Possible Electives in Foreign Language 2017-2018

The English Major allows TWO*
The English Minor allows ONE*

*Elective course requirement: elective courses may be courses in British or American literature or creative writing courses at any level, EN142, or foreign literature in the original language or in translation. CL133 and RE117 are always possible electives.


FALL 2017


EA253 Three Kingdoms in Chinese Literature

Four credit hours.  L.  Besio
China’s Three Kingdoms Period (220-280 BCE) inspired thrilling stories that were told and retold in the following centuries, in China and throughout Asia. By tracing the migration of the Three Kingdoms story cycle over time and space, students will acquire an understanding of the continuing legacy of traditional Chinese culture up until the present, and will become familiar with the defining characteristics and formal requirements of the major genres within Chinese literature. Course goals include the development of critical thinking and research skills, as well as the ability to communicate insights effectively, orally and in writing. Prerequisite: Any W1 course.

FR236 Introduction to the Francophone World: The Americas

Four credit hours.  I.  Mauguiere
A comprehensive introduction to the French colonial and postcolonial cultural impact across the Americas. Students will examine issues of race, cultural and linguistic identity, cultural survival, and the concept of emerging literature in a minority context. The cultural connection between Louisiana, Haiti, French Guiana, as well as contemporary Francophone migrant literature will be examined. Prerequisite: French 128, 131, 211D, or 231.

FR493B Seminar: Writing of Place: Migration, Nationalism, and Memory

Four credit hours.  Niang The quest for and celebration of identity are key thematic and aesthetic components in contemporary Francophone African literature and cinema. We will engage with works of fiction and film that provide a narrative of identity within the framework of African cultures such as sub-Saharan Africa or the Maghreb. Focus will be on communal and individual identities within the framework of ethnicity and/or tribalism. Students will learn how and why these writers and filmmakers narrate identity, and will engage with African identities through structured writing, oral presentations, captivating readings of texts, and film screening. Prerequisite: Senior standing as a French studies major.

GM263 Weird Fictions (in English)

Four credit hours.  L.  Ellis
This reading- and writing-intensive seminar considers the construction of the genre of science fiction (broadly defined). We will read short prose and novels from the 19th century to the present by authors such as ETA Hoffmann, Patrick Süskind, and Franz Kafka, and we will view films of Fritz Lang, F.W. Murnau, and others. In addition we will read texts that function as hybrid and complementary permutations of science fiction such as magical realism, speculative fiction, and utopian/dystopian fictions. Conducted in English.

IT397 Zine! A Practical Introduction to Contemporary Poetry (in English)

[Counted as a literature course elective, not a CW workshop course]
Four credit hours.  L.  Rizzo
Offers students an opportunity to engage directly with some of the most exciting poetry written in the past few decades, create their own texts, and collect them in a zine (a minimalist paper journal) we will be editing. First, we will become familiar with the most common non-lyrical poetic techniques (chance-based, collage, automatic writing, etc.), as well as the artists that invented and practiced them over the past few decades. Then, we will compose brand new poems, to be included in our very own zine. Guest lectures and field trips will enhance the class experience. Origins humanities lab.

LT251 Ovid: Metamorphoses

Four credit hours.  L.  Barrett
Ovid’s masterpiece tells nearly all of the stories from Greek and Roman myth through the lens of transformation, or metamorphosis. Nothing is stable, it turns out, not even what you thought myth was for. This brilliantly funny and provocative poem is always engaging-one of the reasons it came to be among the most influential works of antiquity. Prerequisite: Latin 131 or higher-level course.

RE117 A Passage to India: India and the Western Imagination

Four credit hours.  L.  Singh
Beginning with Walt Whitman’s romantic journey toward the "soul" of the universe, Western attitudes towards India and India’s encounter with Western culture will be studied. Literature and film include A Passage to India, The Razor’s Edge, The English Patient, Siddhartha, The Namesake, Gitanjali, My Son the Fanatic, Bend It Like Beckham, and Four Quartets. Historical, political, religious, and visual context of the texts will be provided. A close reading of the texts for their aesthetic value, their existential disclosures, and as narratives on colonialism, racism, and orientalism.

RE312 South Asians and Global Literature, Film, Art, Environmentalism

Four credit hours.  L, I.  Singh
Explores South Asians in their diasporic and transnational context. What contributions are Hindus, Muslims, Parsis, Jews, and Sikhs from the South Asian subcontinent making to contemporary global literature, film, art, and environmentalism? How do tradition and modernity intersect in their works? How do they negotiate religion, gender, sexuality, race, class, environmentalism, medicine, and globalization? Includes writings by Salman Rushdie, Jhumpa Lahiri, Hanif Kureishi, Bapsi Sidhwa, Amrita Pritam, Atul Gawande; films by Mira Nair and Deepa Mehta; art by Siona Benjamin, Anish Kapoor, M.F. Husain, Arpana Caur, Singh Twins; and the environmentalist works of Vandana Shiva and Maneka Gandhi. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing.

RU231 Spectacle of Modernity: Russian Fiction before Cinema (in English)

Four credit hours.  L.  Parker
Russian literature is a viewing machine, shaping how readers perceive the modern world. We read Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and the Symbolists, alongside critical discussions of visual culture and modernity. Focused on the Europeanized imperial capital St. Petersburg, our readings from the 1700s to 1917 explore how Russian writers reacted to the new technologies of the railroad, photography, and the cinematograph. Students learn to close read literary texts, analyze historical contexts, and critique visual materials. Includes hands-on projects at the Museum and guest lectures. All readings in English; no knowledge of Russian required. First-years and non-majors encouraged.

SP265 The Short Novel in Spanish America

Four credit hours.  L.  Olivares
Close readings of contemporary Spanish-American short novels by representative authors. Explores representations of gender, history, human rights, politics, race, and sexualities within the context of the social and political realities of Spanish America in the 20th and 21st centuries. Also considers critical literary concepts such as narrative perspective, parody, intertextuality, and self-consciousness. Prerequisite: Spanish 135.




EA332 Masterpieces: Modern Japanese Novels

Three credit hours.  L, I.  Prindle
An appreciation and examination of masterpiece novels and short stories written by 10 illustrious Japanese writers, including two Nobel Prize laureates. Cultivation of the students’ sensitivities to the feelings and values questioned by Japanese novelists. Examination of the novels as works of literature, aided by published scholarship in the fields of literary philosophical, psychoanalytic, historical, and socio-anthropological studies in Japan and the West. Each student will pry out covert meanings, verbally express those findings to an audience, and write a high-quality research paper.

IT153 Modern and Contemporary Italian Fiction in Translation in Verona

Three credit hours.  L.  Brancaccio
Held in Verona, Italy, a close study of five authors whose work spans the 20th century. Readings (translated to English) include Silvia Bonucci’s Voices from a Time, Lia Levi’s The Jewish Husband, Giuseppe Di Lampedusa’s The Leopard, Antonio Tabucchi’s Pereira Declares: A Testimony, and Andrea Camilleri’s The Terra Cotta Dog. Includes field trips to Venice and Italian cultural centers around Verona. Written work required: three analytical essays. Cost: $3,300. Prerequisite: For more information, contact Patrick Brancaccio (pbranca@colby.edu).




EA231 The Chinese Novel: Vignettes of Life in Imperial China

Four credit hours.  L.  Besio
A critical examination of the development of classical Chinese literature of various genres such as poetry, popular songs, philosophical discourse, historical narrative, prose, fiction, tales of the supernatural and the fantastic, romance, and drama. All readings are in English translation. Prerequisite: Sophomore or higher standing.

GK359 Homer's Iliad 3: Menelaos and Paris

Four credit hours.  L.  H. Roisman
In preparation for the combat between Menelaos and Paris, Helen shows herself on the walls of Troy. Will the two heroes, rivals for her hand, fight to the death? If not, what will happen next? Prerequisite: Greek 131.

LT362 Lovers, Exiles, and Shepherds: Virgil's Eclogues

Four credit hours.  L.  Barrett
The Eclogues have exerted a tremendous influence on later poets across Europe and the Americas. Virgil’s bucolic poetry draws on ancient learning, contemporary politics, and his own artistic sensibility. Prerequisite: Latin 131 or higher-level course.

RU428 The 20th-Century Russian Novel

Four credit hours.  L.  Monastireva-Ansdell
A seminar that analyzes one major 20th-century Russian novel. In spring 2018: Mikhail Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita, an imaginative novel that rewrites the Stalinist epoch through satire, black magic, and the Christ-Pilate narrative. Students present seminar papers in Russian at the Colby Bates Bowdoin Russian Research Symposium. Conducted entirely in Russian. Prerequisite: Russian 425 or 427.

SP338 The Diasporic Imagination: Cubans beyond Cuba

Four credit hours.  L.  Olivares
An examination of the cultural production of Cubans living in the diaspora after the 1959 revolution. Representative literary works of Reinaldo Arenas, Richard Blanco, Jennine Capó Crucet, Lourdes Casal, Ana Menéndez, Achy Obejas, Gustavo Pérez Firmat, Sonia Rivera Valdés, Guillermo Rosales, and Zoé Valdés. Also feature films, documentaries, TV shows, and songs. Topics will include the traumas of migration; the politics of exile; the workings of memory and nostalgia; the fantasies of return; the hybridization of culture; and the class, generational, gender, linguistic, political, racial, and sexual diversity of Cubans beyond Cuba. Prerequisite: A 200-level literature, culture, or film course.

Electives From Prior Years

Possible Electives 2016-17

Possible Electives 2015-16

Possible Electives 2014-15


Under the prior English major requirements, students may count two of the cross-listed courses from TD (Theatre and Dance) toward their 200-300 level requirement. No TD courses satisfy the pre-1800 requirement.