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Each semester, Translation offers a variety of TRA-headed courses, as well as cross-listing courses with departments across campus. Certificate students can take elective courses cross-listed with departments such as linguistics, psychology, philosophy, anthropology and comparative literature.

Fall 2022

CLA 203 / COM 217 / HLS 201 / TRA 203
What is a Classic?

Joshua H. Billings
TTh, 11:00-12:20

"What is a Classic?" asks what goes into the making of a classic text. It focuses on four, monumental poems from the ancient Mediterranean and Near East: Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Virgil's Aeneid, and Gilgamesh, which are discussed through comparison across traditions, ranging as far as Chinese poetry. Students will consider possible definitions and constituents of a classic, while also reflecting on the processes of chance, valorization, and exclusion that go into the formation of a canon. Topics will include transmission, commentary, translation, religion, race, colonization, empire, and world literature.

COM 351 / TRA 351
Great Books from Little Languages
David M. Bellos
MW, 3:00-4:20

For historical reasons most books that come into English are translated from just a few languages, creating a misleading impression of the spread of literature itself. This course provides an opportunity to discover literary works from languages with small reading populations which rarely attract academic attention in the USA. It also offers tools to reflect critically on the networks of selection that determine which books reach English-language readers; the role of literature in the maintenance of national identities; the role of translation; and the concept of "world literature" in Comparative Literary Studies.

CWR 205 / COM 249 / TRA 204
Creative Writing (Literary Translation)
Paul B. Muldoon
T, 8:00-10:50

Students will choose, early in the semester, one author to focus on in fiction, poetry, or drama, with the goal of arriving at a 10-15 page sample, with commentary, of the author's work. All work will be translated into English and discussed in a workshop format. Weekly readings will focus on the comparison of pre-existing translations as well as commentaries on the art and practice of literary translation.

CWR 305 / COM 355 / TRA 305
Advanced Creative Writing (Literary Translation)
Paul B. Muldoon

T, 8:00-10:50

Students will choose, early in the semester, one author to focus on in fiction, poetry, or drama, with the goal of arriving at a 15-20 page sample, with commentary, of the author's work. All work will be translated into English and discussed in a workshop format. Weekly readings will focus on the comparison of pre-existing translations as well as commentaries on the art and practice of literary translation.

ENG 390 / COM 392 / HUM 390 / TRA 390
The Bible as Literature
D. Vance Smith
MW, 1:30-2:20

The Bible created and divided the world. This course explores that deep history by examining how the Bible itself was shaped: when, how, and by whom it was written; how it recorded and reworked history; how it responded to and changed politics and culture; how it gave birth to the way we read everything today. No experience with literature or the Bible is necessary. Short exercises will show how to read translations closely, and how to work with the original Hebrew and Greek versions.

ENG 532 / COM 591 / TRA 532
Early 17th Century: Polyglot Poetics: Transnational Early Modern Literature
Nigel Smith
T, 9:00-11:50

Early modern vernacular writers did not simply imitate classical antiquity or later Italian or French verse as if it were ancient, but traded verse horizontally and multilaterally. Languages faded into one another though proximity, trade and war. We explore this cross-lingual, transnational literary field through the poetry of diplomats, colonists, itinerant prophets and pharmacists, and the work of traveling theater companies. The Netherlands is the polyglot hub for much of this activity, but we also chart rising interest in English beyond the British Isles, and tackle how we can think of an early modern global literature.

FRE 407 / TRA 407
Prose Translation
David M. Bellos

TTh, 11:00-12:20

A practical investigation of the issues affecting translation between English and French.  Weekly exercises will offer experience of literary, technical, journalistic and other registers of language.  Discussion will focus on the linguistic, cultural and intellectual lessons of translation seen as a practical discipline in its own right.

TRA 200 / COM 209 / HUM 209
Thinking Translation: Language Transfer and Cultural Communication
Max Weiss
MW, 11:00-12:20

Translation is at the heart of the humanities, and it arises in every discipline in the social sciences and beyond, but it is not easy to say what it is. This course looks at the role of translation in the past and in the world of today, in fields as varied as anthropology, the media, law, international relations and the circulation and study of literature. It aims to help students grasp the basic intellectual and philosophical problems raised by the transfer of meanings from one language to another (including in machine translation) and to acquaint them with the functions, structures and effects of translation in intercultural communication.

TRA 400 / COM 409 / HUM 400
Translation, Migration, Culture
Sandra Bermann
T, 1:30-4:20pm

This course will explore the crucial connections between migration, language, and translation.  Drawing on texts from a range of genres and disciplines – from memoir and fiction to scholarly work in translation studies, migration studies, political science, anthropology, and sociology – we will focus on how language and translation affect the lives of those who move through and settle in other cultures, and how, in turn, human mobility affects language and modes of belonging.