Armenian 124: Armenian Literature in Social Context: Theater without Borders: Modern Armenian Drama and Europe

TuTh 5-6:30, 182 Dwinelle. Instructor: Myrna Douzjian.

Units: 4 Satisfies L&S International Studies OR Arts & Literature breadth requirement.

This course traces the polycentric development of modern Armenian drama. We will take the establishment of professional theater companies in nineteenth-century Constantinople and Tbilisi as a starting point and then turn to twentieth- and twenty-first-century theatrical productions from Yerevan, Beirut, and Los Angeles. At the same time, the course will cover a number of European texts, which have inevitably interested Armenian playwrights, many of whom have studied in France, Germany, and Russia. By placing the Armenian repertoire in conversation with the classics of other canons the course will examine cultural currents and aesthetic movements across national, regional, and world stages. This cross-cultural approach to theatrical texts will allow us to consider the theoretical problems at stake in the comparative analysis of minor and major literary traditions.

Our interpretations of drama will be guided by questions of style, genre, and performance. We will read comedies that treat the themes of marriage, money, and power, tragedies that deal with religious faith and free will, and tragicomedies that explore theater as a form of humanity.

Prerequisites: None. The class is taught in English, on the basis of English translations. Students with knowledge of Armenian will be provided with the original texts and encouraged to do the reading in Armenian.

Requirements: approximately 100-150 pages of reading/week; class participation; presentation; midterm examination; and final project.

Texts for Purchase

Modern Armenian Drama: An Anthology, edited by Nishan Parlakian and S. Peter Cowe. ISBN: 0231116306

Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts by Samuel Beckett. ISBN: 080214442X

Texts Available on Bcourses

Tartuffe by Molière

Marriage: A Completely Unlikely Incident in Two Acts by Nikolai Gogol

The Bride by Zabel Asadour

Antigone by Sophocles

The Birth of Tragedy by Friedrich Nietzsche

Pink Elephant by Vahe Berberian

Props by Aghasi Ayvazyan

Don’t Shoot, I’m Dead Already: A Story in One Act by Garine Khodikyan

TBA: Readings on theories of world literature and text-performance relations by authors such as David Damrosch, Aamir Mufti, Pheng Cheah, Diana Taylor, and Mark Fortier.