COMP 209 Dolls, Puppets and Automatons

Last offered Spring 2014

Since their origin, humans have always made anthropomorphic representations, first in the form of idols, fetishes, or statues for religious worship, later in the shape of puppets, dolls, or automatons for their entertainment qualities. And yet, these objects have always played multiple roles in human society; modernity in particular shows a great interest paired with great ambivalence towards dolls, puppets, and automatons, regarded both as uncanny Doppelgänger or threatening machines. In order to comprehend the scope of our modern fascination with these figures, we will explore their haunting presence in literary texts by ETA Hoffmann, Theodor Storm, Villiers de L'Isle Adam, Felisberto Hernandez, discuss theoretical texts by Sigmund Freud and Heinrich von Kleist, look at paintings by Oskar Kokoschka, George Grosz and look at photographs by Hans Bellmer, watch a ballet by Kurt Joos and films by Fritz Lang and Ridley Scott, and watch a fashion show by Alexander McQueen. Conducted in English.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: active class participation, one oral presentation, two 7-page papers
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Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: Comparative Literature majors, or those considering a major in Comparative Literature
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Divisional Attributes: Division I
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Enrollment Limit: 25
Expected Enrollment: 15
Class Number: 3629
COMP 209 SEM Dolls, Puppets and Automatons Division 1: Languages and the Arts Christophe A. Kone
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