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1 Proposal: number 21

21. CMLIT 101W: Global Literatures I

Contact:Christopher Winks
Abstract:Among the distinctive contributions of the always open and diversified field of
Comparative Literature to a liberal education has been its emphasis on what has
been called the “worlding” of literature, the various ways in which literature
helps us to see and understand the world we live in and its multiple pasts,
presents, and futures, and on the importance of textual analysis and
translation as communicating vessels between languages and cultures. This
course and its companion, Global Literatures II, aim to provide students with a
greater awareness of the global cultural contexts in which literary works are
created (which is intended to enhance rather than diminish consideration of the
aesthetic qualities of these texts). The course draws its assigned readings
from ancient times to the early modern period (a period spanning the 3rd
millennium BCE to the early 16th century CE). It may include both written and
oral materials, with a focus on the plurality (and where possible the
intersections and interactions) of ancient and pre-modern worlds: Greece and
Rome, China and India, the global Middle Ages, the empires of North and West
Africa, the Renaissance and the pre-Columbian world.

This is intended to be a variable-topics course and its instructor(s) will have
broad leeway to shape its content and emphases, while preserving a
cross-cultural, comparative orientation that situates the selected texts in the
wider world(s) of their marking. Sample topics could be: From Orature to
Literature, The Epic, Love in the Ancient World, Monotheisms and Polytheisms,
Literature of Empire, Representations of the Individual, Poetry of Antiquity,
etc.

Sample Topic:

Visions and Versions of Antiquity. What is termed the “ancient world” has
conventionally been equated with “the Greeks and the Romans,” following a
paradigm that tends to relegate the vast rest of the globe to a peripheral
status. This course proposes a broader focus that, while acknowledging the
immense contributions of Greece and Rome, explores as well examples of the
literatures of ancient Egypt, China, and India; medieval Persia and West
Africa; and Mesoamerica after the Spanish Conquest (a tragic milestone in the
forging of what we call the “modern” era). As we read and discuss these often
fragmentary readings (which parallel our own often fragmentary understanding of
the worlds that shaped them), we will consider not only their immediate
historical and cultural contexts, but also their continuing resonance across
time, place, and language.

Submissions and Approvals

Course Date Requirement Action By Whom Notes
CMLIT 101W 2008-04-14 RL Submitted Dept
CMLIT 101W 2008-04-14 WC Submitted Dept
CMLIT 101W 2008-04-14 PI Submitted Dept
CMLIT 101W 2008-09-03 RL Approved GEAC
CMLIT 101W 2008-09-03 WC Approved GEAC
CMLIT 101W 2008-09-03 PI Approved GEAC
CMLIT 101W 2008-09-11 RL Approved UCC
CMLIT 101W 2008-09-11 WC Approved UCC
CMLIT 101W 2008-09-11 PI Approved UCC
CMLIT 101W 2008-10-02 RL Approved Senate
CMLIT 101W 2008-10-02 WC Approved Senate
CMLIT 101W 2008-10-02 PI Approved Senate