Comparative Literature

Minor


Alexander Deneyka, 1934. Oil on wood.The Comparative Literature minor offers students a broad perspective on the interpretation of texts, covering diverse languages, geographies, cultures and eras. In this regard, transnational, transcultural and global connections are presented through the study of literary history, literary criticism, critical theory and poetics. This intercultural approach to reading texts highlights the unique relationship between literature and other elements of a given culture that help produce that literature. By closely analyzing texts, students develop a deep understanding of the social, political, cultural and philosophical functions of literature in its many contexts. The program allows students to explore literary texts from different linguistic and cultural traditions and to experience a variety of areas of critical inquiry such as the origins of literary culture, the ethical and philosophical questions raised in particular literary cultures, questions of censorship, gender roles in literary production, the aesthetics of literary forms, the reception of literary texts and the like. Students minoring in Comparative Literature take courses in a variety of academic departments, coordinating their study of textual interpretation in various literary, historical and cultural contexts.

Requirements for the Minor in Comparative Literature

Six courses including the following:

  1. ENG 201: Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory (offered annually)
  2. Electives: Five courses from the list of approved courses. The choice of courses should reflect the broader scope and rigor of the program and thus must include courses taken from at least three academic departments or programs. In addition, students must complete three courses of the five electives at Level II or above, at least one of which must be a Level III course. With written approval of the Director, Special Topics courses that focus on reading and analyzing literary texts may count toward the minor.

In addition, students are asked to consider the following as part of their course of study:

  1. Given the broad and global nature of comparative literature studies, students are greatly encouraged to study a foreign language beyond the elementary level.
  2. Study abroad. Students are encouraged to study abroad and may present some of their courses for credit in the Comparative Literature program. To determine how many credits are transferable, the Director of the program will assess the content of the courses taken abroad. In most cases, no more than two courses or two course equivalents from abroad will be applied to the minor.

Courses Approved for the Comparative Literature Minor

(Please be aware that course offerings change over time. While every effort is made to keep this list as current as possible, it is advisable to check with your academic advisor or the Program Director to make certain that any given course is being offered.)

Classics - Classical Studies

  • CLA101 Myth and Meaning (1 Course) An introduction to the mythology of the ancient Greeks and Romans. The course surveys the major gods and heroes of classical antiquity, the most significant literary and artistic influences of classical myth, and the major schools of interpretation of myth. Illustrated lectures. Small group discussions. Particular emphasis on the power of myth to represent meaning and value. Spring Only, All Years
  • CLA103 Theatre of Greece and Rome (1 Course) A study of the ancient Greek and Roman theatre. Students read and discuss a wide selection of classical tragedies and comedies and study ancient staging and production techniques, theatre architecture, and cultural contexts of Greco-Roman drama, and the influence of classical theatre on modern drama. Spring Ony, Even Years

Classics - Greek

  • GRE-212/312 Herodotus' World (1 Course) HERODOTUS AND THE WORLD. In this course, students will hone their understanding and appreciation of ancient Greek language and culture. Readings will consist of unadapted passages of Herodotus, the so-called "father of history" in the original. This course will cover a variety of topics such as the development of historical narrative and ethnography, migration and multiculturalism, inter-cultural exchange and conflict, and the broader geographical context of Herodotus' work. Spring Only, All Years

Classics - Latin

  • LAT202 Ovid: Myth Power (1 Course) In this course, students will consolidate their knowledge and appreciation of the Latin language and of Roman culture. Readings will consist of unadapted selections from Ovid's Metamorphoses in Latin and in English as well as some selections from Ovid's other writings, such as his love poetry and writings from exile. Emphasis will be placed on the characteristics and techniques of Latin poetry, the place of Ovid in Roman history, influence on later writers, and contemporary criticism and interpretation. Spring Only, All Years
  • LAT304 Vergil and the Epic Tradition (1 Course) VERGIL AND THE EPIC TRADITION. In this course, students will hone their knowledge and appreciation of the Latin language and of Roman culture. Readings will consist of unadapted selections of Virgil's Aeneid in the original and in English. This course will cover a variety of topics such as power, migration, and ancient and modern interpretations and reactions to the Aeneid. Spring Only, Odd Years

English (ENG)

  • 101 Global Film (1 Course) READING IN THE WORLD: GLOBAL FILM seeks to understand how film narratives gain international appeal and de-center our assumptions about Western film audiences. The course also explores how international entertainment reshapes our place in a global world. The class will analyze the different film styles, genres, and audiences in national films and discuss these films' international impact. The course will focus on the macro - how does finance, film production, distribution channels, and exhibition effect international cinemas' appeal - and the micro - how does the audiences' role as a close-reader effect our understanding of how we watch films and situate the film within an international audience. The course will require close reading of movies and scenes, especially the knowledge of film language and application of that language. The course will also focus on international distribution platforms - such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu - and how these platforms shift our viewing habits and push our understanding of entertainment into new and exciting areas. The course will look at film from multiple countries and multiple continents, including Japan, China, Korea, Kenya, Brazil, Mexico, Germany, France, and the United States. Occasionally, All Years
  • 116 British Literature II (since 1789) (1 Course) A survey of British literature during the Romantic, Victorian, and Modern periods, tracing the response in literature to the succession of social, political, and literary revolutions that characterize the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Annually, All Years
  • 117 Arthurian Literature and Its Cultures (1 Course) ARTHURIAN LITERATURE AND ITS CULTURES. This course examines the origins of the legend of King Arthur and how that legend was turned into stories that reflect their target cultures. Students will read a wide array of Arthurian material and study the cultures that valued Arthur as the figure for Englishness. Authors and texts may include Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain, tales from the Welsh collection The Mabinogion, poetry of Chretien de Troyes, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Quest for the Holy Grail, and Sir Thomas Malory, as well as later appropriations of Arthurian legends by Edmund Spenser, Tennyson, and Monty Python. Annually, Odd Years
  • 121 American Literature I (to 1865 (1 Course) American Literature I (to 1865) A survey of American literature from pre-Columbian Native American oral traditions through the Puritan and Revolutionary periods culminating with the American Renaissance. The writings of authors such as Bradstreet, Franklin, Douglass, Fuller, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville, Whitman, and Dickinson will be studied for their aesthetic, historical, and cultural implications. Annually, Odd Years
  • 122 American Literature II (since 1865) (1 Course) American Literature II (since 1865) A survey of American literature since the Civil War emphasizing the richness and diversity of American voices and literary traditions. The prose, poetry, and drama of authors such as Twain, James, Chopin, Eliot, Hemingway, Faulkner, Hughes, Baldwin, Kingston, and Erdrich will be studied for their aesthetic, historical, and cultural implications. Annually, All Years
  • 124 American Women (1 Course) This course is a historical survey of women writers in the U.S.. We will examine multiple genres of autobiography, poetry, fiction, drama, and the essay and trace a tradition of women's writing concerned with both national issues and women's experiences. The course will pay particular attention to the ways in which women's literature resists patriarchal oppression, and engages with liberation and empowerment of women, U.S. Women's literature offers valuable insights into U.S. gender construction, feminist thought, and intersectional identities. This course counts toward the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies major/minor. Spring Only, Even Years
  • 126 Introduction to U.S. Ethnic Literature (1 Course) This course surveys non-fiction, fiction, poetry, and drama by U.S. writers of color including African American, Native American, Asian American, and Latinx writers. Emphasis is placed not only on how these literary artists have diversified and enriched the American scene through their own unique ethnic and racial perspectives, but also on the ways literature of marginalized peoples reflected, contributed to, and challenged mainstream American values. The course will also emphasize important historical contexts that inform U.S. Ethnic literatures such as the genocide of indigenous peoples, slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, immigration policies, and U.S. imperialism. This course counts toward the Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies major/minor. Spring Only, Even Years
  • 130 Introduction to World Literature (1 Course) This course gives students a wide-ranging introduction to the literatures of Africa, Latin America, India, Asia, and/or the Middle East. Texts may include fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama and film, and will be studied in their cultural and historical context. Issues that may be explored include the slave trade, colonialism, nationalism, religious and ethnic conflicts, gender, social justice, and interrogation of globalization in contemporary texts. The emphasis of the course will vary from year to year and students are encouraged to consult the department website for details. Texts studied will be read in English. This course counts toward the African Studies minor. Spring Only, Even Years
    • Black Worlds (1 Course) This course centers global blackness as a framework for reading world literature. World literature has been envisioned as that special body of texts that travel outside of the borders of their nations and into the world. Read in their home-nations and elsewhere, these literatures are said to be windows into other worlds, or to make up an intricate tapestry that mimics global diversity, or to act as literary streams, each with its own cultural specificity, feeding into an oceanic perspective of world complexity. World literature invites you into the histories, cultures, ethnic practices, and societal everydays of those places that are "elsewhere" from where we are. This course puts world literature into conversation with theories of global blackness. We will read literary works alongside critical texts that address global black theories such as Black Consciousness, the invention of Africa, and the Middle Passage. As we read contemporary black world literatures by Africans on the continent and in the (old and new) diaspora, we ask: what shared histories, politics, and everyday practices are revealed, and what differences? How do these literatures address issues such as colonialism, nationalism, civil rights, ethnic conflict, gender, social justice, global belonging, and globalization? What do they teach us about the world out there, ourselves here, and how we're connected? We will explore these questions in the contexts of black politics and aesthetics in literatures from the US, the African continent, the Caribbean, and other places across the global north. We will read contemporary graphic novels, fiction, non-fiction, and poetry in their sociopolitical and historical contexts, always with questions of race and blackness in mind.
  • 203 Queer Theory (1 Course) This course introduces students to a range of theoretical frames for analyzing and interpreting queer identities, queer experiences, the particular intersectionalities that structure queer experience, including queerness and race, queerness and socioeconomic class, and local and global differences in how queerness is conceptualized. The course examines both the history of how queerness is understood through early queer theorists like Eve Kosovsky Sedgwick and Judith Butler and explore contemporary accounts of queer experience and identity through theorists like Jasbir K. Puar and Sara Ahmed. We will evaluate the usefulness of queer theories through literary, film, and cultural analysis and interpretation. Annually, All Years
  • 204 East Asian Cinema (1 Course) An introduction to East Asian films with particular attention to works by Korean, Japanese, and Hong Kong filmmakers and performers from the 1960s to now. Topics include class, gender, globalization, war, and diaspora. Films in English translation. Occasionally, All Years
  • 217 British Women Writers (1 Course) A survey of works by pioneering women writers with special attention to the historical, theoretical, and cultural contexts of their artistic production. Students will read works by Jane Austen, Charlotte and Emily Brontë, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf, among others. This course counts toward the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies major or minor. Fall Only, Odd Years
  • 220 The Fin de Siècle: Literature and Culture of the 1890's (1 Course) Sherlock Holmes, The Time Machine, the New Woman, Dracula—they all had their start in the 1890s. This course will explore an exciting decade that saw the rise of the metropolis, popular culture, and the urban, professional New Woman. We will read iconic works by Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, and H. G. Wells, alongside avant-gardist works by Sarah Grand, Elizabeth Robins, and Olive Schreiner. Readings will cover the myriad cultural and political movements of the 1890s, including aestheticism, decadence, naturalism, and feminism. Occasionally
  • 226 Topics in U.S. Ethnic Literature Occasionally
    • African-American Literature (1 Course) AFRICAN-AMERICAN LITERATURE OF THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE. This class will explore some of the most seminal and important poetry and prose works to come out of the period known as the Harlem Renaissance. Students will study how these works fit into the general framework of what was then being heralded as a New Negro Arts Movement and also how they fit into the larger modernist movement in poetry and prose at the time. Some of the poets and writers we'll read in class will include Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, Countee Cullen, Georgia Douglass Johnson, Claude Mackay, Sterling Brown, and William Stanley Braithwaite. Annually, All Years
    • Native American Literature (1 Course) NATIVE AMERICAN LITERATURES This course offers a study of significant works of literature by American Indian writers from the 1960's to the present including N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Silko, Louise Erdrich, and Sherman Alexie. Students will explore questions related to identity, social marginalization, cultural recuperation, and political empowerment. In addition to a focused study of the literature, the course will emphasize the importance of other disciplines such as anthropology, history, sociology, and political science to the study of Native American Literatures. Students will be encouraged to investigate this intersection of literature and other disciplines in their final research projects. Occasionally, All Years
    • U.S. Indigenous Literature (1 Course) TOPICS: U.S. INDIGENOUS LITERATURES. This course offers a study of significant works of literature by American Indian writers from the 1960's to the present including N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Silko, Louise Erdrich, and Sherman Alexie. Students will explore questions related to identity, social marginalization, cultural recuperation, and political empowerment. In addition to a focused study of the literature, the course will emphasize the importance of other disciplines such as anthropology, history, sociology, and political science to the study of U.S. Indigenous Literatures. Students will be encouraged to investigate this intersection of literature and other disciplines in their final research projects. Occasionally, All Years
  • 228 American Pastoralism (1 Course) Pastoralism has been defined as the desire, in the face of the growing complexity of the Industrial Age, to disengage from the dominant culture in order to seek a simpler, more harmonious way of life "closer" to nature. This course will explore American literature based on the theme of building lives or societies shaped explicitly by the natural environment, beginning with early nation-building literature and Transcendentalism, and continuing with Westward Expansion. The course will conclude with modern texts that consider the blurring line between technology and the natural world. Spring Only, Even Years
  • 231 Modern Poetry (1 Course) A study of groups of poets who represent significant movements in twentieth-century poetry. The work of major modern British or American poets will be emphasized, but we may examine the translated work of poets from other cultures. Fall Only, All Years
  • 234 Modern Drama in Text and Performance (1 Course) MODERN DRAMA IN TEXT & PERFORMANCE. Highlighting drama as a dynamic and transformative genre, this course explores important texts and performances of major works from the late nineteenth century to the present. The course covers important conventions and theories that inform significant dramatic and theatrical movements such as Realism, Surrealism, Epic Theatre, and the Theatre of the Oppressed and investigates written plays in conjunction with productions and adaptation. The course will supplement with recorded productions and films, and include as many plays being produced at Gustavus or in the general area. Reading material will come from multiple cultures, including the works of Henrik Ibsen (Norway), August Strindberg (Sweden), Bertolt Brecht (Germany), Lorraine Hansberry (United States), Caryl Churchill (England), and Wole Soyinka (Nigeria). Spring Only, Odd Years
  • 248 Flim Theory (1 Course) This course expands and develops the analytical focus first explored in ENG-142, Film Art and History, by having students read primary and secondary theoretical texts paired with film selections. The course aims to cover all major film theories and help students learn to analyze film through these theoretical lenses. The course will be reading and writing intensive and expects students to add theoretical complexity to close readings of film, exploring how films complement and complicate film theory. The course will cover the major historical and thematic groupings of film theory, including film realism and the film image, montage, semiotics, psychoanalysis, feminism, auteurism, queer theory and reception theory. Spring Only, OddYears
  • 261 The British Novel (1 Course) In this course, students will read novels by iconic English and Irish writers and consider the social and intellectual questions explored in their worlds of fiction. Major novels by Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll, Thomas Hardy, Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Samuel Beckett. Topics include realism, modernism, and cosmopolitanism. Spring Only, All Years
  • 273 The American Novel (1 Course) This course explores the various themes, social contexts, and intellectual backgrounds of select American novels from the late 1700s to the present. Works in this genre will be read chronologically to trace changing concepts of the roles and techniques of the novel, and will be chosen to examine the diversity of the American experience throughout the nation's history. Fall Only, All Years
  • 274 African Digital Literatures (1 Course) African Digital Literatures surveys the quickly growing field of African literatures in online spaces. While the internet and social media have allowed for experimentation and the flourishing of all kinds of literatures, they have been especially field-altering for African literatures, a tradition that has blossomed in the context of a global (and largely western) publishing industry. But with such a decentering of African literary production comes a western-centric policing of African literary aesthetics. This course considers how the internet and social media have allowed for African writers to shape African literature apart from the hegemony of the western publishing industry-to privilege African literary aesthetics, to allow for more publishing in African languages, and for the exploration of African folklore and lifeworlds. Social media and online publishing platforms allow for publishing opportunities for those who otherwise could not publish in a more conventional manner, and have connected African literary hubs across the globe. Furthermore, social media has allowed for the emergence of new creative ways of producing literature. We will read critical essays and consider specific literary case studies such as the literary online magazines Kwani!, Brittle Paper, and Doek!, the various genres of southern African Facebook and blog serial fiction, twitterature, and online African comics. We will consider these literatures' relationship to classic African novels such as Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart and Amos Tutuola's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, and their utilization of literary tropes such as Jim-comes-to-Joburg. We will pay careful attention to the complex relationship between these texts, their social contexts, and the politics of local and global African literary production.
  • 281 Postcolonial Literatures in English (1 Course) This course is a broad survey of what has come to be called "Postcolonial literature," i.e., literature written in English by peoples who have been dominated colonial empires and marginalized by cultural imperialism, ethnocentrism, and racism. Texts include postcolonial theory, personal narratives, fiction, and film, as well as canonical English literature interrogated through a postcolonial lens. We will explore the complex relationship between texts and their social context as well as such themes as identity and community, gender, migration, hybridity, the colonized mind, and self-determination. The course is divided into regional explorations of texts from the Caribbean, India, Australia, and Native America. This course counts toward the African Studies minor and the Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies major/minor. Occasionally, Odd Years
  • 333 Romanticism (1 Course) This seminar explores Romanticism, a literary and arts movement that developed as a response to and critique of political, industrial, and social revolutions that occurred in Britain and in Europe between 1789 and 1830. Topics include the Gothic (in fiction and film), novels of education, biography, and literary careers, as well as theories of imagination and dream life. Readings from Wordsworth, Austen, Radcliffe, Keats, Shelley, and Freud. Fall Only, Even Years
  • 334 VIctorian Studies (1 Course) The Victorian era invented modern life by creating the railway, the London Underground, and transatlantic steamships, as well as everyday things like the postage stamp and breakfast cereal. It also produced an amazing array of novelists, essayists, and poets who explored what it felt like to live in a brave new world of urbanism, consumerism, and modernity. This course will examine the cultural contexts and legacies of Victorian literature with readings from the Brontës, Collins, Darwin, Eliot, and Hardy, among others. Fall Only, Even Years
  • 336 American Renaissance (1 Course) The mid-nineteenth century saw a burst of literary activity in America. Writers reacted to religious, social, and political issues of the day such as Transcendentalism, slavery, and "the woman question." We will read authors traditionally associated with the American Renaissance--Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, and Dickinson--as well as less well-known figures to enrich our appreciation of the variety and quality of the writing of this important period. Spring Only, Odd Years
  • 337 Contemporary American Literature (1 Course) This course examines a selection of poetry, prose, and drama written during the past three decades. We also will engage with questions of acceptance into the academic literary canon, the influence of publishing and marketing trends on an author's success, the challenges of studying living authors in a college course (including a relative lack of critical secondary sources), and the effect of nonprint and electronic media on the study of literature. Possible authors include John Barth, Carolyn Chute, Don DeLillo, Joan Didion, Rita Dove, Louise Erdrich, Tony Kushner, Cormac McCarthy, David Mamet, Bobbie Ann Mason, Toni Morrison, Tim O'Brien, Adrienne Rich, Philip Roth, Sam Shepherd, Leslie Marmon Silko, John Updike, and John Edgar Wideman. Spring Only, Even Years
  • 344 Special Topics Occasionally 
    • Walt Whitman and His Poetic Descendants (1 Course) While frequently credited as the originator of free verse and the start of American poetry, most American readers have only encountered Whitman in limited ways. They have no idea that his Leaves of Grass (1855) was an act of literary anarchy which would reshape the way the Western world conceived poetry while promoting multiculturalism, body positivity, women's equality, and the author's homosexuality-subjects far ahead of the time. This course will examine the work of Whitman and his descendants: the diverse poets and writers that have followed in his revolutionary literary tradition even though doing so frequently resulted in exclusion from the academy and publication. In the process, we will also survey several significant literary and cultural movements via the writings of William Carlos Williams, Langston Hughes, Allen Ginsberg, Adrienne Rich, June Jordan, Marilyn Chin, Joy Harjo, and several other descendants. Students will leave the class with an overview of American poetic history from the 19th century to the present via an introduction to some of its major innovators and the cultural and historical contexts from which they arose. They will also write in several genres employed by English professionals including: the review, the creative response, and the research-based journal essay. Occasionally
    • Post-Modern U.S. Writers of Color (1 Course) In this course, students will study key texts by U.S. writers of color from the late twentieth century to the contemporary period influenced by and/or exhibiting Postmodern thought and aesthetics. The Postmodern view of the world hinges on the idea that all social ideologies are constructed and artificial and that whatever the human beings have defined as the truth or the reality are essentially manufactured by language and stories--by narrative. In postmodern literature, we see a rejection of realistic representation and an embracing of the artifice of language and form as something fun to play and experiment with. The U.S. writers of color being highlighted in this course play and wrestle with the concepts of race, ethnicity, and gender, among other identities, and explore how these identities have been represented in history, politics, and the arts. Occasionally

French (FRE)

  • 344 France and Its Minorities (1 Course) Is France, the land of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, suffering from a case of cognitive dissonance when it comes to its minorities from African descents? Does the 1998 motto, turned idea(l), of a France "Black, Blanc, Beur"--in the image of the winning national soccer team, then a symbol of diversity, integration and assimilation-- still stand? How can one still believe it in the wake of the murder of Adama Traoré, a young black man from Malian origins, in the hands of policemen, in 2016? How can one explain the long persistent targeting and scapegoating of Maghrebi and of African and Afro-descendants in a country( and a Republic) that prides itself to be colorblind and to uphold the universal(ist) values and doctrine of "Liberté, Égalité et Fraternité"? Can one be Black and French? Muslim and French? What does it mean to be French today? In this course, we will take a close look at the condition of the so-called "minorités visibles" ("visible minorities"), in particular the experience and representations of the so-called " Beurs"or "Arabs" and of Blacks, in contemporary France. We will investigate how the hypermediated debates surrounding the presence of immigrant communities from North and Sub-Saharan Africa as well as from the Caribbean are deeply connected to important issues such as racism, xenophobia, immigration-- the direct legacies of France's colonial and imperialist past. In order to answer some of these questions, we will focus on the discursive and aesthetic strategies adopted by writers, activities, filmmakers and artists, from African descents themselves, to denounce, subvert and resist negative representations of the so-called "visible minorities" which, despite their hypervisibility in the French media during time of crises (e.g. the 2005 riots), paradoxically and generally, continue to suffer from invisibility due to their marginalization within the French society. We will also take a look at how, through their works, they force us to reconsider and redefine the very notion of Frenchness and, therefore, the symbolic, racial, religious and cultural boundaries of their (host) country's national identity. This course is taught in French. Occasionally
  • 363 Francophone Women Writers and Artists (1 Course) FRANCOPHONE WOMEN WRITERS AND ARTISTS. This course analyzes literary works written by Francophone women writers, mostly contemporary. Students will analyze their texts in their personal, political, and social contexts. We will also study women painters and sculptors such as Berthe Morisot, Suzanne Valadon, or Camille Claudel, as well as women directors. We will focus on the values and points of views that we will find in these portrayals of women by women, in the particular society and family in which they were working. Spring Only, Even Years
  • 364 Francophone African/Caribbean Literatures and Cultures (1 Course) FRANCOPHONE AFRICAN/CARIBBEAN LITERATURES AND CULTURES. This course is a study of the literatures and cultures of francophone African and Caribbean societies. Materials used for the course include literary, historical, sociological, and political texts, as well as films. The course may focus on a specific theme in a particular year but may also involve examining, in general, the pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial experiences of African and Caribbean societies. Topics of interest include the clash between tradition and modernity, governance of modern nation-states, gender roles, Negritude, Antillanite, and Creolite. Students will discuss, do presentations, and write research papers. This course counts toward the LALACS major/minor and the African Studies minor. Fall Only, Odd Years

Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies (GWS)

  • 124 U.S. Women Writers (1 Course) This course is a historical survey of women writers in the U.S.. We will examine multiple genres of autobiography, poetry, fiction, drama, and the essay and trace a tradition of women's writing concerned with both national issues and women's experiences. The course will pay particular attention to the ways in which women's literature resists patriarchal oppression, and engages with liberation and empowerment of women, U.S. Women's literature offers valuable insights into U.S. gender construction, feminist thought, and intersectional identities. This course counts toward the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies major/minor. Spring Only, Even Years
  • 236 Gender, Sexuality, and the Holocaust (1 Course) GENDER, SEXUALITY, AND THE HOLOCAUST What social, political, and ethical issues emerge when we link the study of the Holocaust to the study of gender and sexuality? Through a variety of media and genres, including films, testimonies, fiction, historical narratives and theoretical essays, this course brings a feminist methodology to our understanding of the Holocaust and genocide more broadly. How did conceptualizations of gender and sexuality affect the experiences of perpetrators, bystanders, resistance members, witnesses, and victims throughout the Second World War? What intersections and divergences existed between gender, sexuality, and race in Nazi ideology? What similarities and differences were there between men's and women's experiences of the Nazi camps? What roles do gender and sexuality play in representing, remembering, and memorializing genocidal violence? This course counts toward the Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies and Comparative Literature minors. Spring Only, Even Years
  • 244 Black Women in Europe: Myths and Realities (1 Course) Do black lives matter in Italy, France or Belgium? What about black women's lives? Why, despite being over 7 million in Europe according to the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), Black people (Afropeans/Black Europeans), and especially Black women, continue to struggle for integration, equal rights and social recognition? In this course, we will take a closer look at the lives of black women in Europe, whether these women were born there or not, and their fight for self-identification, self-determination and equal rights, at the intersection of race, gender and class. By taking into account the larger historical, political, cultural and national contexts marked by the legacies of the slave trade, colonialism, transnational migration (forced or economic), racism, sexism and classism to explain the presence of Blacks in Europe, we will attempt to understand black female experience and to deconstruct the many myths and fantasies that have, for so long, determined the way black women have been perceived, categorized, and represented in European literature, arts and the media and socially positioned because of their supposed Otherness. We will see how their experiences and definition of Blackness vary according to their class, age, culture, origin and nationality. Using the works of black Italian, French, Caribbean and Belgian female filmmakers, writers, activists and artists, we will analyze how black women, throughout the centuries and especially in the twenty-first century, have taken upon themselves, through their works, to challenge the patriarchy and especially the Eurocentric, white, racist and male gaze and to reclaim their own subjectivities by sharing their own stories at the junction of the past, present, and future and by redefining the very idea of Blackness along with the boundaries of their (host) country's very own notion of cultural and national identity and of (un)belonging. Issues discussed: immigration, race, class, gender, misogynoir, post-colonialism, Afro-feminism, Blackness in the French, Italian and Belgium national narratives; media representations; social media; forms of engagement in Black communities. This course is taught in English. Meets the requirements for LALACS. Occasionally

Japanese (JPN)

  • 170 Introduction to East Asian Literature in English Translation (1 Course) This course provides a broad survey of representative literary works from East Asia from the classical to the contemporary period. Students will explore a variety of literary texts, such as poetry, novel, short stories and essays from China, Japan and Korea through English translation. This course helps students develop a deep understanding of both the commonalities and differences between East Asian countries in history, cultural values and literary tradition. Students are expected to improve their critical thinking skills through analyzing, interpreting and evaluating literary texts. They will also increase their cultural competence through reading and appreciating literature within its cultural context. Fall Only, All Years
  • 270 Modern Japanese Literature and Culture In English Translation (1 Course) The first half of the course offers a survey of representative works of modern Japanese literature (1868-the present) with a focus on short stories. We will explore important themes, such as modernity and Westernization, self, desire, women and gender, and war and memory. The second half introduces several major topics on Japanese culture: samurai culture, the image of geisha, transnational popularity of anime, the kawaii (cuteness) culture through popular images and icons, such as Hello Kitty. The goal of this course is to familiarize students with Japan's modern history and culture and to help students develop critical thinking and writing skills through reading, discussing, and writing about literary texts and films. Annually, All Years
  • 272 Women in East Asian Literature and Culture (1 Course) WOMEN IN EAST ASIAN LITERATURE. This course introduces to students literary and cultural representations of women in East Asia (China, Japan and Korea) from ancient times to the contemporary period. We will explore how womanhood is constructed, institutionalized, and challenged in various social and cultural discourses, such as mythology, folklore, poetry, and fiction. We will discuss women's varied experiences in family and society in relation to the historical and social conditions that have shaped their status and experience. We will also investigate how women have negotiated their gender roles through writing, imagination, and feminist movements. This course is organized both chronologically and thematically. Discussion topics include constructions of femininity in traditional East Asia, women's literary traditions, representations of women in literature by both male and female authors, feminist consciousness, and the continuing changes and challenges concerning women's roles and status in society. Spring Only, All Years

Philosophy (PHI)

  • 108 Great Philosophers (1 Course) This course introduces students to philosophy by examining some of the writings of philosophical greats, such as Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Hume, and Wittgenstein. The issues considered may include: Does God exist? What is knowledge and how can we acquire it? What is the meaning of life? What is the "good life"? Occasionally, All Years
  • 244 Philosophy of Language (1 Course) This course will examine a variety of issues about the nature of human language and the ways we use it to represent and communicate about the world. Some questions we may examine: What (if anything) distinguishes human natural languages--e.g., English, Swahili, Sinhala--from other forms of representation and communication? Words, phrases, and sentences are meaningful--but just what are meanings? And how do words get their meanings? How are the meanings of sentences systematically derived from the meanings of words they contain? Can we learn anything about the nature of (non-linguistic) reality by studying the structure of language? Occasionally

Religion (REL)

  • 110 The Bible (1 Course) An introduction to the study of religion through an exploration of the Bible, both in its original setting and as a continuing standard for the worshipping communities which revere it. The class will become acquainted with the Near-Eastern and Greco-Roman cultures that formed its historical context, the oral and literary processes that underlay its present text, and the fundamental problems of meaning and value to which it offers a symbolic, mythic, and theological response. Lectures, discussions of shared readings, and examinations will be the central elements of course procedure. A sample syllabus for this course may be available on the instructor's profile page. Annually, All Years
  • 240 Prophets (1 Course) This course examines the writings and roles of the biblical prophets within an extended context that includes prophecy in the ancient Near East, New Testament views of prophecy, and modern adaptations of the prophetic role as an agent of social, religious, and political change. Resources will be drawn from non-biblical traditions and work in anthropology, sociology, feminist and African-American studies. Fall Only, All Years
  • 250 Women, Gender, and The Bible (1 Course) A study of current trends in feminist biblical interpretation. The course will examine depictions of women in the Bible and their continuing influence upon religious and social institutions. We will also explore gendered imagery for God, the construction of masculinity, and the intersection of gender, ethnicity, and class in biblical texts. This course counts toward the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies major/minor. Spring Only, Even Years
  • 280 Paul and His Letters (1 Course) An investigation of the letters and theology of the most significant thinker in the early history of Christianity. The class will read and analyze Paul's seven undisputed letters, with special concern for their rhetoric as ancient "epistles." The original settings of Paul's letters to Mediterranean cities also help to place the first-century church in context through the use of historical and archaeological sources. Studying the theological claims of his letters will show how Paul both informed the later history of Christian thought and contributed to its problems. Students will leave the course with a better grasp of Pauline literature and theology, and the most important critical debates about how to interpret the apostle today. Fall Only, Even Years
  • 290 Jesus & the Gospels (1 Course) An investigation of the life of Jesus in the historical context of first-century Palestine. Students will study the New Testament Gospels, as well as other "non-canonical" gospel literature. The historical environment in which Jesus lived will also be studied, including the religious, political, and social contexts of his time. The methods and results of Historical Jesus Research will also be analyzed by reading some of the most important contemporary historical theories about his teaching and activity. Special topics will also include Jesus within early Judaism, the theology and ethics of Jesus, Jesus and his contemporaries, Christology, and interpretations of Jesus in non-Christian religions. Fall Only, Even Years
  • 350 Apocalypse (1 Course) An examination of the early Jewish and Christian apocalypses, including Daniel, 1 Enoch, 4 Ezra, 2 Baruch, Revelation, the Apocalypse of Peter, and other ancient writings such as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Specific attention is also invested in the consideration of Jesus, Paul, and the early church through the lens of ancient apocalypticism. The course concludes with a study of some more recent expressions of the apocalyptic tradition, its ongoing contributions to Christian theology, as well as comparisons with the "eschatologies" of world religions. Evaluation is based upon reading activities, presentations, and a research paper. Fall Only, Odd Years

Russian (RUS)

  • 221 19th Century Russian Literature in English (1 Course) In English. This course introduces students to the 19th century and examines the major literary philosophies and high culture of the era. The course highlights the masterpieces of the world-class Russian novel and short prose, as well as the classic works of the Golden Age of Russian poetry. Texts studied range from Pushkin's lyric poetry and prose to Lermontov's Hero of Our Time, and the great works of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Gogol and Chekhov. Fall Only, Even Years
  • 223 Russian Literature Since 1900 in English (1 Course) In English. This course introduces students to the major works of Russian literature since 1900 and examines the major literary trends, philosophies and high culture of the Soviet and post-Soviet eras. Texts studied in translation range from the lyric poetry of Russia's "Silver Age" to the socialist realist novel, dissident literature of the Soviet era and 20th-century Russian satire. In addition, new directions and works in Russian post-modern literature since the fall of the communist regime are studied. Fall Only, Odd Years
  • 321 19th Century Russian Literature (1 Course) This course is for advanced Russian language students. It is a study of the major works and trends in Russian literature of the 19th century and examines the major literary philosophies and high culture of the era. The course highlights the masterpieces of the world-class Russian novel and short prose, as well as the classic works of the Golden Age of Russian poetry. Texts studied range from Pushkin's lyric poetry and prose to Lermontov's Hero of Our Time, and the great works of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Gogol and Chekhov. Major readings and lectures in English; additional assignments and weekly discussion in Russian. Fall Only, Even Years
  • 323 Russian Literature since 1900 (1 Course) Intended for advanced Russian language students, this course introduces the major works of Russian literature since 1900 and examines the major literary trends, philosophies and high culture of the Soviet and post-Soviet eras. Texts studied range from the lyric poetry of Russia's "Silver Age" to the socialist realist novel, dissident literature of the Soviet era and 20th-century Russian satire. In addition, new directions and works in Russian post-modern literature since the fall of the communist regime are studied. Major readings and lectures in English; additional assignments and weekly discussion in Russian. Fall Only, Odd Years

Scandinavian Studies (SCA, SWE)

  • SCA211 Diversity and Social Change in Scandanavia (1 Course) DIVERSITY AND SOCIAL CHANGE IN SCANDINAVIA While the Nordic countries rank among the world's wealthiest, most educated, and most egalitarian, categories of identity in the Nordic region are shifting dramatically in the new millennium. Ample and important counter-narratives have emerged to prevailing discourses of exceptional and homogenous "Nordic-ness." This course interrogates historical categories of diversity in a Nordic context, including gender, sex, class, ethnicity, and race, as well as how these categories intersect. We will examine new forms of, and platforms for, diverse ideas and creative expression, including fluid masculinities, digital cultures, new media, and fashion. We will question the terms on which the Nordic region's indigenous peoples, the Sámi and the Greenlandic Inuit, as well as stateless people such as the Kurds, are brought into Nordic discussions of diversity, citizenship, and agency, and analyze the implications of neo-nationalist and patriarchal discourses that have emerged since the turn of the century. Fall Only, Even Years
  • SCA224 Scandinavian Women Writers (1 Course) Scandinavian women writers currently hold a significant place in the Scandinavian literary canon but their efforts to be granted this ground are ongoing. In this course, we will read and analyze works of literature in English translation written by women writers from across the Nordic region of the world. We will focus on the important Modern Breakthrough period of the late 19th century, the dynamic 20th century, and today. We will read literature by women writers including the long-canonized, those recently excavated from history, those writing today; voices from a variety of class, ethnic, and geographical backgrounds; and forms of literature ranging from the traditional to the highly experimental. Our reading and analysis of these writers' works will help us to understand the ever-shifting places and roles in which Scandinavian women have lived and created. This course also counts toward the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies major/minor. Spring Only, Odd Years
  • SCA250 Scandinavian Crime Fiction (1 Course) This course explores the crime fiction genre (literature, television, and film) from the Nordic countries. The course will focus on the political and social critique embedded in crime stories, the values of the societies represented, and the function of the crime fiction genre as a critique of ideologies and institutions. Starting in the 1970s with Sjöwall/Wahlöo and ending in the present day, the class will cover a variety of themes in the Nordic context: Marxism, the welfare state, immigration, the EU and the Third World, feminism, racism, neoliberalism, and global capitalism. It will also introduce students to typically Nordic perspectives on crime prevention and punishment. This course counts towards the Comparative Literature minor. Fall Only, Even Years
  • SCA324 Nordic Poetry (1 Course) This course, taught in English, will focus on the rich and varied Scandinavian poetic tradition, ranging from the Poetic Edda to the works of the 2011 Nobel Prize Laureate Tomas Transtromer, to young and innovative poets writing across the Nordic region today. A wide range of poets and poetic forms and theories will be covered, with emphasis placed on the modern period, particularly the 20th and 21st centuries. No knowledge of a Scandinavian language is necessary. Fall Only, Even Years
  • SCA334 Nordic Cinema (1 Course) This survey course explores the formidable contributions that the Nordic region has made to world cinema, from the Swedish invasion of Hollywood in the silent film era to Denmark’s recent Dogma 95 movement and beyond. This course instructs students in analyzing films in their Nordic cultural and historical contexts and provides an overview of this regional cinema as art and industry within European film history. Rather than follow a strict chronological order, this course highlights key moments, topics, and genres. Topics will include the silent Golden Age; auteurs Dreyer, Bergman, Kaurismäki, and von Trier; Dogma 95; women in Nordic film production; the cinema of Native (Greenlandic and Sámi) peoples; the new Nordic avant-garde; and new Nordic horror cinema. All films will be screened in the original language with English subtitles. Fall Only, Odd Years
  • SCA244, 344 Topics in Swedish Literature and Culture (1 Course) Occasionally, All Years
  • SCA364 Senses of Place in Scandinavian Literature, Film, and Art (1 Course) Senses of Place in Scandinavian Literature, Art and Film. This course investigates the concepts of space and place in Scandinavia through reading, watching, experiencing and reflecting on the literature, film, and art of the region. Students will consider concepts such as dwelling and exploration, belonging and isolation, community and cooperation, creation and disruption/destruction as we work to better understand the myriad and diverse landscapes, environments, practices, and peoples that comprise the Nordic region. HUMN. Counts towards Environmental Studies major, Comparative Literature minor. Spring Only, Even Years
  • SWE301 Swedish Short Fiction (1 Course) Advanced Swedish: Conversation and Composition. This combination of beginning literature and advanced language course introduces students to the social and psychological themes expressed by writers of modern Swedish short fiction. In this course, students will further improve their reading, speaking, and writing skills through discussion, grammar and written assignments, and in-class presentations. Required of all Scandinavian Studies majors and minors and also open to students with the necessary background in Swedish. Fall Only, Odd Years
  • SWE302 Swedish Poetry and Music (1 Course) This course focuses on the strong musical and poetic traditions in Swedish language and culture. Taking a historical approach, the course acquaints students with both of these vibrant traditions, which are often interconnected. Musical genres include folkvisor, ballads, Carl Michael Bellman and the troubadour tradition to contemporary folk, pop, and hip hop. The Swedish poetry studied spans the Baroque Period through the twenty-first century. Fall Only, Odd Years

Spanish (SPA)

  • 280 Literature, Film, and Society (1 Course) LITERATURE, FILM & SOCIETY. This course introduces you to the study of literature in Spanish through the reading of short literary and cinematic texts. Students study literary terminology and methods of analysis and practice the analysis and discussion of literature in Spanish. Texts by Spanish and Spanish American authors and films are selected from across literary periods. This course requires fifteen hours of community engagement. This course counts toward the LALACS major/minor. Annually, All Years
    323 Love, Sex, and Power in Spanish Literature (1 Course) LITERARY CITIES OF LATIN AMERICA. In this course students will examine the representation of cities and urban spaces in Latin America through one or more canonic literary works from the region, developing connections between literary strategies and lived experiences of cities, encompassing several historical periods. Students will also consider the tensions between urban and countryside spaces. Students will practice the analysis and discussion of texts in Spanish to help improve their oral and written skills. Fall Only, Odd Years
  • 322 Literary CIties of Latin America (1 Course) In this course students will examine representations of love, sex, and sexuality in selected masterworks of Spanish literature. Students will practice the analysis and discussion of texts in Spanish to help improve their oral and written skills. Spring Only, Even Years

In addition, many of these programs offer Special Topics courses that will be applicable to the proposed minor.

(Listing revised January 2022)

Picture credit: Alexander Deneyka, Picture of a Young Woman with a Book. Oil on wood. 1934. St. Petersburg, The Russian Museum.

NameTitlePhoneGustavus Email Address
Robert KendrickRobert KendrickAssociate Professor and Co-chair507-933-6090rkendric@gustavus.edu
Ursula LindqvistUrsula LindqvistDirector507-933-7422ulindqvi@gustavus.edu
Lianying ShanLianying ShanAssociate Professor507-933-7381lshan@gustavus.edu
Kjerstin Moody ’98Kjerstin Moody ’98Faculty507-933-7423kmoody@gustavus.edu