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Spring Semester 2024 Graduate Courses

Comparative Studies 

This list is current as of November 1, 2023. Course schedule and descriptions are subject to change; we are adding here course-specific descriptions, as well, as they become available. Please refer to SIS for the most up-to-date information. To view available course flyers, please visit this page. Contact arceno.1@osu.edu if you notice any discrepancies or have any questions.


COMPSTD 5189S Ohio Field School

Wednesdays 2:15-5 | Jasper Waugh-Quasebarth and Lydia Smith | Hagerty 451

This course offers an introduction to ethnographic field methods (participant-observation, writing field notes, photography, interviewing), archiving, and public humanities. Included as part of this experience is a field experience (where students will reside together in local housing) followed by accessioning, exhibition planning, and reflection. Take note that an application is required as part of the enrollment process. Please contact waugh-quasebarth.1@osu.edu or smith.13109@osu.edu for more information.

COMPSTD 5240 / PUBAFRS 5240 / AFAMAST 5240 Race and Public Policy in the United States

Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:45-2:05 | Michael Fisher | Denney Hall 253

This course explores Race and Public Policy in the United States from Reconstruction to the present. In particular, the class is designed to look at the long list of "hot topics" in the current policy landscape, including policing, housing, wealth gap, immigration, voting, political representation, and others. Cross-listed in African American and African Studies and Public Affairs. Not open to students with credit for AFAMAST 5240 or PUBAFFAIRS 5240.

COMPSTD 5691 Common Sense: Knowledge, Experience, and Social Life

Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:10-12:30 | Dorry Noyes | Location: Ramseyer 166

What does it mean when you're told to "use your common sense"? This course examines the idiom of common sense in relation to debates over the authority of knowledge, the value of practical experience, and what should be shared or shareable in social life. Our interdisciplinary exploration will start with folklore: how children (and artists) play at the border of sense and nonsense, how proverbs and other kinds of pedagogic discourse produce everyday "good sense," and how leftover formulations continue to circulate as clichés or "commonplaces," often with disruptive social consequences. Then we'll look at debates on the relation of the senses to knowledge and the communicability of experience across sociocultural divides, thinking about consensus and dissensus as socially accomplished. We'll read about the history of common sense as a democratic, sometimes populist, political ideal that interacts with the rise of secular modernity, professionalization and expertise, race ideology, American nationalism, and technocratic politics. This will bring us to the present: division and mistrust in the age of social media, "fake news," and AI; questions about the possibility of shared understandings when social worlds fragment, interests diverge, and structures discriminate; and new imaginings of commonality (or separation) in social justice projects.

This is a graduate/undergraduate course that benefits from heterogeneity: students at all stages and with any focus are encouraged! You'll write a personal essay about your own socialization and a final paper on the "common sense" of some current issue. No exams, but active participation is expected in discussion and short writings.

COMPSTD 5691 Comparative Studies of Artificial Intelligence

Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:35-10:55 | Brett Zehner | Denney Hall 207

This seminar will explore the recent rise of “artificial intelligence” from the interdisciplinary perspectives afforded by Comparative Studies. Comparative Studies is ideally situated to study algorithms, not as mathematical abstractions, but as material practices predating human tools and modern machines. Specifically, we will look to the emergence of the concept of artificial intelligence as it emerged from wide-ranging algorithmic practices from the mid-20th century to the present. We will consider the subsequent rise of automation in fields as diverse as financial analysis, climate modeling, social media, crime prediction, and even artistic practice. As such, our seminar will consider how automation affects culture, art, and politics in the present. We will study the algorithmic cultures that lead to recent computational breakthroughs asking – what exactly is a science of artificiality?

As such, our approach will be both historical and theoretical as we trace the culture of artificial intelligence. We will draw from the history of science, cultural studies, intermedial art forms, films, and literature, as we critique the rise of big data in everyday life. Our critical writing assignments will explore recent developments such as Cambridge Analytica and predictive policing. We will also experiment with public-facing "applied humanities" practices as we develop a conversation between the data sciences and the critical humanities.

COMPSTD 6100 Critical Foundations: Comparative Analysis

Wednesdays 9-11:45 | Philip Armstrong | Hagerty 451

This course prepares students to begin to approach their research interests and questions from a comparative perspective. The function of comparison is not to discover differences and similarities, but to understand more comprehensively the political, social, economic, and aesthetic dimensions of the various discourses and practices that constitute social and individual life.

COMPSTD 6425 / SPANISH 6705 Introduction to Latinx Studies

Tuesdays 2:30-5:15 | Fernanda Diaz-Basteris | Hagerty 159

This course introduces graduate students to the broad themes, concepts, and questions raised in the interdisciplinary field of Latina/Latino studies. Cross-listed in SPANISH.

COMPSTD 6750.02 / ENGLISH 6751.02/.22 Ethnography of Speaking

Thursdays 2:15-5 | Galey Modan | Denney Hall 435

COMPSTD 7301 Theorizing Literature

Wednesdays 1-3:45 | Ashley Pérez | Hagerty 451

This graduate seminar seeks to orient students in the crowded landscape of literary theory and criticism. Although neither a historical account of theory nor a survey of the current field, it will help students locate landmark theoretical developments and track the shifting conversations and debates in literary studies. Spotlighted areas of inquiry include postcolonial studies, feminism, gender and queer studies, and the rhetorical theory of narrative.

Our primary goal is to work with literary theory in ways that genuinely expand and deepen our engagements with literature. We will build a modest body of shared literary texts so that we have a common basis for considering the affordances of particular theoretical approaches for our efforts at interpretation. We will resist the tendency to treat texts as stages for the performance of theory and instead consider literature itself as a unique form of theorizing.

This course makes use of a number of practices for substantive preparation and structured discussion, both of which students will help facilitate. We build insight collaboratively, creating room for provisional understanding while also challenging ourselves to solidify our progress. Across the semester, students will cultivate a line of independent inquiry that draws on the skills of the course but applies them in an area of their interest. These efforts will culminate in a final paper or related project.

COMPSTD 8200 / Interdisciplinary Learning Lab 2

Thursdays 2:15-5 | Jasper Waugh-Quasebarth + Isaac Weiner | Hagerty 451

The Comparative Studies Interdisciplinary Learning Laboratories are two-part courses that seek to give participants opportunities to engage in sustained interdisciplinary research, to workshop their research projects in conversation with one another, and to share their projects with broader publics. 

Having taken Autumn 2023's COMPSTD 8100 is not a pre-requisite for enrollment in Spring 2024's COMPSTD 8200.

COMPSTD 8791 Radical Black Aesthetics

Tuesdays 2:15-5 | Sam Aranke | Hagerty 451

The title of this class comes from Fred Moten’s 2008 article The Case of Blackness in which he suggests that black is, does, means, and exceeds the visual field. Taking Moten’s notion of blackness’s social chromatism to work, this graduate seminar explores black cultural theory and its interventions on aesthetic theory. Working primarily out of anticolonial and antiracist politics, the scholars and artists we will examine take skin, color, sound, and touch as their primary mediums in order to further understandings of blackness, antiblackness, and other afterlives of slavery. Some of the scholars we will study include Sylvia Wynter, Édouard Glissant, Frantz Fanon, Hortense Spillers, Huey Copeland, Fred Moten, Saidiya Hartman and Katherine McKittrick. We will ask ourselves: What constitutes blackness? What is the art-historicity of black aesthetics? What radicality exists within and despite of the ongoing violence of antiblackness? These questions might lead us to further theoretical and aesthetic explorations how blackness extends tactile, audible, and imaginary qualities to the visual field.

COMPSTD 8990 / Dissertation Writing Workshop

Wednesdays 12-2 | Miranda Martinez | Hagerty 451

Since the dissertation is often your first effort to construct a complex, original, and extended argument, interpretation and/or analysis, this writing workshop will assist you in developing concrete strategies for tackling this major task, hold you accountable for making progress on the dissertation, and contribute to the creation of an intellectual community among Comp Studies graduate students. Repeatable to a maximum of 9 cr hrs or 9 completions. This course is graded S/U.