Courses in Translation and Related Topics at Yale

Spring, 2022

Proseminar in Translation Studies (CPLT 504) Instructor: Marijeta Bozovic

Core Course for the Graduate Certificate in Translation Studies

This graduate proseminar combines a historically minded introduction to Translation Studies as a field with a survey of its interdisciplinary possibilities. The proseminar is composed of several units (Histories of Translation; Geographies of Translation; Scandals of Translation), each with a different approach or set of concerns, affording the students multiple points of entry to the field. The Translation Studies coordinator provides the intellectual through-line from week to week, while incorporating a number of guest lectures by Yale faculty and other invited speakers to expose students to current research and practice in different disciplines. The capstone project is a conference paper-length contribution of original academic research. Additional assignments throughout the term include active participation in and contributions to intellectual programming in the Translation Initiative.

The Practice of Literary Translation (ENGL 456) Instructor: Peter Cole

This course combines a seminar on the history and theory of translation (Tuesdays) with a hands-on workshop (Thursdays). The readings lead us through a series of case studies comparing, on the one hand, multiple translations of given literary works and, on the other, classic statements about translation—by translators themselves and prominent theorists. We consider both poetry and prose from the Bible, selections from Chinese, Greek, and Latin verse, classical Arabic and Persian literature, prose by Cervantes, Borges, and others, and modern European poetry (including Pushkin, Baudelaire, and Rilke). Students are expected to prepare short class presentations, participate in a weekly workshop, try their hand at a series of translation exercises, and undertake an intensive, semester-long translation project. Proficiency in a foreign language is required.

Intermediate Literary Translation (FREN 192) Instructor: Alyson Waters

A continuation of FREN 191 for students who wish to work on a longer project and to deepen their reading in translation theory.

The Senior Essay—Translation Track (FREN 492) Instructor: Thomas Connolly

A one-term research project completed under the direction of a ladder faculty member in the Department of French and resulting in a substantial translation (roughly 30 pages) from French to English, with a critical introduction of a length to be determined by the student in consultation with the advising ladder faculty member. Materials submitted for the translation track cannot be the same as the materials submitted for the translation courses. For additional information, consult the director of undergraduate studies.

The Senior Essay in the Intensive Major—Translation Track (FREN 496) Instructor: Thomas Connolly

Second term of a yearlong research project completed under the direction of a ladder faculty member in the Department of French and resulting in a translation of considerable length (roughly 60 pages), from French to English, with a critical introduction of a length to be determined by the student in consultation with the advising ladder faculty member. Materials submitted for the translation track cannot be the same as the materials submitted for the translation courses. For additional information, consult the director of undergraduate studies.

Shakespeare’s Tempest, Cultural Translation, and the Genealogies of Race (CPLT 638) Instructors: Lawrence Manley, Ayesha Ramachandran

This course explores current debates over questions of premodern race, racialization, and race-thinking through the lens of The Tempest and its literary and critical afterlives. Almost since its first performance, Shakespeare’s play has served as an index of England (and Europe’s) engagement with its “others”: it is (arguably) a play both about and against empire, a meditation on indigenous and settler relations, a study in language and social stratification, a wry dramatization of gender dynamics, and an exemplary case in the making and deconstruction of race. Its classical and contemporary early modern sources are already concerned with these problems, which are in turn reimagined by Shakespeare for his time and then repurposed by the diverse range of writers who adapt from his work. The process of adapting The Tempest to different media and cultural situations over the past century (and more) has further elaborated these complex intersections: from Browning and Renan to Auden, from Césaire and Lamming to Virahsawmy, from Darío and Rodó to Fanon and Retamar, from Brathwaite to Cliff and Wynter, Shakespeare’s play is an occasion for exploring processes of cultural translation and the critical problems of race, gender, and (post)colonialism. While examining the transhistorical travels of The Tempest, this seminar introduces and examines the current state of criticism and theory with regard to adaptation, race, and empire.

Natural Language Processing (CPSC 477) Instructor: TBA

Linguistic, mathematical, and computational fundamentals of natural language processing (NLP). Topics include part of speech tagging, Hidden Markov models, syntax and parsing, lexical semantics, compositional semantics, machine translation, text classification, discourse, and dialogue processing. Additional topics such as sentiment analysis, text generation, and deep learning for NLP.

Prerequisites: CPSC 202 and CPSC 223, or permission of instructor.

Natural Language Processing (CPSC 577) Instructor: TBA

Linguistic, mathematical, and computational fundamentals of natural language processing (NLP). Topics include part of speech tagging, Hidden Markov models, syntax and parsing, lexical semantics, compositional semantics, machine translation, text classification, discourse, and dialogue processing. Additional topics such as sentiment analysis, text generation, and deep learning for NLP.

Mexico and the Migratory Lyric (ER&M 333) Instructor: David Francis

What is a lyric and how does it move? How have understandings of Mexican poetry changed over the course of the nation’s history, and what factors have contributed to these changes? To investigate these questions, this course examines how different forms of lyrical communication have been disseminated within Mexico and internationally. Therein, we discuss how lyrical production has been complicated by such issues as print culture and the publication industry; race, gender, class, and economics; and cultural politics and political representation. Our explorations begin with the popular corrido in women’s revolutionary war songs. Then move to discussions of nationality, translation, and bilingual anthology production before and after the rise of boom literature; border writing, migration, and the formation of multilingual literary communities; discourse of gender, sexuality, race, and disease; and the popularization of narco-ballads. We conclude by discussing the contemporary lyric as seen in different media like the novel and the film industry.

Exploring the Silk Road (HIST 321J) Instructor: Valerie Hansen

A journey along the overland and sea routes that connected China, India, and Iran from 200-1000 CE and served as conduits for cultural exchange. The lives of merchants, envoys, pilgrims, and travelers interacting in cosmopolitan communities. Exploration of long-known and newly discovered archaeological ruins, along with primary sources in translation.

Advanced Italian Workshop (ITAL 151) Instructor: TBA

Our journey begins in the early 90s, in the wake of the fall of the “First Republic” (1948-1993), by contextualizing the socio-political situation of Italy at this important historical juncture. We then proceed to reading avant-garde and experimental poetry from the edgy “Gruppo ’93” and move forward until today, listening and deciphering hip-hop artists such as Ghali and Bello FiGo, and exploring questions of appropriation, linguistics, identity, and more. By the end of this class, you will have read, analyzed, and translated several poems from contemporary Italy. Moreover, by being exposed to translation theory and critical analysis, you will also have developed your own philosophy of translation as well as critical skills related to language use in both English and Italian. Furthermore, you will have acquired a deeper and better understanding of the last 30 years of Italian history.

How To Compare (LITR 140) Instructor: Jane Tylus

This course is an exploration of literary comparison from methodological as well as historical perspectives. We compare texts within genres, across genres and media, across periods, and between cultures and languages. We consider questions such as whether all comparisons must assume a common ground, and whether there is always an implicit politics to any comparison. Topics range from theories of translation and ekphrasis to exoticism and untranslatability. Readings include classics by critics such as Aristotle, Ibn Sina, and Kristeva, and writers such as Marie de France, Nezami, and Calvino. It also engages with the literature of our own moment: we will read a newly-translated novel by the Chilean writer Nona Fernàndez, and the Iranian poet Kayvan Tahmasebian will visit the class for a conversation. We will also discuss films (Parajanov and Barta) and a new Russian computer game.

This course fulfills an introductory requirement for students considering one of the majors in the Comparative Literature department, but all are welcome, and the methodologies and questions discussed in the class are useful for any kind of humanistic inquiry.

Working Group on Globalization and Culture (CPLT 822) Instructor: Michael Denning

A continuing yearlong collective research project, a cultural studies “laboratory.” The group, drawing on several disciplines, meets regularly to discuss common readings, develop collective and individual research projects, and present that research publicly. The general theme for the working group is globalization and culture, with three principal aspects: (1) the globalization of cultural industries and goods, and its consequences for patterns of everyday life as well as for forms of fiction, film, broadcasting, and music; (2) the trajectories of social movements and their relation to patterns of migration, the rise of global cities, the transformation of labor processes, and forms of ethnic, class, and gender conflict; (3) the emergence of and debates within transnational social and cultural theory. The specific focus, projects, and directions of the working group are determined by the interests, expertise, and ambitions of the members of the group, and change as its members change.

There are a small number of openings for second-year graduate students. Students interested in participating should contact michael.denning@yale.edu.

Linguistic Diversity and Endangerment (LING 107) Instructor: Joshua Phillips

Introduction to the complexity of the question “How many languages are there in the world?” Geographical and historical survey of the world’s languages; consideration of the ways in which languages can differ from one another. Language endangerment and the threat to world linguistic diversity it poses. Language reclamation and revitalization.

Cognitive Science of Language (LING 116) Instructor: Robert Frank

The study of language from the perspective of cognitive science. Exploration of mental structures that underlie the human ability to learn and process language, drawing on studies of normal and atypical language development and processing, brain imaging, neuropsychology, and computational modeling. Innate linguistic structure vs. determination by experience and culture; the relation between linguistic and nonlinguistic cognition in the domains of decision making, social cognition, and musical cognition; the degree to which language shapes perceptions of color, number, space, and gender.

Language and Gender (LING 146) Instructor: Natalie Weber

An introduction to linguistics through the lens of gender. Topics include: gender as constructed through language; language variation as conditioned by gender and sexuality within and between languages across the world; real and perceived differences between male and female speech; language and (non)binarity; gender and noun class systems in language; pronouns and identity; role of language in encoding, reflecting, or reinforcing social attitudes and behavior.

Linguistic Change (LING 212) Instructor: Chelsea Sanker

How languages change, how we study change, and how language relates to other areas of society. This seminar is taught through readings chosen by instructor and students, on topics of interest.

Prerequisite: LING 112 or equivalent.

Phonology I (LING 232) Instructor: Natalie Weber

Why do languages sound distinct from one another? Partly it is because different languages use different sets of sounds (in spoken languages) or signs (in signed languages) from one another. But it is also because those sounds and signs have different distributional patterns in each language. Phonology is the study of the systematic organization and patterning of sounds and signs. Students learn to describe the production of sounds and signs (articulatory phonetics), discuss restrictions on sound and sign distribution (morphemic alternation, phonotactics), and develop a model of the phonological grammar in terms of rules and representations. Throughout the course, we utilize datasets taken from a variety of the world’s languages.

Encoding Speech in Minds and Machines (LING 238) Instructor: Jason Shaw

This class introduces analytical tools that support quantitative reasoning about speech. Methods for encoding speech in computer applications are considered alongside theories of how speech is represented in human minds. The purpose in examining these two areas together is to explore the degree to which theories of the mental representation of speech can inform smart computer applications and the degree to which machine learning techniques can advance the study of the human mind. Topics include computational modelling of speech movements, the resulting speech signal, human speech perception behavior, as well as relevant computational tools for signal processing, feature extraction, and machine learning.

No prior experience with Matlab or R is required but some general familiarity with programming is required.

Linguistic Meaning and Conceptual Structure (LING 475) Instructor: Maria Pinango

The meaning of a word or sentence is something in the human mind that has specific properties: it can be expressed (written/signed/spoken forms); it can be combined with other meanings; its expression is not language dependent; it connects with the world; it serves as a vehicle for inference; and it is hidden from awareness. The course explores these properties in some detail and, in the process, provides the students with technical vocabulary and analytical tools to further investigate them. The course is thus intended for those students interested in undertaking a research project on the structure of meaning. the nature of lexico-conceptual structure, that is, the structure of concepts which we refer to as “word meanings”, and how they may be combined through linguistic and non-linguistic means. Its ultimate objective is to bridge models of conceptual structure and models of linguistic semantic composition,  identify their respective strengths and weaknesses and explore some of the fundamental questions that any theory of linguistic meaning composition must answer. Evidence discussed will emerge from naturalistic, introspectional, and experimental methodologies.

Prerequisites: LING 110, CGSC 110, LING 217, or LING 263.

Language, Sex, and Gender (LING 546) Instructor: Natalie Weber

Sex-based asymmetries in language structure and language use. Role of language in encoding, reflecting, or reinforcing social attitudes and behavior. The “he-man” lexicon: sex-marking, reform, and resistance. Gender and sexual diversity as linguistic variables. Genderlects: differences (real and perceived) between male and female speech, conversational styles, and linguistic communities.

Fall, 2021

Medical French: Conversation and Culture (FREN 183) Instructor: Leo Tertrain

An advanced language course emphasizing verbal communication and culture. Designed to foster the acquisition of the linguistic and cultural skills required to evolve within a Francophone medical environment. Discussions, in-class activities, and group projects in simulated professional situations, with a focus on ethical questions. Topics such as public health policies, pandemics, medicine in Francophone Africa, humanitarian NGOs, assisted reproductive technologies, end-of-life care, and organ donation are explored through films, documentaries, articles, excerpts from essays and literary texts. Conducted entirely in French.

Prerequisite: FREN 150 or a satisfactory placement test score, or with permission of instructor. May be taken concurrently with or after FREN 160 and FREN 170.

Working Group on Globalization and Culture (CPLT 622) Instructor: Michael Denning

A continuing yearlong collective research project, a cultural studies “laboratory.” The group, drawing on several disciplines, meets regularly to discuss common readings, develop collective and individual research projects, and present that research publicly. The general theme for the working group is globalization and culture, with three principal aspects: (1) the globalization of cultural industries and goods, and its consequences for patterns of everyday life as well as for forms of fiction, film, broadcasting, and music; (2) the trajectories of social movements and their relation to patterns of migration, the rise of global cities, the transformation of labor processes, and forms of ethnic, class, and gender conflict; (3) the emergence of and debates within transnational social and cultural theory. The specific focus, projects, and directions of the working group are determined by the interests, expertise, and ambitions of the members of the group, and change as its members change.

The Working Group is open to doctoral students in their second-year and beyond.  Graduate students interested in participating should contact michael.denning@yale.edu by Monday, August 10, to schedule a brief meeting by phone or Zoom.

Chaucer and Translation (CPLT 582) Instructor: Ardis Butterfield

An exploration of the works of Geoffrey Chaucer (ca. 1340–1400), brilliant writer and translator. Using modern postcolonial as well as medieval theories of translation, memory, and bilingualism, we investigate how texts in French, Latin, and Italian are transformed, cited, and reinvented in his writings. Some key questions include: What happens to language under the pressure of crosslingual reading practices? What happens to the notion of translation in a multilingual culture? How are ideas of literary history affected by understanding Chaucer’s English in relation to the other more prestigious language worlds in which his poetry was enmeshed? Texts include material in French, Middle English, Latin, and Italian. Proficiency in any one or more of these languages is welcome, but every effort is made to use texts available in modern English translation, so as to include as wide a participation as possible in the course.

Translating the Renaissance (CPLT 809) Instructor: Jane Tylus

Would there have been a Renaissance without translation? We approach this question by beginning with the first modern treatise on translation, by the Florentine chancellor Leonardo Bruni, and moving on to consider the role of translation in Florence’s and Tuscany’s growing cultural and political mastery over the peninsula—and in Italy’s cultural domination of Europe. We go on to explore the translation of “medieval” into “early modern” Europe, the translation of visual into verbal material, and the role of gender in the practice of translation. Students engage in their own translation projects as we dedicate the last part of the seminar to the diffusion of the Petrarchan sonnet tradition in early modern Europe.

Advanced Literary Translation (ENGL 483) Instructor: Robyn Creswell

A sequel to LITR 348, The Practice of Literary Translation. Students apply to this workshop with a project in mind that they have been developing, either on their own or for a senior thesis, and they present this work during the class on a regular basis. Practical translation is supplemented by readings in the history of translation practice and theory, and by the reflections of practitioners on their art. These readings are selected jointly by the instructor and members of the class. Topics include the history of literary translation—Western and Eastern; comparative approaches to translating a single work; the political dimension of translation; and translation in the context of religion and theology. Class time is divided into student presentations of short passages of their own work, including related key readings; background readings in the history of the field; and close examination of relevant translations by accomplished translators. Students receive intensive scrutiny by the group and instructor.

Prerequisite: LITR 348.

Translation (FREN 191) Instructor: Alyson Waters

An introduction to the practice and theory of literary translation, conducted in workshop format. Stress on close reading, with emphasis initially on grammatical structures and vocabulary, subsequently on stylistics and aesthetics. Translation as a means to understand and communicate cultural difference in the case of French, African, Caribbean, and Québécois authors. Texts by Benjamin, Beckett, Borges, Steiner, and others.

Readings in French and in English. After FREN 150 and 151 or with permission of instructor. Preference to juniors and seniors.

The Senior Essay—Translation Track (FREN 492) Instructor: Thomas Connolly

A one-term research project completed under the direction of a ladder faculty member in the Department of French and resulting in a substantial translation (roughly 30 pages) from French to English, with a critical introduction of a length to be determined by the student in consultation with the advising ladder faculty member. Materials submitted for the translation track cannot be the same as the materials submitted for the translation courses. For additional information, consult the director of undergraduate studies.

The Senior Essay in the Intensive Major—Translation Track (FREN 495) Instructor: Thomas Connolly

First term of a yearlong research project completed under the direction of a ladder faculty member in the Department of French and resulting in a translation of considerable length (roughly 60 pages), from French to English, with a critical introduction of a length to be determined by the student in consultation with the advising ladder faculty member. Materials submitted for the translation track cannot be the same as the materials submitted for the translation courses. For additional information, consult the director of undergraduate studies.

Athenian Oratory: Law & Litigation (GREK 478) Instructor: Jessica Lamont

This course expands and deepens students’ grasp of ancient Greek grammar and syntax, while honing abilities to translate prose texts of the fifth and fourth centuries BCE. As a “bridge” course, this seminar also introduces students to Athenian law and the workings of the courts within a robust ancient democracy. The course is primarily focused on the work of three Attic speech-writers of the later fifth and fourth centuries BCE, Antiphon, Lysias, and Demosthenes; students also read a handful of contemporary Greek texts, inscribed on lead and meant to give litigants an edge over their opponents at trial (making use of the collections in the Beinecke). A goal of this course is to help transition students from translating ancient Greek accurately, into the realm of (1) asking critical and interpretive questions of primary texts bound by a common genre or theme, (2) considering strategies of translation, (3) analyzing the narrative styles of three Greek prose writers, and (4) thinking about speech-writing within its historical context. This course thus familiarizes students with the form, circumstances, and evolution of Attic oratory as a performative, rhetorical, and historical genre, while paying close attention to grammar and syntax in all reading and translation exercises.

Prerequisite: Ancient Greek L1, L2.

How to Read (HUMS 130) Instructor: Rudiger Campe/Hannan Hever

Introduction to techniques, strategies, and practices of reading through study of lyric poems, narrative texts, plays and performances, films, new and old, from a range of times and places. Emphasis on practical strategies of discerning and making meaning, as well as theories of literature, and contextualizing particular readings. Topics include form and genre, literary voice and the book as a material object, evaluating translations, and how literary strategies can be extended to read film, mass media, and popular culture. Junior seminar; preference given to juniors and majors.

Rome’s Africa, Africa’s Rome (LATN 413) Instructor: TBD

This class is an experiment in literary history. Covering more than seven hundred years, this course surveys the history of Latin literature by focusing on literary production from and about North Africa. Together, we explore two overarching questions: “What is the place of Roman Africa, former territory of the Carthaginian enemy, in the Roman literary imagination?”, and “What is the place of Rome in the Roman North African literary imagination?”. In doing so, we navigate the terrain of Roman and Latin literature from its beginnings through Late Antiquity, examining how Romans “wrote” into being the province of Africa and how writers from Roman North Africa “wrote back.” Authors explored in this course (in Latin): Plautus, Sallust, Silius Italicus, Apuleius, Augustine, and Corippus. Authors explored in translation include: Livy, Vergil, Lucan, Tertullian, Lactantius, and Claudian.

Prerequisite: LATN 141 (L4) or equivalent.

Historical Linguistics (LING 112) Instructor: Chelsea Sanker

Introduction to language change and language history. How do people use language, and how does that lead to language change over time: sound change, analogy, syntactic and semantic change, borrowing. Techniques for recovering earlier linguistic stages: philology, internal reconstruction, the comparative method. The role of language contact in language change. Evidence from language in prehistory (doing archaeology with language).

Topics in Computational Linguistics: Neural Network Models of Linguistic Structure (LING 380) Instructor: Robert Frank

An introduction to the computational methods associated with “deep learning” (neural network architectures, learning algorithms, network analysis). The application of such methods to the learning of linguistic patterns in the domains of syntax, phonology, and semantics. Exploration of hybrid architectures that incorporate linguistic representation into neural network learning.

Prerequisites: Python programming, basic calculus and linear algebra, introduction to linguistic theory (LING 106110116217 or equivalent).

Language and Mind (EDST 237) Instructor: Maria Pinango

The structure of linguistic knowledge and how it is used during communication. The principles that guide the acquisition of this system by children learning their first language, by children learning language in unusual circumstances (heritage speakers, sign languages) and adults learning a second language, bilingual speakers. The processing of language in real-time. Psychological traits that impact language learning and language use.

Medical French: Conversation and Culture (FREN 183) Instructor: Leo Tertrain

An advanced language course emphasizing verbal communication and culture. Designed to foster the acquisition of the linguistic and cultural skills required to evolve within a Francophone medical environment. Discussions, in-class activities, and group projects in simulated professional situations, with a focus on ethical questions. Topics such as public health policies, pandemics, medicine in Francophone Africa, humanitarian NGOs, assisted reproductive technologies, end-of-life care, and organ donation are explored through films, documentaries, articles, excerpts from essays and literary texts. Conducted entirely in French.

Prerequisite: FREN 150 or a satisfactory placement test score, or with permission of instructor. May be taken concurrently with or after FREN 160 and FREN 170.

Field Methods (LING 241) Instructor: Chelsea Sanker

Principles of phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics applied to the collection and interpretation of novel linguistic data. Data are collected and analyzed by the class as a group, working directly with a speaker of a relatively undocumented language. Discussion of ethics, linguistic diversity, and endangerment,

Open to majors and graduate students in Linguistics, and to others with permission of instructor. Students should have taken LING 232 or LING 220 and one other linguistics class.

Meaning, Concepts, and Words (LING 372) Instructor: Maria Pinango

A cognitive approach to the structure of meaning from the perspective of the language system. The brain’s finite collection of stored concepts, which are combined and recombined via predetermined principles. The system of associating combinations of concepts with combinations of words and sentences to produce an unlimited number of novel thoughts.

Prerequisite: at least one course in linguistics, psychology, or cognitive science.

Working Group on Globalization and Culture (CPLT 622) Instructor: Michael Denning

A continuing yearlong collective research project, a cultural studies “laboratory.” The group, drawing on several disciplines, meets regularly to discuss common readings, develop collective and individual research projects, and present that research publicly. The general theme for the working group is globalization and culture, with three principal aspects: (1) the globalization of cultural industries and goods, and its consequences for patterns of everyday life as well as for forms of fiction, film, broadcasting, and music; (2) the trajectories of social movements and their relation to patterns of migration, the rise of global cities, the transformation of labor processes, and forms of ethnic, class, and gender conflict; (3) the emergence of and debates within transnational social and cultural theory. The specific focus, projects, and directions of the working group are determined by the interests, expertise, and ambitions of the members of the group, and change as its members change.

The Working Group is open to doctoral students in their second-year and beyond.  Graduate students interested in participating should contact michael.denning@yale.edu by Monday, August 10, to schedule a brief meeting by phone or Zoom.

Philosophy of Language (PHIL 271) Instructor: Jason Stanley

An introduction to contemporary philosophy of language, organized around four broad topics: meaning, reference, context, and communication. Introduction to the use of logical notation.


Spring, 2021

Postcolonial Theory and Literature (AFAM 287) Instructor: Fadila Habchi

A survey of the principal modes of thought that have animated decolonization and life after colonialism, as seen in both theoretical and literary texts. Concentration on the British and French imperial and postcolonial contexts. Readings in negritude, orientalism, psychoanalysis, poststructuralism, and novels. Lectures in English; readings available both in French and in English translation.

Postcolonial World Literature and Theory (AFST 746) Instructor: Stephanie Newell

Introduction to key debates about post-1945 world literature in English, the politics of English as a language of world literature, and theories of globalization and postcolonial culture. Course themes include colonial history, postcolonial migration, translation, national identity, cosmopolitanism, writing the self, global literary prizes.

Print to Screen (ART 751) Instructor: Staff

This course investigates some of the unique challenges graphic designers face working across print and digital interfaces and the opportunities for these two spaces to have a dialogue with each other. Students develop strategies for creating coherent visual and conceptual relationships that bridge this divide. We look at the history and influence of technology on graphic design, the diverse ways contemporary practice explores the virtual and the physical, and consider how, in which way, and if these spaces are indeed different. Among the questions we answer: How can responsiveness translate to print? What is the digital equivalent of binding? Can a website be a time-capsule? Can a book be refreshed?

Proseminar in Comparative Literature (CPLT 515) Instructor: Rudiger Campe

Introductory proseminar for all first- and second-year students in Comparative Literature (and other interested graduate students). An introduction to key problems in the discipline of Comparative Literature, its disciplinary history, and its major theoretical and methodological debates (including philology; Marxist, structuralist, and poststructuralist approaches; world literature; translation). Emphasis on wide reading and intense discussion, in lieu of term paper. Graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory; offered every other year.

Natural Language Processing (CPSC 477) Instructor: Dragomir Radev

Linguistic, mathematical, and computational fundamentals of natural language processing (NLP). Topics include part of speech tagging, Hidden Markov models, syntax and parsing, lexical semantics, compositional semantics, machine translation, text classification, discourse, and dialogue processing. Additional topics such as sentiment analysis, text generation, and deep learning for NLP.Prerequisites: CPSC 202 and CPSC 223, or permission of instructor.

Reading, Writing, and Printing God: The English Bible in Britain and America, 1390–1900 (ENGL 594) Instructor: Staff

This course examines reading, writing, printing, and interpreting the Bible in Britain and America from 1390 to 1900, beginning with Wycliffite manuscripts and ending with canvassing books for marketing the Bible in a range of formats throughout the United States. The reading practices that we explore include typological interpretation, commonplacing, note-taking at sermons, and the catechizing of children; we also analyze illustrations as both interpretations and counter-narratives. The seminar meets in Beinecke Library, drawing upon its outstanding primary sources from medieval Bibles, books of hours, and children’s primers to sixteenth- and seventeenth-century translations of the Bible to texts by Julian of Norwich, John Donne, George Herbert, John Milton, and Mary Rowlandson, to the spectacular range of early modern English manuscripts in the Osborn collection.

The Practice of Literary Translation (ENGL 456) Instructor: Peter Cole

This course combines a seminar on the history and theory of translation (Tuesdays) with a hands-on workshop (Thursdays). The readings lead us through a series of case studies comparing, on the one hand, multiple translations of given literary works and, on the other, classic statements about translation—by translators themselves and prominent theorists. We consider both poetry and prose from the Bible, selections from Chinese, Greek, and Latin verse, classical Arabic and Persian literature, prose by Cervantes, Borges, and others, and modern European poetry (including Pushkin, Baudelaire, and Rilke). Students are expected to prepare short class presentations, participate in a weekly workshop, try their hand at a series of translation exercises, and undertake an intensive, semester-long translation project. Proficiency in a foreign language is required.

Advanced Literary Translation (ENGL 483) Instructor: Robyn Creswell

A sequel to LITR 348, The Practice of Literary Translation. Students apply to this workshop with a project in mind that they have been developing, either on their own or for a senior thesis, and they present this work during the class on a regular basis. Practical translation is supplemented by readings in the history of translation practice and theory, and by the reflections of practitioners on their art. These readings are selected jointly by the instructor and members of the class. Topics include the history of literary translation—Western and Eastern; comparative approaches to translating a single work; the political dimension of translation; and translation in the context of religion and theology. Class time is divided into student presentations of short passages of their own work, including related key readings; background readings in the history of the field; and close examination of relevant translations by accomplished translators. Students receive intensive scrutiny by the group and instructor.

Translation: Theory, Methods, and Practice (ER&M 362) Instructor: David Francis

This course explores the challenges, theories, and pitfalls of translation, focusing on the ways in which acts of translation cross, create, or redefine (socio-)linguistic, national, cultural, and political borders. Special attention is paid to questions of race, economics, gender, sexuality, nationality, post-nationality, multilingualism, citizenship, exile, and their various intersections at the site of literary translation. As part of their final projects, students select and translate a short literary or visual-literary work or critique and re-translate a previously translated literary and/or visual text. Proficiency in a second language is not required. This course meets the methods requirement for the ER&M major.

Intermediate Literary Translation (FREN 192) Instructor: Staff

A continuation of FREN 191 for students who wish to work on a longer project and to deepen their reading in translation theory.

The Senior Essay in the Intensive Major—Translation Track (FREN 495) Instructor: Thomas Connolly

First term of a yearlong research project completed under the direction of a ladder faculty member in the Department of French and resulting in a translation of considerable length (roughly 60 pages), from French to English, with a critical introduction of a length to be determined by the student in consultation with the advising ladder faculty member. Materials submitted for the translation track cannot be the same as the materials submitted for the translation courses. For additional information, consult the director of undergraduate studies.

The Senior Essay in the Intensive Major—Translation Track (FREN 496) Instructor: Thomas C. Connolly

Second term of a yearlong research project completed under the direction of a ladder faculty member in the Department of French and resulting in a translation of considerable length (roughly 60 pages), from French to English, with a critical introduction of a length to be determined by the student in consultation with the advising ladder faculty member. Materials submitted for the translation track cannot be the same as the materials submitted for the translation courses. For additional information, consult the director of undergraduate studies.

Advanced Italian Workshop (ITAL 151) Instructor: Staff

The history of modern Italy is pinpointed by crises and emergencies of social, political, and environmental nature. This course explores the role of literature and other media (including films, songs, and social media) in representing and making sense of such critical events, from unification to the present. Case studies draw upon the southern question and organized crime groups like the Mafia, the world wars and Fascism, the transition to democracy, the memory and postmemory of the Holocaust, far-left and neo-fascist terrorism in the 1970s, the sexual revolution, Berlusconism and populism, the migrant crisis, natural disasters, and the coronavirus pandemic. The analysis of literary and artistic representations of these crises and emergencies, as well as the state responses to them, often unveils diverging narratives. We first consider these narratives as the result of translation practices to ‘make sense’ of the events (intersemiotic translation). Then, through a workshop in intralingual (rewording in Italian) and interlingual (Italian to English) translation, students develop their own creative project, to be presented in class by the end of the term.

The Bible in English: Origins to Global Book (REL 727) Instructor: Bruce Gordon

This course introduces students to a history of the English-language Bible as the product of many hands working in diverse intellectual, historical, and social contexts. It examines the emergence of the Bible in its vernacular expressions through considering questions of form, translation, interpretation, readership, and reception. The Bible was never one book: it had many lives across a range of historical and cultural settings. We focus on the multitude of ways in which the sacred text was interpreted as a book that created radically different narratives and divergent identities. The course focuses on the evolution of the Bible as a book and the debates it has engendered from the Middle Ages to our own time, ranging from the era of the heretical Lollards through the publication of the King James Bible to the contemporary age of global communities. Area III.


Fall, 2020

Fictive Interfaces (ART 752) Instructor: Ayham Ghraowi

Behind the buttons, input fields, and location pins of digital interfaces is a world of networks. These networks are made up of computational processes driven by ideologies, biases, and agendas that render in their interfaces a skewed representation of reality that perpetuates narratives for like-minded readers. Reliant on emotions and desires, these narratives, calculated through vast amounts of data collecting, are generated by algorithmic recommendations. With this in mind, it would be naive to think of an interface as a neutral presentation of choices. Consider the way in which narratives are exploited through A/B testing and behavioral science in order for the interface to internalize motivation in users. A calibrated sequence of vibrant colors and loading animations drives dopamine-releasing game-play for the nth hour. An auto-play video queues up. An encouraging prompt from a seemingly omniscient narrator notifies Uber drivers as they’re about to log off, “You’re $10 away from making $330 in net earnings. Are you sure you want to go offline?” These narrative feedback, or compulsion, loops are determined by how real-time data can mutate into fiction. While platforms can be deceptive—in the way that Jim Molan, deputy chair of Australia’s Select Committee on Foreign Interference through Social Media, describes TikTok as perhaps being “a data collection service disguised as social media”—the fictive interface is not merely lies and trickery. It also relies on narratives that describe the plausible—ways to navigate a possible future that, based on one’s belief system, seems likely to happen. Throughout this course, we collect and read relevant articles documenting current events, so as to track the narrative and counter-narrative techniques of digital technologies, including memetic warfare, racism, nationalism, conspiracy, and propaganda. Within this arena, we identify and occupy new digital spaces of discourse for thesis work to be granted the agency in proposing its own narrative—one that will engage with multiple perspectives and challenging viewpoints. The course argues that it is not enough to distrust or oppose these technologies. Instead, understanding what goes on beneath the surface of the interface is necessary to make work that does not capitulate to fictive simplifications. The prompts for the thesis projects ask students to develop methods for translating their research into fictive interfaces. The methods consider James Bridle’s proposition, in New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future, that “what is needed is not new technology, but new metaphors: a metalanguage for describing the world that complex systems have wrought.” Building on technology and data storage and construction skills learned in their first year, students develop imaginative visual forms while also focusing on language and writing. Taking as a point of departure what Alexander Galloway writes in The Interface Effect, we think of the interface as “an entirely different mode of signification, reliant more on letter and number, iconographic images rather than realistic representational images.” Galloway, in regards to the use of data in an interface, continues to note that “gauges and dials have superseded lenses and windows. Writing is once again on par with image.” All notes, sketches, and work produced in the class will be rigorously documented and made as accessible as possible. We collectively develop publishing tools to address not only how these fictions are rendered, but also how they operate. However deceptive the representation offered by fictive interfaces may be, they also do things in the world. It is not just a question of how a button should look, but what possible social and political processes are enacted when that button is clicked.

Dance on Film (FILM 045) Instructor: Emily Coates

An examination of dance on film from c. 1920 to the present, including early Hollywood pictures, the rise of Bollywood, avant-garde films of the postwar period, translations of stage choreography to screen, music videos, and dance film festivals. The impact of industry, circulation and audience, aesthetic lineages, and craft in the union of the two mediums. Students develop an original short film for a final class project. No prior dance or filmmaking experience necessary. Enrollment limited to first-year students. Preregistration required; see under First-Year Seminar Program.

Translation (FREN 191) Instructor: Alyson Waters

An introduction to the practice and theory of literary translation, conducted in workshop format. Stress on close reading, with emphasis initially on grammatical structures and vocabulary, subsequently on stylistics and aesthetics. Translation as a means to understand and communicate cultural difference in the case of French, African, Caribbean, and Québécois authors. Texts by Benjamin, Beckett, Borges, Steiner, and others.

Readings in French and in English. After FREN 150 and 151 with permission of instructor. Preference to juniors and seniors.

The Senior Essay—Translation Track (FREN 492) Instructor: Thomas Connolly

A one-term research project completed under the direction of a ladder faculty member in the Department of French and resulting in a substantial translation (roughly 30 pages) from French to English, with a critical introduction of a length to be determined by the student in consultation with the advising ladder faculty member. Materials submitted for the translation track cannot be the same as the materials submitted for the translation courses. For additional information, consult the director of undergraduate studies.

From Gilgamesh to Persepolis: Introduction to Near Eastern Literatures (HUMS 128) Instructor: Kathryn Slanski

This lecture course is an introduction to Near Eastern civilization through its rich and diverse literary cultures. We read and discuss ancient works, such as the Epic of Gilgamesh, Genesis, and “The Song of Songs,” medieval works, such as A Thousand and One Nights, selections from the Qur’an, and Shah-nama: The Book of Kings, and modern works of Israeli, Turkish, and Iranian novelists and Palestianian poets. Students complement classroom studies with visits to the Yale Babylonian Collection and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, as well as with film screenings and guest speakers. Students also learn fundamentals of Near Eastern writing systems, and consider questions of tradition, transmission, and translation. All readings are in translation.

Translating Dante (ITAL 321) Instructor: Virginia Jewiss

Dante Alighieri is celebrated for The Divine Comedy, his epic journey through Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise, in which he moves from despair to bliss, watched over by his beloved Beatrice. Yet the story of Beatrice begins well before the Divine Comedy, in a powerful and problematic text called the Vita nuova (New Life). Here Dante recounts how his life was changed―made new―by his youthful encounter with her. Simultaneously a profound exploration of the power of love and an elaborate experimentation with poetic form, this early work is essential to our amorous and literary traditions. It is also a meditation on translation: of life to text; of prose to verse; of the divine to human, and vice versa. A moving reflection on beginning, and beginning again in the face of tragedy, this medieval work is freshly relevant in our current historical moment. We analyze the text through a comparative analysis of several translations before turning to relevant moments in the Divine Comedy and a selection of modern and contemporary works that the Vita nuova has inspired. This course offers a rare opportunity to read deeply Dante’s most enigmatic, restless work, to study its influence, and to participate in the making of a new translation of the New Life.

Language Contact in the Ancient World (LING 103) Instructor: Chelsea Sanker

What languages were people using in our earliest written records? How were they written? What were people talking about in these texts? This course examines the languages of the ancient near east and other civilizations that they interacted with, from Greece to Egypt. Language contact is reflected both in ancient people’s discussion of languages and use of translations, as well as in loanwords and other influences of languages on each other. Based on the written records, we also have information about other languages that were never written down, through names and other borrowed words. From the earliest tokens tracking trade commodities to epic poetry, these written records give us insights into the lives of people in the ancient world: The complaints of scribes in training, correspondences between kings, and dedications to gods.

Philosophy of Language (LING 271) Zoltan Szabo

An introduction to contemporary philosophy of language, organized around four broad topics: meaning, reference, context, and communication. Introduction to the use of logical notation.

How To Compare (LITR 140) Instructor: S. Hodgkin

This course is an exploration of literary comparison from methodological as well as historical perspectives. We compare texts within genres, across genres and media, across periods, and between cultures and languages. We consider questions such as whether all comparisons must assume a common ground, and whether there is always an implicit politics to any comparison. Topics range from theories of translation and ekphrasis to exoticism and untranslatability. Readings include classics by critics such as Aristotle, Ibn Sina, and Kristeva, and writers such as Marie de France, Nezami, and Calvino. It also engages with the literature of our own moment: we will read a newly-translated novel by the Chilean writer Nona Fernàndez, and the Iranian poet Kayvan Tahmasebian will visit the class for a conversation. We will also discuss films (Parajanov and Barta) and a new Russian computer game.


Spring, 2020

The Practice of Literary Translation (CPLT 925) TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm in William L. Harkness Hall 001.  Professor: Peter Cole

This course combines a seminar on the history and theory of translation (Tuesdays) with a hands-on workshop (Thursdays). The readings lead us through a series of case studies comparing, on the one hand, multiple translations of given literary works and, on the other, classic statements about translation—by translators themselves and prominent theorists. We consider both poetry and prose from the Bible, selections from Chinese, Greek, and Latin verse, classical Arabic and Persian literature, prose by Cervantes, Borges, and others, and modern European poetry (including Pushkin, Baudelaire, and Rilke). Students are expected to prepare short class presentations, participate in a weekly workshop, try their hand at a series of translation exercises, and undertake an intensive, semester-long translation project. Proficiency in a foreign language is required.

French Translation Workshop II (FREN 192) W 3:30 pm-5:20 pm in Wall 81. Professor: Alyson Waters

A continuation of FREN 191 for students who wish to work on a longer project and to deepen their reading in translation theory.

Graduate Arabic Seminar: Arabic Translations of Ancient Greek Scholarly Works (ARBC 560) W 3:30pm-5:20pm in York 220

Study and interpretation of classical Arabic texts for advanced students. The focus this term is on Arabic texts that were translations from ancient Greek, including philosophy and medicine, and the language of the translations.

Natural Language Processing (CPSC 477) TTh 1pm-2:15pm in Mason Laboratory.  Professor: Drago Radev

Linguistic, mathematical, and computational fundamentals of natural language processing (NLP).
Topics include part of speech tagging, Hidden Markov models, syntax and parsing, lexical semantics, compositional semantics, machine translation, text classification, discourse, and dialogue processing. Additional topics such as sentiment analysis, text generation, and deep learning for NLP.
 
Advanced Italian Workshop: Reading, Writing, and Translating (ITAL 151) TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm in 493 College Street. Professor: Sandro-Angelo De Thomasis

Our journey begins in the early 90s, in the wake of the fall of the “First Republic” (1948-1993). We read avant-garde and experimental poetry from the edgy “Gruppo ’93” and move forward until today, listening and deciphering hip-hop artists such as Mahmood and Amir Issaa. After the euphoria of the late 80s, a sober realism—and surrealism—takes hold of the collective Italian psyche in the 90s with the arrival of Berlusconi into the field of politics, the shift of Italy to an immigrating rather than emigrating country, and much more. The poetry and critical texts covered in this class serve to map out the social, political, and cultural landscape of Italy during this accelerated period of transition.

Revenge in World Literature (LITR 406) T 3:30pm-5:20pm in College Street 451 Professor: Hannan Hever

The concept of world literature, from its origins in eighteenth-century cosmopolitanism represented by Herder and Goethe up to contemporary critical debates (Apter, Casanova, Cheah, Damrosch, Dharwadker, I. Hesse, Moretti, Mufti, Pollock, Said, Spivak). World literature in relation to national literature, German-language, and Jewish literature; translation, untranslatability, the effect of markets, diaspora, politics. Literary critical readings supplemented by exemplary literary texts in multiple genres. Student contributions based on individual linguistic backgrounds.

The Senior Essay—Translation Track (FREN 492) Professor: Morgane Cadieu

A one-term research project completed under the direction of a ladder faculty member in the Department of French and resulting in a substantial translation (roughly 30 pages) from French to English, with a critical introduction of a length to be determined by the student in consultation with the advising ladder faculty member. Materials submitted for the translation track cannot be the same as the materials submitted for the translation courses. For additional information, consult the director of undergraduate studies.

The Senior Essay in the Intensive Major—Translation Track (FREN 496) Professor: Morgane Cadieu

Second term of a yearlong research project completed under the direction of a ladder faculty member in the Department of French and resulting in a translation of considerable length (roughly 60 pages), from French to English, with a critical introduction of a length to be determined by the student in consultation with the advising ladder faculty member. Materials submitted for the translation track cannot be the same as the materials submitted for the translation courses. For additional information, consult the director of undergraduate studies.
 


Fall, 2019

Medieval Translation (CPLT 582) M 3:30pm-5:20pm in Linsly-Chittenden Hall 319 Professor: Ardis Butterfield

Using modern postcolonial as well as medieval theories of translation, memory, and bilingualism we explore how texts are transformed, cited, and reinvented in the medieval period. What happens to language under the pressure of crosslingual reading practices? How can the freedom and inventiveness of medieval poetic practices illuminate modern theories of translation? Texts include material in French, English, Latin, and Italian. Proficiency in any one or more of these languages is welcome, but every effort will be made to use texts available in modern English translation, so as to include as wide a participation as possible in the course.

French Translation Workshop I (FREN 191) W 3:30pm-5:20pm in William L. Harkness Hall 115 Professor: Alyson Waters

An introduction to the practice and theory of literary translation, conducted in workshop format. Stress on close reading, with emphasis initially on grammatical structures and vocabulary, subsequently on stylistics and aesthetics. Translation as a means to understand and communicate cultural difference in the case of French, African, Caribbean, and Québécois authors. Texts by Benjamin, Beckett, Borges, Steiner, and others.

Readings in French and in English. After FREN 150 and 151 or with permission of instructor. Preference to juniors and seniors.

The Senior Essay-Translation Track (FREN 492) Professor: Morgane Cadieu

A one-term research project completed under the direction of a ladder faculty member in the Department of French and resulting in a substantial translation (roughly 30 pages) from French to English, with a critical introduction of a length to be determined by the student in consultation with the advising ladder faculty member. Materials submitted for the translation track cannot be the same as the materials submitted for the translation courses. For additional information, consult the director of undergraduate studies.

The Senior Essay in the Intensive Major-Translation Track (FREN 495) Professor: Morgane Cadieu

First term of a yearlong research project completed under the direction of a ladder faculty member in the Department of French and resulting in a translation of considerable length (roughly 60 pages), from French to English, with a critical introduction of a length to be determined by the student in consultation with the advising ladder faculty member. Materials submitted for the translation track cannot be the same as the materials submitted for the translation courses. For additional information, consult the director of undergraduate studies.

Translation Controversy in Twentieth-Century French Literature (FREN 558) M 9:25am-11:15am in Sterling Memorial Library 177 Professor: Alice Kaplan

The course considers major authors of twentieth-century France whose work has given rise to fierce debates over translations and re-translations into English. Authors include Proust, Céline, Camus, Beauvoir, Fanon, and, in a reversal of the issues, the French Faulkner. Theoretical questions include untranslatability; the task of the translator; re-translation and the historicity of the literary text; translation and symbolic capital; and the postcolonial turn in Translation Studies. Seminar work entails close readings of the primary texts, literary history, and translation workshops.

Prerequisite: advanced reading knowledge of French. Discussion and papers are in English.

Translation and the Politics of Language in Italy’s Borderlands (ITAL 945) W 3:30pm-5:20pm in 81 Wall Street 101 Professor: Jane Tylus and Serena Bassi

This course approaches modern and contemporary Italian literature through the prism of translation studies and critical multilingualism studies. In order to consider the role of translation and linguistic diversity in the formation of a national canon, we focus on texts that come from Italy’s contested and linguistically hybrid borderlands such as Trieste and Sicily, on the literature of the Italian diaspora, on postcolonial italophone literature, and, finally, on the transnational circulation of literary texts. Students learn to examine the place of multilingualism in the construction of a national culture; consider the role of literary translation in national canon formation; and rethink translation as a continuum of cultural and linguistic practices—including migration, self-translation, and translingualism—which the class situates and interrogates in their historical context.

The Arabian Nights, Then and Now (HUMS 206, Eng 191, LIT 318) MW 9am-10:15am in WTS A74 Professor: Shawkat Toorawa and Ayesha Ramachandran

Exploration of Arabian Nights, a classic of world literature. Topics include antecedents, themes and later prose, and graphic and film adaptations.


Spring, 2019

The Practice of Literary Translation (CPLT 925) TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm Professor: Peter Cole
Intensive readings in the history and theory of translation paired with practice in translating. Case studies from ancient languages (the Bible, Greek and Latin classics), medieval languages (classical Arabic literature), and modern languages (poetic texts).

Natural Language Processing (CPSC 477) TTh 1pm-2:15pm Professor: Dragomir Radev
Linguistic, mathematical, and computational fundamentals of natural language processing (NLP). Topics include part of speech tagging, Hidden Markov models, syntax and parsing, lexical semantics, compositional semantics, machine translation, text classification, discourse, and dialogue processing. Additional topics such as sentiment analysis, text generation, and deep learning for NLP.

Prerequisites: CPSC 202 and CPSC 223, or permission of instructor.

World Literature (ER&M 416) T 3:30pm-5:20pm Professor: Hannan Hever
The concept of world literature, from its origins in eighteenth-century cosmopolitanism represented by Herder and Goethe up to contemporary critical debates (Apter, Casanova, Cheah, Damrosch, Dharwadker, I. Hesse, Moretti, Mufti, Pollock, Said, Spivak). World literature in relation to national literature, German-language, and Jewish literature; translation, untranslatability, the effect of markets, diaspora, politics. Literary critical readings supplemented by exemplary literary texts in multiple genres. Student contributions based on individual linguistic backgrounds.

French Translation Workshop II (FREN 192) W 3:30pm-5:20pm Professor: Alyson Waters

A continuation of FREN 191 for students who wish to work on a longer project and to deepen their reading in translation theory.

The Senior Essay—Translation Track (FREN 492) Professor: Morgane Cadieu
A one-term research project completed under the direction of a ladder faculty member in the Department of French and resulting in a substantial translation (roughly 30 pages) from French to English, with a critical introduction of a length to be determined by the student in consultation with the advising ladder faculty member. Materials submitted for the translation track cannot be the same as the materials submitted for the translation courses. For additional information, consult the director of undergraduate studies.

The Senior Essay in the Intensive Major—Translation Track (FREN 496) Professor: Morgane Cadieu
Second term of a yearlong research project completed under the direction of a ladder faculty member in the Department of French and resulting in a translation of considerable length (roughly 60 pages), from French to English, with a critical introduction of a length to be determined by the student in consultation with the advising ladder faculty member. Materials submitted for the translation track cannot be the same as the materials submitted for the translation courses. For additional information, consult the director of undergraduate studies.