Culture (CLTR)

CLTR 1120. Introduction to Languages, Literature, and Culture. 4 Hours.

Examines the rich interconnections between literature and language and the culture that supports them. Discusses the relationship of language to literature and investigates how language and literatures are embedded in culture. Addresses several very broad and important questions, such as the relationship between language and culture; the relationship between language and thought; the definition of cultural relativism; and how ethical dilemmas are expressed in different cultures. Explores the relationship of esthetic and rhetorical traditions in given languages to the culture from which they sprang. In this context, examines the extremely interesting case of American Sign Language and how a gestural language sheds light on these issues.

CLTR 1140. Italian Society through Film. 4 Hours.

Explores the past three decades of Italian society through film using screenings, lectures, and discussions. Topics covered include the European immigration crisis; complex Italian politics; the modern-day Mafia; and Italian societal constructs, including gender norms, the family, and workplace dynamics. Examines the relationship of filmmaking and society. Explores positionality from multiple lenses. Seeks to foster student reflection and critical thinking through guided discussions and writing assignments and to broaden students’ awareness of Italian culture and society by considering social and ethical concerns presented in films. Students examine human nature and social behavior in the face of globalization and social change in contemporary Italian society. Includes the works of influential Italian filmmakers, such as Comencini, Virzì, Ozpetek, Muccino, and Moretti.

CLTR 1240. Latin American Film. 4 Hours.

Examines prizewinning Latin American films based on actual events, such as those that occurred during the Argentine military dictatorship of the 1970s, or works of fiction by well-known authors, such as Nobel Prize winner Garcia Marquez. These films ably depict the history and culture of these countries. Conducted in English and the films are in Spanish with English subtitles.

CLTR 1250. Introduction to Japanese Traditional Culture. 4 Hours.

Covers Japanese culture from ancient times through the 1930s. Studies and analyzes Japanese cultural practices, history, and texts. Offers a critical understanding and interpretation of the culture. Discusses Japan’s social and political institutions, historical processes, artistic traditions, and cultural exchange.

CLTR 1260. Japanese Film. 4 Hours.

Provides an introduction to Japanese film through works by such great masters as Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, and Ozu, as well as works by new directors from the 1980s and 1990s such as Tami, Morita, and Suo. Studies both form and content; relates major works to Japanese culture. Conducted in English.

CLTR 1265. Spanish Civil War on Film. 4 Hours.

Introduces the Spanish film and provides an understanding of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). Uses a semiotic approach; studies images of the Spanish Civil War in photographs and posters to show how fictional and historical texts are transferred to the screen. Examines both documentaries and award-winning feature films by prominent Spanish directors. Demonstrates how the realism of the prominent Spanish directors is combined with surrealist imagery and metaphor to create a distinctive visual style. Conducted in English.

CLTR 1280. French Film and Culture. 4 Hours.

Provides an introduction to some of the qualities that have made French film one of the great national cinemas. Focuses on both form and content; relates outstanding directors’ major works to the French culture and society of their period. Conducted in English.

CLTR 1290. Realism and Modernism in Italian Film. 4 Hours.

Examines postwar Italian film as a significant site of cultural production, a site where different—and powerful—social tensions, cultural conflicts, and ideological mandates manifest themselves as discourses and as messages whose goal is to shape and define culture. Uses the concepts of realism and modernism as two central modes of organizing cultural discourse. Examines realism and modernism as complex phenomena—as cultural dynamics, as aesthetic approaches, and as modes of philosophical thought. Analyzes Italian films as sites that manifest realism and modernism in each of these dimensions. Seeks, in taking this culturalist approach to film, to place aesthetic production within a broader context than artistic expression—analyzing film style and practice instead as historically specific encounters between film practice and cultural context.

CLTR 1500. Modern Chinese History and Culture. 4 Hours.

Introduces modern Chinese history and culture through literary works, films, and historical texts. Examines political, social, and cultural changes in China since 1800: the decline of empire; the New Culture Movement of the 1920s; the rise of nationalism and rural revolution; the changing roles of women; the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s; and China’s cinematic, literary, and economic engagement with the world since 1978. Taught in English and open to all undergraduates. Cross-listed with HIST 1500.

CLTR 1501. Introduction to French Culture. 4 Hours.

Explores contemporary France and French mentality through lectures, screenings, readings, and discussions. Topics covered include the modern vs. the traditional family, social reproduction, gender norms, culture and social distinction, the concept of “grandeur,” identity and immigration. Offers students an opportunity to evaluate historical and sociological readings, films, documentaries, and TV commercials ; to compare French and American systems; and to consider contemporary human and social behaviors in the face of globalization.

CLTR 1502. Introduction to Arabic Culture. 4 Hours.

Designed to provide students with an in-depth survey of Arabic culture. Familiarizes students with the roots of one of the richest and oldest cultures but also seeks to satisfy their curiosity concerning certain social norms, patterns, and cultural traits in contemporary Arabic societies. Examines cultural manifestations ranging from the hijab (head covering), Jihad (holy struggle), human rights, polygamy, gender relations, public behavior, and many others by providing the historical backgrounds for these customs and traditions as well as exploring how they are now perceived in various Arab societies as well as in the West. Seeks to provide students with an appreciation for this multifaceted culture but most importantly a broad perspective on Arabic culture within the context of the universal human experience.

CLTR 1503. Introduction to Italian Culture. 4 Hours.

Examines chronologically the main aspects of Italian culture, concentrating on the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the modern, postunification period. Topics include art, philosophy, literature, architecture, film, and historical background. Other topics address significant personages in Italian culture, such as Dante, Boccaccio, Piero della Francesca, Leonardo da Vinci, Alberti, Pico della Mirandola, Michelangelo, and Machiavelli; the differences between northern and southern Italy; and the nature of Italy’s cultural heritage and its influence and status today. Conducted in English.

CLTR 1504. Introduction to Spanish Culture. 4 Hours.

Examines chronologically the forces that have forged Spanish culture and have made Spain the nation it is today. Traces the development of Spain from the prehistoric caves of Altamira to the present. Observes past and present concerns such as divorce and abortion in a Catholic country, education, the role of women, linguistic diversity, separatism and terrorism, and the incorporation of Spain into the European Community. Incorporates history, sociology, anthropology, geography, economics, and politics. Conducted in English.

CLTR 1505. Introduction to Latin American Culture. 4 Hours.

Introduces students to Latin American culture through the study of a broad array of literary and critical writings by Latin American authors and selected films from Latin America. Authors include Sor Juana, Garcia Marquez, and Jorge Amado. Conducted in English.

CLTR 1506. Introduction to Chinese Popular Culture. 4 Hours.

Provides a comprehensive examination of modern Chinese popular culture in the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. From film to literature, from music to theatre, this course probes popular culture as it has manifested itself and traces its sociopolitical, aesthetic, and affective impact on modern China, with special attention to negotiations between the elite and the popular discourses.

CLTR 1508. Cuban History and Culture through Film. 4 Hours.

Offers an overview to Cuban history, culture, and society using a variety of films. Begins with the eighteenth century and issues of colonialism, slavery, and the struggle to create an independent Cuba. Features the early period of independence (1902–1925) and the overthrow of Machado (1933), as it is a period of great change and questioning about the island’s cultural and national identity. The latter part of the course focuses on post-1959 Cuba. Topics include colonialism and slavery, the pitfalls of national consciousness, gender relations, the mulatta in Cuba’s national culture, race relations, the importance of music in Cuban identity, aspects of Afro-Cuban culture, the nature of underdevelopment, homosexuality, social and political concerns in a revolutionary society, and Cuba in a new globalized environment.

CLTR 1509. An Introduction to Afro-Cuban Culture. 4 Hours.

Offers an overview to Afro-Cuban culture and history. Covers arrival of the first Africans, surge in the Atlantic trade, culture of the plantation, and the process of transculturation in Cuba, pre- and postabolition. Examines the philosophical and religious systems on the island: Regla de Ocha (Santería), the Abakuá society, and Regla de Palo (Mayombe, Kimbisa, Briyumba). Discusses slavery and racism in Cuba’s national identity, the intricacies of transculturation (hybrid cultural formations), the African dimensions of Cuban culture, ideas of exclusion and gender, as well as the extraordinary creativity of Afro-Cubans and their centrality to Cuba’s culture and history.

CLTR 1510. French Gastronomy and Culture. 4 Hours.

Analyzes the relationship between gastronomy, good manners, and French society since the Middle Ages, which is deeply ingrained in French cultural fabric and celebrated around the world as French savoir-faire and savoir-vivre.Explores cultural practices and the role of religious, political, social, and economic forces in shaping the formation of self, class distinction and cultural capital, gender roles and identity construction, permanence and change, and myth and reality in times of transition. When relevant, the course compares the French experience with other countries’ modus operandi. Includes films; documentaries; an interview with a  French chef; popular culture texts (cookbooks, menus, satirical food critic columns); and philosophical, historical, sociological, and literary texts from Stephen Mennell, Norbert Elias, Pierre Bourdieu, Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, Molière, Alexandre Dumas, and Emile Zola.

CLTR 1515. Comparative Analysis of the Lusophone World and Culture. 4 Hours.

Examines the role of the Portuguese culture, with a particular emphasis on the cultural influences that have shaped the development of the Portuguese-speaking world, also called the “Lusophone” world. Addresses the presence of the Portuguese language and culture beyond national borders and the relevant Portuguese contribution for the movement of globalization. The course is conceived as a mixture of lectures and other cultural activities that can better provide students with an idea of what is Portuguese/Lusophone culture today and what it was in the past. Focuses primarily on the Lusophone Black Atlantic as a space of historical and cultural connections between Portugal, Brazil, and Africa.

CLTR 1575. Jewish Film and Fiction. 4 Hours.

Examines books and short stories with Jewish themes, such as Goodbye Columbus and The Chosen, and some of the films based on those works. Offers students an opportunity to develop critical knowledge of key issues in modern Jewish identity—immigration, assimilation and intermarriage, anti-Semitism, and the Holocaust—through the lens of fiction and film. Cross-listed with JWSS 1575.

CLTR 1700. Introduction to Japanese Pop Culture. 4 Hours.

Provides an introduction to Japanese popular culture through critical analysis of mass media such as film, television, comics, and animation. Investigates various social and cultural issues, such as gender, family, and education. Films and videos supplement readings. Conducted in English.

CLTR 1990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions.

CLTR 2001. World Cultures through Film. 4 Hours.

Introduces the study of world cinema from the past several decades as a form of artistic and cultural expression. Emphasizes the way that different ethnicities and cultures mix and even clash within national boundaries. Readings cover such topics as the postcolonial inheritance, immigration, the boundaries of class, the pressures of modernization, ethnic identities, and historical memory. Examines storytelling in its multicultural aspects and deals with the diverse influences of entertainment cinema and art cinema, as well as measures taken by countries to limit the influx of foreign films in order to protect their own cultural productivity. One overall concern of the course is the place of film in contemporary global culture.

CLTR 2280. French Film and World War II: The German Occupation of France. 4 Hours.

Explores the fascinating period of the German occupation of France, the so-called black years (années noires). Resistance, collaboration, national identity, and historical memory are still active subjects of debate in France by intellectuals, historians, novelists, and filmmakers. Offers students an opportunity to read historical and eyewitness accounts as well as short fiction to situate the films in context.

CLTR 2475. Gender in Latin American Film. 4 Hours.

Explores gender in Latin America as represented in film, which often reflects how society experiences political and social upheavals. Discusses gender in this context as a focus of power and social legitimacy, a means of collective identity formation, a factor in the allegorization of a nation, and as a nexus of change. Discusses how representations of gender, sexuality, and sexual transgression are utilized to facilitate national mythmaking within national cinemas. Discusses different visions of masculinity, femininity, and transgendered identity and looks at films by and for women in Latin America and other non-dominant-gendered identities. Offers students an opportunity to understand how dominant ideology can be questioned, challenged, and revolutionized through filmic representation. Prereq. CINE 1200 or CINE 1895 (either may be taken concurrently).

CLTR 2501. Chinese Film: Gender and Ethnicity. 4 Hours.

Introduces students to cultural, cross-cultural, intellectual, and social issues that lead them to an informed understanding of Chinese film. Selected films are organized under the topics of gender, ethnicity, and urbanity. Outstanding directors are examined closely to illustrate these topics. Conducted in English.

CLTR 2504. Modern German Film and Literature. 4 Hours.

Introduces contemporary issues in German culture. Studies the importance of the Faust legend. Considers major novels. Also considers stories and poems by Böll, Grass, Mann, and Brecht as adapted by a new generation of filmmakers: Fassbinder, Schlondorff, Sanders-Brahms, and Wenders. Conducted in English. Prereq. (a) ENGW 1111, ENGW 1102, ENGL 1111, or ENGL 1102 and (b) junior or senior standing.

CLTR 2505. Berlin in German Film and Culture. 4 Hours.

Focuses on the evolution of Germany’s film aesthetic in relation to German cultural issues and touches on the “new German film” of the postwar era in the West, the influence of neorealism in the East, and the melding of these different traditions in the film of reunified Germany. The centrality of Berlin in Germany’s culture and history is reflected in the many films that have used the city as backdrop, from Ruttman’s silent masterpiece Berlin, Symphony of a Great City through the flowering of German expressionist cinema and on to World War II, divided Germany, and reunification. Studies directors such as Wenders, Klein, Sanders-Brahms, Fassbinder, Dresen, von Trotta, von Donnersmarck, Becker, and Tykwer.

CLTR 2510. Brazilian Culture through Film. 4 Hours.

Offers an overview of Brazilian film that historically covers the period from colonial times to the present. Twentieth-century themes include issues such as youth and street violence, popular culture and music, religion, the role of women, political and social struggles, homosexuality, cultural identity, and human rights.

CLTR 2715. New Literary and Cinematic Narratives in Latin America. 4 Hours.

Focuses on film, literature, and new media. Offers a panoramic view of the Latin American cultural production of the last twenty-five years, attempting to characterize the variety of styles and trends. Relates the texts and movies to the sociological, political, and economic issues of the moment, i.e., implementation of neoliberal democracies, globalization, neocolonialism, resistance, and new social movements, etc. Studies links between Latin America and the United States and between Latin America and Spain. Concentrates on reading/watching texts written by relatively “young authors.” The course is both international and interdisciplinary and is taught in English.

CLTR 2725. Representing Violence and Human Rights in Latin America. 4 Hours.

Addresses the topics of historical memory and human rights through basic theoretical texts about the concept of violence, memory, and human rights. Students watch films and documentaries and read novels, testimonies, short stories, and poems of several artistic movements, focusing on how violence is represented/visualized in these texts and how it relates to the social, economic, and political situation in Latin America. Studies four moments in recent Latin American history: Mexico 1968; Shining Path and Peru in the 1980s and 1990s; the genocide in Guatemala; and the dictatorships in the Southern Cone. Taught in English.

CLTR 2990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions.

CLTR 3450. Israeli and Palestinian Film. 4 Hours.

Seeks to open up a dialogue between two cultures that coexist in the same geographical space: the Israeli and the Palestinian. Explores questions of history, identity, conflict, and coexistence through documentary and fiction films. Films are contextualized through extensive readings in secondary sources, poetry, and works of fiction. Requires students to complete several short papers and a final research paper. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

CLTR 3500. French Culture and the Arts. 4 Hours.

Designed to provide students with an overview of French culture with a particular focus on its rich artistic heritage as manifested down through history and in popular culture today. Includes such areas as language, art, architecture, cinema, music, literature, urban and landscape design, fashion, folklore, rites, rituals, and customs. Studies the distinctive characteristics of France’s many regions in light of their contributions to the vast tapestry that comprises French culture. Conducted in French. Prereq. FRNH 2102 or FRNH 2302.

CLTR 3510. Spanish Culture and the Arts. 4 Hours.

Designed to provide students with an overview of Spanish culture with a particular focus on its rich artistic heritage as manifested down through history and in popular culture today. Includes such areas as language, art, architecture, cinema, music, literature, urban and landscape design, fashion, folklore, rites, rituals, and customs. Studies the distinctive characteristics of Spain’s many regions in light of their contributions to the vast tapestry that comprises Spanish culture. Conducted in Spanish. Prereq. SPNS 2102 or SPNS 2302.

CLTR 3710. Representing Latin American Cities. 4 Hours.

Examines how several Latin American cities have been imagined, represented, written and sung about, and filmed by studying different cultural artifacts and manifestations. Examines works from the fourteenth century until today (from newspapers and popular poetry to blogs and tweets, from paintings to films, from novels to graffiti, from sports to food) that deal in different ways with the “idea” and “imagination” of the cities from their foundation to the present. This is an interactive course and is taught in Spanish. Prereq. SPNS 2102.

CLTR 3715. New Narratives: Latin America after 1989. 4 Hours.

Focuses on film, literature, and new media. This course offers a panoramic view of the Latin American cultural production after 1989, attempting to characterize the variety of styles and trends. Relates the texts and movies to the socio, political, and economic issues of the moment, i.e., implementation of neoliberal democracies, globalization, neocolonialism, resistance, new social movements, etc. Also studies links between Latin America and the United States and between Latin America and Spain. Focuses on texts written by relatively young authors. Taught in Spanish. Prereq. SPNS 2102.

CLTR 3720. Literature, Arts, and Poverty in Latin America. 4 Hours.

Focuses on the construction, characteristics, and representation of poverty/the poor in Latin American texts from the thirties and sixties and in the works of contemporary Latin American writers and film directors. Discusses the relation of these works to a “realist tradition” by studying social, political, and cultural aspects of Latin America from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Considers whether we are facing a new kind of realism. Also engages the problem of representation, the “role of literature” (ethics and literature), and its relation with politics and the global economy (literature and the market) in the Latin American context. Taught in Spanish. Prereq. SPNS 2102.

CLTR 3725. Representing Violence and Human Rights in Latin America. 4 Hours.

Studies the idea of violence and how it relates to the social, economic, and political situation in Latin America. Students watch films and documentaries and read novels, testimonies, short stories, and poems of several artistic movements to study how violence is represented/visualized in these texts. Also addresses the topics of historical memory and human rights by using basic theoretical texts about the concept of violence, memory, and human rights. Studies four moments in recent Latin American history: Mexico 1968, Shining Path and Peru in the 1980s and 1990s, the genocide in Guatemala, and the dictatorships in the Southern Cone. Taught in Spanish. Prereq. SPNS 2102.

CLTR 3930. Topics in International Cinema. 4 Hours.

Studies international directors, or the cinema of a specific country or ethnic group outside the United States. Students meet for weekly screenings, discussions, and lectures.

CLTR 3990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions.

CLTR 4507. Afro-Cuban Culture—International Study. 4 Hours.

Offers students an opportunity to obtain fundamental knowledge of the legacy of African-based cultures in Cuba, from historical to contemporary times. Examines origins of Africans in Cuba, including study of plantation culture, transculturation, African-derived religions, the visual arts, music literature, images of blacks in film and the mass media, and African-derived culture in Cuban daily life. Also includes visits to temples and other ritual spaces, meetings with writers, encounters with artistic troupes, meetings with priests or priestesses, visits to cultural organizations, and possible participation in rituals or ceremonies (tambor, cajón, violin).

CLTR 4508. Cuban History through Film—International Study. 4 Hours.

Offers an overview of Cuban history using Cuban films. Covers the colonial period through times of slavery and the nineteenth-century struggles for independence. Proceeds to the twentieth century, first the republican period (1902–1959), then the revolutionary period (1959 to the present). Touches on topics such as colonialism, slavery, race, women in Cuban history, the anti-Batista struggles of the fifties, underdevelopment, exile, homosexuality, Cuba in the “Special Period” (1991–2005), problems of personal freedom, and identity in revolutionary societies. Also includes visits to historical museums, buildings, monuments, and parts of Havana that reveal the country’s history.

CLTR 4944. Cultural Engagement Abroad. 4 Hours.

Designed for a language-based Dialogue of Civilizations. Complements the intensive language course that students take while on a language-based Dialogue. Offers students an opportunity to obtain an in-depth knowledge of the contemporary culture(s) of the country of the Dialogue and how that culture differs from or is similar to contemporary American cultural values and practices. In addition to regular in-class lectures and activities, offers structured opportunities to engage in dialogue with businesspeople, scholars, educators, artists, government officials, journalists, students, senior citizens, and/or local residents about their perspectives on various topics and issues.

CLTR 4983. Special Topics in Culture. 4 Hours.

Covers special topics in culture.

CLTR 4990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions.

CLTR 4992. Directed Study. 1-4 Hours.

Offers students a way of going beyond work given in the regular curriculum; may also enable students to complete major or minor requirements in certain situations. Priority is given to language majors and to juniors and seniors.

CLTR 4993. Independent Study. 1-4 Hours.

Offers independent work under the direction of members of the department on a chosen topic. Course content depends on instructor.