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COMP 251
Dolls, Puppets and Automatons Fall 2020
Division I Writing Skills
Cross-listed GERM 251 / COMP 251

Class Details

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, Achim von Arnim, Theodor Storm, Felisberto Hernandez, discuss theoretical texts by Sigmund Freud and Heinrich von Kleist, look at paintings by Oskar Kokoschka and at photographs by Hans Bellmer & Cindy Sherman, watch a ballet by Andreas Heise and films by Fritz Lang and Alex Garland, and watch fashion shows by Alexander McQueen and Jean-Paul Gaultier. Conducted in English.
The Class: Format: seminar; This seminar will be taught online.
Limit: 19
Expected: 12
Class#: 2212
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: active class participation, oral presentations on the reading materials, three 5- to 8-page papers
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Comparative Literature majors, or those considering a major in Comparative Literature
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
GERM 251 Division I COMP 251 Division I
WS Notes: Each student will write three 5- to 8-page papers on which I will provide written feedback regarding grammar, style, and argument. Each student will write two 3-4 page papers on which I will provide written feedback regarding grammar, style, and textual analysis.
Attributes: FMST Related Courses

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