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The foreign language departments at UVa provide exciting courses in translation that allow students to discover new ways of thinking and seeing the world. Becoming a truly global citizen means not only acquiring a deep appreciation for different cultures, but specifically insight into the preoccupations, passions, and shared experiences of other societies. The following courses in translation offer students unique access to this knowledge. All courses are taught by specialists of the languages and cultures of inquiry.
For all classes, lectures, discussions, readings and assignments are in English. These courses may fulfill college requirements such as the Second Writing Requirement, the Humanities Requirement and the Non-Western Perspective Requirement.
CLAS 2020: Roman Civilization
TR 9:30-10:45 + section
This course serves as a general introduction to the history, literature, social life, institutions, and ideology of ancient Rome, from the origins to the 2nd century AD. We will look especially at the ways in which the Romans constructed a collective cultural identity for themselves, with attention also to groups marginal to or excluded from that identity (e.g. women, slaves, barbarians). Readings will focus on the ancient texts and sources, including the comedies of Plautus, Vergil's epic Aeneid, historical writing by Sallust and Tacitus, biographies by Plutarch and Suetonius, the love poetry of Ovid, and Petronius's novel Satyrica. Requirements include midterm and final exams, weekly journal entries, and a paper.
CLAS 2040: Greek Mythology
MW 10:00-10:50 + section
An introduction to Greek mythology with some attention to the Near Eastern background. The course will focus on readings from primary texts, including the Gilgamesh epic, Homer, Hesiod, tragedy, and the Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes. We will explore these works as literary artifacts and in relation to their cultural and historical background. We will also give some attention to theories of myth and mythological interpretation, and to the role of myth in modern culture.
CLAS 3100: Age of Odysseus
As our primary texts, we will read the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Hesiodic poems, and the major Homeric Hymns, as well as other bits and pieces from the Epic Cycle and Catalogue of Women. Within this literary context, we will examine the culture of Greece from 1200-700, including the Mycenean period, the "Dark Ages" and the beginnings of the polis. We will explore early Greek notions concerning the gods, human beings, society and nature as they are reflected in the texts we read. Select elements of the material culture of this period will be discussed. There will be short written assignments, a midterm and final, and a short paper. This is a discussion course rather than a lecture course.
CLAS 3559: Ancient into Modern
Does the ancient Muse sing on? How do modern poets wrestle with the past? In this class we will discuss the works of ancient Greek and Roman poets in translation as well as the modern and contemporary English-language poets they have inspired. Ancient authors will include Homer, Sappho, Sophocles, Vergil and Ovid. We will read modern works by T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Derek Walcott, Anne Carson, Seamus Heaney and Sylvia Plath, among others. Each modern poet will be examined through the lens of an ancient forebear.
FRTR 2552 – French Culture: African Cinema
TTR 5:00 pm – 6:15 pm (Dramé)
This course is a survey of African cinema since the 1950s. First the course will examine the representation of Africa and the Africans in colonial films as well as the policies and practices of colonial nations regarding cinema and filmmaking in Africa. Second, the course will study the birth and evolution of celluloid filmmaking by Francophone Africans in the postcolonial era, the aesthetic forms and economic basis of filmmaking as well as the salient ideological and thematic structures of this cinema. Third, the course will examine the origins and development of Nollywood into the first “film industry” in Africa in the last twenty years.
GETR 3372/ (3) German Jewish Culture and History
HIEU 3372/ 12:30-1:45 TR Mr. Grossman
RELJ 3372 Mr. Finder
This course provides a wide-ranging exploration of the history and culture of German (-speaking) Jewry from 1750 to 1939 and beyond. It focuses especially on the Jewish response to modernity in Central Europe, a response that proved highly productive, giving rise to a range of lasting transformations in Jewish life in Europe and later in North America, in particular, and in European society and culture, more generally.
Until the mid-eighteenth century, Jewish self-definition was relatively stable. From that point on, it became increasingly contingent and open-ended. Before the rise of Nazism in 1933, German Jewish life was characterized by a plethora of emerging possibilities. This course explores this vibrant and dynamic process of change and self-definition. It traces the emergence of new forms of Jewish experience, and it shows their unfolding in a series of lively and poignant dramas of tradition and transformation, division and integration, dreams and nightmares. The course seeks to grasp this world through the lenses of history and culture, and to explore the different ways in which these disciplines illuminate the past. We will discuss processes of change that began with Jewish emancipation, the entry of Jews into European culture and society, and the acculturation (vs. assimilation) that ensued. These processes released new energies and produced new challenges for Jewish life. These energies led to the invention of the “Wissenschaft des Judentums” (the “science” or “academic study” of Judaism) and to various attempts to reform traditional Jewish life for a modern world—resulting in the reform, conservative and modern Orthodox movements. These newly released energies also gave rise to the literary salons of Berlin and Vienna, conducted by various independent Jewish women (e.g. Rahel Levin Varnhagen, Henrietta Herz) and serving as centers of German cultural activity. Similarly, individual Jews made important contributions far in excess of their numbers to modern European society and culture—in politics, literature and the press, philosophy, the natural and the social sciences. We will consider the various Jewish responses to modern politics of the left and right in Germany and Austria, including socialism, liberalism, the völkisch movements, political anti-Semitism and Zionism. We will examine the German Jewish response to Nazism and the fate of German and Austrian Jews during the Holocaust. Finally, we will explore the rebuilding of Jewish life in Germany and Austria after the Holocaust.
This course is intended to acquaint students with the study of German (-speaking) Jewish culture and history and assumes no prior training in the subject. Class meetings will combine lecture and discussion. Course requirements will include two short essays and a 10-page term paper. Conscientious participation in class discussion is essential. Readings will be drawn from both primary and secondary literature. Represented in the primary reading will be central figures in German-speaking Jewry, including Heinrich Heine, Sigmund Freud, Franz Kafka, and Gershom Scholem.
This course fulfills the second writing requirement.
GETR 3390/ (3) Nazi Germany
HIEU 3390 9:30-10:45 TR Ms. Achilles
This course examines the historical origins, political structures, social dynamics, and cultural practices of the Nazi Third Reich. No prerequisites. Requirements include regular attendance, active participation, a midterm and a final examination.
GETR 3462/ (3) Neighbors and Enemies
HIEU 3462 12:30-1:45 TR Ms. Achilles
A biblical injunction, first articulated in Leviticus and then elaborated in the Christian teachings, stipulates that one should love one’s neighbor as oneself. This course explores the friend/enemy nexus in German history, literature and culture. Of particular interest is the figure of the neighbor as both an imagined extension of the self, and as an object of fear or even hatred. We will examine the vulnerability and anxiety generated by Germany’s unstable and shifting territorial borders, as well as the role that fantasies of foreign infiltration played in defining German national identity. We will also investigate the racial and sexual politics manifested in Germany’s real or imagined encounters with various foreign “others.” Most importantly, this course will study the tensions in German history and culture between a chauvinist belief in German racial or cultural superiority and moments of genuine openness to strangers. In the concluding part of this course, we will consider the changing meanings of friendship and hospitality in a globalizing world. Requirements include regular attendance, active participation, one in-class presentation, weekly reading responses, and three short essays. No mid-term or final examinations.
GETR 3563/ (3) Spiritual Journeys in Young Adult Fiction
CPLT 3590 2:00-3:15 WF Mr. Alexander
This comparative inquiry into young adult fiction invites you to explore the topic of the spiritual journey both academically and personally. Different disciplinary perspectives such as religious studies, gender studies, history, psychology, and literary studies, will help us shed light on our private reading experiences and deepen our exploration of such themes as: religiosity vs. spirituality, experiencing divine presence and absence, becoming a hero, confronting evil, being different, achieving autonomy, faith and doubt, and the magical and the miraculous. My hope is that, over the course of the semester, you will develop a personal vocabulary in which you can express your thoughts on spiritual journeys in young adult fiction as well as articulate the relationships between your own quest and your academic pursuits.
This discussion based, reading-intensive seminar is cross-listed in the Comparative Literature and German departments and most texts come from the Western tradition. The sessions will be held in English. I encourage all students to participate actively in discussion, to engage the readings and each other critically and compassionately, to develop a regular reflective writing practice, and to work collaboratively in small learning teams.
GETR 3590/ (3) The University, God and Reason: The Ends of Education
IHGC 3559 2:00-3:15 MW Mr. Wellmon
This course considers the long and complex relationship between religion and universities. We will pay particular attention to how the ideals and practices of education have always been wrapped up with questions of faith, doubt, and the sacred. How were these ideals, beginning in ancient Rome and running through the Enlightenment, institutionalized in the medieval university and English and American colleges and then reinvented in the modern research university? One of our basic questions will be: what have universities held sacred? And what do they hold sacred today? All readings and class discussion will be in English. Readings to include: Augustine, Cassiodorus, Kant, Schleiermacher, Nietzsche, Eliot, and MacIntyre.
GETR 3590/ (3) Feminist Ethics as Discourse Ethics: Woolf, Bachmann, Wittig
CPLT 3590 1:00-1:50 MWF Mr. Bennett
The course will approach the question of exactly what a feminist ethics must look like, and in particular, how such an ethics must be reflected in discourse and its conventions. To this end, several texts of Virginia Woolf (including at least “A Room of One’s Own” and Orlando), Ingeborg Bachmann (including at least Malina, plus short prose), and Monique Wittig (including at least “The Straight Mind” and Les Guérillères) will be studied in detail with a view less to their content than to their specific qualities as discourse. One text with comparable feminist tendencies but by a male author may be included, perhaps Goethe’s Elective Affinities.
GETR 3590/ (3) The Legacy of the Symbolist Movement in French, German, English, and Dutch Verse
CPLT 3590 11:00-11:50 MWF Mr. Bennett
Each week at least two or three important symbolist poems will be studied in detail, with a view toward understanding their participation in a movement that revolutionized the very idea of poetry. Selections from the critical prose of several authors—at least Mallarmé, Pound, Eliot, Hofmannsthal—will also be discussed. All texts will be read in English, but specific features of non-English originals will be explained in class. At least five short interpretive papers will be assigned.
GETR 3590 (3) Wor(l)dy Migrations 1960-2015: Transnational Images of German Multi-Kulti
2:00-3:15 MW Mr. Gibloa
How can one define Multikulti? Why has it been, and still is, so hard to attain? Can one speak of a particular “German” flavor of Multikulti? If so, in what ways has it failed? Moreover, how do Mutlikulti and Integration interrelate with and pertain to each other? And to what extent does successful integration depend on having German as Germany’s lingua franca?
GETR 3590 (3) On Haunted Writing: The Ghosts of Literature
11:00-12:15 TR Mr. Kaiser
In this seminar we will explore the relationship between literature, the various phenomena of the uncanny in literature (phobic figures like the double, the alien, death, technology etc.), and the traces which the uncanny ghosts left in the field of literary criticism. When Freud published his famous essay on “The Uncanny” in 1919, he was not only able to draw on a series of uncanny texts from the 19th century, but he was also writing under the impression of the haunting, traumatic effects of the catastrophic first World War, thus giving a historical index to the phenomenon of the uncanny. Using Freud as a pivotal analytical figure, we will first read texts from the 19th century (authors include Poe, Stoker, Wilde, ETA Hoffmann, Gotthelf, Nietzsche and others) and then contemplate upon the trajectory of the uncanny in 20th century art, film (among others Coppola’s “Dracula” and Lynch’s “Blue Velvet”), and criticism. If time permits, we can also explore the role of ghosts, specters and the uncanny in certain writings of Karl Marx, in particular in the 18th Brumaire, as well as in contemporary criticism such as Derrida’s writings on Freud and Marx.
There are no prerequisites for this course. Regular attendance is required. Students will give class presentations (group work is encouraged) and write two short papers (8-10 pages). This course fulfills the second writing requirement
GETR 3590 (3) German & English Linguistics (Part II)
2:00-3:15 MW Ms. Scholz
This course aims at providing profound insights into the distinct workings of the German and English languages. After having covered the major subdisciplines of formal linguistics (phonology, morphology, and syntax) in Part I of the course, Part II will focus on meaning and language use and explore topics from semantics, pragmatics, and sociolinguistics, including conversational implicatures, speech acts, discourse structure, and gendered discourse. The field of pragmatics deals with language from the point of view of its users, the choices they make, the constraints they encounter in using language in social interaction, and the effects their use of language has on the other participants in an act of communication. Linguistic interaction, however personal or insignificant it may seem, bears the traces of the social structure that it both expresses and helps to reproduce.
We will apply some of these concepts directly to German and English language samples and analyze these concepts contrastively where appropriate. Students will have the opportunity to discover the workings of these two languages with hands-on practice. This course is useful for students with linguistic grounding but also for novices and will be taught in English. Part I of the course is not a prerequisite. No prior knowledge of German is needed.
JPTR 3010: Survey of Traditional Japanese Literature
An introduction to Japanese literature from earliest times through to the nineteenth century. We will read selections from representative texts and genres, including myth, poetry, prose fiction, memoir literature, drama, and works of criticism. No previous knowledge of Japanese required. Satisfies the Second Writing and Non-Western Perspectives requirements.
JPTR 3210: The Tale of Genji
A seminar devoted to an in-depth investigation of Japan's most renowned work of literature and the world's first novel. No previous knowledge of Japanese required. Satisfies the Second Writing and Non-Western Perspectives requirements.
JPTR 3390: Modern Japanese Writers Speak Their Minds
A literary and socio-histocial examination of Japanese men's and women's fiction and essays as a primer to Japan’s conflicted socio-cultural-gender history in light of the country’s complex psychological relationship to the West.
MESA 2300: Crossing Borders: Middle East and South Asia, taught by Rich Cohen
MEST 2270/5270: Culture and Society in the Contemporary Arab Middle East, taught by Prof. Hanadi Al-Samman
Introduces the cultural traits and patterns of contemporary Arab society based on scholarly research, recent field work, and personal experiences and observations in the Arab world. Taught in English; no knowledge of Arabic is required.
MEST 2470/ANTH 2470: Reflections of Exile: Jewish Languages and their Communities, taught by Prof. Dan Lefkowitz
Covers Jewish languages Yiddish, Judeo-Arabic, Ladino, and Hebrew from historical, linguistic, and literary perspectives. Explores the relations between communities and languages, the nature of diaspora, and the death and revival of languages. No prior knowledge of these languages is required.
MEST 2600/6600: Major Dimensions of Classical-Medieval Arab-Islamic Civilization, taught by Ahmad Obiedat
Introducing the cultural dimensions of Classical and Medieval Arab-Islamic Civilization (600-1400 CE). We will study how Arabs approach their worldly life and pleasures through literature; organize their social domain by ethical-law; construct their spirituality and worldview through religion; react to nature by science; and attempt to resolve the internal and external inconsistencies of their culture through theology, philosophy and mysticism.
MEST 3559/5559: History of Persian Literature, taught by Prof. Alireza Korangy
This course examines the tumultuous history of one of the richest literary traditions in the world. Persian literature addresses not only the many thematic concerns of literature (love, romance, mysticism, heroism, vindication, panegyric, media, political philosophy, etc.), but also the social and cultural backdrops that mirror and create it.
SATR 3300/7300: Literature and Society in South Asia: Breaking the Cast(e), taught by Prof. Mehr Farooqi
Dalit literature is perhaps the most remarkable literary movement to emerge in post-independence India. It is the voice of the most marginalized section of India’s population, those formerly known as untouchables. Until the advent of Dalit literature, the lives of Dalits had seldom been recorded in Indian literature. We will read fictional and non-fictional narratives of Dalit writers, and watch films to visualize and comprehend their lives.
RUTR 2460: Civilization and Culture of Russia, Edith Clowes
Open to students with no knowledge of Russian. Surveys Russian civilization from the earliest times, with emphasis on literature, thought, and the arts.
RUTR 2740 Tolstoy in Translation, David Herman
Open to students with no knowledge of Russian. Studies the major works of Tolstoy.
RUTR 3350 Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature, Julian Connolly
Open to students with no knowledge of Russian. Studies the major works of Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Turgenev, Goncharov, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and others. Emphasizes prose fiction. This course is a prerequisite for 5000-level literature courses.
SLAV 2360 Dracula, Stanley Stepanic
Sec. 001, MW 5:00-6:15pm
Sec. 002, MW 3:30-4:45pm
An introduction to Slavic folklore with special emphasis on the origins and subsequent manifestations of vampirism. Western perceptions, misperceptions, and adaptations of Slavic culture are explored and explicated. The approach is interdisciplinary: folklore, history, literature, religion, film, disease and a variety of other topics.
SLFK 2140 Ritual and Demonology, Anne Ingram
Open to students with no knowledge of Russian. Studies Russian and Ukrainian folk belief as it manifests itself in daily life. Examines how Russian and Ukrainian peasants lived in the 19th century, and how this effects both living patterns and attitudes today. Includes farming techniques, house and clothing types, and food beliefs. Covers the agrarian calendar and its rituals such as Christmas and Easter, the manipulation of ritual in the Soviet era, and the resurgence of ritual today.