Literature Across Borders 01: 195: 201 Prof. Janet A. Walker Spring 2012: “Being Human”

Download 24.25 Kb.
Size24.25 Kb.
Literature Across Borders 01:195:201

Prof. Janet A. Walker

Spring 2012: “Being Human”
Sec. 01: Jinhwa Lee (195:201:01) Sec. 02: Ben De Witte (195:201:02)

M1 SC 202 Jinhwa Lee T6 SC 102 Ben De Witte

Th2 MI 100 Janet Walker Th2 MI 100 Janet Walker
Sec. 04: M5 Tara Coleman (195:201:04) Sec. 05: Louis Segura (195:201:05)

M5 SC 106 Tara Coleman M3 FH B6 Louis Segura

Th2 MI 100 Janet Walker Th2 MI 100 Janet Walker
Sec. 06 T2 Vaughn Anderson (195:201:06) Sec. H1: Janet Walker (195:201:H1)

T2 SC 120 Vaughn Anderson M2 195 College Avenue Janet Walker

Th2 MI 100 Janet Walker Th2 MI 100 Janet Walker
Prof. Janet A. Walker’s email address:

Office: Scott 238 Office hours: M3 Th4 and by arrangement

Mailbox: Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, Scott 330

For information about the major and minor consult the Comparative Literature website at and/or contact Undergraduate Director Jorge Marcone at

Literature Across Borders (01:195:201) meets the following goals of the SAS Core Curriculum:
C: Arts and the Humanities. Upon completion of this section of the Core Curriculum students will be able to:

  1. Examine critically philosophical and other theoretical issues concerning the nature of reality, human experience, knowledge, value, and/or cultural production.

  2. Analyze arts and/or literatures in themselves and in relation to specific histories, values, languages, cultures, and technologies.

Students will be assessed, in the final paper, following guidelines set out by the CRC and the SAS Advisory Committee on Assessment.
Literature Across Borders satisfies the Liberal Arts distribution requirements in Humanities and Global Awareness.
Literature Across Borders satisfies the learning goals of the Program in Comparative Literature, in which students will

  1. …demonstrate familiarity with a variety of world literatures as well as methods of studying literature and culture across national and linguistic boundaries, and evaluate the nature, function and value of literature from a global perspective.

  2. …analyze a specific body of research and write a clear and well-developed paper or project about a topic related to more than one literary and cultural tradition.

Literature Across Borders
This course is designed as an introduction to the field of Comparative Literature, and is required of all majors and minors. “Literature Across Borders” illustrates the concept and practice of comparative literature across historical periods, cultures, and genres.
For the Spring 2012 semester we will revisit the theme of “being human,” examining the representation of the human over time, in both Western and non-Western cultures. In the past 30 years, discoveries in the natural sciences have complicated the concept of “being human,” but the humanities themselves (literature, philosophy, art, film) have also challenged earlier definitions of humanness. While this discussion has been fruitful in many ways, no clear consensus has emerged from it, so that the concept of “being human” remains full of ambiguity. This ambiguity and its attendant mystery will be the focal point of the course.
Each week a different faculty member of the Program in Comparative Literature will lecture on a reading, film, or performance—drawn from her or his field of specialization—that will challenge us to explore the definition of the human in literary or filmic texts of a particular culture or cultures at a specific time. Course readings explore being human in social, political, and religious contexts; the boundaries between the human and the non-human (animals and/or machines), and between the human, the superhuman, and the subhuman; and the human practices of dreaming, playing, and surviving.
The following three required books are available for purchase in the Rutgers University Bookstore:

  1. P. Lal, trans., Great Sanskrit Plays (ISBN# 10:0811200795 New Directions)

  2. Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera (ISBN# 978-1879960749 Aunt Lute Books, 3rd edition, 2007)

  3. Caryl Churchill, Far Away (ISBN# 1-55936-199-9) New York: Theater Communications Group, 2000).

On the lecture schedule, readings in book form will be marked with an asterisk. All other readings are to be found on Alexander Online Reserve under the appropriate date. Please bring to class all required books and copies of the readings on Alexander Online Reserve that will be discussed on a particular day.

Lecture Schedule
Jan. 19 Janet Walker Introduction, including viewing a clip from Werner Herzog’s 2010 film Cave of Forgotten Dreams, featuring cave paintings from the Chauvet cave in Southern France from over 30,000 years ago.
Jan. 26 Richard Serrano al-Jāhiz (781-869): The Misers (Arabic)
Feb. 2 Uri Eisenzweig Balzac: The Chouans (French—1829)
Feb. 9 Michael Levine Franz Kafka (1883-1924): “The Burrow” and “Odradek” (German)
Feb. 16 Nelson Maldonado-Torres Gloria Anzaldúa: *Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (English and Spanish--1987)
Feb. 23 Sandy Flitterman-Lewis Jean-Luc Godard: Alphaville: A Strange Adventure of Lemmy Caution (French--1965) (film to be viewed individually at Douglass Media Center)
Mar. 1 Yolanda Martínez-San Miguel Junot Díaz: “Aurora” (from the collection Drown) (English--1996) and Sonia Rivera-Valdés: The Forbidden Stories of Marta Veneranda (Spanish--2001)

*Note: please visit the link to this project:

Mar. 8 Nicholas Rennie Friedrich Nietzsche: On the Genealogy of Morality: A Polemic (German--1887)
Midterm essay due
Spring Break
Mar. 22 Janet Walker Shen Ji-ji (fl. Ca. 800): “Ren’s Story” (Chinese) and Akinari Ueda: “The Lust of the Serpent” (Japanese—1776)
Mar. 29 Elin Diamond Caryl Churchill: *Far Away (English—2000)
Apr. 5 Steven Walker King Shudraka: *The Little Clay Cart (Sanskrit—1st century, BCE-1st century-CE)
Apr. 12 Emily van Buskirk Varlam Shalamov: Kolyma Tales (Russian—written 1954-1965)
Apr. 19 Edyta Bojanowska Stanisław Lem: Cyberiad (Polish—1965) and poems of Wisława Szymborska (born 1923) (Polish)
May 4 (Friday) at 12 Noon: Final comparative essay due

Students are expected to attend all classes and attendance will be taken at each class meeting. Each student is allowed two unexcused absences for the semester; exceeding that number will result in a lowering of the overall grade. Religiously observant students should indicate that they wish to be excused on religious holidays, and these absences will be considered excused absences, following university regulations. Athletes needing to attend practice or take part in sports events at certain times should officially inform their section leader of their necessary absences; absences for these reasons will be considered excused absences. Students should also let their section leader know if they have transportation emergencies or scheduled job interviews, as these are also excused absences.
Student Absence Reporting for health and other emergency absences. As of the Fall 2011 semester, a new system of student absence reporting is in effect. Under this system, students are responsible for reporting their health and other emergency absences on the Rutgers Self-Reporting Absence Website: This central system alerts the Office of Undergraduate Education to students who would benefit from assistance in addressing health and family issues. If you expect to miss one or two classes for these reasons, please use the University Self-Reporting Absence Website, stating the date and reason for your absence. An email message will then automatically be sent to your section leader.
Long-term Absences. In cases where students must miss classes for periods longer than one week, they are directed to see a Dean of Students for assistance to help verify these circumstances.
Course Etiquette
Please note that all cell phones, pagers, iPods, iPads, iPhones, laptops, desktops and any other form of electronic equipment must be turned off and put away during class. Students are responsible for giving their attention to what is going on in class, for taking notes (if you wish), and for participating in discussion. The classroom is not an empty space where unrelated individuals are coming and going but a potential site of intellectual discourse, where everyone, lecturers and students alike, should be concentrated, together, on the work at hand. Using electronic devices violates the spirit of intellectual working together that constitutes the classroom experience.
Grading Policy
The final grade will be based on:

1) class discussion: 10%

2) near-weekly response papers: 30%

3) a 3-5-page midterm essay: 25%

4) a 5-7-page final comparative essay: 35%.


Grading Rubric
A=90-100; B+=87-89; B=80-86; C+=77-79; C=70-76; D=60-69; F=59 and below
Policy on Plagiarism
Plagiarism can include using information from published materials (including the internet) without acknowledging the source, teaming up with a classmate to write a paper, and having someone else write some or all of a paper for you. In this course we are interested in your ideas, in your work. If we should discover evidence of plagiarism, we will pursue it following the interim university regulations on academic integrity, which can be found at this website:
“Plagiarism is the representation of the words of ideas of another as one’s own in any academic work. To avoid plagiarism, every direct quotation must be identified by quotation marks, or by appropriate indentation, and must be cited properly according to the accepted format for the particular discipline. Acknowledgment is also required when material from any source is paraphrased or summarized in whole or in part in one’s own words. To acknowledge a paraphrase properly one might state: to paraphrase Plato’s comment…and conclude with a footnote or appropriate citation to identify the exact reference…” (quoted from Interim Academic Integrity policy).
Here is a plagiarism tutorial that students might wish to consult for clarification of what plagiarism is:
A 20-minute Interactive Tutorial on Plagiarism and Academic Integrity:
Students with Disabilities
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey abides by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments (ADAA) of 2088, and Sections 504 and 508 which mandate that reasonable accommodations be provided for qualified students with disabilities. If you have a disability and may require some type of instructional and/or examination accommodation, please contact your instructor early in the semester. If you have not already done so, you will need to register with the Office of Disability Services, located in the Kreeger Learning Center, 151 College Avenue, Suite 123, phone number 732-932-2848.

Download 24.25 Kb.

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright © 2023
send message

    Main page