Spring 2013/Fall 2013 Seminars & Workshops
ENGL 303: Graduate Fiction Workshop
(Monday, 3:30-6:00 p.m.)
This is a graduate workshop in fiction writing with an emphasis on narrative craft. As such, the workshop undertakes more complex and nuanced consideration of elements of fiction, as members are already familiar with basic techniques of characterization, scene and narrative structure, and development of story. The function of this workshop is to help writers develop fiction they are actively engaged in creating: new work—published work, writing samples submitted for admission to the program, and work that has been turned in for other workshops may not be submitted for workshop—that will likely become part of the final thesis.
ENGL 304.01: Graduate Poetry Workshop
(Monday, 12:30-3:00 p.m.)
The primary focus of this intensive graduate workshop in poetry writing will be your poems in progress; we will also read and discuss various volumes of contemporary poetry, many in conjunction with the Visiting Writers series. All workshop members will be expected to: participate intensely in class discussions, prepare in advance substantive and substantial written comments on peers’ work-in-progress, attend regular conferences with the workshop leader, and, by the end of the semester, produce of a significant body of new poems.
Literature and the Craft of Writing
Topic: Frost and Stevens
(Tuesday, 2:00-5:00 p.m.)
Our course will examine the work of these two poets side by side, with a special emphasis on the craft and innovations of both poets. We will consider how these poets employed the lyric stanza, blank verse, the sonnet, the sequence, and the epigram. Issues like metrical versus free verse will usually be close at hand. We will begin by considering 19th century precedents for each poet. Along the way we will also consider poets who benefited from the example of one or the other. In the case of Robert Frost, Robert Lowell and Seamus Heaney. And Elizabeth Bishop and John Ashbery, in the case of Wallace Stevens.
ENGL 312 Seminar in 17th C. Literature
Topic: Texts and Consequences: An Introduction to Textural Scholarship
(Monday, 12:30-3:00 p.m.)
Textual studies as a discipline is at the foundation of literary studies in that it determines the shape of the texts we read, teach, and write about. This course will introduce graduate students to the field, which has generated considerable excitement and scholarly attention in recent years. We will be studying the rhetoric of the edition: how are literary texts subtly (or not so subtly) shaped by the ways editors prepare them for readers? We will also consider different theories of the literary text, and how they help to determine the form in which literary texts reach readers, both in print and online. Finally, we will consider several prominent recent controversies over specific editions: the Oxford Shakespeare and its two-text King Lear, Hans Gabler’s edition of Ulysses, and others of particular interest to students. Major emphasis will be placed on gender assumptions and colonialism as forces that help to shape editions.
WRITING ASSIGNMENTS: The course will include a short (5-page) paper due the sixth week of class and a longer (15-20-page) paper due during finals week. In addition, you will be responsible for portions of each seminar session and you will offer a preliminary discussion of your ideas for the long paper during two seminar meetings at the end of the course. The longer paper will consider issues of textual scholarship that are particularly relevant to you in your primary area of interest.
(Tuesday, 12:30-3:00 p.m.)
The laconic title belies the complexities of the issues surrounding things. What is now known as the New Materialism comprises three distinct schools of thought apart from the general category of Cultural Materialism. Let us say that Cultural Materialism investigates the transit, exchange, installation and appreciation of commodities, a system that grew very fast after the eighteenth-century, when markets for goods became global. It is based, like capitalism itself, on the assumption that the movement, sale and consumption of chattels is a good thing, an activity we ought to pursue and enjoy, and whose history is of central importance to the understanding of social life. The three schools of thought are not of this opinion, believing instead that things have qualities and tendencies of their own, independent of what we might think or desire. Actor Network Theory, chiefly associated with the historian of science Bruno Latour, has used the model of the laboratory and the parliament to suggest that things come about and act to some degree independently of human intentions; thing theory (Bill Brown) has made it possible to imagine that the things we regard as property are, like human chattels, extremely unhappy with their servitude; object-oriented ontology has carried this position further into an eco-critique of consumption and of the human assumption of dominion over the earth and its resources. We shall study representatives of these positions, but here is a preliminary reading list:
Lucretius, De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things), Loeb edition
Jonathan Swift, Tale of a Tub
Charles Johnstone, Chrysal, or Adventures of a Guinea
William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England
Karl Marx, Capital I,
Henry James, The Spoils of Poynton
Georges Perec, Things
Edmund de Waal, The Hare with the Amber Eyes
Neil MacGregor, A History of the World in 100 Objects
Arjun Appadurai, The Social Life of Things
John Plotz, Portable Property
Bill Brown, Things
Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter
Bruno Latour, We have never been modern
The course will begin with several introductory sessions and eventually evolve into a series of presentations, as students feel competent to handle the various theories on show and make a choice of how and where they would like to wield them.
(Tuesday, 3:30-6:00 p.m.)
The seminar will investigate U.S. literary prose source texts and the bases on which they have recurrently been reconfigured for renewal and exploitation. The white whale and the scarlet “A” circulate ubiquitously, as do “the call of the wild” and “Call me Ishmael,” while Uncle Tom and Tom Joad reappear well into the twenty-first century. From prose fiction sources we find a proliferation of reinvigorating genres and modes of adaptation and mutation as these now-classic texts reemerge in film, popular music, opera, stage drama, blogs, YouTube, Twitter. Anchoring in the source texts, the seminar will search out their multimedia “afterlives” and seek to understand how and why texts reappear at certain pivotal socio-cultural historical moments. Source texts include Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Moby-Dick, The Scarlet Letter, The Grapes of Wrath, The Call of the Wild, The Great Gatsby, Death of a Salesman.
Special Topics in English and American Literature
Topic: Gothic Theory: The Caribbean and Its Discontents
(Wednesday, 12:30-3:00 p.m.)
It is necessary first to understand how colonizatio works to decivilize the colonizer, to brutalize him...to degrade him...to awaken him to buried instincts."
In this seminar we will try a new approach to making theory by testing the divide between the "West" and the Rest," between the so-called "First" and "Third" World, between center and periphery.
Our travels through time and space will be vast: moving from the "discovery" narratives of Columbus and Las Casas to twentieth-century representations of "boat people," zombies, black magic, and disaster and/or catastrophe. We will also question generalities about women, spirits, race and color, as we turn to the uses and abuses of such popular terms as "hybridity," "postcolonial," "creolity," and "multicultural" when applied to the Caribbean.
The major impetus for our investigations is to work towards a definition of "gothic" fiction: by miscegenaing texts and taxonomies, we will shake up relations of cause and effect, illusions of mastery (such as the divide between "master" texts and their token reactions) in order to:
1) reread weird and unnatural fictions as yoked to the racialized natural histories so much a part of their origins; and 2) ask how theories marginalized or ignored by those claiming to speak for places and peoples only superficially "non-western" help to perpetuate the worst excesses of neo-colonialism and what Naomi Klein has called "disaster capitalism."
Readings include: "Monk" Lewis, Journal of a West Indian Proprietor and The Monk; Mary Prince, The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave; Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre; Bram Stoker, Dracula; Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea; V.S. Naipaul, Guerillas; Erna Brodber, Myal; and selections from Edward Long, Bryan Edwards, Aime Cesaire, Frantz Fanon, Kamau Brathwaite, Jean Price-Mars, Edouard Glissant, C.L.R. James, Jacques Lacan, Albert Memmi, and Octavio Mannoni.
ENGL 337a Introduction to Literary Theory
Topic: Proseminar: Secularism
(Thursday, 3:30-6:00 p.m.)
Secularism, Literature, and the Politics of Culture:
In this course we will study a range of twentieth and twenty-first century theoretical texts that question the boundaries of secularism, civil society, and minority rights. Engaging with these critical discourses in anthropology, comparative and world literature, postcolonial studies, and modernist studies, we will interrogate the political, social, and aesthetic implications of reading literature through the lens of the secular. We will move beyond the binary of secularism and religion, to consider how modern literary works negotiate the politics and aesthetics of secularism. Is secularism a discourse of the majority? How do minority writers engage with and challenge the divide between the secular and the religious? Is the novel a secular genre? What is the relationship between secularism and modernity? This course serves as the English department’s pro-seminar and will introduce students to a range of theoretical and critical perspectives. Students will incorporate these perspectives into their own work and learn to make critical interventions in their fields of interest. Readings will include works by Erich Auerbach, Marthin Luther King, Malcolm X, Walter Benjamin, Edward Said, Talal Assad, Aamir Mufti, Saba Mahmood, Daniel Boyarin, Judith Butler, Hannah Arendt, and Seyla Benhabib.
This course is open to all English graduate students.
ENGL 303 Graduate Fiction Workshop
(Wednesday, 12:30-3:00 p.m.)
ENGL 304: Graduate Poetry Workshop
(Monday, 12:30-3:00 p.m.)
This an intensive workshop in poetry writing. Students are expected to complete 10-12 new poems (or the equivalent) over the course of the semester. We’ll read a series of essays on poetry and poetics, as well as individual volumes by some of the poets who will visit campus as part of the Visiting Writers Series. Oral presentations on the readings will be assigned. Extensive revision and regular conferencing with the instructor are expected.
ENGL 305: Graduate Nonfiction Workshop
Topic: Creative Nonfiction Writing
(Tuesday 3:30-6:00 p.m.)
This is a graduate workshop in Creative Nonfiction with a particular emphasis on the profile and long-form narrative piece. Three major pieces will be required, along with some brief additional exercises. Every student in the course will critique each of the papers in writing, and the class will consist primarily of constructive discussion of the work. In addition there will be readings of work by such writers as Gay Talese, Gary Smith, Janet Malcolm, Jonathan Lethem, Joseph Mitchell, Jack Kerouac, Ernest Hemingway, David Foster Wallace, and Alice Munro. Much of the focus of discussion will be on issues of characterization, narrative technique, selectivity of detail, and angle of perception -- in other words, how to make a real-life story or profile come alive in much the same way that fictional narrative can. The implicit bond between reader, writer, and subject will also provide a jumping-off point, along with the proverbial Rashomon-like nature of truth. Most of all, the workshop should be seen as a kind of shared enterprise in which a mutual enthusiasm for writing should lead to discussion that is as wide-ranging as it is lively and engaging,
ENGL 307: Graduate Seminar
Topic: Narative Poetry
(Tuesday, 12:30-3:00 p.m.)
This graduate seminar is designed for all MFA students who are or will be putting together a first book; to this end, we will focus on seminal first books, including (in poetry): the 1855 Edition of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass; Frost’s A Boy’s Will; Wallace Steven’s Harmonium; E. Bishop’s North and South; Robert Hayden’s A Ballad of Remembrance; S. Old’s Satan Says; Frank Bidart’s Golden State; Anne Carson’s Glass, Irony, and God; guests lecturers in prose (confirmed thus far) include: Tony Earley (who will speak on Ernest Hewingway’s In Our Time and J.D. Salinger’s Nine Stories) and Nancy Reisman (who will discuss Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping); each seminar participant will also give a presentation on a first book. Grading: 1/3 each for class participation; seminar presentation; writing project. (Subject to change.)
ENGL 318: Graduate Seminar
Topic: Seminar in Victorian Prose and Poetry: Victorian Popular Literature after Darwin
(Monday, 12:30-3:00 p.m.)
Survival of the fittest, eugenics, the inheritance of acquired characteristics, the mutability of species, degeneration, extinction—these and other Darwinian topics proved irresistible to popular novelists after 1859. This course examines the interaction between genre fiction in the late-Victorian period and controversial interpretations of evolutionary theory.
We shall focus on a range of popular genres, including a children’s novel, Charles Kingsley, The Water-Babies: A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby (1863); utopias such as Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s The Coming Race (1871) and Samuel Butler’s Erewhon (1872); science fiction such as Robert Lewis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Grey (1890), H. G. Wells’s The Time Machine (1895), and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897); mystery writing including Charles Dickens’s The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870) and Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories; Sarah Grand’s new woman novel The Beth Book (1897); autobiographical writing including Samuel Butler’s posthumous The Way of All Flesh (1903) and Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son (1907); and H. Ryder Haggard’ s imperial romance, She (1887).
To establish the boundaries of our investigation into late-Victorian popular genres, we shall contrast how a realist like George Eliot responded to evolution in Middlemarch (1871-72). Readings will also include selections from Darwin, Galton, and Huxley, and will be combined with some exploration of digital tools for sourcing, analyzing, and data mining in the archives assembled by NINES ( N etworked I nfrastructure for N ineteenth-Century E lectronic S cholarship). Students will be encouraged to begin (possibly in collaboration with others) a digital humanities project in lieu of writing a research paper. Projects and papers that draw on other periods or regions are welcome.
ENGL 321: Studies in Southern Literature. From Paleo-South to No-South.
(Tuesday, 12:30-3:00 p.m.)
This graduate seminar is designed as a historical survey of primary texts and critical approaches. When it’s over you should be able to enter the southern studies conversation at several points, signaled by an author’s name, a historical era, or a critical approach. I’m asking each of you to do a couple of things to prove that: 1) an individual seminar presentation (you should be familiar with this format) during one of the meetings OR organization of and participation in a semester-ending “conference” [see below at the description of the final meeting]; 2) a “review of the relevant documents” or “state of the field” written report on the texts assigned for one of the numbered meetings [these are not exclusive – that is, two are more of you can do the same “era” or “topic,” but the work has to be done solo – the old hermit-in-the-cave model of graduate study; 3) a critical essay ready for submission to an appropriate journal or professional conference – I know that conference papers are generally shorter than journal articles, but I’m going to rule that the paper has to be a minimum of 20 pages not counting “sources cited.” I’ll talk in more detail (due dates, etc.) once the semester gets started.
What follows is 13 weeks of tentative scheduling. I do not expect everyone in the seminar to read everything for every meeting. But I do require everybody to read as much as he or she chooses. Here I do a “vacate the pulpit” move by ceding some control of the seminar (and some responsibility for its success or failure) to the participants – you will need to practice collegiality by discussing in advance of each meeting who is reading what so that in the actual meeting we can cover as much as possible as deeply or shallowly as deserved. The contents of this syllabus will, of course, change between now and the end of the 13S semester as I discover shockingly bone-headed omissions.
1) Paleo-South. Jennifer Greeson, Our South: Geographic Fantasy and the Rise of National Literature. Michael O’Brien, Conjectures of Order. Crevecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer; Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia; John C. Calhoun, various political documents; Constitution of the Confederate States; Alexander Stephens, “Cornerstone Speech”; William Gilmore Simms, various excerpts; Frederick Douglass, Narrative (1845). Coleman Hutchison, Apples and Ashes: Literature, Nationalism, and the C.S.A.
2) Reconstruction. Thomas W. Dixon, The Clansman. Thomas Nelson Page, Red Rock. Plessy v. Ferguson. Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery. W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk. Harilaos Stecopoulos, Reconstructing the World. David W. Blight, Race and Reunion. Edmund Wilson, Patriotic Gore.
3&4) Twelve Southerners, I’ll Take My Stand (1930) and W. J. Cash, The Mind of
the South (1941); Leigh Anne Duck, The Nation’s Region; William Faulkner, The
Sound and the Fury and The Hamlet; Erskine Caldwell, Tobacco Road; John Jeremiah Sullivan, “Mr.Lytle.” Melanie Benson Taylor, Disturbing Calculations. Richard H. King, A Southern Renaissance
5) Jackson, Mississippi: Eudora Welty, Delta Wedding and Richard Wright, Black Boy.
6) Who Speaks for the Negro? (I) Robert Penn Warren, “The Briar Patch,” Who Speaks for the Negro? and Band of Angels. Brown v. Board of Education. Gunnar Myrdal, American Dilemma. Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man.
7) Who Speaks for the Negro? (II) Ellen Douglas, Can’t Quit You, Baby; Kathryn Stockett, The Help. Patricia Yaeger, Dirt and Desire. Donaldson and Jones, eds., Haunted Bodies: Gender and Southern Texts.
8) William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying. Literary biography by: David Minter, Philip Weinstein, Carolyn Porter, Richard Gray. Kreyling, Inventing Southern Literature: “Fee, Fie, Faux Faulkner.”
9) Gothic South: Cormac McCarthy, Suttree, Child of God; William Gay, Twilight. Goddu, Gothic America.
10) The U. S. South and the Circum-Caribbean: Arna Bontemps, Drums at Dusk; Madison Smartt Bell, All Souls’ Rising. William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!
11) Grit Lit: Harry Crews, Childhood; Rick Bragg, All Over But the Shoutin’. Larry Brown, Dirty Work; Chris Offutt, Kentucky Straight..
12) The Post-South: Scott Romine, The Real South; Geraldine Brooks, March; Lars von Trier, Manderlay (film); Paul Gilroy, Postmodern Melancholia; Will Shetterly and Vince Stone, Captain Confederacy.
13) Post –Plantation and Post South: Attica Locke, The Cutting Season; Chuck Thompson, Better Off Without ‘Em. Benh Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar, Beasts of the Southern Wild.
14) A Symposium on the Post-South: Presentations on the works in meetings 12 and 13.
Topic: English/American Lit Cinema,Modernity, Modernism
How was the twentieth-century cinema modern? We will approach this question via severalchannels: theory, history, and criticism of modernity and mass culture; scrutiny of the opportunities for (and influences on) modernist visual art and literary practice offered by the cinema; close analyses of both commercial films andartisanal, experimental works; and ethnographic films, which we’ll cast both as imperialist fantasies and as discursive pressure points at which twentieth-century colonialism openly airs its ideological stakes. Readings will range from turn-of-the-century philosophy, sociology, and journalism (Simmel, Bergson, Kraucaer) and Frankfurt School critical theory (Benjamin, Horkheimer and Adorno) to research on the ethnographic gaze, African American filmmaking in the teens and twenties, and the functions of cinema for avant-garde movements in art and literature. Films screened (weekly) will range from the earliest films evershown and early feature films by D. W. Griffith, Fritz Lang and others, to pre-World-War II avant-garde experiments (possible directors include Ray, Dulac, Duchamp, Clair, Léger, Buñuel, Cocteau, and Eisenstein), US structural films of the 1960s and 70s (Frampton, Snow), and a bit of Alfred Hitchcock, whose work we will use as a test case for Hollywood cinema’s sustained conversation with modernism through the end of modernity’s century.
ENGL 355-02 Special Topics in English and American Literature
Topic: Atlantic and Hemispheric Studies
(Wednesday , 12:30-3:00 p.m.)
Introduction to TransArea Studies: Atlantic and Hemispheric American Studies
In this course we will focus on the dynamics of geocultural relations as articulated in literary, critical, historical, and anthropological texts about the Americas. We will scrutinize key terms/tropes such as routes, migrancy, mobility, hybridity, transculturation, and translation and their use in critical-theoretical scholarship that has been instrumental in the formation of two sets of overlapping transnational discourses: one, that of the hemispheric Americas (aka inter-American and New World studies, transamerican and hemispheric American studies) and, two, that of the Atlantic world (aka Atlantic studies, diaspora studies). Our purpose is to assess the possibilities and limitations of the theoretical models that organize each of these discourses: center-periphery, contact zone, diaspora, the Black Atlantic, circum-Atlantic, and TransArea. We will do so by putting these paradigms to the test, unpacking and questioning the assumptions on which they rely and from which they seek to derive their internal coherence and conceptual authority. Since many of the texts we will read are in English translation, translation, multilingualism, and polyvocality as critical concepts and literary practices will concern us throughout the course. Three very different texts from the nineteenth and twentieth century, all of them in translation, will serve as our textual laboratories as we move between theory and critical practice: Alexander von Humboldt’s Essai politique sur l’Île de Cuba (1827; Political Essay on the Island of Cuba), Fernando Ortiz’s Contrapunteo cubano (1947; Cuban Counterpoint), and Manuel Zapata Olivella’s novel Changó, el gran putas (1992; Changó, the Biggest Badass).
How to define our object of study and its spatio-temporal location(s) is an initial and recurring concern. Is it America, América, the other America, the Americas, the New World, the New Continent, the American hemisphere—terms that all imply certain relations to Europe in particular and the rest of the world more generally? Is it the fluid space of the Atlantic? How do we decide what cultural relations are worth studying? How do we as academics relate to our object of study? What sorts of knowledge do we hope to gain from our theories and research (e.g., knowledge about geocultural exchanges and influences, literary and otherwise; knowledge for living together; hemispheric knowledge)?
Studying cultural relations in the Americas and in the Atlantic world requires comparisons. On what methodological basis do we compare forms of expressive behavior, in our case, mainly writing? What assumptions do we make and what expectations do we have when we compare texts from different geocultural spaces? The question of how we can describe, analyze, and theorize about geocultural relations in the most precise ways possible will lead us to engage with the concept of movements across actual and imagined geographies, and with movements as constitutive of those geographies. People, good, and ideas have moved and move within and across temporal and geographical spaces. How best to analyze their movement, which may be unidirectional or multidirectional, using different modes and forms of conveyance at different points in history? How do we deal with movements between spaces that are less stable than we once thought (e.g., nations)? We will consider how the framework of TransAreas, in conjunction with theories about performance, can help us identify and map patterns of mobility and approach what might be called a poetics or aesthetics of movement.
- Humboldt, Alexander von, Political Essay on the Island of Cuba (2011 Chicago edition)
- Ortiz, Fernando, Cuban Counterpoint, Tobacco and Sugar (1995 Duke UP edition)
- Zapata Olivella, Manuel, Changó, the Biggest Badass (2010 Texas Tech University Press)
Note: I have ordered these books, but you may do better buying online. Please be sure to purchase the editions specified. These books are also on reserve.
- Bauer, Ralph, “Hemispheric American Studies”
- Boelhower, William, “’I’ll Teach You How to Flow’: On Figuring out Atlantic studies”
- Boelhower, William, “The Rise of the New Atlantic Studies Matrix”
- Dettelbach, Michael, “The Simulations of Travel: Humboldt's Physiological Construction of the Tropics”
- Edwards, Brent, “The Uses of Diaspora”
- Esty, Jed, “Oceanic, Traumatic, Post-Paradigmatic: A Response to William Boelhower”
- Ette, Ottmar, “Islands, Border, and Vectors. The Fractal World of the Caribbean”
- Ette, Ottmar, “TransTropics: Alexander von Humboldt and Hemispheric Construction”
- Evans, Lucy, “The Black Atlantic: Exploring Gilroy's legacy”
- Chambers, Iain. “Migrant Landscapes” and “The Broken World”
- Gabaccia, Donna, “A long Atlantic in a wider world”
- González Echevarría, Roberto. “The Counterpoint and Literature”
- Hones and Leyda, “Geographies of American Studies”
- Hulme, Peter. “Expanding the Caribbean”
- Jackson, Richard, “Remembering the "Disremembered": Modern Black Writers and Slavery in Latin America”
- Kadir, Djelal. “Concentric Hemispheres: American Studies and Comparative Literature”
- Kutzinski, Vera M., “America/América/Americas”
- Kutzinski, Vera M., “Alexander von Humboldt's Transatlantic Personae”
- Kutzinski, Vera M., “Translations of Cuba: Fernando Ortiz, Alexander von Humboldt, and the curious case of John Sidney Thrasher”
- Martí, José, “Our America” and “My Race”
- Martínez-San Miguel, “Colonial Writings as Minority Discourse?”
- Melas, Natalie, Preface from All the Difference in the World
- Roach, Joseph, Cities of the Dead (selections);
- Saldívar, José David, “The Dialectics of Our America”
- Soja, Edward, Postmodern geographies: The reassertion of space in critical social theory (selections)
- Taylor, Diana, “Remapping Genre through Performance. From 'American' to 'Hemispheric' Studies”
- Tsu, Jing, “New Area Studies and Languages on the Move”
- Wade, Peter. “Race and Nation in Latin America”
- White, Hayden, Tropics of Discourse (selections)
Note: I will provide these for you; full references for each are in the bibliography.
Books for presentations (on reserve):
- Benítez Rojo, Antonio. The Repeating Island: The Caribbean and the postmodern perspective (1986, transl. 1992)
- Bhabha, Homi K. The Location of Culture (1994; 2004)
- Edwards, Brent, The Practice of Diaspora. Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism (2003)
- Brickhouse, Anna, Transamerican Literary Relations and the Public Sphere (2004)
- Dash, Michael, The Other America. Caribbean Literature in a New World Context (1998)
- Gilroy, Paul, The Black Atlantic (1993)
- Gruesz, Kirsten Silva, Ambassadors of Culture: The Transamerican Origins of Latino Writings (2002)
- Lewis, Martin W., and Karen Wigen. The Myth of Continents: A Critique of Metageography (1997)
- Melas, Natalie. All the Difference in the World. Postcoloniality and the Ends of Comparison (2007)
- Pratt, Mary Louise, Imperial Eyes: Travel writing and transculturation (1992; rev. 2008)
- Taylor, Diana. The Archive and the Repertoire. Performing cultural memory in the Americas (2003)
Your final grade will consist of participation (which includes your contributions to discussions and your weekly short papers), your presentation, and your final paper—in equal parts.
Course description: The goal of this course is to ask some of the basic questions about literary theory, language theory, philology, and linguistics, and then to discuss them through reference to both theoretical and (wherever possible) literary texts. What is literary/language theory? What are we doing when we are doing language studies? What is the relationship between the 'literary', the ‘language’ and the 'theory'? What is the ‘red thread’ that connects various theories? Students will be encouraged to think through these questions with reference to some some excerpts from fundamental precursory work and, moreover, with reference to the basic texts that have informed language research through the centuries, before arriving at the current ‘crisis’ in literary and language studies brought on by new technologies, and approaches to the mind. The goal is to provide the student with a basic grounding in major theoretical approaches, including rhetoric, philology, linguistics, formalism, Marxist literary theory, dialogism, structuralism and semiotics, narratology, New Criticism, reception theory, feminist literary theory, psychocriticism, deconstruction and sociocriticism, but we will also survey work in other fields, such as anthropology and linguistics, to demonstrate the “literary theory” doesn’t operate, or shouldn’t operate, in its own realm but rather draws from insights across the disciplinary spectrum.
Eric Auerbach, Mimesis, 978-0691113364
M. M. Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination, 978-0292715349
R. F. Barsky, Zellig Harris, 978-0262015264
Terry Eagleton, Literary Theory, 978-0816654475
Sean Gurd, ed., Philology and its Histories, 978-0814211304
Miranda Hickman, Rereading the New Criticism (CDR Edition), 978-0814292792
Steven Pinker, The Language instinct, 978-0061336461
René Wellek, History of Modern Criticism, 978-0156890847
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