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Program Overview

Film, Literature, and Visual Culture

Film, Literature, and Visual Culture

Pursue a broadly interdisciplinary course of study focusing on the comparative analysis of film in its relationship to literature, as well as other visual media, across a broad range of national cultures and aesthetic traditions. Students will deepen their ability to interpret films and other works not only in light of the cultural and social conditions of their production, but also in their relationship to the history of literary genres and aesthetic forms.

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About the Film, Literature, and Visual Culture Program

Film, Literature, and Visual Culture Course Schedule

The Film, Literature, and Visual Culture Course Schedule page provides you with detailed information on the program's offerings.

Film, Literature, and Visual Culture Faculty

You can find a full listing of our instructors in this certificate program on the Film, Literature, and Visual Culture Faculty page.

Admission for the Film, Literature, and Visual Culture Program

Applicants to this certificate program must hold a graduate degree from an accredited U.S. college, university or its foreign equivalent. A competitive graduate record that indicates strong academic ability is required, though applicants need not have extensive experience in literary studies. A list of admission requirements can be found on our Film, Literature, and Visual Culture Admission page.

Film, Literature, and Visual Culture Tuition

Tuition costs can vary for each of our programs. For the most up-to-date information on financial obligations, please visit our Film, Literature, and Visual Culture Tuition page.

Film, Literature, and Visual Culture Registration Information

Our Film, Literature, and Visual Culture Registration Information page outlines important dates and deadlines as well as the process for adding and dropping courses.

Gainful Employment in Film, Literature, and Visual Culture

Common questions and answers related to cost, financing and success in this certificate program are found on our Gainful Employment in Film, Literature, and Visual Culture page.

Additional Information

This post-graduate certificate in film, literature, and visual culture may be especially beneficial to educators, students who are thinking of going on to a PhD program, or anyone who wants to focus their literary study more precisely. Students complete four thematically linked courses for a specialization. The certificate will:

  • Expose students to Northwestern University’s distinguished and world class instructors.
  • Provide students with countless opportunities to engage with others who are passionate to rediscover and master classic texts while exploring exciting, contemporary works, diverse genres and cutting-edge ideas in narrative form and interpretation.
  • Engage students in advanced literary study, which improves critical assessment and problem solving skills which translate to work, personal and intellectual life.
  • Sharpen analytical and writing abilities, which can help prepare students for application to PhD programs.

Applicants must possess a graduate degree in order to be considered for this program.

Find out more about Northwestern's Film, Literature, and Visual Culture Program

Film, Literature, and Visual Culture Course Options

To complete this certificate, students may take any four courses available in the topic area (which may include courses available through The Graduate School). To satisfy the four units of credit required for the certificate, students also have the option to register for the following:

  • An independent study, which is a customized course of study undertaken by a single student under the guidance of an instructor. Denoted by the course number, 499, independent studies are comparable in their demands to other graduate-level courses.
  • A capstone project, which is an essay of 45 to 75 double-spaced pages written under the supervision of an approved faculty member. The project presents an opportunity to research and explore a topic thoroughly. Students often elect to expand a seminar paper from a previous course. Students who wish to pursue a capstone project must do so as their fourth and final course in the certificate program.

Students who did not previously study literature at the graduate level are strongly encouraged to take LIT 410: Introduction to Graduate Study. This course introduces current issues in literary and cultural studies and provides access to some of the approaches and techniques for the study of literature at the graduate level.

Please note that courses completed in the certificate program cannot be transferred to the corresponding graduate degree.

Core Courses:Course Detail
Introduction to Digital Studies <> IPLS 420-0

How do we better understand the conjuncture of digital technologies and the humanities? What kinds of thinking, research, teaching, politics, and cultural analysis can the digital enhance? How, in turn, do the fields that constitute the humanities (history, literary and language studies, philosophy, art history, musicology, cultural anthropology, media studies, etc.) offer guidance and grounding in today's wireless world? This course introduces students to the emerging field of critical digital studies, which looks at the intersection of digital technology and the humanities. Through a blending of weekly online engagements and three, Saturday afternoon face-to-face seminars, we address topics such as: what is the history of both the humanities and digital approaches to it as an interdisciplinary project? How can we address humanities questions today through new tactics of computational study found in informatics, statistical analysis, data visualization, and "big data" approaches? What new modes of publishing and scholarly communication do digital technologies make possible (multimedia presentation, podcasts, video, visualization, etc.)? How do we understand the ethics and politics of the digital world (surveillance, open source, net neutrality, sustainability, power)? Each week, students conduct readings and viewings, explore case studies, and complete online experiments. We pursue vigorous online discussion and convene in person for a seminar three times over the course of the quarter. Students pursue a final digital project in consultation with the instructor and in relation to individual interests and pursuits (graduate work, professional interests, digital humanities methodologies). Weekly topics include: digital annotation and database construction for close reading; "distant reading" tactics; digital mapping and timeline building; data and archives; network analysis; glitching and deformance for hermeneutic interpretation; and platforms and social media for humanities inquiry. (This course may count towards the American Studies, Chicago Studies, Digital Studies, History, Religious and Ethical Studies, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the American Literature, British Literature, Comparative and World Literature, Film, Literature and Visual Culture, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course is required of MALS and COAGS students, specializing in Digital Studies. But any interested graduate student may take the course as an elective. Please note, this course is a hybrid which will meet in person on January 13, February 10, and March 17.)


View IPLS 420-0 Sections
Intro to Graduate Study <> LIT 410-0

This course approaches literary studies on a graduate level. We will examine the act of reading and literary interpretation, including various methodologies for producing and documenting literary criticism. We will also work to understand a range of literary theories and their suitable deployment through encounters with selected American realist, modernist, and postmodernist works by authors including Whitman, Twain, Cather, Dreiser, Hemingway, Eliot, Morrison, and DeLillo. We will survey various schools of criticism including Marxism, New Criticism, structuralism and post-structuralism, gender and queer theory, cultural studies, and the New York Intellectuals. (This course is required of all MALit students within the first year of study. This course may also count toward the American literature specialization.)


There is no available section.
Courses:Course Detail
Imagining the Internet: Fiction, Film and Theory <> IPLS 401-0

Much recent fiction, film, and theory are concerned with representing the internet and online environments. Sometimes cyberspace is depicted as a continuation of previous media such as television, cinema, or telephone, but often it is envisioned as a new frontier. This course will examine the ways in which digital interfaces appear in cultural discourses. We consider how technological objects and tools participate in shaping elements of our culture that may appear natural, logical, or timeless. Our guiding questions will include the following: In what ways are these narratives shaping collective perceptions of the internet? How have virtual technologies challenged experiences of language, gender, sex, race, ethnicity, and location? We will focus on literary and filmic representations of social networking, gaming, news delivery, and artificial intelligence. Following a Cultural Studies model for inquiry, this course will be text-based with require that you develop close reading strategies, as well as revise your work. (This course may count towards the American Studies, Digital Studies, History, Religious and Ethical Studies, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Film, Literature and Visual Culture, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. But any interested graduate student may take the course as an elective. Please note, this course is a hybrid which will meet in person on January 13, February 10, and March 17.)


View IPLS 401-0 Sections
Asian Religions in Lit & Film <> IPLS 402-0

Since the age when the maritime explorers searched for a passage to India and a shorter route to the East, Asia has held a fascination for the West and the religions and cultures of Asia have influenced Western literature, philosophy and religion. This course explores some of the classic literature of the Asian religions, Hinduism, Buddhism and Daoism, and also considers some of the ways that this literature has been interpreted in the modern period in both Asian and Western film and literature. Among our readings will be two of the great epics of Hinduism, the Bhagavad Gita and the Ramayana, as well as key writings from the Buddhist tradition, and the Chinese Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing). We shall also view examples of Asian and Western film and read modern works by authors such as Thoreau, Forster and Kerouac in order to inquire how this Asian literature and its religious themes have been interpreted and re-imagined in the modern period. (This course may count toward the American, World and Comparative literature, or Literature, film, and visual culture specializations in MALit. It may count toward the American studies, History, and Religion and ethical studies specializations in MALS. It may also count toward any of these specialization certificate programs. It may also count as a literature course or elective in the creative writing program.)


View IPLS 402-0 Sections
Millennial Masculinities <> IPLS 492-0

The “crisis of contemporary masculinity” is routinely discussed in both popular media and academic circles. Due to changing geopolitical and socioeconomic conditions, constructions of American manhood have been reconfigured in the past twenty years. Or have they? This course will examine American manhood and masculinity in the millennial age. Drawing heavily from examples of popular culture such as motion pictures, reality television, men’s magazines, literature and sports, issues that be considered will include body image, race and masculinity, fatherhood, labor, education, the anti-hero in popular culture, sexual fluidity and metrosexuality. Students will read contemporary gender theory and interrogate cinematic, televisual and online representations of masculinity. (This course may count toward the American literature or Literature, film, and visual culture specializations in MALit. It may count toward the American studies specialization in MALS. It may also count toward any of these specialization certificate programs.)


There is no available section.
Loving the Child <> IPLS 492-0

One comes to this course with a willingness to question the relationships between parents and children, beginning with Georgian England and continuing to those of contemporary times, in literature, art and film. While these relationships can be loving, they also can be deeply disturbing, even abusive; in Dame Iris Murdoch's work, for example, the young are often sacrificial lambs for the older generation, sacrificed even to death. Causes of discord between the generations are often more numerous than causes for agreement and harmony. To unpack these relationships and explore these themes, we will read novels, view films and works of art and photography. Some of the work we will examine point out areas of disagreement between parents and children that come with one generation's shock when a child's homosexuality is revealed, as in Nadine Gordimer's The House Gun; political disagreement between generations can be equally difficult in Turgenev's Fathers and Sons; looking at Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, while viewing the photographs he took of the young child he used as the model for Alice can give us another view of adults and children in Victorian England, for example. Our list will be wide-ranging. (This course may count towards the History or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may also count towards the British Literature, Film, Literature, and Visual Culture, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)


There is no available section.
New Documentary Film <> IPLS 492-0

Documentary film has been one of the most acclaimed genres of film since 2000. Numerous documentary films have made valuable political or social statements (Fahrenheit 9/11) while others have simply entertained us (March of the Penguins). What all documentary films do is constrict a vision of reality – whether it is the perspective of a president, the crimes of a serial killer, the lives of a group of penguins or the courage of cancer survivors. We will examine the impact of reality television on the genre. Through the screening of documentaries both within and outside of class, we will consider documentaries as performative acts. Their very fluidity and instability will allow us to examine the differing spectatorial reactions to these films. (This course may count towards the Interdisciplinary Studies specialization in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may also count towards the Film, Literature, and Visual Culture or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)


There is no available section.
What is the Truth? <> IPLS 492-0

“Fake news” has become one of the most discussed contemporary issues in American culture since the 2016 presidential election. But a firm description of exactly what is “fake news” is lacking. This course will examine this phenomenon. We will begin with an examination of the cultural and political polarization of the United States in the second decade of the 21st century. We will then attempt to define “fake news” in its various incarnations and examine how it is both a national and a global phenomenon. We will investigate how “fake news” is not a new construct and we will look at historical examples of it. We will discuss YouTube as it relates to news and cultural production, its political purposes and the rationales for downloading videos on the file sharing service and its relationship to the production of documentary films. The lines between archival material, YouTube and documentary filmmaking has become muddled in the past decade, particularly as it relates to the manipulation of original footage for reasons of political intent. Students will complete the course by analyzing a full-length documentary and determine its objectivity, realism, use of archival sources, biases, purposes, and whether if extrapolates “fake news” in its construction. (This course may count towards the American Studies, Digital Studies, History, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies and Advanced Graduate Study Certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Film, Literature and Visual Culture, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the Master of Arts in Literature and Advanced Graduate Study Certificate programs. This course may also count as an elective in the Master of Arts and Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. Please note, this course is a hybrid which will meet in person on three Saturdays throughout the term: June 30, August 4, and September 1.)


View IPLS 492-0 Sections
20th C Lit: Joyce and Woolf <> LIT 405-0

In this seminar we will study two landmark novelists whose works still reverberate around the globe: the Irish expatriate James Joyce and the English writer and critic Virginia Woolf (each 1882-1941). Living and writing in a period of accelerating scientific, technological, social, political, and economic change as well as civil and world war, each created radically new narrative forms to register modern time and modern times from the antithetical vantage points, respectively, of colonial Dublin and the imperial London metropolis. Through a selection of each author’s major works, we’ll explore their creative interventions in literary genres (e.g., short story, autobiographical fiction, epic, elegy, the novel) in light of a host of influences; among others, theories of the unconscious and “the psychopathology of everyday life”; scapegoat dynamics in theory and everyday practice; relations among bodies, desire, gender, representational strategies; performance (studied and unconscious) and theatricality; loss and elegy; the power of love; the scalpel of wit; the social life of comedy and humor; the socio-economic sex/gender system, including marriage and prostitution, as keys to political authority; the powers and pleasures of language in their modernist medleys of voices and styles: interior monologue, dialogue, poetry, news, advertising, jokes, parody, obfuscation, song, music, play script, letters, catechism, allusion, citation, non-English words, silence. We will approach these challenging, exhilarating, deeply rewarding books in ways playful and critical, jocoserious and analytic, each of us seeking singular revelations with serious purpose and imaginative freedom.

Requirements: Active, informed participation; short weekly analytic and interpretive exercises; oral presentation; proposal and seminar project.

(This course may count towards the British Literature, Film, Literature, and Visual Culture, Comparative and World Literature, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Interdisciplinary Studies specialization in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)


There is no available section.
Henry James and Film <> LIT 405-0

Henry James wrote his illustrious fictions at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, just as the technology of cinema was being perfected and its artistic potentials were first realized. To an uncanny degree, James’s central concerns as a writer were also those of cinema: the mysteries of personality and behavior; the tension between the old world and the new; the contrasting traditions of Europe and America; the revelation of character through objects, environments, and reckless impulses; and the various problems posed across the social ladder by sex, gender, money, death, and the supernatural. Comparing some of James’s short stories and novels to their film adaptations shows us how his plots and themes have been differently understood over time, and how film’s capabilities for rendering psychology, conflict, love, horror, aesthetics, and thought have also evolved. Students will learn key techniques of film analysis, will absorb some core ideas and innovations in the work of a dazzling author, and will braid these two areas of knowledge in their own sophisticated essays. (This course may count toward the American literature, British literature, or Literature film and visual culture specialization in MALit or the American studies specialization in MALS.)


There is no available section.
Jane Austen and The Rise of The Novel <> LIT 405-05

This course will trace the development of the English novel from travel narrative, Gothic and sentimental fiction to the realism of Jane Austen. We will read selections from Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719), usually considered the first English novel, and from 18th-C. Gothic and sentimental fiction to compare these to Austen’s realistic comedies of manners. The course will focus on Austen’s novels, from her parody of Gothic and sentimental romances in Northanger Abbey to her satire of British society in Persuasion. We will also look at the enduring popularity and afterlife of Jane Austen’s oeuvre and current “Austenmania” with its plethora of film adaptations, sequels, and parodies, including a more serious treatment of Austen’s fictional world in Jo Baker’s 2013 novel Longbourn, the story of Pride and Prejudice told from the perspective of the servants. (This course may count towards the British Literature, Film, Literature, and Visual Culture, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may also count towards the Interdisciplinary Studies specialization in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may also count as a literature course or elective in the creative writing program.)


There is no available section.
Comp Lit: Fictions of the City <> LIT 480-0

This course will examine the central role played by the city in inventing the forms for representing modern life, beginning with Paris (sometimes called the "capital of the 19th century" because of its central place in the elaboration of the new narrative and cultural forms of industrial civilization) and then focusing on New York and Los Angeles as privileged spaces where a "culture industry" then becomes both the producer and the subject matter of literature and film. Students examine the tensions between realist and mythic representations of the modern city in such writers as Balzac and Baudelaire, as well as the city as a site for the invention of "modern myths" expressing the utopian and dystopian aspects of modern life in the work of surrealists such as Aragon. Students will also explore how these approaches are taken up by classic Hollywood cinema in the 1930s (notably in such popular genres as the musical and the gangster film) and how these same problems are ultimately reinvented, in the second half of the 20th century, in a postmodern culture dominated by media images and global cultural flows, which will give rise to new social spaces and new utopias but will consequently also give rise to new forms of mythic and realist narrative. Authors read will include such writers as Honoré de Balzac, Charles Baudelaire, Louis Aragon, Thomas Pynchon, Toni Morrison, and Don DeLillo. We will also discuss films by such directors as Raoul Walsh, Lloyd Bacon, Busby Berkeley, Jean-Luc Godard, Ridley Scott, Jim Jarmusch, and Michael Haneke. Counts toward the American Literature and the Comparative & World Literature specializations. (This course may count towards the Film, Literature, and Visual Culture, American Literature, Comparative and World Literature, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the Master of Arts in Literature and Advanced Graduate Study Certificate programs. It may also count towards the American Studies, Digital Studies, or Interdisciplinary Studies specialization in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies and Advanced Graduate Study Certificate programs. This course may also count as an elective in the Master of Arts and Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. Please note, this course is a hybrid which will meet in person on three Saturdays throughout the term: June 30, July 28, and September 1.)


View LIT 480-0 Sections
Postmodern Film <> LIT 480-0

This course will explore the place of film in postmodern culture. We will examine how the aesthetic and narrative forms of film have been reinvented by postmodern film makers, as well as the ways in which the most important of these recent films have (from a variety of ideological and aesthetic perspectives) contested the dominant culture of postmodernity. The course will begin by providing the conceptual and historical background for an understanding of postmodernism, through an analysis of a number of key films of the ’60s and ‘70s. Some of the interrelated themes of these films (including works by such directors as Jean-Luc Godard, Robert Altman, Jacques Tati, Ridley Scott, and Chris Marker) are the new experiences of urban space characteristic of postmodern culture; the new cultural forms associated with the triumph of consumerism; and the emergence of a new global culture of the image. We will then explore a number of problems central to current debates about the nature and limits of postmodernism—such as the place of dystopian and utopian fantasy in postmodernity; the possibilities of and alternatives to realist representation of postmodern experience; the representation of new forms of sexual and ethnic identity and the intertwining individual and collective histories in an age of globalization—through discussions of cinematic works by directors from Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia, including such film makers as Alain Resnais, Gianni Amelio, Patricio Guzmàn, Quentin Tarantino, Stanley Kubrick, David Cronenberg, Jim Jarmusch, Abderrahmane Sissako, Agnès Varda, Todd Haynes, Djibril Diop Mambéty, Quentin Tarantino, Raoul Ruiz and Tsai Ming-Liang. (This course may count towards the Film, Literature, and Visual Culture, Comparative and World Literature, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Interdisciplinary Studies specialization in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)


View LIT 480-0 Sections
An Exploration of German Film <> LIT 480-0

What beckons people to the metropolis? What draws crowds to the cinema? Why should we think "cinema" in tandem with "the city"? Departing from these questions, we will analyze relations between cinema and the city, using Germany as our geopolitical launching pad. Drawing on a range of classic and lesser-known (but mesmerizing) films from the Weimar period onward, we will visit the real and imagined cities of Germany, evaluating how space and social relationships are imagined in the German metropolis and, in some cases, between a German and an “extra-territorial” city. Our travels will take us to the cities of Hamburg and Istanbul, Frankfurt and Jakarta, and Berlin and New York, among other locations. Critical questions steering our cosmopolitan navigations include: how does urban space influence how we think about forms of national, gendered, ethnic, sexual, and class identity? How does the historical network of social relationships in the urban setting--and in cinematic form--organize our view of political and social networks we now inhabit? How should we analyze urban economies in the context of cinema? Approaches to these questions will include: formal and aesthetic analysis of film and the historical background and cultural context of the films under consideration (including, Walter Ruttmann's Berlin: Symphony of a Metropolis (1927); Fritz Lang's M (1931); Eduard von Borsody's Wunschkonzert (1940), Rainer Werner Fassbinder's The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979), Fatih Akin's Head-On (2004), and Christoph Hochhäusler's The City Below (2010). These films will be considered in tandem with a selection of classical texts on modernity, mass society, and theories of space. (This course may count towards the Film, Literature, and Visual Culture, Comparative and World Literature, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Interdisciplinary Studies specialization in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)


There is no available section.
Latin Amer. & Latina/o Sci-Fi <> LIT 480-0

While science fiction has often been thought of as an English-language genre, in fact Latin America has its own rich history of science fiction writing. This course offers an introduction to science fiction literature and film in Latin America. Beginning with a critical definition of the genre (and the ways in which it differs from “magical realism” and the fantastic), we will examine some early examples of science fiction in Spanish language literature by writers such as Eduardo Holmberg and Eduardo Urzaiz. We will then read some now-classic texts that can be considered science fiction, such as Adolfo Bioy Casares’ The Invention of Morel, Jorge Luis Borges’ “Tlön, Urqbar, Orbis Tertius,” and the absurdist short stories of Mexican writer Juan José Arreola. Finally, we will trace the regional shift from science fiction to cyberpunk through texts like Cuban writer Yoss’s Planet for Rent and films such as Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealer, looking at the ways in which recent Latin American and Latina/o writers and directors have expanded on and experimented with this sub-genre. As we read, we will seek to understand how science fiction navigates the divide between "popular" and "elite" literature, its function as a form of social criticism, and the ways in which writers and filmmakers have used science fiction to interrogate social categories such as race, class, and gender. We will also ask what might make science fiction from this region different from science fiction produced elsewhere. (This course may count towards the Film, Literature, and Visual Culture, Comparative and World Literature, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Interdisciplinary Studies specialization in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)


There is no available section.
Slum Cinema <> LIT 480-0

This seminar is about slums, as much about their socio-cultural dynamics as about their cinematic representations. Slums are proliferating across the globe at an extraordinarily rapid rate. Today more than one billion people live in slums and that number is expected to double by 2030. By 2050, two thirds of the world’s population will be living in cities and a vast majority of them in slums or slum-like-conditions. We do, in fact, as Mike Davis puts it, live on a planet of slums. Life in the slums as described and analyzed both in scholarly studies and in popular media is one of the most dynamic points of intersection of the good, the bad, and the ugly. The material conditions of life, especially sanitary conditions that severely compromise public health, are palpably “ugly.” The “bad” is pervasive in slums: crime and corruption, violence and intimidation, sheer poverty, inequality and injustice point to the general abuse of human beings by the members of the same species. On the other hand, there is also much that is “good” in slums: resilience in the face of adversity, community spirit, creative and economic use of scarce resources etc. Without celebrating the slums, there is much to learn from slums for the society at large. This seminar is not just about films about slums. Slum Cinema is also not a film course as such. We will be using the cinematic representations of all sorts (feature films, documentaries, TV mini-series etc.) to examine the slum as a space of life and work of billions of people across the globe. This seminar will focus on the fact that a significant part of creative cultural production (films, TV series, music, novels, comics etc) takes place against backdrop of slums or slum life. Films to include: City of God (Brazil, 2002), Slumdog Millionaire (India, 2008), District 9 (South Africa location, 2009), Ali Zaoua (Morocco, 2000), Tsotsi (South Africa 2005), Gangs of New York (USA, 2002) and La Haine (France, 1995). The seminar has a very explicit global focus as it seeks to juxtapose cinematic representations from varied national/cultural terrains, from both from the advanced countries and from the developing countries of the global south. (This course may count towards the Film, Literature, and Visual Culture, Comparative and World Literature, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Interdisciplinary Studies specialization in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may also count as a literature course or elective in the creative writing program.)


There is no available section.
Contemporary Adaptation <> LIT 492-0

Courses in literature-to-film adaptation often emphasize canonical and historically distant works by such authors as Shakespeare, Austen, or the Victorians. This course instead centers on contemporary novels and short stories as well as their film adaptations, mostly but not exclusively produced in Hollywood. Beyond simply comparing these texts in terms of story or style, we will ask how literary fiction has itself changed in a 21st-century media environment where film rights are often sold before novels get finished, and where financing, production, media circulation, and creative processes constantly change. We will read American stories that have been adapted differently by U.S. and international filmmakers, and we will contemplate the politics that appear to motivate which texts get adapted -- and which themes are considered "literary," "prestigious," or globally marketable in an era when comic books, video games, and prior movies inspire more adaptations than do recent novels or plays. Along the way, we will master key skills of formal analysis and thematic argument regarding both literature and film. Key texts are likely to include "Brokeback Mountain" (Proulx), Children of Men (James), No Country for Old Men (McCarthy), "So Much Water So Close to Home" (Carver), Oil! (Sinclair), Atonement (McEwan), "Lust, Caution" (Zhang), The Reader (Schlink), and Persepolis (Satrapi), as well as the movies derived from these texts.  (This course may count towards the American literature, British Literature, Comparative and World Literature, Film, Literature, and Visual Culture or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Interdisciplinary Studies specialization in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)


There is no available section.
Lit of Amer. Century & After <> LIT 492-0

This course looks at the way in which U.S. writers imagined both the domestic scene and the greater world in the wake of the rising status of the United States as a global power. In the post-WWII period, writers rethought many of the presumptions about America’s place in the world and revised earlier narratives about Americans abroad and internationalism. In the twenty-first century, those presumptions changed again, both because of the changing geopolitical status of the U.S. and the impact of the digital age. This course will take a look at two extended moments: the early cold war of the late 1940s and 1950s; and the first decade of the 21st century. Authors will include writers such as: Ralph Ellison, Norman Mailer, Sylvia Plath, Paul Bowles, Gwendolyn Brooks, Dave Eggers, Claire Messud, Junot Díaz, Craig Thompson, Jennifer Egan. (This course may count towards the American Literature and Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the American Studies or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the liberal studies graduate and advanced graduate study certificate programs. )


There is no available section.
21st-Century Latino Literature <> LIT 492-0

This course will examine some of the exciting and innovative Latina/o literary works produced since the beginning of the new millennium, including novels by Junot Diáz and Luis Alberto Urrea, short stories by Joy Castro, a memoir by Carmen Giménez Smith, and poetry by Rosa Alcalá and US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera. Latinidad as an umbrella category comprising many diverse groups, each with its own history and cultural traditions, is a relatively recent phenomenon. But how did this group come into existence as a social phenomenon, let alone as a literary field? In addition to considering this question, we will pay special attention to how the works we study portray relationships among different US Latino groups and between Latinos and other US ethnic and minority groups. The tensions between the internal divisions of latinidad and its lateral affiliations make this body of literature vital for anyone interested in understanding the complexity of twenty first-century American racial formations. (This course may count towards the American Literature, Film, Literature, and Visual Culture, Comparative and World Literature, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Interdisciplinary Studies specialization in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)


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Literature and Wartime <> LIT 492-0

From the Civil War to the Lost Generation, and from the Vietnam conflict to the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, there has long been an intimate relationship between war and American literature. In the past decade, a number of returning US veterans have published novels and short stories set in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of them ambitious and sophisticated. Works set in and around war have frequently been places where questions about national identity and the changing status of the United States in the world have been played out in rich ways. In the past century, new technologies of warfare and the ever changing media used to report war has had a profound impact on the way these conflicts have been experienced and translated to a distant public. This course explores the relationship between literature (and some film) representing war, the historical understanding of the opposing side (the enemy), and narrative techniques developed to make sense of what is an inherently confusing situation. We will focus especially on World War II, Vietnam, and the 21st century conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, with comparative attention to representations of the war from the “other side.” Close readings of literature will be enhanced with some theoretical writings on cinema frontier narratives, war and postmodernism, empire and imperialism, and postcolonial studies; we will attend to questions of gender, race, disability, nation, subalternity. Texts: Works by writers such as Gertrude Stein, John Hersey, Miné Okubo, Hisaye Yamamoto, Norman Mailer, Gwendolyn Brooks, Joseph Heller, Ralph Ellison, Tim O’Brien, Michael Herr, Siobhan Fallon, Ben Fountain, Phil Klay, Michael Pitre, Elliott Ackerman, Hassan Blassim, Sinan Antoon, and Viet Thanh Nguyen. Theoretical and critical writings by authors including Paul Virilio, Friedrich Kittler, Richard Slotkin Jean Baudrillard, Gayatri Spivak, and Edward Said. (This course may count towards the American Literature, Film, Literature, and Visual Culture, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the American Studies or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may also count as a literature course or elective in the creative writing program.)


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Bad Mothers <> LIT 492-0

We hear about bad mothers on the news, read about them online and in news print, see them in movies, and perhaps complain about them with our friends. But what, exactly, is a Bad Mother? How do we know? Where does she come from? In this course we will read novels and watch films that help to constitute, perpetuate, and challenge normative scripts of what constitutes good mothering. This seminar will likewise provoke students to critically analyze the varied factors that shape and define contemporary motherhood as an embodied ideology. Our seminar’s key themes include the institutionalization of motherhood, motherhood as subjectivity, agency and performance, technologies of reproduction, narratives of adoption, and the politicization of motherhood. Texts and authors will include Nella Larsen, Adrienne Rich, Philip Roth, Alice Walker, Buchi Emecheta, Edwidge Danticat, Margaret Atwood, Tillie Olsen, Mommie Dearest, Rosemary’s Baby, The Manchurian Candidate, Kramer v. Kramer, Juno, The Good Wife, and The Blind Side, along with a unit on global media and iconic mothers including Angelina Jolie, Lady Di, Mother Theresa, Mother Goose, Margaret Sanger, Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, MADD, Whistler’s mother, and Kate Gosselin. (This course may count towards the Film, Literature, and Visual Culture, American Literature, Comparative and World Literature, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the American Studies, History, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may also count as a literature course or elective in the creative writing program.)


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The US-Mexico Border in Literature and Film LIT 492-0

The US-Mexico border has been the site of intense cultural conflict since the mid-nineteenth century. It marks both the connection and the division between two nations, and many of our most fraught conversations concern whether the border should be a bridge or a wall. As an entry point into these conversations, this course will survey literature and film centering on the US-Mexico border. Students will become familiar with the history of the border, beginning with the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in 1848 and extending through NAFTA and up to the current political climate. Together we will consider how the border has become such a potent site for contemporary mythmaking, a flashpoint for anxieties about race, labor, gender, and sexuality. Literary texts will include Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands / La Frontera (1987), Sandra Cisneros’s Woman Hollering Creek (1991), Cormac McCarthy’s The Crossing (1994), Carlos Fuentes’s La frontera de cristal (1995), Juan Felipe Herrera’s 187 Reasons Mexicans Can’t Cross the Border: Undocuments (1995), and Carmen Boullosa’s Tejas (2014). (Texts originally written in Spanish will be taught in English translation.) Films will include The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1982), Selena (1997), The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005), and Sin Nombre (2009). (This course may count towards the American Literature, Comparative and World Literature, Film, Literature, and Visual Culture, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may count towards the American Studies, History or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may also count as a literature course or an elective in the creative writing program.)


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