Albanian and Southeastern European Studies (ALB)

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ALB 280E | THE POLITICS OF FOOD, HISTORY, AND IDENTITY: SOUTHEAST EUROPE | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

TAUGHT IN ENGLISH. This course explores how food, politics and identity intertwine in the Southeastern corner of the European continent, known as the Balkans. The region has always been considered as a "gastronomic hub" and a geographical and cultural bridge between Europe and Asia, East and West. This area includes today, entirely or partially, some 13 countries, with a total population of around 60 million, and has been since ancient times a crossroads of history, religions and culinary traditions. In spite of its strategically vital geopolitical location, the Balkans is still less known for many, it's often labeled as the "Other Europe." Further, in the imagination of Western Europe, the Balkans has come to be associated with stigmatizing stereotypes of instability, nationalistic wars, and backwardness. In this course, we'll analyze the interplay between food and identity, nationalism and gastronomy, and culture and history in one of the most gastronomically rich and tasty regions of Europe.

ALB 281E | TALES OF POLITICAL DYSTOPIA:STORYTELLING AFTER THE BERLIN WALL | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

TAUGHT IN ENGLISH. Southeastern Europe has long been thought of as the "Other Europe," a region rife with political upheaval and an astonishing variety of ethnic diversity. The extraordinarily rich literary tradition of the region is a mirror of the painful events and transformations that have historically occurred through the region. This course will examine and focus on the literature of Southeastern Europe - from Albania to Poland and from Bosnia to Ukraine - emerging after the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989): an event that was followed by an unprecedented cultural and literary revival.

ALB 283E | BORDERS AND WALLS IN CONTEMPORARY ART AND LITERATURE: FROM ALBANIA TO ARIZONA | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

TAUGHT IN ENGLISH. This course will explore representations of borders and walls in contemporary art and literature. After framing the discourses about borders and walls within a theoretical context, we will examine how different kind of borders and walls have been represented in contemporary art and literature, focusing particularly on individual narratives, memoirs and testimonies.

ALB 284E | LITERATURE OF TRAUMA AND RESILIENCE: FROM ALBANIA TO ARGENTINA | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

TAUGHT IN ENGLISH. As a concept, 'trauma' has been a leading concept in literary studies, connected to individual cultures, political regimes and nations. As trauma scholar Dori Laub has stated, trauma literature is about the "imperative to tell" and the "impossibility of telling." This course will explore trauma and resilience in literature through a comparative approach of literary works of fiction and non-fiction of Albanian and Argentinian writers, revealing its universal human dimension and implications in politics and storytelling.

ALB 285E | THE PLAGUE: PANDEMICS BETWEEN FICTION AND REALITY | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

TAUGHT IN ENGLISH. From Homer's "Iliad" to Eugene Ionesco's "Killing Games," stories about pandemics have offered different and extraordinary testimonies and allegories of how writers, individuals, societies and political systems respond to major crisis and the existential threat of death. This course will explore testimonies, representations and interpretations of epidemics and pandemics in the works of three distinguished writers: Daniel Defoe, Albert Camus, and Eugene Ionesco.

ALB 286E | HOLOCAUST IN THE BALKANS: THE UNTOLD STORY OF ALBANIA RESCUING GERMAN JEWS FROM NAZIS | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

TAUGHT IN ENGLISH. Before the Second World War, between 1,400,000 and 1,800,000 Jews lived in the Balkan states. During the wartime period of Nazi German control, between 750,000 and 950,000 were killed. While the murder of Jews was a feature of Nazi occupation policy all over Europe, we will not fully understand how the Holocaust unfolded in southeastern Europe unless we set it into a local context. The fate of the Balkan Jews differed dramatically from place to place, and sometimes from year to year. This course explores the unknown stories and memories of the Holocaust in the Balkans, focusing particularly on the exceptional Albanian case, where Jewish refugees from Western and Central Europe were 10 times more likely to be saved than in neighboring countries.

ALB 287E | SARAJEVO AND SALONICA: A TALE OF TWO CITIES | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

TAUGHT IN ENGLISH. Sarajevo and Salonica, two cities located at the heart of the Balkans (Bosnia and Greece) were for centuries fascinating crossroads and metropolis of different religions and ethnicities, where Egyptian merchants, Spanish Jews, Orthodox Greeks and Serbs, Sufi dervishes, Catholic Croats and Albanian brigands all coexisted together in a rather chaotic and creative multiculturalism. But the twentieth century brought the end of tolerance. In Salonica when the Greek army marched in (1913), Muslims were forced out, and the Nazis deported and killed the Jews. In Sarajevo the last war in Europe took place, the city was sieged and shelled for four years (1992-1996) and more than 11.000 habitants of all religions were killed. This course will tell and explore the exceptional stories of two of the most historically rich and extraordinary cities of Balkans and of the whole European continent - which still constitute a crossroad between East and West.

ALB 288E | THE ART OF TRAVELLING | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

TAUGHT IN ENGLISH. Travel has always been a privilege. Looking at the history of leisure travel in the West, its origins are in the seventeenth century, and it was the domain of the very wealthy. In the late 19th century, travel became the earmark of Romantic writers and travelers and opened up to the masses. The philosopher Francis Bacon (1561-1626) said that we can't find out about the world by sitting in an armchair; we have to go out and bring back information about it, sparking the wave of discovery voyage writings from Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle to Captain Cook's Journals. This course will explore the art and the meaning of traveling through the works of philosophers (like Rousseau), traveling writers (like Ryszard Kapuscinski) and visual artists (like Edward Hopper).

ALB 397E | SPECIAL TOPICS IN ALBANIAN STUDIES | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

See schedule for current offerings.