COMP 611 Theories of Comparative Literature
This course is designed at an advanced level to offer training in comparative literary theory, methods, and interpretive modes of reading. It will constitute the theoretical grounds for the Program and other core courses. The course will introduce the general concepts of comparative literature and highlight in historical perspective major instances of cultural transfer and travelling world theories. The course is conceived in response to the new trends in critical humanism and in dialogue with current issues and debates in comparative literary theory, World Literature approaches and the New Comparative Literature. The postulates of a “New Comparative Literature” have been initially articulated in the most recent debates in Comparative Literature, World Literature, Translation Studies and Postcolonial Studies. The debates, which offer crucial reflections on disciplinary formations, seem all to converge on the problem of method when it comes to working across languages and traditions and as such have called for the expertise of the non-European literary, aesthetic and critical traditions. The debates also offer such a wide ranging programmatic reach that crosses philology, translation, globalization and diaspora and migrant studies. The course will therefore uniquely focus on approaches to the conceptual languages of critical theory and to text and textuality, offering alternative approaches to the canons of world Literatures through comparative conceptual, formal, thematic and stylistic analysis.
COMP 612 Readings in World Literatures
The course is designed at an advanced level to offer training in the comparative methods of close reading, textual analysis and practical criticism, as well as in interpretive modes of reading. “World literature is not an object, it’s a problem” (Franco Moretti). As a training course in the historical, cultural and power differentials of cultures of reading and writing, Readings in World Literatures will take for its point of departure the critical interrogation of the assumptions that we either know what world literature is, or that we can so readily provide representative literary works to illustrate what it is. The course is conceptualized and based on theoretical questions surrounding the concept and its histories of practice. As such, the course is not intended to offer a survey of “the literatures of the world”. The reading selections will be approached through systematic engagements with the theoretical and critical debates on world literature. The discussion began with Goethe’s coinage of the term “Weltliteratur” in 1827 and continues to inform the work of scholars in the discipline of comparative literature, including David Damrosch, Franco Moretti, Emily Apter, Pascale Casanova, Susan Bassnett and others. The course will include problems raised by the different notions of eurocentrism, canons and periodization, genre-based approaches and the centrality of ancient epics in models of literary circulation, translation and untranslatability.
COMP 613 The Worlds of Arabic Literature
This course is envisioned to be an exemplary course in approaches to non-European literatures, designed to address and carry further the current debates in the discipline. The course will be carefully designed around key critical clusters that will further train the students in the new methods and approaches offered in COMP 611 and COMP 612 while revising the historical and critical problems of traditional approaches to Arabic literature.The course is conceived in answer to the recent theoretical debates over the agency of the non-European and will seek to problematize the historically dominant modality in literary and critical analysis and theoretical thought whereby European thought offers the modes of theoretical knowledge production and non-European literatures offer the objects of analysis. The course will take the form of a guided inquiry into Arabic literary practices through close examination of a range of representative works and a range of critical methods inspired by major theories and the specificities of modern Arabic creative and textual practices. Crucially conceived, the course will seek to open a new space of theorizations on the world in which contemporary Arab critical thought on literature and the literary comes into dialogue with current trends in theoretical production. The course is therefore also envisaged as an answer to the debates over the hegemony of world literary systems.
COMP 614 The Arabic Literary: Periodicities, Temporalities and Cartographic Imaginaries
Beginning with the literary work itself, the newly designed course will tackle issues of periodicity, regional and national divisions, circulation within the Arab spheres and the new literary practices. It will further build on the ground critical and theoretical training offered in Semester I and will tackle the issues of Arab and Arabic, Arab migrant literatures and literature produced in other languages in the region. The agency of Arabic creative expression and textual practices will be hermeneutically articulated in the attempt to offer such practices as critical and theoretical postulates, which will then be engaged in dialogue with European critical and theoretical traditions. The examination of the conceptual languages of critical theory and comparative critical methods will be linked through hermeneutical analysis to historical and cultural dynamics in the production and reception of literary theory. Literary works will be approached as text (formalist), creative act (hermeneutical) and literary practice (historical, cultural). The intellectual projects of key Arab thinkers and critics will also serve as mediating theoretical grounds between Western theory and Arab intellectual and aesthetic traditions.
COMP 615 Texts and Textualities in Comparative Literary Thought
The concept of textuality is at the core of the new comparative literature theories, and is offering new modalities for crossing linguistic, cultural, literary and historical borders. This course will focus on the questions of production, reception and circulation (key issues in the current debates) as textual phenomena. In carefully designed units, a chosen major Arabic or non-Arabic work will be traced across time and space. Philological, literary critical, historical and theoretical approaches will converge on the singe text, its historical moment, and its later readerly, critical and creative modes of reception across time and geographic borders. Further, the course will seek to radicalise theories of influence, text and context, as well as current practices of literary history, genre formations and language modes.
COMP 616 Comparative Theory: Untranslatability as Comparative Critical Method
This course will crown the theoretical training of the candidate in Comparative Literature at the Doha Institute, and is envisioned as a major intervention in the discipline and disciplinary formations in the academy, especially in the Euro-American sphere. An important aspect of the recent trends in comparative work is the need to revisit the languages of theory and to bring non-western theoretical discourses into deep dialogue through the development of local conceptual traditions. In Arabic, for example, this will entail working strongly between classical and modern, across the diversities of Arabic literary, aesthetic and cultural production and through strong comparative work equally with non-western as with western theories. No less crucial is the development of Arabic conceptual languages beyond the problems of the translation of theoretical terms. Especially significant is the program’s potential to develop the interdisciplinary study of literature by initiating local research networks. Collaborations with the Historical Dictionary Project and the Program in Philosophy are envisioned in the design of this course and will be crucial for the larger intellectual project that is hoped to be the DI signature in the field.
SOSH 601 Issues in the Study of Social Sciences and Humanities.
All SOSH students must successfully complete one non-credit core compulsory course offered at the School level as a cross-disciplinary introduction to the study of the social sciences and humanities.
Dissertation 6 credit
In consultation with an academic supervisor, the student will choose a dissertation topic and program of research. The student will submit a dissertation of 12,000 – 18,000 words at the end of the second academic year, but discussions about the topic begin during the first year. The coordinator of the course will organize regular sessions for students to discuss research methodologies and choose a research topic. Students will be expected to write a summary research proposal, incorporating the main assumptions to be tested, choose a research methodology and write a summary on what the dissertation will contribute to present literature, based on a critical view of existing writings on the subject. The coordinator will then choose a supervisor who follows up with the student until completing the dissertation.
The dissertation examination consists of two parts; a marked assessment of the dissertation by two examiners and an oral defense in front of an examination panel comprised of the same two examiners