Courses in Translation and Related Topics at Yale


Fall 2024:

Proseminar in Translation Studies (CPLT 504) Instructor: Serena Bassi

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.

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.

Translation in Latin American and Latinx Literature (CPLT 895) This course will be taught by incoming new faculty in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Involving languages, cultures, nations, and publishing markets of varying power, translation is a highly charged zone where hierarchies may be established, reinforced, or toppled. This graduate seminar offers an overview of how translation has functioned, in site-specific fashion, as theoretical program and experimental mode within “original” Latin American and the US Latinx literatures. We examine texts from much of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries that engage translation (interlinguistic, intralinguistic, intersemiotic) as trope, form, or material apparatus. These featured works include pseudotranslations, unreliable self-translations, transcreations, translingual texts, and fictions with translator-protagonists. We read these materials alongside essential theory and criticism that surface distinctly Latin(x) American itineraries for translation and that provide students with an analytical toolbox for attending to translation in original and unoriginal writing alike. This course is taught in English, with materials provided in the original Spanish or Portuguese when available.

Latin American Political Thought I: Neocolonial, Anticolonial, Decolonial: 1800-1930 (CPLT 965)  Instructor: Moira Fradinger

This seminar consists of two parts. The first part is taught in the fall and the second one in the spring. The year-long plan introduces students to two centuries of Latin American political thought in the form of social and literary essays produced since the times of independence. It studies how Latin American writers and politicians have theorized the political/cultural heritage of the colony. The fall seminar starts with the Haitian constitution and contemporary Haitian authors who assess the legacy of the Haitian revolution. It ends with the anarchist movements and socialist thought of the turn of the twentieth century. The second part (spring) starts with the 1930s and the rise of populism and ends with writings on current indigenous movements across the region. The fall engages nineteenth-century debates over “American identity” that were foundational to the newly constituted nation-states (authors include Bolívar, Lastarria, Alamán, Martí, Sarmiento, Echeverría, Hostos, Montalvo,Burgos, Rodó, da Cunha, Mariategui, Gonzalez Prada, Zapata). The spring explores twentieth-century debates over cultural independence, the movement of “indigenismo,” mestizaje, transculturation and heterogeneity, the Caribbean movement of “negritude,” the metaphor of “cannibalism” to account for the cultural politics of the region, concepts such as “internal colonialism” and “motley society,” and the polemics over the region’s capitalist modernity and postmodernity (authors include  Ortiz, Moreno Fraginals, Lezama Lima, Vasconcelos, Reyes, de Andrade, Antenor Orrego, Zapata, J.L. Borges, J.M. Arguedas, Sérgio Buarque de Holanda, Caio Prado Júnior, Jean Price-Mars, Jacques Roumain, Aimé Césaire, George Lamming, C.L.R. James, Fanon, Léon Damas, Paulo Freire, Angel Rama, Retamar, Edmundo O’Gorman, Antonio Candido, Darcy Ribeiro, Pablo González Casanova, León-Portilla, R. Kusch, René Zavaleta Mercado, A. Quijano, Rita Segato, Bolívar Echeverría, Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, Viveiros de Castro). Weekly sessions are conducted in Spanish, and most of the readings are Spanish, French, and Portuguese materials (with a few Anglo-Caribbean sources). Students are provided with English translations if they prefer and are allowed to write their papers in English.

Mapping and Translating Spaces, Cultures, and Languages (1500-1700) (EAST 514) Instructor: Angelo Cattaneo

This course combines the methods of history with those of linguistics and translation studies to promote an innovative interdisciplinary analysis of the processes of cultural (mis)communication and (mis)translation among communities across the Iberian Empires and Royal Patronages between 1500 and 1700. This course has three main objectives: 1) mapping the emergence of multilingual communities in early modernity involving cultures and languages that were previously unknown in Europe; (2) drawing up a comprehensive typological catalogue of overlooked, dispersed metalinguistic and multilingual sources (reports, letters, Christian doctrines, maps, word lists, lexicons, grammars, visual material which described linguistic practices and\or display bilingual or three-lingual evidence) produced mostly in missionary contexts; and (3) within this broad “horizontal” survey, highlighting specific area studies to carry out an in-depth “vertical” comparative analysis of cultural-linguistic contacts and translations in America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia, specifically chosen because they were paradigmatic, coeval, and sometimes antithetical cases detailing the different shades of cultural translations in colonial, imperial, and missionary contexts. The integration of two working strategies—the extensive typological mapping of intercultural multilingual sources and the analysis of case studies—allows us to undertake a comparative analysis of the processes related to the learning, imposing or rejection of cultures and languages in the “troubled pasts” of missionary and colonial contexts. The course aims to document the largest possible corpora of translations in early modernity and offers new ideas on the relevance of linguistic and cultural interactions and on our multicultural and multilingual “troubled present.” Participants also have the opportunity to analyze a selection of historical multilingual and metalinguistic documents (dictionaries, grammars, doctrines, maps) in the John Carter Brown Library collections, in Providence, RI, to discover how these documents have variously embodied cultural lenses, religious beliefs, and political concerns.

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. They 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. 

Eurasian Ecomedia (E&RS 619)  Instructor: Claire Roosien

This course explores the relationship between Eurasian environments and popular media (film, photography, television, literature, and other media). Conversations about environmental humanities and ecomedia have thus far centered capital as the operative category; this course asks what we might gain from considering state socialism and postsocialism in conversation with that broader scholarship. The goal is to tell the environmental and cultural history of Eurasia as part of the connected history of the Anthropocene. Questions for discussion include: how do Eurasian publics engage with the mass media and how does that engagement shape environmental subjectivities in the region? How can we think about media histories in dialogue with material histories? How do narratives of the environment and ecological catastrophe correlate with broader Eurasian political discourses (socialist construction, collapse, post-Soviet nation-building)? Discussions comprise close analysis of cultural artifacts alongside relevant theory and scholarship about environmental and cultural histories of the region. Case studies focus on Central Asia, with transregional engagement with Siberia, the Caucasus, and Eastern Europe, focusing on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Major assignments include a translation/curatorial project and a final, polished conference-style presentation. Knowledge of Russian or another Eurasian language is required.

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. 

Literary Translation: History and Theory in Practice (FREN 191)  Instructor: Nichole Gleisner

This course offers a semester-long introduction to the practice of literary translation. Each week, we will read and discuss a notable piece of translation theory and we will also translate and workshop together an assigned text from French into English. With these workshop sessions, students will gain a range of translation experience across a variety of genres (poetry, theatre, short story, fiction, nonfiction and personal essay) as well as a sense of formative moments in French literary history. Readings in translation theory and history include du Bellay, Dryden, Schleiermacher, Goethe, Benjamin, Sontag, Apter, Moi and Briggs. 

Readings in French and in English. Generally taken after FREN 150 or with permission from the instructor. 

The Senior Essay– Translation Concentration (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 concentration cannot be the same as the materials submitted for the translation courses. For additional information, consult the director of undergraduate studies.

The Psalms, A Cultural History of Ancient Prayer  (HUMS 261) 

This course introduces students to the Book of Psalms and its significant cultural and religious impact in ancient Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The course is organized in three units. Unit 1 focuses on the text of the Psalms, with special attention to their literary forms, editorial organization, and early ritual context in ancient Israel. Unit 2 focuses on the reception and use of the Psalms in late ancient Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, with special attention to matters of translation, interpretation, worship, prayer, and scriptural authority. Unit 3 focuses on material and sensory encounters with the Psalms from antiquity to the present day within these three religious traditions—case studies related to tactile and visual contact with the physical book, oral and aural engagement through song or chant, and embodied forms of writing, reciting, and enacting the Psalms in the context of ritual practice, including magical spells. The goal of the course is thus to trace the life and afterlife—to write the textual and extra-textural “biography,” as it were—of a major biblical book.

The Practice of Literary Translation (HUMS 427) Instructor: Robyn Creswell

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.

Theorizing Musical Time in the Medieval Islamicate World (MUSI 412)  Instructor: Giulia Accornero

This class is an introduction to medieval Islamicate music theory, with a particular focus on the theorization of musical time, motion, and rhythmic patterns as proposed by polymath Abū Naṣr al-Fārābī. After a deep dive in al-Fārābī’s music theory, we survey rhythmic theories and diagrams by Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna) and al-Urmawī. While focusing on music theory, we also learn about music performance in the Abbasid caliphate, the “translation movement” and the integration of Greek music theory (with a focus on Aristoxenus) and philosophy, and discuss historiographical issues. 

Basic music theoretical knowledge and/or knowledge of medieval Islamicate culture/philosophy is expected.

Arabic Bible and Biblical Interpretation (NELC 668)  Instructor: Stephen Davis

This graduate seminar focuses on the ways the Bible was transmitted and interpreted in the medieval Arabic-speaking world. The topic for fall 2024 is the Book of Psalms, with a focus on the Psalms’ use and interpretation in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim contexts. Students who have completed the equivalent of three terms of Arabic instruction, including Classical Arabic, are eligible to enroll in the course with permission of the instructor.

Book of Job and Contemporary Religious Life (REL 508)  Instructor: Gregory Mobley

This course is devoted to a close reading of the Bible’s most sustained exploration of questions of suffering, cosmic justice, and the chaotic features of creation in order to wrest theological and ethical insights for contemporary communities of faith. Moving between a detailed examination of the translated text and of interpretations of Job in Judaism and Christianity, art, literature, and popular culture, the following topics, among others, are considered: the human body as a controlling metaphor in biblical meaning-making; gender; theodicy; and the functions and styles of meaning-making in the biblical genres of wisdom, prose narrative, and apocalyptic. Area I.

Prerequisite: REL 504 or an equivalent introductory course to the Latter Prophets and writings of the Hebrew Bible.

Intermediate New Testament Greek Language and Exegesis (REL 518)  Instructor: Judith Gundry

This course is designed for students who have completed two semesters (or a six-week intensive) of Elementary New Testament or Attic Greek. The course teaches particular skills involved in Greek exegesis of the New Testament and other advanced work with ancient Greek texts, for example, analyzing how words and phrases relate to each other in a sentence (syntax) and derive meaning from their literary contexts; how to read New Testament texts in the light of their literary genre and authorial style; and how to understand the differences between the manuscripts that are the basis for critical editions of the New Testament. The goal is to equip students to create and defend their own translations of NT Greek texts and to understand the reasons for a plurality of translations of a particular text. Classes incorporate the use of reference works for New Testament Greek study and sight-reading of Hellenistic Greek texts outside the New Testament, such as the Septuagint, the Didache, and the papyri. This course also helps students expand their Greek vocabulary. Successful completion of the course should allow students to take fuller advantage of advanced Greek exegesis courses. Area I.

Prerequisites: REL 3605 and REL 3606; GREK 110 and GREK 120; or REL 3609.