*The Great Russian Minds Series: Mikhail Bakhtin
MLAL 3076 L11 - Course Number: 13128
June 1st-July 1st, 2021 M-Th, 1-4 p.m. EST
Fordham LC (online)
In Mikhail Bakhtin’s understanding, the novel perpetually outgrows and renews its form, making it well-suited for literature’s enduring task as he sees it: to reflect the unfinalizable image of the human being. Bakhtin draws inspiration from various fields of study in his history and theory of the novel, including psychology, literature, phenomenology, Judeo-Christian theology, class ideology, ethics, and music. In Bakhtin’s view, humor, revelry, absurdity, tragedy, the grotesque body, and the carnivalesque dismantle oppressive cultural and rhetorical power structures, supplanting them with empathy and catharsis. For Bakhtin, truth is dialogic; a fact expressed artistically in the polyphonic novel, where individual characters voice discordant world-views that occasionally strike a chord. For him, the novel humanizes authoritative texts by wresting them from their hallowed heights and turning them on all sides to view them up close with curiosity.
This summer survey course brings Bakhtin’s inquisitive method to bear on the great thinker himself, approaching him from all sides. We read several excellent translations beginning with Art and Answerability (1919) and Toward a Philosophy of the Act (1919-21), continuing with essays “Discourse in the Novel” (1934–1935), “Forms of Time and of the Chronotope in the Novel” (1937–1938) “From the Prehistory of Novelistic Discourse” (1940), “Epic and Novel” (1941), “Rhetoric to the Extent that it Lies” (1943), “A Person at the Mirror” (1943), “On questions of Self-Consciousness and Self-Evaluation” (1943), and concluding with Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics (1963, much-expanded from his 1929 Problems of Dostoevsky’s Art), Rabelais and His World (1965), and Speech Genres & Other Late Essays (1979). Curated scholarship contextualizes Bakhtin’s works. All readings and discussions in English.
Russian reading and writing track available. Counts towards Fordham’s Russian minor for those who have declared. Covers OCSC, Advanced Lit Core, and Comp Lit credits. SUMMER ONLINE 2021.
*This course is the first of three in the Great Russian Minds Series to be offered over the next three summers (2021, 2022, 2023) through Fordham at Lincoln Center (online) with a generous grant from the Orthodox Christian Studies Center.
DOSTOEVSKY AND RACE IN AMERICA
Dostoevsky and Race in America is a comparative course that begins with three Dostoevsky novels paired with three works by American writers that engage the question of race in America. The pairs include Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow with Notes From the House of the Dead, Ellison’s Invisible Man with Notes From Underground, and Wright’s Native Son with Crime and Punishment. The course begins with James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time and culminates with contemporary American thinkers such as Cornel West’s readings of Chekhov, Ta-Nehisi Paul Coates’s reading of Solzhenitsyn, and hip-hop artist Black Thought’s interpretation of Crime and Punishment in his song “Dostoevsky.”
Russian track available. Spring 2021.
COURSES TAUGHT AT FORDHAM LINCOLN CENTER
Prof. Ossorgin's love of dialogue derives not only from Dostoevsky's polyphonic novels but also from visual arts and from reading Plato with thoughtful underclassmen and tutors at his alma mater, St. John's College (Annapolis). He holds space for people to learn from each other through preparation, contemplation, and receptivity to original thought. As a professor of literature and art, he takes his responsibility to the works very seriously, but he ultimately wants to help you figure out what you have to say about them.
THE APOCALYPSE COURSE: RUSSIAN REVELATIONS
THE APOCALYPSE COURSE: RUSSIAN AND AMERICAN REVELATIONS
Explore the revelatory moment that reverberates through historical and personal time. This interdisciplinary course is rooted in John’s Book of Revelation according to Russian religious philosophy. Comparative studies include Last Judgment Icons with Michaelangelo and Kandinsky's apocalyptic masterpieces; Blok’s "The Twelve” and T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men"; Gogol’s The Portrait and O’Connor’s “The Enduring Chill”; Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita and Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five; Tarkovsky's Sacrifice and Lindelof and Perrotta's The Leftovers; Freud's "Beyond the Pleasure Principle"; Kermode's The Sense of an Ending; Scriabin’s Second Symphony and Bob Dylan’s “Hard Rain.” Fulfills Orthodox Christian minor requirement. Taught in English. Russian track available.