Comparative Literature 100
Becoming Animal: Global Metamorphoses
Co-taught with Professor Antoine Traisnel
Werewolves and shapeshifters seem to be everywhere in contemporary US culture, but stories about human beings who transform into nonhuman animals are found in literature and other cultural representations from across the globe and across history. What makes such representations so compelling? What cultural debates or developments do they respond to? What can they tell us about the difference between people and animals, and what do they tell us about what it means to be human?
Exploring a range of textual and visual representations from across the globe, we will examine the different meanings and functions of human-animal figures, and how they express social identities and configurations of power and dominion. Course requirements include regular brief writing assignments; midterm and final exams; engaged class presence and participation.