Comparative Literature 315
Global Literature and Culture
Dr. E.M. Richmond-Garza (Dr. RG)
Lectures: Tu Th 12:30-2 on Zoom ID 966 5883 8773 (Discussion Sections Tu and Wed.)
Office Hours: Tu 2-3:30, W 1-2:30 and by appointment on Zoom ID 956 825 9473
Email contact via Canvas
Oh me, oh my, where did it go awry?
When all this time, heaven was in our eyes
So, say goodnight, forget about it ’til the end of time
Yeah, I want more, more, more, more.
Rina Sawayama, “XS” (リナ・サワヤマ, 2020)
-Hakim, ا قلبي
“Denia” (“The World”)
-Manu Chao, دنیا
What is a “self,” an individual? Is it a single entity or is it always entangled with others? Is it something created by history, by politics, by art, by culture or by the divine? Or does it fashion itself? Does it change over time and across space? At some level, art is always concerned with making and unmaking the individual and with freeing or chaining this being. Tracking texts from Classical Greece, Iraq and India (via medieval Europe and Japan) to postcolonial Africa and Latin America, we will focus on the continuing, and sometimes desperate, attempts of artists and authors from across the globe and the centuries both to phrase and to answer this question. Expected names from the western canon, like Euripides, Goethe, Baudelaire and Woolf will keep company with Japan’s Bashō, Russia’s Pushkin, Argentina’s Borges and Nigeria’s Achebe.
We shall not limit ourselves to the western canon but will look at points of crisis where, whether because of gender, race, ideology or class, an individual’s voyage of discovery demands answers and action. We shall trace a drama of self-actualization, more than two thousand years old, one that is still being enacted. From the extremes of the Greek stage to a lonely cry of agony in the Assyrian desert, from French philosophy to long walks through the Japanese countryside, from a Parisian’s insomnia in 1900 to the magical realism of modern Mexico, from compulsive gambling to feminist poetry, from encounters with Romantic devils to imagined journeys through magical lands, we shall explore the limits of this question’s answers.
While the basis of the course will be the literary texts, we shall voyage often and importantly through resources from other arts like painting, sculpture, music, and film so as to conjure back to life the spirits of these past identities in preparation for a spring in which we shall interrogate our own new century as it emerges from the twilight of the twentieth-century.
This course will be conducted synchronously on Zoom. You are expected to behave in a collegial and respectful manner during class. Being disruptive or inattentive to class meetings is not permitted. Using oppressive or offensive language will not be tolerated. This virtual classroom will be a safe place for all of us respectfully to express our opinions, concerns, interests and interactions with the material on the syllabus.
Learning outcomes include:
- Reflection on the values and choices of different people and groups living in different social and historical contexts
- Development of knowledge of, and empathy for, diverse, intersectional, global communities
- Development of analytical and argumentative skills so as to communicate opinions about human expressive works to others