Instructor: Uzoma Esonwanne
Venue: Seminar Room
Time: Fridays 1.15 pm–3.45 pm
Office: 715 JHB (Jackman Humanities Building)
Office Hours: (By appointment only)
Phone: (647) 233–5335

Description: COL1000 is a general introduction to Comparative Literature, to contemporary theory, and to criticism. Its purpose is to offer all incoming MA and PhD students with some exposure to key issues in the discipline. Organized around the broad theme of “Bases for Comparison,” each weekly seminar will explore a subtheme over two sessions. In the first session, we will examine issues raised in an essay selected for that week. In the second session, participating faculty will join us in the exploration of issues pertaining to comparison across different media, disciplines, and literary genres and traditions.

Participation: 20% (includes attendance and contribution to discussions)
Position papers: 40% (2 papers, 4–5 pages each; the first is due Friday, October 14, the second Friday, November 18; please submit by email as MSWord document).
Research essay: 40% (due Friday, January 17, 2017; in 5000–7000 words, critically explore an issue that arose from the themes covered in the course; please use MLA Documentation and submit by email as MSWord document).



September 16: Introduction: What now! | Professor Uzoma Esonwanne
-* Peter Brooks, “Must We Apologize?”
Linda Hutcheon, “Congenitally Contrarian”

September 23: “Grounds for Comparison: Adjacent Spaces” | Professor Atsuko Sakaki
– * Francoise Lionnet, “Spaces of Comparison”
– Mieke Bal, “Second-Person Narrative,” Quoting Caravaggio: Contemporary Art, Preposterous History.
– Thomas LaMarre, “The Multisensible Figure: Ashide Shita-e Wakanrōeishō,”
Uncovering Heian Japan: An Archaeology of Sensation and Inscription.

September 30: “Exploring Non-places” | Professor Thomas Lahusen
Greene, Roland. “Not Works But Networks: Comparative Literature and Colonial Worlds.” Comparative Literature in an Age of Globalization. Ed. Haun Saussy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006.
Augé, Non-Places: An Introduction to Supermodernity
Andreassen, et al., Persistent Memories: Pyramiden – A Soviet Mining Town in the High Arctic Robarts Library DL596 .P97 A53 2010


October 7: “Comparison: Tradition and Its Others” | Professor Jill Ross
– * Edward Said, from “Introduction: Secular Criticism,” The World, the Text, and the Critic.
– Erich Auerbach, “Odysseus’s Scar,” Mimesis.
– Auerbach, “Figura,” Scenes from the Drama of European Literature.

October 14: “Incommensurability: Apples and Oranges” | Professor Victor Li
– *Steven Ungar, “Writing in Tongues: Thoughts on the Work of Translation”
– Alain Badiou, “A Poetic Dialectic,” Handbook of Inaesthetics.
– Natalie Melas, “Grounds for Comparison,” All the Difference in the World:
Postcoloniality and the Ends of Comparison.

October 21: “Comparison in Practice: Trauma” | Professor Barbara Havercroft
– *Michael Rothberg, “Introduction,” Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization.
– Roger Luckhurst, “Introduction,” The Trauma Question.
– Susan J. Brison, “The Uses of Narrative in the Aftermath of Violence,” On Feminist Ethics and Politics.

*October 28: “Grounds for Comparison: the System of Nation States” | Professor Veronika Ambros
– Pascale Casanova, “Literature, Nation, and Politics.”
– Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, “What is a Minor Literature?” Toward a Minor Literature
– Karel Capek, “RUR.

November 4: “Comparing Systems: Aesthetics and Psychoanalysis” | Professor John Zilcosky

Siebers, Tobin. “Sincerely Yours.” Comparative Literature in the Age of Multiculturalism. Ed. Charles BernheimerBaltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995. Pp. 195–203. 224 pp. ISBN: 0–8018–5005–3

– E.T.A. Hoffmann, “The Sandman.”
– Samuel Weber, Introduction, The Legend of Freud.
– Sigmund Freud, “The Uncanny” (students are encouraged to read the U of T’s online version, which has the advantage of supplying the German and English texts at once and a hypertext with definitions/context for Freud’s terms:

November 11 “Comparative Media” Professor Ruoyon Bai
– *Malti–Douglas, Fedwa. “Beyond Comparison Shopping: This is Not Your Father’s Comp. Lit.” Comparative Literature in an Age of Globalization. Ed. Haun Saussy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006.

“The Database,” in Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001.
– Aarseth 1994, “Nonlinearity and Literary Theory”.

November  18: “Words and Things” | Professor John Paul Ricco
– *Michael Riffaterre, “On the Complementarity of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies”
W.J.T. Mitchell, “Metapictures,” Picture Theory (Chicago 1994)
Michel Foucault, This Is Not a Pipe (California 1983)

*November 25: “Words and Images, Autobiography and Photography” Professor Julie LeBlanc

– *Jonathan Culler, “Comparative Literature at Last”
A brief synopsis of a few books on Photography and Autobiographical Narrative
– Liliane Louvel, Poetics of the Inconotext
Barthes interview, “On Photography”

December 2: “Public Assembly and Democracy” | Professor Eva-Lynn Jagoe
– *Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, “Rethinking Comparativism
Judith Butler, “Introduction” Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly”
Wendy Brown, “Undoing Democracy: Neoliberalism’s Remaking of State and Subject,” Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution



* These will be discussed in the first period.


Updated: September 6, 2016