient element; others give attention to the medium of reception and the infinite regress of receding images. Working through the series of cases, students will both practice the art of producing thick descriptions and build a broad theoretical basis for facing the challenges of comprehending and teaching the remains of the past. Through the course, students will articulate perspectives on American engagements with Greece in the past century; hone discrete tools for analyzing the particularity of each case; find the connecting links; prepare a teaching module; select, research, present, and write about a case of their own; and situate themselves as modern interpreters of the Classical past.

Instructor: David Halperin
Course: English 407, 630, 638/Comp Lit 750: Theories of Love: Plato to Nabokov
Term: Winter 2013 and previous years

Description: A survey of theories of love and desire in European literature from Plato to Nabokov and beyond. The course is designed to provide an introduction to the Platonic, Christian, and Freudian traditions as well as an overview of the most important and influential contributions to Western thinking about love by canonical male writers. It offers an opportunity to read broadly, to acquire a general background in the humanities, and to prepare for advanced work in critical theory and cultural studies. Authors to be studied include Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Dante, Montaigne, Goethe, Stendhal, Schopenhauer, Freud, Proust, and Nabokov.

Instructor: Elizabeth Wingrove
Course: Political Science 688: Topics in Democratic Theory (Democratic Theatricality)
Term: Winter 2011

Description: Focusing primarily but not exclusively on theater, this course considers how the values, dispositions, and practices attributed to democratic citizens can be enhanced, undermined, and otherwise affected by public enactments and displays of myths, stories, and other poetic forms. How might the stage (and the page) be opportunities to learn practices of democratic inquiry? To experience democratic life? To imagine ourselves as “democratic”? What are the pitfalls of such an approach? After initial "stage-setting" readings by Arendt, Rancière, Plato, and Goldhill, we take up a range of (ancient and Enlightenment-era) comedies, tragedies, novels, and poems, supplemented periodically by secondary source readings.

Instructor: Diane Owen Hughes
Course History 683: Between Worlds
Term: Winter 2007

Description: This studies course will consider the position of Europe (1300-1600) as a continent and a culture "between worlds", namely, its economic, political, and cultural knowledge of and relations with other continents as well as its sense of the age as one poised between the authority of an ancient past and the lure of new discovery (the Renaissance dilemma). We will look in some detail at ethnographic accounts, the development of a new cartography, changes in historiography, and methods of the dissemination of knowledge.

Instructor: Elizabeth Sears
Course: History of Art 655: The Vienna School
Term: Winter 2007

Description: Fin-de-siècle Vienna, the hub of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was a crucible not only for the development of modern art and architecture but also for the emergence of the art historical discipline as we know it. Seminally important art historians taught at the University of Vienna and held curatorships in Viennese museums: Wickhoff, Riegl, Dvořák, Strzygowski, Von Schlosser, and we will study the writings of each. Themes to be treated include Viennese pedagogy (structural analysis of form, the use of archival sources), the critique of Semper’s functionalist approach to art, the engagement with modern aesthetics (Hegel, Hildebrandt, Herbart and Croce), the involvement in contemporary art controversies, the promotion of cross-cultural study, the analysis of pictorial narrative, the recuperation of maligned epochs of art-making, and the recovery of western Kunstliteratur. We will also consider reworkings of First Vienna School ideas by members of the Second Vienna School in the 1920s and 1930s (Pächt, Sedlmayr, etc.). An understanding of art historical study in Vienna provides students in art history and cognate fields and disciplines with conceptual tools for dealing with the visual, as well as a novel perspective on early twentieth-century cultural history. Graduate students in all fields are welcome. Reading knowledge of German is recommended.

Instructors: Pat Simons and Diane Owen Hughes
Course: History of Art 754/History 798/ MEMS Proseminar: Histories of Etymology and Genealogy
Term: Fall 2006

Description: This course will examine etymological and genealogical continuity but also rupture, investigating the processes in terms of their fictionality and representational strategies. Stretching over both medieval and early modern materials, chiefly in Western Europe, the seminar queries standard notions of chronological division and instead invites a reconsideration of conventional ideas about origin, influence and filiation. After an overview of the theoretical frameworks (Bloch, Butler, Derrida, Foucault), our case studies will be drawn from such subjects as Isidore of Seville’s etymological project, linguistic and archaeological claims for the primacy of Etruscan roots (including Annius of Viterbo’s late fifteenth-century forgeries and those of Curzio Inghirami in the seventeenth century, which also invoke notions of authenticity), the representation of Adam and Eve as the “first parents” after they committed “original sin”, nationalistic myths of Troy (including stories about the origins of the Ottomans), and the productive tension between valorized imitation (visual, political, rhetorical) on the one hand and valued innovation on the other.

Instructor: Yopie PrinsCourse: Greek/Latin 731 and Comparative Literature 731: “Classical Translations/Translating Classics”
Term: Winter 2005

Description: This seminar will explore how translation has shaped the reception and transmission of Classics, from antiquity to the present. We will consider the history, theory, and practice of translating Greek and Latin texts in various cultural contexts; genealogies of influential; creative translation and imitation; translation and/in performance; pedagogical practices, cultural politics, critical debates, and rhetorical traditions associated with translating Classics.