Fall 2024

COL 690: Dissertation Writing Workshop
Kalliopi Nikolopoulou
Monday 12:30-3:10 Clemens 708
Class #15167
The Dissertation Writing Workshop (DWW) is a one-credit hour, mandatory course for all COL PhD students to be taken in the fall semester immediately following the completion of the Oral Examinations. The DWW serves two basic purposes: 1) facilitates the transition from seminars and exam preparation to the writing of the dissertation; 2) professionalization and job market preparation. Requirement for the DWW include the following: 1) production of a substantial and complete draft of a chapter of the dissertation, which will be presented to the workshop participants for comments; 2) presentation of a shorter version of the chapter (40 -50 minutes, approximately 20 pages) during the session in which the longer chapter will be discussed; 5) reading and discussion of other workshop participants' work. Dissertation directors and other faculty will be invited to attend the oral presentations of the student’s work·. The DWW meets the first week of the fall semester to organize the schedule of presentations and any other meetings. In most cases, the DWW will reconvene during the second half of the semester in order to critique the work of the workshop participants. Student grades depend on successful completion of all requirements. Failure to complete successfully the requirements results in the student's having to repeat the DWW in the following fall semester. 

COL 721 REC/ SEM:” Popularity, Nationality, Universality”
Rodolphe Gasche
Tuesday 12:30pm-3:10pm Clemens 708
Class #22868 (Extensive) 22869 (Intensive)
In this seminar we will pursue several goals. Through selected passages from mainly Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, this seminar will explore the Enlightenment demand for a popular form of philosophy, and ask the question whether such a demand however desirable is possible without eclecticism, and banalization of the singular level of thought on which philosophy operates. The other issue that will be explored concerns the relation of philosophy to nationalities. Is there something like national philosophies? What does the cliché of German, French, or British  philosophy, mean?   How does  philosophy’s claim of universality go together with its alleged, or even explicitly proclaimed nationality? Selected passages from Nietzsche’s will help us flesh out and answer these questions. In addition, we will read sections of Derrida’s The Other Heading, as well as his essays “Popularities,” and “Onto-Theology of National Humanism.”
 (counts toward COL core seminar requirement)

COL 722 REC /SEM "Testimony and Survival"
David Johnson
Tuesday 3:30pm-6:10pm Clemens 708
Class #22870 (Extensive) 22871 (Intensive)
This seminar concerns with the structural possibilities and limitations of testimony. What makes my testimony possible as mine and how is my testimony always that of another? We will also be concerned with the structural relation of testimony to fiction and of the truth to mendacity. Finally, we will ask about the relation of testimony to survival, to living on or survivance. We will read Jacques Derrida’s Fiction and Testimony (Demeure: Maurice Blanchot) and “History of the Lie: Prolegomenon” (Histoire du mensonge), as well as Alexandre Koyré’s “The Political Function of the Modern Lie” (Réflexions sur le mensonge). From there, we’ll take up Robert Antelme’s The Human Race (L’espèce humaine), Primo Levi’s If This is a Man (Si c’est un homme), Charlotte Delbo’s Auschwitz et après and Le Convoi de 24 Janvier, Elie Wiesel’s Night (La nuit) and Jorge Semprun’s Literature or Life (L’écriture ou la vie). Secondary readings will include Giorgio Agamben, Remnants of Auschwitz; Catherine Coquio, Parler des camps, parler de genocide; Rodolphe Gasché, Storytelling; Élise Lamey-Rested, Parole vraie, parole vide; Annette Wieviorka, The Era of the Witness (L’ère du témoin).

The first half of the seminar will advance via lectures on Derrida. The second half will be organized around student “kick-offs” of the primary and secondary readings. Final research paper (15-20 pages). (counts toward COL core seminar requirement)

COL 723 REC / SEM “Contemporary Poetry and the Task of Language”
Krzysztof Ziarek
Wednesday 13:30pm-3:10pm Clemens 708
Class #22872 (Extensive) 22873 (Intensive)
In the context of AI and ChatGPT, it is imperative to rethink the cultural and political roles of aesthetic practices and the inventive task of language in them. What is singular about poetic practice that AI and “large language models” cannot replicate? Although we will focus on poetry, these issues are at stake today in all artistic practices. With this framework in mind, we will examine poetry written after 1945 in the larger context of modernist and avant-garde poetics. To address this question, we will read a range of poets and interdisciplinary thinkers. Reading will include poetry by Oppen, Cage, Celan, Coolidge, Howe, Kim, Williams, and Bervin, with theoretical texts by Benjamin, Heidegger, Derrida, Nancy, and selected writings from critical AI studies. (counts toward COL core seminar requirement)


Past course offerings