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Teaching


While a substantial amount of our teaching is concerned with issues of memory and trauma in one way or another, the following MA courses deal most directly with themes relevant to CMSI. UGent students can take these courses either as part of their diploma contract or by enrolling for an additional credit contract. The latter option is also available to non-UGent students. Further information about credit contracts can be found here. Visiting scholars wishing to audit courses may do so with the permission of the instructor.

Contemporary American Literature – Postmemory and Postmodern: Third-Generation Jewish American Trauma Narratives

  • 1st semester
  • 5 ECTS
  • Course catalogue listing (pdf)
  • This course offers an introductory discussion of the position of third-generation American Jews after the traumatic events of the Shoah. It will briefly consider the (attempts at) representation of the Holocaust in testimonies, memoirs, and fiction written by first, second, and third generation authors. The acquired insights about the literary representation of traumatic histories (most conspicuously the Holocaust, but also other historical crises such as 9/11 or Hiroshima) will then be applied to recent novels by third-generation Jewish American authors such as Art Spiegelman, Jonathan Safran Foer, Nicole Krauss, and Judy Budnitz.
  • For more information, please contact Joost Krijnen.

Contemporary English Literature – Transcultural Holocaust Memory

  • 1st semester
  • 5 ECTS
  • Course catalogue listing (pdf)
  • In the course of the 1980s memory emerged as an urgent topic of debate in the humanities and social sciences. Early work in memory studies focused on the ways in which memories are shared within particular cultural or national communities and constitute or reinforce group identity. In recent years, however, the transcultural, transnational, and even global dissemination of memory has moved to the centre of attention. Various theorists are trying to chart the possibilities, limitations, and pitfalls of remembering across cultural and national boundaries, often with reference to the Holocaust, the example of an event whose memory is no longer confined to one community. In keeping with this trend, this course examines how, why, and to what effect the memory of the Holocaust is invoked, mobilized, and represented in a wide variety of literary works – novels, essays, plays, and poems from around the English-speaking world – that relate the Nazi genocide of the European Jews to other catastrophic histories, such as the genocide of the Native Americans, African American slavery, colonial oppression, the Partition of British India, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We will analyse the nature of the mnemonic connections which these texts establish, explore the meaning of the new perspectives on the past which they open up, and study the ethico-political stakes involved in their reconfiguration of culturally prevalent concepts and frameworks of memory.
  • For more information, please contact Stef Craps.

Modern French Literature: Specific Problems II – Littérature et Temoignage: La Littérature de la Guerre

  • 1st semester
  • 5 ECTS
  • Course catalogue listing (pdf)
  • This course, which is taught in French, is text-centred (close reading of French literary texts) and aims at an advanced approach to French Literature (XIX-XXI) starting from the thematic of World War One. The subject is situated in relation to 19th-century realism and is analysed with inclusion of literary texts reflecting today about 14-18. The central question that this course tries to situate is the relation between reality and fiction. Starting from a close reading and contextual analysis of a selection of war novels that are representative of the period under study, we examine why “witnesses” use fictions, and how this happens. The approach pays attention to history, ethics and aesthetics, is problematical and places the subject in a Europeen context.
  • For more information, please contact Pierre Schoentjes.

Contemporary Latin-American Literature: Special Topics

  • 2nd semester
  • 5 ECTS
  • Course catalogue listing (pdf)
  • This course, which is taught in Spanish, offers insight into post-dictatorial Latin-American narrative and film. The approach pays attention to history, ethics and aesthetics. The main topic is the representation of violence and traumatic events in a selection of contemporary novels in relation to their historical and aesthetic context (Bolaño on Chile after Pinochet, Kohan and the banality of evil during the Argentinian Junta, the drug novel (Vallejo) in Colombia, fictionalized witnessing in Central-American texts (Rey Rosa). The course also offers an introductory discussion of the position of second-generation novelists and film directors from the Southern Cone and Central-America (Los rubios by Albertina Carri, Infancia clandestina by Benjamín Ávila, stories by Félix Bruzzone and Alejandro Zambra etc.).
  • For more information, please contact Ilse Logie or Bieke Willem.