CU: Home A to Z map  University of Colorado at Boulder     ucb nav  

David Ferris

Professor of Humanities and Comparative Literature

Chair, Department of Humanities


Teaching Interests: Modern European literature (especially poetry), modernity and the postmodern, photography and painting, reception of the Enlightenment in the 19th and 20th centuries, lyric poetry and elegy, Romanticism and Antiquity, 19th and 20th century aesthetics and literary theory.

HUMN 2000 Methods and Approaches to the Humanities   

Topics covered by this course include: word/image studies; rhetoric; translation; the canon; gender studies; cultural studies; literature and the other arts; literary theory; philosophy and literature; etc.
Prerequisite HUMN 1010 or 1020. Restricted to Humanities majors.

HUMN 3660 The Postmodern   

This course will examine the event of the Postmodern and its effect within literature, film, architecture, culture, and critical theory. Beginning with works that signal and examine the onset of modernity, the consequences of postmodernity for our understanding of the modern as a sign of our intellectual, cultural, and social progress will be presented. Once defined in relation to the modern, our attention will turn to the problems and issues posed by the postmodern with respect to history, perception, and the concept of an era that is also our present. We will also examine various recent attempts to think beyond the postmodern. The course will include a broad selection of works ranging through literature, architecture, photography, painting, film, graffiti, and performance art.

HUMN 4093 Modern Lyric Poetry  

This course will examine the development of modern European poetry beginning with Romanticism and ending with the work of contemporary poets. Authors to be studied include William Wordsworth, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Charles Baudelaire, Stéphane Mallarmé, Emily Dickinson, Paul Valéry, T. S. Eliot, W. B. Yeats, Paul Celan, Ingeborg Bachman, Anne Sexton, Seamus Heaney, and Geoffrey Hill.  Questions explored in this course include the changing purpose and function of poetic language, the relation of poetry to history, and the significance of poetry in the modern age.

COML 5370 Elegy and Exile  

Propertius, Ovid, Donne, Milton, Shelley, Tennyson, Rilke, Geoffrey Hill, Anne Sexton

COML 5000 Comparison and Interdisciplinarity (Proseminar)  

This course will examine the history of comparison as a critical mode of knowledge while following its transformation into interdisciplinarity. The centrality of this transformation to the current state of the humanities as well as the discipline of comparative literature will provide the occasion for a series of questions about the critical and historical forces that now contend within the study of literature: to what extent is the rise of comparison a sign of the failure of individual disciplines to sustain national and historical agendas as a basis for literary study? does comparison provide another model for literary study or is its transformation into interdisciplinarity a distraction through which the endgame of literary study and the humanities within the modern university is being played out? does such an interdisciplinarity perpetuate or resolve an intellectual crisis within the humanities? (and why do the humanities need a sense of crisis?) to what extent can postmodernity and the emergence of the social sciences be traced back to the enlightenment as a continuation of its project of reason? to what extent is the modern university definable as a comparative and interdisciplinarity project, i.e., as a project aware from its inception that it arose from a crisis in reason that it could only disguise in the form of the pursuit of knowledge, truth, excellence, etc.? Course readings will include selections from Plato, Aristotle, Diderot, Kant, Benjamin, Heidegger, Wellek, Derrida, Foucault, Nancy, Gasché, Spivak, Apter, and Readings.

Department of Humanities, Ketchum 233, UCB 331, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 80309-0331
tel: 303 492-5561   fax: 303 492-2311

© 2009 Regents of the University of Colorado