Undergraduate Courses

A modern play upon Dante, “Devil May Cry” (2015). Faculty Dante expert: Massimo Ciavolella.

  • For information about specific section times and locations please view the UCLA Schedule of Classes.
  • For a complete listing of department courses visit the UCLA General Catalog.

Courses (Winter 2020)

Comparative Literature 2DW: Survey of Literature: Great Books from World at Large

Instructor: Nouri Gana

Study of major literary texts usually overlooked in courses that focus only on canon of Western literature, with emphasis on literary analysis and expository writing. Texts from at least three of following areas read in any given term: African, Caribbean, East Asian, Latin American, and Middle Eastern literature. Satisfies Writing II requirement.

Comparative Literature 4CW: Literature and Writing: Age of Enlightenment to 20th Century

Instructor: Melanie Jones

Study and discussion of selected texts from Age of Enlightenment to 20th century, with emphasis on literary analysis and expository writing. Texts may include works by authors such as Swift, Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, Goethe, M. Shelley, Flaubert, Ibsen, Strindberg, Dostoevsky, Gogol, Kafka, Joyce, Beckett, L. Hughes, and Garcia Marquez. Satisfies Writing II requirement.

Comparative Literature 100: Introduction to Literary and Critical Theory (Winter)

Instructor: Stephanie Bosch Santana

Seminar-style introduction to discipline of comparative literature presented through series of texts illustrative of its formation and practice.

Comparative Literature M101: Hebrew Literature in English: Literary Traditions of Ancient Israel — Bible and Apocrypha

Instructor: Jeremy D. Smoak

(Same as Jewish Studies M150A.) Study of literary culture of ancient Israel through examination of principal compositional strategies of Hebrew Bible and Apocrypha (read in translation).

Comparative Literature 191 (Seminar 1): Variable Topics in Comparative Literature: Fascism, Then and Now

Instructor: Aamir R. Mufti

Study and discussion of limited periods and specialized issues and approaches in literary theory, especially in relation to other modes of discourse such as history, philosophy, psychology, linguistics, anthropology. Development of culminating project required.

The word “fascism” has returned to the political vocabulary of the times suddenly and without much intellectual preparation. As events move from crisis to crisis, both domestically and internationally, we seem to have grasped spontaneously at this relic from the past in the hope that it might deliver an understanding of the present and how we got here, or at the very least give us some stability of orientation as we try to survive this ongoing instability. But we need a far better understanding of the contemporary political, social, and cultural tendencies we designate by this term than we seem to have at the moment. This undergraduate seminar proposes to put on a firmer conceptual and historical footing the possibility of understanding the present political and social crisis as the “return” of fascism as a political culture across the Euro-American world. we will discuss major works of philosophy, theory, and literature, and look at a range of visual materials, concerned with the contemporary US and Europe in the 1930s and 1940s.

Comparative Literature 191 (Seminar 2): Variable Topics in Comparative Literature: On Happiness: Literary History, from Ancient Canaan to Modern Israel

Instructor: Nili Alon Amit

Study and discussion of limited periods and specialized issues and approaches in literary theory, especially in relation to other modes of discourse such as history, philosophy, psychology, linguistics, anthropology. Development of culminating project required.

What is literature? What is philosophy? What is religion? How are these fields inter-connected? How are literature, philosophy and religion connected with happiness and redemption? How did the ideas on happiness develop from the Ancient Near East to modernity, and how were they presented in literature from the Old Testament, through classical and medieval authors, to the prose and poetry of early American and Israeli pioneers?

In this course, we will follow the concept of happiness from Abraham’s blessedness in the Old Testament, to classical and Hellenistic Greek eudaimonia (Plato’s Republic, Epictetus’ Manual), into early and late medieval ecstatic oneness (St. Augustine’s Confessions, Rumi’s Spiritual Couplets – with their 20th Century resonance in the writings of Gibran Khalil Gibran and Paulo Coelho), and through to the modern era. We will examine modern transcendentalism (Emerson), conceptions of redemption in naturalism (Walt Whitman, A. D. Gordon and Rachel Bluwstein Sela), and Zionist essayists’ views on happiness in the Promised Land.

Courses (Fall 2019)

Comparative Literature 2CW: Survey of Literature: Age of Enlightenment to 20th Century

Instructor: Kathleen L. Komar

Study of selected texts from Age of Enlightenment to 20th century, with emphasis on literary analysis and expository writing. Texts may include works by authors such as Swift, Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, Goethe, Flaubert, Ibsen, Strindberg, M. Shelley, Dostoevsky, Kafka, James Joyce, Garcia Marquez, and Jamaica Kincaid. Satisfies Writing II requirement.

Comparative Literature 4CW: Literature and Writing: Age of Enlightenment to 20th Century

Instructor: Melanie Jones

Study and discussion of selected texts from Age of Enlightenment to 20th century, with emphasis on literary analysis and expository writing. Texts may include works by authors such as Swift, Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, Goethe, M. Shelley, Flaubert, Ibsen, Strindberg, Dostoevsky, Gogol, Kafka, Joyce, Beckett, L. Hughes, and Garcia Marquez. Satisfies Writing II requirement.

Comparative Literature 4DW: Literature and Writing: Great Books from World at Large

Instructor: Omar Zahzah

Study and discussion of major literary texts usually overlooked in courses that focus only on canon of Western literature, with emphasis on literary analysis and expository writing. Texts from at least three of following areas read in any given term: African, Caribbean, East Asian, Latin American, and Middle Eastern literature. Texts may include works by authors such as Ngugi, Desai, Kincaid, Emecheta, El Saadawi, Achebe, Pak, Can Xue, Neruda, and Rushdie. Satisfies Writing II requirement.

Comparative Literature 100: Introduction to Literary and Critical Theory (Fall)

Instructor: Kenneth Reinhard

Seminar-style introduction to discipline of comparative literature presented through series of texts illustrative of its formation and practice.

Comparative Literature C153: Post-Symbolist Poetry and Poetics

Instructor: Kathleen L. Komar, Ross Shideler

Designed for upper-division literature majors. Study of specific poets and poetics related to them during first half of 20th century. Texts may include poets such as W.B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Paul Valéry, R.M. Rilke, Gunnar Ekelöf, and Wallace Stevens. May be concurrently scheduled with course C253. Undergraduate students may read all works in translation.

Comparative Literature M162: Israel Seen Through Its Literature

Instructor: Ethan Pack

(Same as Jewish Studies M162.) Attempt to impart profound understanding of Israel as seen through its literature. Examination of variety of literary texts–stories, novels, and poems–and reading of them in context of their historical backgrounds.

Comparative Literature 191: Variable Topics in Comparative Literature: Poetics of Hip-Hop: Focus on Los Angeles

Instructor: Tamara Levitz

Exploration of poetics–such as art of making poetry, beats, and rhymes–in hip-hop. Students learn techniques to interpret and analyze beats and poetry of hip-hop. Study addresses historically-framed topics such as politics of hip-hop, authenticity (keeping it real), women in hip-hop, representations of gender and sexuality, cosmopolitan hip-hop, and indigenous hip-hop. Study does not attempt to survey all repertoire or genres. Exploration at each meeting of one poetic, philosophical, critical, or formal question, through close, critical readings of songs by selected artists. Emphasis on integrating examples from hip-hop history and criticism in Los Angeles. Students given tools to interpret hip-hop, and to speak and write about it critically and insightfully in public sphere.

Comparative Literature M191P: Careers in Humanities

Instructor: David MacFadyen

(Same as English M191P.) Challenges misassumptions regarding humanities majors and their practical applications to life after graduation. Exploration of wide range of careers, with hands-on practice in crafting professional narrative. Guest lectures from UCLA professionals and alumni–all experts in career planning and local industry. Students engage with workplace leaders, and simultaneously build professional dossier–on paper or online–in preparation for life after UCLA with a humanities degree.

Courses (Spring 2020)

Comparative Literature 2BW: Survey of Literature: Middle Ages to 17th Century

Instructor: The Staff

Study of selected texts from Middle Ages to 17th century, with emphasis on literary analysis and expository writing. Texts may include works by authors such as Chaucer, Dante, Cervantes, Marguerite de Navarre, Shakespeare, Calderón, Molière, and Racine. Satisfies Writing II requirement.

Comparative Literature 4DW: Literature and Writing: Great Books from World at Large

Instructor: Robert James Farley

Study and discussion of major literary texts usually overlooked in courses that focus only on canon of Western literature, with emphasis on literary analysis and expository writing. Texts from at least three of following areas read in any given term: African, Caribbean, East Asian, Latin American, and Middle Eastern literature. Texts may include works by authors such as Ngugi, Desai, Kincaid, Emecheta, El Saadawi, Achebe, Pak, Can Xue, Neruda, and Rushdie. Satisfies Writing II requirement.

Comparative Literature 19 (Fiat Lux Seminar): Short Works of Franz Kafka, or How Modern World Works

Instructor: Kathleen L. Komar

Examination of short works of one of world’s most famous and puzzling authors, Franz Kafka. Kafka has been labeled everything from existentialist to realist, from mystic to comic. Examination of implications that Kafka’s unique perspective has for our own times. Students write three questions based on readings to shape each class discussion. Readings of several Kafka short fiction pieces including The Metamorphosis, The Country Doctor, An Old Manuscript, In the Penal Colony, Report to an Academy, A Hunger Artist, and The Judgment. These pieces help students understand why Kafka remains so timely.

Comparative Literature 19 (Fiat Lux Seminar): Poets and Desire

Instructor: Ross Shideler

Representations of desire take many forms: sometimes poetic or imaginary, sometimes erotic and sensual. Students look at poets through centuries who have written from different perspectives about their desires and/or their frustrations.

Comparative Literature 100: Introduction to Literary and Critical Theory (Spring)

Instructor: Aamir R. Mufti

Seminar-style introduction to discipline of comparative literature presented through series of texts illustrative of its formation and practice.

Comparative Literature M110: Thousand and One Nights/Alf Layla Wa-Layla

Instructor: Susan E. Slyomovics

(Same as Arabic M110.) Knowledge of Arabic not required. Since its appearance in Europe in 1704, “Thousand and One Nights” is most well-known work of Arabic literature in West. Examination of cycle of tales more commonly known as “Arabian Nights,” including history of its translation, contemporary oral performances of tales in Arabic-speaking world, literary emergence of vernacular language in relation to classical Arabic, and Western appropriations of tales in music, film, and novels (Ravel, Rimsky-Korsakov, Barth, Poe, and Walt Disney).

Comparative Literature 113: Opera in LA Live

Instructor: Tamara Levitz

Interpretation of operas currently being performed in Los Angeles from critical perspective of comparative literature studies. Content varies to match changing repertoire. Critical exploration and relation of every aspect of opera as literary and musical form. Analysis and interpretation of original literary source and libretto, music, singing, staging, dramaturgy, reception, and live performance. Two or more field trips to LA Opera, UCLA Opera, and/or Long Beach Opera to experience opera.

Comparative Literature M120: Women and Literature in Southeastern Europe

Instructor: Georgiana Galateanu

(Same as Central and East European Studies M120.). Examination of changing roles of women in Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey) in last forty years. Emphasis on cultural, social, political, and economic factors affecting women’s roles during countries’ transition from agricultural to industrial economy and from communism to post-communism (in former communist countries). Sensitizes students to complexity of issues in region and helps them better understand multiplicity of causes of present situation. Interdisciplinary study, drawing on sociological, women’s studies, articles, and short fiction by women writers for analysis. Discussion and debating of topics covered in articles, different positions taken by authors, and way in which aspects of these realities are rendered in fictional form by women writers from region.

Comparative Literature M148: Arab Film and Song

Instructor: Nouri Gana

(Same as Arabic M148.). Exploration of conjunctions between contemporary Arab film and song and between popular cultures and cultures of commitment (Iltizam), with possible focus on specific genres such as realist/neorealist Arab film; feminist Arab film or popular Arab film and song; topics such as nation, gender, and representation or democracy and human rights or censorship, reception, and resistance. Possible examination of various national cinemas such as Tunisian, Egyptian, Moroccan, Algerian, and Palestinian. Various musical genres such as Rai, Mizoued, and Hip-hop also examined in relation to emergence not only of national cinemas, national music industries, and iconic singers but also of video clip, satellite TV, star academy, and reality shows — all products of transnational and pan-Arab mass media.

Comparative Literature C163: Crisis of Consciousness in Modern Literature

Instructor: Kathleen L. Komar

Study of modern European and American works that are concerned both in subject matter and artistic methods with growing self-consciousness of human beings and their society, with focus on works of Kafka, Rilke, Woolf, Sartre, and Stevens. May be concurrently scheduled with course C263. Undergraduate students may read all works in translation.

Comparative Literature 169: Continental African Authors

Instructor: Stephanie Bosch Santana

Introduction to new set of African authors and attempt to discern similarities or differences they may have with major authors such as Achebe, Ngugi, Armath, Soyinka, etc.

Comparative Literature 191: Variable Topics in Comparative Literature: World, Form, Power

Instructor: Stephanie Bosch Santana

How do particular literary forms help writers and readers to imagine the world differently? From the novel and short story to hybrid and new media genres that defy classification, questions of form are also questions of community, belonging, and power. This course explores these questions through the work of writers from Africa and its diaspora, who have experimentedwith literary form to imagine new social and political orders.