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Undergraduate Course Catalog

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121 International Short Story

Russian, Czech, German, French, Italian, Spanish, English, American, and Latin-American stories from Romanticism to the present. Fantastic tales, character sketches, surprise endings; main types of the short story. (AL)

122 Spiritual Autobiography

Exploration of the individual psyche, growth of self-consciousness; the dark night of the soul and the role of suffering in personal growth. Reading from a variety of spiritual diaries, autobiographies, from East and West, written by women and men, believers and heretics. Ancient and modern examples. See a syllabus from a previous semester for more information. (ALG)

131 Brave New Worlds

Utopian and dystopian novels. The ability of literature to generate social critique. Readings include works by Huxley, Orwell, Kafka, Atwood, Burgess, Gibson, Piercy, Gilman, Dick and others. (ALG)

133 Introduction to Science Fiction

This course introduces twentieth-century science fiction through reading American, European and Japanese novels and stories, examining SF in social, critical and literary contexts, and its sites of production and consumption. (ALG)

141 Good and Evil, East and West

The imaginative representation of good and evil in Western and Eastern classics, folktales, children's stories, and 20th century literature. Cross-cultural comparison of ethical approaches to moral problems such as the suffering of the innocent, the existence of evil, the development of a moral consciousness and social responsibility, and the role of faith in a broken world. (ALG)

151 Fiction East and West

Introduction to traditional and modern Chinese, Indian, and Japanese fiction. The encounter between Asian cultures and the "West" in 20th-century fiction. Cross-cultural views of self and society East and West, and of writers who work between Asian and Western worlds. (ALG)

204 Woman, Man and Myth

The heroic tradition in European literature from ancient Sumeria to the Medieval period. Emphasis on the myths of masculine and feminine, male and female divinities, male and female heroes and the problem of war and peace. (AL)

231 Comedy

Our course begins with the premise that contemporary American comedy is informed by the histories of ethnic American groups — African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans and U.S. Latinos/Latinas — along with issues of race, class, sexuality and citizenship. American comedians, independent filmmakers, feminists and transgendered comics deploy the language of comedy to invoke serious social matters in contemporary American life: racism, heterosexism, homophobia, class biases against the poor and the undocumented, misogyny, war and other burning issues of the day. We will thus consider that the ends of comedy are more than laughter. Comedy confronts political issues that are constitutive of and threatening to the U.S. body politic. (AL)

233 Fantasy and World Literature

Fantasies as escape into strange realms where time and space are not our own. Exploration of fantastic voyages to learn about human desires and dreams, and the reality they grow out of. Interdisciplinary approach; psychological theories of dreams and individual fantasies related to the structure and effects of fantasy literature. Honors section available, with greater attention to theoretical material and historical background. (AL)

234 Myth, Folktale, and Children's Literature

Reading and analysis of selected traditional European and African folk narratives and of contemporary stories for children from picturebooks to chapter books. Addresses questions of personal and social identity, of narrative presentation and response, of power and authority in changing environments focused on the child. See a syllabus from a previous semester for more information.(AL)

236 Digital Culture

An introduction to digital culture, with emphasis on the study of digital works of art (hyperfiction, computer art, electronic music, virtual dance, digital cinema, etc.) with some attention to the broader social and intellectual implications of the digital revolution. (ASI)

256H Poets and Poetry of New England

A study of poets and poetry of New England, with attention to the role and function of the natural, social and cultural landscape in nurturing, attracting or sustaining poets, immigrant or native. While poets writing in English, from Ann Bradstreet to Elizabeth Bishop and Sylvia Plath, will figure prominently, immigrant poets writing in languages other than English will also be introduced, recognized, and discussed. (AL)

290H From Renaissance to Revolution: Modern Arabic Literature in Comparative Perspective

This course draws from the most celebrated works of Arabic literature spanning from the nineteenth century literary "Renaissance" (or "Nahda") to the revolutionary uprising of the "Arab Spring." Focusing on poetry and prose, students will survey the works of major literary pioneers after the mid-nineteenth century, to explore the nuances and controversies involved with asserting the advent of "modern" literary forms within the history of Arabic literature. (Gen.Ed AL, G) [NOTE: This is an Honors Gen Ed, but should open to others around mid-August]

290T Translation, Cross-cultural Communication, and the Media

Translation, Cross-cultural Communication, and the Media is an introduction to translation theory and practice that is grounded in fundamental questions, ideas, and methods of analysis in the humanities, specifically language and culture. By examining different translation theories and methods, students are exposed to a plurality of perspectives, creatively analyzing the problems of translation and applying critical methods to solve those problems. Oral presentations and written projects, both individually and in groups, give students the opportunity to strengthen their communication skills at the same time as they are asked to evaluate the fundamental nature of communication itself. (Gen.Ed AL, G)

290U Imagining the City

The city has long been a source of inspiration for writers and artists. In this course, we will focus on artistic representations of the city during the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries. More specifically, we will study how cities and their texts have responded to significant moments of transformation by examining topics such as immigration, conflict, natural disaster, interior space and public sphere, and technology. European and American cities like Havana, Madrid, Mexico City, New York, as well as unnamed cities will be among the subjects of this course. In addition, we will integrate cinema, photography, painting, and architecture among other media to enhance our study of the city's image. This course i s designed to introduce students to the ways the city has entered the imagination of writers and artists while at the same time familiarizing them with a sampling of texts that belong to Hispanic literary traditions. Students will participate in class discussion, complete writing assignments, make an in-class presentation, and take midterm and final exams. (Gen.Ed AL, G)

291R Russian Culture

General introduction to Russian culture; historical roots of contemporary Russian habits and ways of thinking. History, social ideas, government, literature, arts, architecture, cinema, education, etc., in selected historical periods; emphasis on 19th-century development. No knowledge of Russian required; course conducted in English. (AL1)

381 Self-Reflective Avant-Garde Film (AT)

Modern origins of experimentation in film and literature in avant-garde schools such as Expressionism and Surrealism, with contemporary results of this heritage. Whether film is the most modern of the media, the results of two obsessive concerns: 1) the poetic, dreamlike, and fantastic, 2) the factual, realistic, and socially critical or anarchic. For additional information on film-related courses and activities, visit the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies web site.

382 Cinema and Psyche (AT)

Exploration of contemporary international cinema through film history and psychoanalytic theory. Focus on comparative representations of nationality, childhood, and social dislocation. Topics addressed: inscriptions of the autobiographical; transcultural readings of visual texts; cinematic constructions of gender and subjectivity; dreams, fantasy, and memory; the "family romance." See a syllabus from a previous semester for more information. For additional information on film-related courses and activities, visit the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies web site.

383 Narrative Avant-garde Film (AT)

Explores modern origin of experimentation in film in avant-garde modes such as Expressionism, Surrealism and contemporary results of this heritage. Trying to determine if film is the most resolutely modern of the media. Emphasis on the ways in which Avant-garde films can problematize themselves through the ploys of telling a story. By means of a self-consciousness of story-telling which undermines viewer identification, the drive for closure, the demand for origins and order, and even cause and effect, these avant-garde films restore to playfulness its strength and ambiguity. For additional information on film-related courses and activities, visit the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies web site.

384 Vietnam: Literature and Film

Focus on "images" of the war as presented in poetry, fiction, and film, often comparing the same image as it has been "rewritten" in literature and film. How images are manipulated by (re)writers to reinforce or subvert powerful cultural and political institutions. See a syllabus from a past semester for more information. For additional information on film-related courses and activities, visit the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies web site. (ALG)

385 Russian Themes in World Cinema

A general introduction to the art of cinema through Russian themes in world cinema. We will screen and discuss mostly Western (i.e., non-Russian) films (American, French, and Italian, but also some Japanese and Indian) inspired by Russian culture, particularly by Russian literary works from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Some emphasis may also be placed on selected contemporary themes and on comparisons of Russian and Western approaches to film art.

387 Myths of the Feminine

Myths about women and the life cycle from many cultures: ancient near east, classical antiquity, Old Europe, India, Asia, the Islamic world. Women writers from those same cultures, showing the interplay between the cultural construction of the feminine and personal voices. See a syllabus from a past semester for more information.

391B French Film

Course taught in English (with screenings). The development of French film from the 1930s and its relations to French society. Analysis and reading of specific films, the ideology of different film practices, and relevant aspects of film theory, including questions of representations. Films by directors such as Vigo, Carné, Renoir, Bresson, Resnais, Godard, Truffaut, Ackerman, Kurys, Tavernier. For additional information on film-related courses and activities, visit the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies web site. (AT)

391D War Stories

An inquiry into the representation of war in the late 20th century, this course will focus largely on a single conflict, the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We will examine a variety of media: photography, theater, poetry, and narrative, as well as testimonials and documentaries. Our discussions will also respond to readings grounded in theory rather than context.

391A International History of Animation

This course traces the history of animation from the late 19th century to today, including short and feature-length films from the United States, Europe and Japan. Topics will include the Fleischer, Disney and UPA studios, directors from Emil Cole to Hayao Miyazaki, and experimental animators including Oskar Fischinger and John Canemaker. Animation for television, including Jay Ward's Rocky and Bullwinkle and Matt Groening's The Simpsons will also be considered.

391C Comparative Literatures of the Indian Ocean

The Indian Ocean was a space re-imagined through successive tides of trade, conquest, and exploration, historically mediating between the diverse cultures of three continents. This course introduces students to the literatures of this cosmopolitan space and to its historic lines of influence and exchange, through a comparative reading of literary texts drawn from its perimeter and from travel accounts both fictional and historical/biographical. Readings will include Indic and Persian classics, comparative Sufi poetry, travel narratives in Portuguese and English, and twentieth century writing from across Asia and Africa.

391H Literary Criticism

A survey of the basic questions philosophers and poets have posed about the nature of literature: What literature is, what it imitates, how it can be studied, its function in human community. Major texts in the history of literary criticism East and West, in the classical and medieval periods.

391P Transatlantic Translation

In this course we will study the triangular relationship between Cuba, New York, and, Spain as it exists in both historical and imagined instances. Through fiction and film, we will explore the ways in which issues of translation frame artistic production of these locations and their intersections. Students will create and respond to weekly questions, serve as discussion leaders, and complete midterm and final assignments.

393B Comic Art in North America

An introduction to comic art, from the beginnings of the newspaper comic strip through the development of books, the growth of graphic novels, and current developments in electronic media. We focus on the history of aesthetics of the medium, comparison between developments in the United States, Mexico, and French Canada and the social and cultural contexts in which comic art is created and consumed.

393C International Graphic Novel

Examines contemporary works in the literary and artistic medium of the graphic novel, including works from the United States, Japan, Mexico, and Europe. The course will concentrate on the period bewteen 1978 (when the term "graphic novel" was invented by Will Eisner for the publication of 'A Contract with God') and the present, combined with examination of antecedents to contemporary graphic novels and traditions of visual narrative in the popular and high arts.

393R Polish and Russian Writers

In this course we will read masterpieces of twentieth-century Polish and Russian literature. Although Polish and Russian belong to the same linguistic family of Slavic languages, and hence share some cultural affinities, historically they have occupied two opposing ends of the geopolitical spectrum. Keeping in mind their distinct histories and cultural traditions, we will read representative works by major Polish and Russian writers to see what common philosophical themes, if any, can be traced in the cultural production of these two neighboring Eastern European countries. Readings will be chosen from such Russian writers as Evgeny Zamyatin, Boris Pasternak, Mikhail Bulgakov and Liudmila Petrushevskaya and such Polish writers as Bruno Schulz, Czesław Miłosz, Sławomir Mrożek, Stanisław Lem, Wisława Szymborska, Paweł Huelle and Dorota Masłowska. All readings will be in English translation, and no familiarity is assumed with either literary tradition.

394A Women and Men in Myth: Epic Monsters, Epic Betrayals

This course studies some famous stories of couples and pairs in western literature, to see how we might think about male and female heroes, their adventures and trials, and how they compete or cooperate with each other. We'll also look at other dyads: fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, same sex peers. See a syllabus from a previous semester for more information.

397A Intro to Discourse Analysis

An introduction to the study of discourse, a field that has been approached from a variety of perspectives (deriving from linguistics, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, communication theory, artificial intelligence, and other disciplines.) We shall examine several of these approaches, looking at their assumptions, methodologies and goals, and at samples of research carried out within these approaches. Topics will include the discourse of advertising, conversational analysis and style, interactive sociolinguistics, politeness. Prerequisite: an introductory course in linguistics or permission of the instructor.

397B Junior Year Writing

An advanced composition class. Hands-on library research; close readings of texts from various genres and media; brief overview of literary theories and their application in literary analysis; basic writing skills necessary for job and grad school applications. Students will research and write a conference-length academic paper on a topic of their choice to be presented in a formal setting at the end of the semester. This is NOT a basic writing class. Enrolled students are expected to have good command of paragraph and essay structure, as well as of grammar and the mechanics of writing.

397C Asian American Cinema

A survey of Asian American documentaries, narrative films, and experimental shorts. By "Asian American film and video," we refer to films by and/or about Asian Americans including those who are immigrants, American-born, the exiles, the refugees and the undocumented. For each week, we will study a critical film or genre and discuss Asian American cultural politics and history. For additional information on film-related courses and activities, visit the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies web site.

514 Modern Poetry and Poetics

Selected major authors and movements in modern poetry from Symbolism to present. Backgrounds of contemporary poetry in European and American intellectual and literary history: modern experiments with poetic form. Influence of movements such as symbolism, surrealism, modernism and postmodernism, with their relation to contemporary art and aesthetics.

551 Translation and Technology

Translation today requires advanced language and computer skills. This course covers several technologies, including desktop and internet publishing, computer tools for translation, and programs editing audio and video files. Prerequisites: Excellent knowledge of one language other than English.

552 Medical Interpreting Online

An online course that teaches how to interpret for both patients and for healthcare providers in a medical setting. Skills covered include medical terminology, word derivations, memory retention, note-taking, standards of practice, ethics, and multicultural problem-solving. The class is multilingual, with most major languages offered. Requirements include an advanced knowledge of one language other than English, a general knowledge of scientific concepts, and the desire to improve interpretation skills. Students passing the course will receive a certificate and are eligible for 3 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and/or 3 hours of academic credit. Open to interpreters, translators, bilingual health workers, nurses, doctors, hospital administrators, therapists, social workers, and anyone interested in improving the quality of bilingual health care.

Register for this online course at UMass Continuing Education. See the MA in Translation Studies page for additional information on graduate studies in translation, or visit the Translation Center web site.

592A Medieval Women Writers

Selected medieval and Renaissance women writers from the point of view of current feminist theory. Writers include Marie de France, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Margery Kempe, Angela of Foligno, Sor Juana de la Cruz, Christine de Pizan. Themes of love and desire in women's writing; the models provided by Sappho, Plato, and the Bible; critical approaches derived from French feminism, feminist theologians, Marxist critiques, and object-relations theory.

 

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