Literatures of Contact

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSOL2CL1014


This course introduces you to the protocols of reading in Comparative Literature across genres, continents and theories. The texts for study range across film, travelogue, prose poetry, philosophy, literary criticism and theory. The variety of texts will challenge the student to look for versions of reading that can be called comparative and can reformulate age-old literary questions such as experience, memory, reality, history and writing.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

  • Encounters: This module will look at figures of contact in the encounter between reader/viewer and text. The readings include a pseudo-documentary film, a documentary essay and a prose poem.
  • Migrancies: This module looks at the tropes of ‘leaving behind’ and destinations in texts from theory,
  • philosophy and speculative literary criticism.
  • Quests: This module will study objects of comparative reading which cannot be presumed beforehand and have to be imaginatively created through the same process of reading. Here we will watch a pseudo-fictional film and selections from a theorertical text.

Assessment Details with weights:

  • Response paper 30% (early September)
  • Mid-term prospectus for research paper 30% (mid-September)
  • Research paper 40% (final week)

Reading List:

  • Folman, Ari, dir. Waltz with Bashir, Sony Pictures Classics, 2008.
  • Genet, Jean. “Four Hours in Shatila.” Journal of Palestine Studies 12(3) (1983), 3-22.
  • Darwish, Mahmoud. Memory for Forgetfulness: August, Beirut, 1982, trans. Ibrahim Muhawi
  • (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995).
  • Weil, Simone. “The Iliad, or the Poem of Force.” Chicago Review 18(2) (1965), 5-30.
  • Rose, Jacqueline. “House of Memory”, Proust Among the Nations: From Dreyfus to the Middle East
  • (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011), 107-45.
  • Derrida, Jacques. Glas [selections], trans. John P. Leavey, Jr. and Richard Rand (Lincoln: University of
  • Nebraska Press, 1986).
  • Godard, Jean-Luc, dir. Notre musique, Avventura Films, 2004.

Additional Reference

  • Behdad, Ali and Dominic Thomas, eds. A Companion to Comparative Literature (Chichester: Wiley Blackwell, 2014).
  • Cassin, Barbara, ed. Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon, trans. Stephen Rendall, Christian Hubert et al. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004).