Spring 2021 - WL 300 D100

How Ideas Travel (4)

Class Number: 6375

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including WL 200.



Explores the counterpoint of Western and non-Western approaches to world literature. May draw from disciplines including comparative literature, history, anthropology, and semiotics to focus on how concepts of world literature are imported and transformed in new cultural contexts. Builds on the skills and knowledge acquired in WL 200.


               “the floating life is but as a dream; how much longer can we enjoy our happiness?”
 --Li Bai / Tang Dynasty

Stories, films, and poems tend to change their meanings as they cross from one culture to another, but what of the way that a work’s “meaning” is understood? This course asks what happens when the way that a novel or film makes sense is challenged in a new national setting? Such questions imply that literature and its interpretations are always transient, that they never cease to change as they travel around the globe – our class conversations will focus on this issue.    

Moving from formative statements of world literature as a discipline, and reading literary works and watching world films though a series of theoretical perspectives, this course explores how notions of the transient come together in language, criticism, and a rich selection of global narratives.  

PLEASE NOTE: Pre-recorded LECTURES will be made available through SFU Canvas. Students will view these on their own time prior to the synchronous portion of each week’s class, which extends from 1:30-4:20PM. This time frame includes the D101 tutorial section from 1:30-2:20, in which students must also enrol. Students will attend each weekly seminar via Zoom.  NB: we examine only two stories from the Sebald volume – “Dr Henry Selwyn” & “Ambros Adelwarth.”


  • Class Participation 10%
  • In-Class Paper 15%
  • Midterm Test 20%
  • Short Presentation 20%
  • Term Paper 35%


[Office hour: Zoom after class (430-530PM TUE) or via appointment]



FILMS                                                   [via ITUNES]                                                                                                        

Federico FELLINI [2:18]
TESHIGAHARA Hiroshi Woman in the Dunes [2:27]
J SCHNABEL Diving Bell & Butterfly [1:52]


KOBO ABE                   The Woman in the Dunes                  TRANS D Saunders         Dalkey    978-1564785671

W G SEBALD                 The Emigrants [I+III]                        TRANS M Hulce              New Dir  978-0811226141

Registrar Notes:


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Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).