1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

World Literature in English Translation

Fall 2015 Course Offerings

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 2010 (13245) Greek Civilization
John  Dillery
TuTh 09:30AM - 10:45AM |  (3 credits) and discussion

An introduction to the literature and history of ancient Greece. All readings will be in translation, including: Homer, Herodotus, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Thucydides, Aristophanes, and Plato. Midterm, Final and two writing projects.

CLAS 3040 (18959) Women & Gender, Greece & Rome
Karen Myers
MoWeFr 1:00PM - 1:50PM (3 credits)

This course will examine the construction of gender in ancient Greece and Rome, with a focus on women's roles and lives . Students will be introduced to the primary material on women and gender in antiquity and to current debates about it. No prior knowledge is required. We will consider the Cultural Identity or Ideals constructed for women and men in Ancient literature in comparison with the historical evidence and analyze how the cultural categories of male and female were delineated and deployed in various social, political, and literary contexts. We shall also consider how this material may shed light on contemporary issues, as the societies of ancient Greece and Rome are often considered to provide the origins of present Western attitudes towards women. Subjects addressed will include sexual stereotypes and ideals, power-relations of gender, familial roles, social and economic status, social and political history, art, medicine, and religion. In addition to the ancient literary texts, attention will be given to the historical evidence, such as inscriptions and archaeological remains. Readings for this course will include Greek and Latin texts in translation, including poetry, history, drama, rhetoric, and inscriptions. There will be two exams, weekly reports, and a paper.

CLAS 3300 (18960) Indo-European Linguistics
Coulter George
MoWe 2:00PM - 3:15PM (3 credits)

Languages as superficially different as English, Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit in fact all developed from a single “proto-language,” called Proto-Indo-European. This course will explore the following questions: What was this proto-language like? How do we know what it was like? By what processes did it develop into the various daughter languages? How can we trace words as diverse as wit, idea, video, and Veda back to a common source? Familiarity with Greek or Latin is recommended but not required.

East Asian Languages and Literatures

CHTR 2800 (19333) Chinese Calligraphy
We 3:00PM - 3:50PM (variable credit)

CHTR 3010 (13901) Survey ofTradition Chinese Literature
Charles Laughlin
MoWe 2:00PM - 3:15PM (3 credits)

EAST 1010 19334 East Asian Canons and Cultures
Benedetta Lomi
TuTh 2:00PM - 3:15PM (3 credits)

The course provides an introduction to conceptions of self, society, and the universe formulated in East Asia from earliest times up until the modern period through philosophical, religious and literary texts. The class starts with the development of the writing system in China and with the earliest poems collected in the Book of Odes. In the following weeks, we will explore key texts belonging to Chinese philosophical and religious traditions, such as the Analects, the Daodejing, the Lotus Sūtra. We will also read from famous lyrical and fictional works, such as the Man’yôshû and Tale of Genji, and explore folk tales and poetry. In the concluding part of the course, we will shift to the works of key writers and thinkers of the Chinese and Japanese traditions, such as Tanizaki, Lu Xun, and Mao Zedong.

JPTR 3010 (19337) Survey of Trad. Japanese Lit
Benedetta Lomi
Tu Th 4:00PM - 5:15PM (3 credits)

This course provides 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 knowledge of Japanese culture or language is required.

JPTR 3300 (19066) Love in Modern Japanese Fiction
Michiko Wilson
We 3:30PM - 6:00PM (3 credits)

This seminar examines, through literary masterpieces and their film adaptations, how modern Japanese male writers of prose fiction have negotiated with the Western concepts of love and sexual equality, first introduced to Japan in the late Meiji (1868-1912). While the idea and articulation of romantic love remain particularly elusive to modern Japanese writers, their obsession with the creation of female characters as either madonnas or femme fatales reveals the protagonists’ inner struggle with the integration of love, erotic desire and intimacy.This psychological conflict points to the socio-cultural complications that surround the imported concept of love (ren’ai) even in today’s Japan. No knowledge of Japanese is required.This course fulfills the Non-Western Requirement and the Second Writing Requirement.

KRTR 3020 19068 Survey of Modern Korean Literature
Susie Kim
Tu 3:30PM - 6:00PM (3 credits)

An introduction to modern Korean literature through an examination of major texts from the modern and contemporary periods.This course fulfills the Non-Western Perspectives and Second Writing requirements.

KRTR 3030 (19070) Survey Korean Cinema
Susie Kim
Mo 3:30PM - 6:00PM (3 credits)


FRTR 3584 (15471) Masterpieces of French Cinema
Alison Levine
TuTh 11:00AM - 12:15PM (3 credits)

An introduction to masterpieces of French cinema, from the earliest short films of the Lumière Brothers and George Meliès, to feature-length works by Jean Cocteau, Jean-Luc Godard, Chris Marker, François Truffaut, Agnès Varda, and others. Students will study film genres and movements (Poetic Realism, the New Wave) in relation to social, cultural and aesthetic trends. They will also learn to identify and analyze film techniques (camera angle, camera movement, montage, and more). Students will view approximately one film/week, outside of class, complete accompanying reading assignments, participate in class discussion, write analytical papers, attend audiovisual workshops, and create original short video projects. All films are in French with English subtitles; all reading, writing, discussion, and audiovisual assignments are in English. Cross-listed with French and Media Studies; counts for Media Studies major credit. Questions? Contact the professor: Alison Levine (alevine@virginia.edu)


GETR 3330 (10795) Introduction to German Studies
Volker Kaiser
TuTh 3:30PM - 4:45PM (3 credits)

This course is an interdisciplinary inquiry into significant literary, artistic, social, political, and intellectual ‘movements’ that may represent what we call "German Culture." We'll begin by probing into the constructive and critical role of the terms "Culture," "German Culture" and continue by discussing issues such as German national "identities" and borders, 1949-2003, the "Berlin Republic" (postwall-Germany), German Democratic Republic, "Bonn Republic": "Weimar Republic"; Nazism and Genocide; Stalinism and the Gulag; HISTORIKERSTREIT; "New German Normality"; Ethnic and Religious Identities (“Minority Culture”); Misogynist Culture; Theater Culture; Mass Culture (Film, Music, print and electronic media); Culture as Art; Fascist Culture; Technological Culture (19th-cent. industrialization; 19th and 20th-cent. urbanization, bureaucratization, etc.); Urban Culture (architecture, urban development, “Berlin Babylon”); Philosophical (Rational) Culture.

GETR 3561 (19193) Frankfurt School
Volker Kaiser
We 4:00PM - 6:30PM (3 credits)

This course will introduce students to the very rich tradition of the so-called Frankfurt School, which is also known as the Institute of Social Research. Founded in the 1920ties in Germany, it was designed as an interdisciplinary research center which sought to read and analyze cultural phenomena from a socio-historical and historico-materialist perspective. We will take a closer look at the main figures associated with the Frankfurt School (such as Horkheimer, Adorno, Benjamin and later on Habermas and Honneth), and we will also look at the impact which the Frankfurt School had on and in the American academy (names like Jameson, Fraser and Jay come to mind) during and after the period of its exile between 1933 and 1948 in the US. Also known as "critical theory" the works and writings produced by Frankfurt School scholars have had a lasting impact even on current research practices in the humanities.
This course requires no prerequisites. We will attempt to create a student based, interactive classroom. Students will be asked to present and introduce texts, authors and materials on their own or in groups, and they will be asked to write 4 shorter papers in the course of the semester. The course meets the second writing requirement.

GETR 3590-001 (15326) Crime Pays
Benjamin Benjamin
TuTh 9:30AM - 10:45AM (3 credits)

Reading and discussion of a number of important texts in German, British, American, and Russian literature from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with a view to understanding why crime is useful and valuable, indeed indispensable, in modern societies.  Authors read will include E.T.A. Hoffmann, Heinrich von Kleist, Bertolt Brecht, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Joseph Conrad, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Margery Allingham, Herman Melville, and Dashiell Hammett.

GETR 3590-002 (15329) Old Media/New Media
Chad Wellmon
MoWe 3:30PM - 4:45PM (3 credits)

The course will consider what is new and not so new about "new" digital media. We shall consider a number of media and technologies in terms of their longer history and context. The aim of the course is to gain greater insight into basic questions about a variety of media and technology. Readings will include literary, philosophical, and historical texts from a range of traditions including: Aristotle, Plato, Cicero, Marx, Heidegger, McLuhan, Kittler, Peters and a range of contemporary media and technology theorists and historians. No prior knowledge of German or Media Studies is required.

GETR 3590 (15649) Communicating Gender
Sybil Scholz
MoWe 2:00PM - 3:15PM (3 credits)

The seminar will provide an introduction to both language & gender research of the past decades as well as more recent approaches. A variety of topics will be discussed, among these the issues of how gender is communicated and how it is marked in language, how gendered language practices are learned and how they reveal underlying assumptions and beliefs. Language does bear the traces of the social structure that it both expresses and helps to reproduce. It can thus be viewed not only as a means of communication but also as an instrument of power which serves to support the interests of those in power.

GETR 3590-004 (15924) Fairy Tales
Jeffrey Grossman
TuTh 12:30PM - 01:45PM (3 credits)

The relatively small body of fairy tales one finds today in books, films, or comic books/graphic novels does much to obscure the earlier history of these tales.  Those earlier tales often depict a whole range of disturbing issues: from incest and murder to sexual rivalries between mothers and daughters, lost or diminutive sons, child abuse and, not infrequently, poverty, hardship, and other social ills. The tales of the Brothers Grimm depict, for instance, an especially large number of dysfunctional families.  Yet, like others who recorded, edited, or adapted fairy tales, the Grimm brothers often sought to smooth things over, turning those dysfunctional families into harmonious ones.  In fairy tales, one often finds an unsettling re-distribution of good fortune, one whose effects are restorative (of the old order of things), but are distinctly modern. Equally unsettling is the close proximity one finds between "good" and "bad" magic: a special gift or ability unexpectedly morphs into a venomous one, and everyday things or objects that are typically useful to human beings suddenly and without any obvious reason begin to violently afflict them.
In this seminar, we will focus on questions regarding the collective authorship of fairy tales—which, contrary to nationalist claims made for them—often do not fit into any one national or cultural tradition, be it German, Scottish, English, French, Russian, or otherwise; we will also focus on the way fairy tales display an aura of timelessness, of their continual, even eternal, validity in all periods and places, and of their mobility, their capacity, that is, to adapt to the most diverse range of languages and culture; and, in this regard, we will focus on the peculiarity of the language of fairy tales.
Texts: Jack Zipes, ed. The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: From Straparola and Basile to the Brothers Grimm; various additional readings (on Collab and/or in a Reader), film screenings (in part or whole), and possibly other media. Requirements:  active class participation; one mid-term exam; one short paper (5 pp.)

GETR 3692 (14673) The Holocaust
Gabriel Finder
TuTh 12:30PM - 1:45PM (3 credits)

In this course we study the encounter between the Third Reich and Europe's Jews between 1933 and 1945. This encounter resulted in the deaths of almost 6 million Jews.  The course aims to clarify basic facts and explore competing explanations for the origins and unfolding of the Holocaust—in Hebrew, Shoah. We also explore the fate of persecuted non-Jewish groups under Nazism, survivors’ memories after the Holocaust, and the universal implications of the Holocaust. 
This course is intended to acquaint students with the historical study of the Holocaust and assumes no prior training in the subject.  We will read studies by important historians, including Saul Friedländer and Christopher Browning, contemporary documents, and memoirs, including Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz. Class meetings will combine lecture and discussion. Course requirements include three written assignments and conscientious participation in class discussion.

GETR 3710 (19195) Kafka and His Doubles
Lorna Martens
TuTh 2:00PM - 03:15PM (3 credits)

The course will introduce the enigmatic work of Franz Kafka:  stories including "The Judgment," "The Metamorphosis," "A Country Doctor," "A Report to an Academy," "A Hunger Artist," "The Burrow," and "Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse Folk"; one of his three unpublished novels (The Trial); the Letter to His Father; and some short parables.  But we will also look at Kafka's "doubles":  the literary tradition he works with and the way in which he, in turn, forms literary tradition. Thus:  Kafka: Cervantes, Kafka: Bible, Kafka: Aesop, Kafka:  Dostoevsky, Kafka: Melville; Kafka: O'Connor, Kafka: Singer; Kafka: Calvino, Kafka: Borges.  Readings will center on four principal themes: conflicts with others and the self (and Kafka's psychological vision); the double; the play with paradox and infinity; and artists and animals. A seminar limited to 20 participants. Requirements include a short midterm paper (5-7 pages) and a longer final paper (10-12 pages).

GETR 3750 (18664) Women, Childhood, Autobiography
Lorna Martens
TuTh 11:00AM - 12:15PM (3 credits)

Women everywhere have been raised differently from men. They have had different childhoods, their lives have fallen into different patterns, and from the perspective of their lives they have looked back on their childhoods differently.  This course aims to introduce students to what women have written about their childhoods cross-culturally. The purpose is to acquaint them with the variety of women's childhood experience and also with the different ways in which women have looked back on their experience as adults. This is a literature course. It will not focus on contrasting the upbringing of women in different societies (that would be the task of anthropology or sociology), but, rather, will consider how adult women reflect back on their childhood experience and write about it.  In every instance we are given not a childhood but a reading of a childhood:  an analysis, or the story of a childhood, a childhood that has been transformed into a story. Especially the professional writers among the authors present their stories not in a straightforward, chronological manner, but go out of their way to choose an artistic form of presentation (including fictionalization) that adds to what they say about their childhood in so many words.  Thus we will not just read "for the plot," but employ skills in literary analysis in order to discern the "how" as well as the "what" of the narratives. We will read works by Doris Lessing, Lucy Larcom, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Marie Audoux, Christa Wolf, Natalie Sarraute, Maxine Hong Kingston, Arundhati Roy, Jamaica Kincaid, and Fatima Mernissi. Students should be actively interested in the subjects of women's childhood experience and autobiographical writing and be willing to contribute to discussion. They should expect to do a lot of reading (a book a week). Requirements:  regular attendance and lively participation in class discussion; portfolio of email responses; autobiographical writing; two 5-page papers; final examination.


ITTR 2260 (15149) Dante in Translation
Deborah Parker
TuTh 2:00PM - 03:15PM (3 credits)

ITTR 3580 (18768) The Sister Arts: Literary
Deborah Deborah
TuTh 3:30PM - 4:45PM (3 credits)

ITTR 4820 (18767) Italian Pop Culture
Enrico Cesaretti
TuTh 11:00AM - 12:15PM (3 credits)

Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures

ARTR (19758) Arab Cinemas
TuTh 2:00PM-3:15PM (3 credits)

Arab cinemas are diverse with distinct trajectories and aesthetics. This is not only because the countries where the films originate are a heterogeneous mix of populations with different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The region's film production practices have also been diverse ranging from a strong commercial industry in Egypt to a centralized socialist model in Algeria. The yearly production volume has been anywhere between just a handful in most countries to about 50 in Egypt. In spite of this diversity, by covering the major film producing regions this course aims to introduce students to a range of cinemas and to relate them to their various and sometimes convergent historical, political, economic, social, cultural, and artistic contexts. The course will concentrate on cinemas of Egypt, the Maghrib (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia) as well as Syrian and Palestinian films. It will examine major moments in the history of these cinemas and the political developments that have inevitably had a major influence on filmmaking in the region.

MESA 1000 (15561) From Genghis Khan to Stalin: Invasions and Empires of Central Asia
Shawn Lyons
TuTh 2:00 PM- 3:15PM (3 credits)

Survey of Central Asian civilizations from the first to the twenty-first centuries, with particular emphasis on nomadism, invasions, conquests, and major religious-cultural developments.

MESA 2300 (14940) Crossing Borders: Middle East and South Asia
Richard Cohen
TuTh 2:00 PM-3:15PM (3 credits)

A survey of the deep cultural, religious, political and economic historical relationship between the Middle East and South Asia, suggesting we need to understand the two "regions" comprehensively and comparatively.

MESA 3470 (18985) Language & Culture in Mideast
Daniel Lefkowitz
MoWeFr11:00AM - 11:50AM (3 credits)

MEST 3559 (18556) New Course in Middle East Studies
Hanadi Al-Samman
11:00AM - 12:15PM (3 credits)

MEST 3559 (TBD) Arab Delights: Humor, Food, Erotology
Nizar Hermes
MoWe 4:30 PM- 5:45 PM

We will organize the course around selected readings from a variety of premodern Arabic jocular, culinary and erotological literature available in English translations.1 Drawing on both premodern Arabic and modern Western theories, we will also offer comparative insights into the poetics and politics of these humanist topics.

SAST 2559 (TBD) Introduction to the Literature, Culture, and the Arts of India
Mehr Farooqi
TuTh 2:00 PM-3:15PM

This course is an introduction/ overview of the cultural dynamics as evident in the languages, literature and the arts from 2500BCE to the present. Needless to say, in the course of one semester we will offer a broad sweep of the past with an endeavor to understand the complexity of Indian civilization. Drawing on a selection from the literary as well as writings on cultural history, miniature painting, music and cinema, the course will guide the students through the landmarks in the development of literature and the arts within a historical-cultural backdrop. The goal is to help students understand what constitutes the sensibility of Indian culture.
The course will follow a chronological pattern. It will however, focus more on the pre-modern and modern trends.

SAST 1600 (20117) India in Global Perspective
Richard Cohen
We 3:30PM-6:00PM

The course will focus in on the period since 1990, when India took dramatic steps to reform its economic policies and re-set its relationships with other world powers. Students will be introduced to a wide range of initiatives taking place in a variety of public and privates sectors, and be encouraged through focused case studies to learn about opportunities for them to discover their own interests, possibly by studying in India with the UVa.

SAST 2050 (19356) Classics of Indian Literature
Richard Cohen
TuTh 9:30 AM- 10:45 AM

A survey of the foundational, formative and paradigmatic classic texts of the Indian Vedic, Buddhist, Jain, Hindu, Islamic and Sikh religio-literary-cultural traditions.

SAST 3701 (15863) Business and Banking in South Asia
Geeta Patel
We 5:00 PM- 7:30PM (3 credits)

South Asia, the region which stretches from Afghanistan to Burma and down to Sri Lanka, has been the center of thousands of years of trade and finance. In this course we will investigate the early history of this vast flow through the following:  the highlights of the history of business and banking, trade and finance from about 1500 B.C to the early European merchant adventurers , the worlds and cultures that were implicated in that history.

SATR 3300 (15559) Literature & Socierty in South Asia:Breaking Cast(e)
Mehr Farooqi
TuTh 2:00PM - 3:15PM (3 credits)


RUTR 2360 (18593) Tales of Transgression
Ekaterina Dianina
MoWe 2:00PM - 3:15 PM (3 credits)

This course examines how Russian writers engage with ethical questions ranging from lofty pursuits of freedom and the meaning of life to more prosaic issues of personal responsibility and happiness.  In the context of literary analysis, we explore such conceptual terms describing human activity as love and justice, right and wrong, good and evil.  Texts by Dostoevsky, Leskov, Tolstoy, Ostrovsky, Chekhov, Olesha, and Petrushevskaya.

RUTR 2460 (14533) Russian Culture
Edith Clowes
MoWe 5:00PM - 6:15PM (3 credits)

Open to students with no knowledge of Russian. Surveys Russian civilization from the earliest times, with emphasis on literature, thought, and the arts.

RUTR 3350 (14451) 19th-Century Russian Literature
Julian Connolly
TuTh 11:00AM-11:50AM (3 credits)

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 (14174) Dracula
Stanley Stepanic
MoWe 5:00PM-6:15PM (3 credits)

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 (11338) Ritual and Demonology
Anne Ingram
TuTh 12:30PM - 1:45PM

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.


SPTR 3850 (18787) Fiction of the Americas
Gustavo Pellon
TuTh 11:00AM - 12:15PM (3 credits)

In this seminar, we will study the centuries long "conversations" between North American and Spanish American writers. Principally through short stories and some novels, we will examine their mutual fascination. Our reading list will include works by Edgar Allan Poe, Ambrose Bierce, Horacio Quiroga, John Reed, Mariano Azuela, William Faulkner, Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, Gabriel García Márquez, Carlos Fuentes, Margaret Atwood, Manuel Puig, Silvia Iparraguirre, E. L. Doctorow, and Cormac McCarthy. The class will be conducted in English, and students may read Spanish American works in English translation or Spanish according to their ability or desire.
• Before each class meeting you will submit a brief reflection on your reading (250 words) to your Collab dropbox.
• A paper (5 pages) on one author.
• A comparative paper (10 pages).
• Each of these is worth a third of your grade.
• A page for the purposes of our course is defined as 250 words.

SPTR 4704 (19685) Islam in Medieval Europe
E.M. Gerli
MoWe 2:00PM - 3:15AM (3 credits) plus discussion

The course offers an introduction to Islam and a cultural history of al-Andalus (Islamic Iberia) from 711 until the expulsion of the Moriscos from early modern Spain in 1609. Lectures, videos, and oral reports will concentrate on several major moments: The rise of the Emirate/Caliphate of Córdoba and Islamic hegemony in the peninsula; fragmentation of the Caliphate and cultural splendor of the ta’ifa (pl. tawa’if) kingdoms in the eleventh century; the advent of Muslim fundamentalism from the Maghrib in the eleventh and twelfth centuries; the phenomenon of mudejarismo after the Christian conquest of Seville and Córdoba in the mid-thirteenth century; the contradictions posed by Islam in Granada, a client state of Castile during most of its history, after the decline of Islam in the rest of the peninsula (1250-1492); and the problems created by the presence of Islamic culture in a Christian state during the sixteenth-century. There are also separate discussion sessions for Spanish majors conducted in Spanish. This class is taught in English.