2017-18
Undergraduate Degree & Course Catalog

Comparative Literature (COL)

Comparative Literature

638 Clemens Hall
North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260
Ph: 716-645-2066
F: 716-645-5979
W: www.complit.buffalo.edu
Krzysztof Ziarek
Chair

The Learning Environment

Comparative Literature offers courses that range from the study of Ancient Greek literature and philosophy to the most contemporary literatures, philosophies, and cultural articulations. Faculty specialize in the literatures and philosophies of Africa, England, France, Germany, ancient Greece, Latin America, and the United States. Comparative Literature courses are more often organized around problems or questions than any specific literature or philosophy. These problems include, among other things, art, autobiography, death, democracy, dignity, feminism, gender, genocide, human rights, justice, language, race, the state, storytelling, and tragedy. Class sizes range from large lecture classes to smaller seminars. Students are challenged to read closely and to think critically not only about literature and philosophy, but art, film, and the discourses of everyday life.

About Our Facilities

Comparative Literature seminars are often held in the Comparative Literature seminar room, which provides an intimate space for engaging the complexities and nuances of literary, philosophical, and cultural discourses. In addition, Comparative Literature faculty occasionally offer study abroad programs of particular interest, most frequently in Africa. Study abroad provides a unique opportunity for students to engage intensively and in situ with the culture, language, and politics of particular countries and regions.

About Our Faculty

Our faculty have achieved national and international reputations for the quality of their research and teaching. They have published numerous books and received distinguished grants. Our faculty members regularly lecture all over the globe. They bring their expertise, their research interests, and passion for intellectual inquiry into the classroom.

  • Rodolphe Gasch√©, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Eugenio Donato Professor of Comparative Literature
  • Jorge Gracia, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Capen Professor of Humanities
  • Shaun Irlam, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature
  • David E. Johnson, Professor of Comparative Literature
  • Kalliopi Nikolopoulou, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature
  • Krzysztof Ziarek, Professor of Comparative Literature
  • Ewa Plonowska Ziarek, Julian Park Professor of Comparative Literature

Faculty List Directory

Please visit our department website for additional information about our faculty.

Courses


  • COL 112LR Cross-Cultural Explorations: Encounters with Western, East Asian, and African Cultures
    Lecture

    The principal objective of this course is the study of the diversity of Western, East Asian, and African cultures from the Renaissance to the Modern Age. Although we will explore cultural diversity in its various expressions?in politics, religious thought, social customs, everyday beliefs, and scientific advances?our primary focus will be the study of art, literature, and big ideas. One of the central concerns of this course will be different cultural and historical conceptions of the human and its relation to nature, politics, and science. In the first part of the course we will examine the different formations of humanism in the Western cultures from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment; from Romanticism to Marxism. In the second part of the course we will focus on the non-Western ideas of the human and humanity and their expression in religions, political organizations, and artworks. We will begin with Daoism and Confucianism and their impact on Chinese ethics, philosophy, politics, and culture during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties. We will also briefly discuss the Cultural Revolution and Maoism in 20th century China. We will follow the influence of Confucianism in Japanese culture and its confluence with Zen and the Shinto Revival. In the context of politics we will focus primarily on the Tokugawa Shogunate. In the context of the arts we will analyze the place of the human in nature as reflected in Japanese landscape paintings, poetry, and woodblock prints. We will conclude our course with the discussion of the devastation of colonialism and the struggle for independence in Africa. We will analyze the influence of traditional (for example, masks and music) and modern African cultures (Fanon, Achebe, and Soyinka) in the contemporary world.

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Spring
  • COL 120SEM Berlin/Paris/Vienna Trn C
    Seminar

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 130SEM Introduction to the Twentieth Century
    Seminar

    Offers the student who is beginning to read modernist texts an overview of the various movements that shaped and influenced the cultural scene in the early part of the century. Attempts to distinguish between modernism and the avant-garde with reference to such movements as futurism, dadaism, surrealism, expressionism, and socialist realism.

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 140LEC Language of Sexuality
    Lecture

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 150LR Avant Gardes
    Lecture

    This course will be taught on a rotational basis with faculty from COL, ART and RLL. Beginning in the late 19th Century a new cultural movement was born: the avant garde. This course seeks to understand how and why art and literature that deliberately challenged popular understanding came to be dominant. This course will introduce you to the main currents of 19th and 20th Century avant garde history, theory, and aesthetic practice. Grounding our approach in the specific geographic and historical conditions that gave rise to these individual movements, we will explore their expression through a wide variety of mediums including art and visual culture, literature, poetry, music, and film. We will read both primary and secondary documents as we grapple with these movements' modernist and revolutionary agendas in order to assess their successes and failures and evaluate their impacts and legacies.

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 160LEC Culture of Rebellion
    Lecture

    This course examines modernist and contemporary cultures of rebellion, their different motivations and forms of expression. It focuses in particular on the relationship between artworks, political ideas, and social movements. The material may include modernist masterpieces, avant-garde experiments, as well as postmodern and contemporary artistic and literary works, ranging from Futurism and Dadaism to the Beats, Fluxus, and beyond.

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 170SEM Modernism
    Seminar

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 198SEM UB Seminar
    Seminar

    The one credit UB Seminar is focused on a big idea or challenging issue to engage students with questions of significance in a field of study and, ultimately, to connect their studies with issues of consequence in the wider world. Essential to the UB Curriculum, the Seminar helps transition to UB through an early connection to UB faculty and the undergraduate experience at a comprehensive, research university. This course is equivalent to any 198 offered in any subject. This course is a controlled enrollment (impacted) course. Students who have previously attempted the course and received a grade of F or R may not be able to repeat the course during the fall or spring semester.

    Credits: 1
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
    Other Requisites: Students who have already successfully completed the UB seminar course may not repeat this course. If you have any questions regarding enrollment for this course, please contact your academic advisor.
  • COL 199SEM UB Seminar
    Seminar

    The three credit UB Seminar is focused on a big idea or challenging issue to engage students with questions of significance in a field of study and, ultimately, to connect their studies with issues of consequence in the wider world. Essential to the UB Curriculum, the Seminar helps students with common learning outcomes focused on fundamental expectations for critical thinking, ethical reasoning, and oral communication, and learning at a university, all within topic focused subject matter. The Seminars provide students with an early connection to UB faculty and the undergraduate experience at a comprehensive, research university. This course is equivalent to any 199 offered in any subject. This course is a controlled enrollment (impacted) course. Students who have previously attempted the course and received a grade of F or R may not be able to repeat the course during the fall or spring semester.

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
    Other Requisites: Students who have already successfully completed the first year seminar course may not repeat this course. If you have any questions regarding enrollment for this course, please contact your academic advisor.
  • COL 200LR "We the People": On Democracy and Justice in America
    Lecture

    This course explores issues central to democracy. First, it examines the relation between democracy's claim to protect and promote both universal freedom and universal equality. Second, it considers the unresolvable tension between popular sovereignty ("we") and individual rights ("I"). Third, it considers the limitation of democracy in its necessary calculus of citizenship, the dual question of both how to count and who counts. Fourth the course takes up the role of narrative (recounting and accounting, telling) in establishing citizenship and the tradition or legacy of democracy. The course focuses on detailed readings and discussions of founding and foundational documents of the United States' democratic experiment: declaration of independence, articles of confederation, constitution of the United States, debates on the constitution; writings of Jefferson, Douglass, Lincoln, Stanton and Anthony, Larsen, MLK, Morrison; and major supreme court decisions concerning citizenship, racial equality, reproductive rights, rights to privacy, same sex marriage. In sum, "We the people" asks what it means to be a citizen and why democracy is at once the worst and the best form of government. In sum, in its consideration of the language of democracy--of citizenship and rights--"We the People" asks what it means when African-American novelist Toni Morrison remarks, in Beloved, that the story of slavery and of a mother's desire to "free" her daughter is "not" one "to pass on." What does it mean not "to pass on" the haunted narrative of our cultural and legal inheritance?

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Spring
  • COL 203LEC Special Topics
    Lecture

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
  • COL 210SEM Fashion and Literature
    Seminar

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 220SEM Lesbian and Gay Lit
    Seminar

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 226LEC Special Topics
    Lecture

    Course content varies according to the interests of the instructor. Topics may explore a specific philosophical, literary, and/or cultural issue or problem.

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Fall, Summer
  • COL 230SEM Science and Humanities
    Seminar

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 233LEC Literature and Happiness
    Lecture

    We all want to be happy. But what is happiness? This course will investigate the answers given to this question. We will be reading, writing, and talking about a wide variety of short texts from different fields such as art and literature, journalism, neuroscience, philosophy, psychology, religion, and sociology. We will study visual media as well. Through literary and philosophical analysis, some of the questions we will try to answer will be the following: What makes us happy? Do we deserve to be happy? Can we create our own happiness? What is the relation between happiness, virtues, pleasure, and friendship?

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
  • COL 240LEC Love in History of Lit
    Lecture

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 250LEC Masterpieces World Lit
    Lecture

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 251LEC Masterpieces of World Literature
    Lecture

    Invites students in all fields to explore the study of literature. Introduces a wide variety of texts, both in terms of historical breadth and genre. The courses are not a survey with a program of systematic, obligatory coverage. Rather, in readings that run from Homer to contemporary cinema and that investigate the epic, poetry, political documents, fiction, and film, we consider the ways in which such texts function and why the place of such works is crucial to understanding ourselves.

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 255LEC Crime and Punishment
    Lecture

    Considers a range of major literary and philosophical texts dealing with crime, guilt, retribution, and punishment. Students discuss these texts in their social and literary contexts.

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Spring
  • COL 275LEC Special Topics
    Lecture

    Course content varies according to the interests of the instructor. Topics may explore a specific philosophical, literary, and/or cultural issue or problem.

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Spring
  • COL 280LEC City in Literature
    Lecture

    The city has undergone revolutionary changes in recent times, yet has itself always been a witness to progress and a site of history and storytelling. Studies the city in a modern or postmodern manner by examining the way in which it serves as a model for design, government, and policing. Examines the commonality and differences linking the modern city to its predecessors. While drawing mainly on literary works, we also work in the fields of history, sociology, anthropology, and philosophy.

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 291LEC Legal & Lit Interpret
    Lecture

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 301LEC Literary Theory - Twentieth Century
    Lecture

    Examines the most recent, and often controversial, developments in literary theory. As well as covering theoretical strains, such as formalism, New Criticism, structuralism, poststructuralism, Marxism, and the Frankfurt School, the course interpolates literary texts as examples of interpretive possibilities. Part of a two course module with COL 302.

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Fall
  • COL 302LEC Literary Theory - History
    Lecture

    Charts the development of the theories of culture and literature, which both reflect and, in turn, shape the great works of our literary tradition. Students read aesthetic theory from the ancient Greeks through to the nineteenth century, covering such diverse periods as the Middle Ages, the Enlightenment, and Romanticism. Also studies literary texts for the way in which they help elucidate some of the issues being covered in the theory. Students should expect to develop an awareness of the historical import of such notions as genre, the beautiful, and so forth. See COL 301.

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Spring
  • COL 303LEC Special Topics
    Lecture

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
  • COL 305LEC Greek Intellectual Hist
    Lecture

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 308LEC 20th Cent Lit & Culture
    Lecture

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 311LEC Special Topics
    Lecture

    Discussion oriented course examining the fiction by 3 prominent women writers: Woolf, Larson and Barnes.

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
  • COL 315SEM Signs and Representation
    Seminar

    Introduces theories of the sign and representation, and the development of these accounts in the twentieth century. The course is divided into three parts. Part one introduces basic concepts and pioneering theories: the work of Saussure and Peirce, formalism and structuralism (Levi-Strauss, Piaget, Jackobson, Benveniste), their similarities and differences, and the debates their works have engendered. Part two considers developments and refinements of their work, particularly in various analyses of social power; among the figures analyzed here are Roland Barthes and his examination of bourgeois cultural life, and Michel Foucault and his understanding of social power and its investment in the production and control of discourse. Part three discusses poststructuralist critiques of structuralism, concentrating particularly on the work of the Derrideans, including a session on Kristeva, Cixous, and the writing of otherness.

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 320LEC Literature and Desire
    Lecture

    The psychological thrust of many literary works is a long-established truism. This is a course situated on the interstice between literary works, mostly fictive, and the intricate web of social and psychological factors involved in desire, whether for love, power, or wealth. Combines philosophical and psychological approaches to literature.

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 328LEC Rethinking Bodies
    Lecture

    Genes, hormones, and brain scans: contemporary culture seems obsessed with finding material, biological explanations for difference. This course provides students a context within which to place this recent research by introducing them to the politics of science. We study how feminists, queer, and critical race theorists have called upon, questioned, and adapted scientific objectivity. We investigate a brief history of the sciences concerning race, gender, and sexuality in the nineteenth and twentieth century; we interpret novels that navigate this history; and we analyze key case studies about the politics of health and health care. Ultimately, our work together navigates the ambiguities of science: both its possibilities and its perils.

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 330SEM Colonial & Postcolon Lit
    Seminar

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 335LEC Close Reading in Lit& Cult
    Lecture

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 340SEM Berlin, Paris, and Vienna at the Turn of the Century
    Seminar

    Involves a general introduction to twentieth-century culture and art. Focuses on three centers of modernism: Vienna, Paris, and Berlin, and reaches toward that moment when innovations in linguistics, psychoanalysis, logical analysis, and radical literary works were at the peak of ferment. Literary texts, clinical texts, and visual texts form the material for the course, which aims to develop a notion of modernity equally applicable to all.

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 345LEC Special Topics
    Lecture

    Course content varies according to the interests of the instructor. Topics may explore a specific philosophical, literary, and/or cultural issue or problem.

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
  • COL 387SEM Freud and Feminism
    Seminar

    Introduces some of the central concepts in the writings of Sigmund Freud, focusing mainly on his understanding of the development of the ego or sense of self, the operations of the unconscious, and the genesis of sexual drives in the constitution of male and female subjects. The course explains these basic Freudian concepts through the central feminist question of sexual difference.

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 425LEC The Novel As Genre
    Lecture

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 440LEC 18c European Lit
    Lecture

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 443LEC Literature and War
    Lecture

    Analyzes some of the most important war novels, both European and American, from the perspective of the major theories of war. Theoretical texts include Sun Tsu, Huisinga, Clausewitz, and Freud. Literary texts include Swift, Crane, Flaubert, Tolstoy, and Junger.

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 450LEC Theory of the Fantastic
    Lecture

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 451LEC Modernism
    Lecture

    Pursues the great experiments of modernism in Europe and the United States over the period 1890 - 1945. Emphasizes the culture of combination, expansion, and distortion that characterized not only literature, but art, music, drama, and architecture. Readings by Rilke, Kafka, Proust, Joyce, Freud, Stein, Woolf, Barnes, and Borges.

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 452LEC Romanticism
    Lecture

    Examines studies in British and European Romanticism across genres (poetry and the novel) and disciplines (philosophy, historiography, literature, music, and art). Particularly concerned with Romantic conceptions of language and subjectivity.

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Varies
  • COL 470SEM Special Topics
    Seminar

    Course content varies. Topics are generally related to the research interests of the specific instructor. Could be entirely devoted to particular literary, philosophical or theoretical problems that range across centuries, or could be devoted to the study of a single author, period, or genre of literature, philosophy, or theory.

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
  • COL 499TUT Independent Study
    Tutorial

    Credits: 3
    Grading: Graded (GRD)
    Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
Published: June 23, 2017 10:19:46 AM