How does it feel to leave a world behind? Are we already trained in this experience as readers of fictions, who leave worlds behind whenever we put down a book? Can this experience of imperfectly moving on from one world to another, whether the real world or that of another fiction, teach us anything about ourselves as human beings navigating the epochal shifts of climate change and late-stage capitalism? What narrative strategies emphasize the affective and embodied dimensions of entering and exiting from their fictional worlds? We will start answering these questions by reading J. G. Ballard’s The Drowned World, Giorgio Bassani’s The Garden of the Finzi-Contini, and Anna Tsing’s The Mushroom at the End of the World. Other course texts will be determined by student interests. Secondary and theoretical material will be drawn from a range of writers including Georges Didi-Huberman, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Lauren Berlant, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Mark Fisher, Kenneth Burke, Edward Said, Ursula Heise, Amitav Ghosh, and Ursula K. Le Guin. This is a theory-oriented course that does not require previous knowledge. Students will have the option of producing a creative final project instead of a paper.


Time: Wed : 09:30 AM-12:20 PM

Location: TBA