Past Graduate Seminars
English 8155 - Special Problems in English and American Literature: Secularism and Minority Culture
This course traces the discourse on "minority culture" back to the emergence of the European nation-state and secular citizenship in the eighteenth century. How has the European secularist project shaped contemporary questions and ideas about minority identity and culture -- not only in Europe, but also in the post-colonial context of the Global South and the multi-cultural context of North America? We will read a range of theoretical texts that urgently question the boundaries of secularism, the construction of minority identity, and their relationship to literature and culture. Engaging with recent debates in anthropology, comparative and world literature, post-colonial studies, the course interrogates the various political, social, and aesthetic practices that inform both the expression of minority identity and the practice of secular culture. The course will begin with "the Jewish question" in eighteenth-century Europe and then will look at its relationship to "the Muslim question" of the twenty-first century. We will go on to examine how secular Europe discourses justify European and North American imperialism and are an important site of minority cultural production and political resistance.
English 8410 - Romantic Prose and Poetry: Periodical Culture: Fall of the Bastille to A Tale of Two Cities
The regulation of public discourse in Great Britain coalesced through the combined efforts of a range of institutions, the courts and periodicals crucially among them. Issues of personal identity, public property, rights of expression and assembly, the meaning of sanity, and the values of literature we adjudicated in the heteroglossic space of the periodicals and other ancillary prose. In this course, we will explore that space beginning with Caleb Williams and the English panic over the French Revolution, and conclude with Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities, serialized in the first issues of his All the Year Round. We will consider individual writers such as William Hazlitt and Charles Lamb, as they articulated visions of their social and private worlds, as well as the corporate voices of the Edinburgh Review, Blackwood's Magazine, and Fraser's Magazine. Making use of the British periodical and/or American Periodical database, we will conduct original research on topics of their own choosing and prepare an article-length essay based on that research. In addition, students will do collaborative presentations and individual response papers to shared materials.
English 8155 - Colonial Modernity
Since the 1990s, scholars from various academic disciplines have employed the term "colonial modernity" to examine the entwined relationships between modernization and colonialism. While most of this scholarship understands the two enterprises as going hand-in-hand, our class will take a more nuanced approach. We will explore how modern thought and aesthetics in non-European contexts emerged both for and against conditions of colonial modernity. This will necessitate not only a more complicated understanding of modernity and colonialism, but also a reevaluation of modern literature and culture. In order to achieve these goals, we will consider colonial modernity's relationship to race, gender, and revolution. This seminar will be comparative in nature; we will study authors and thinkers from different intellectual traditions and contexts.
English 8155 - Special Topics in English and American Literature: Black Male Writers: The Troika Plus One
Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, and James Baldwin might arguably be thought of as the major African American writers of the post-World War II period, and as a result, the chief voices of black post-modernism. The youngest member of this literary combination, David Bradley, writing in the wake of his "elders" shows traces of the past as well as strides toward new ground. This course is devoted to a study of these figures and the "anxieties of influence" that make it possible for us to read them as a kind of "visionary company."
Spring 2016 Courses of Interest in Other Departments:
French 3891 - Obscenity and French Literature
In this course, we will discuss the complex relationship that has emerged between those "literary classics" considered essential reading for any liberal arts student and the charges of obscenity that many of the authors who have written those texts had to endure. This dilemma leads us to the fact that students are given required readings which describes (and often celebrates) acts that are specifically outlawed in their own culture, or which have been written by authors who would be considered "outlaws" in the society that now reveres their work. A range of issues flow from these considerations, including the ways in which trials draw attention to texts and authors, providing them with audiences and the notoriety to allow them, under certain circumstances, to become "classics." Or the fact that the many contradictions of this tradition points to a deeper ambivalence in our society, indeed in all societies, in the consideration of the relationship between passion and reason. Employing a varied approach that allows students to consider these issues from historical, literary, legal, sociological, and philosophical perspectives, and drawing from those texts most often cited in regards to "obscenity" will provide students with ample ways to explore this challenging and creative realm of literary and cultural research.
Dirt for Art's Sake by Elizabeth Ladenson
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Les Fleurs du Mal by Charles Baudelaire
Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure by John Cleland
Pornography and Obscenity and Lady Chatterly's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
Tropic of Cancer and Obscenity and the Law of Reflection by Henry Miller
Lolita (novel and film versions) by Vladimir Nabokov
Justine, La Philosophie dans le Boudoir by Marquis de Sade
Girls Lean Back Everywhere: The Law of Obscenity and the Assault on Genius by Edward de Grazia
La Terre by Emile Zola
English 314 (8360): Seminar: Performing on Stage and Page, 1660-1830
For almost three centuries, the big story of the eighteenth-century literary history has been the decline of the drama and the rise of the novel, with attention also directed at Restoration drama and Scribblerian satire. In the past few decades, scholars have explained the process as a shift from early modern theater that played out social and political tensions with unprecedented virtuosity to a performance culture in which identity itself was understood as actory but theater itself was degraded. Often the development of print culture is invoked to suggest that new forms of literature such as novels generated new kinds of subjectivity, in a mutually-reinforcing circuit to which the more public modes of drama were irrelevant. In this course, however, we shall be reading against the grain of these received ideas in the light of recent scholarship to explore the mutuality, as much as the competition, between novels and plays or fiction and theater. Apart from the fact that many writers (both canonical and marginal, male and female) wrote in both modes, both dramaturgy and fiction can be understood as performative. Both modes participate in print culture, both can be understood as machines for pleasure, and both are imbricated in the development of dominant literary discourses such as romance, the heroic and the sentimental.
English 320 (8450): Studies in American Literature: The Idea of Black Culture
The idea of black culture provides a reading of conceptualizations of the subject across a historical timeline that begins with W.E.B. DuBois's Souls of Black Folk (1903) and proceeds through successive periods of black cultural apprenticeship: The Pan-African idea, pursued as a practice after the end of World War I; the era of African decolonization and the mounting of the Civil and human rights campaigns in the United States, which both share the global context of the “Cold War” (from the Marshall Plan to the collapse of the Berlin Wall, 1989, and the dismantling of the Soviet Union, 1991), the “birth” of Black Studies and the development of the new epistemologies of the post-sixties and beyond, and the emergence of Diaspora and the post-race/post-colonial subject of the latter twentieth century—the implications of the Obama Presidency. Each of these eras of human and social engagement has engendered its own distinctive work on the meaning(s) of black culture. This seminar will examine such readings in a selective manner by analyzing texts by, among others, C.L.R. James, Frantz Fanon, Aime Cesaire, as well as contemporary scholars, including Saidiya Hartman, Fred Moten, Nahum Chandler, Ken Warren, and Brent Edwards.
English 326 (8440): Introduction to Literary Modernism: High, Cold, and Neo: Framing Modernism in the 20th and 21st Centuries
This course will explore Anglo-American modernism by examining the framing of modernism in three phases: the 1920s and 1930s; mid-century and the Cold War; and contemporary re-imaginings of modernism. Reading will focus on both canonical and less familiar figures.
The first phase corresponds roughly to high modernism and later challenges to it. We’ll look at some canonical expressions and self-understandings of modernism, including T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and Dorothy Richardson. Framing here will largely be a matter of theorizing and self-promotion by the modernists themselves, but we’ll also look at later political critiques of aesthetic and social autonomy, such as Orwell’s “Inside the Whale” (1940), in order to set up issues of autonomy as they played out in the mid-century.
In the second phase, Anglo-American will split into British and American, and we’ll look at what has as variously been called mid-century modernism, and/or late modernism, and/or Cold War modernism. Authors will include Virginia Woolf, Between the Acts, Elizabeth Bowen (The Heat of the Day), Graham Greene (The Third Man, novel and film), Storm Jameson (In the Second Year), Sloan Wilson (The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit). Framing here has to do with how mid-century writers came to terms with the legacy of high modernism and also with how the U.S. militarized modernism as a mode of cultural diplomacy and legitimation even as the British largely rejected it. Theoretical and critical reading will include Jameson, Esty, Miller (Tyrus), and McKay on late modernism. Other material in this section will include excerpts from Marcuse (One-Dimensional Man) and from the biggest selling book of sociology in the history of the United States, Reisman’s The Lonely Crowd (1950).
Finally, we'll look at some 21st reinvocations of modernism, such as Ian McEwan's Atonement. This means we'll largely skip over postmodernism - over which we'll pause for a moment of silence - in favor of what is sometimes called neo-modernism, meta-modernism, or post-postmodernism.
Provisional Requirements will include presentations, creations of Wiki pages, a mid-semester essay and a final seminar essay, which may be an expanded extension of the mid-semester essay.
English 355 (8155): Special Topics in English and American Literature: From Technoscience to Nanoculture: New Models of Science and the Humanities
This course will explore several models of interdisciplinary work in the humanities by focusing on the changing relationship between science and literary culture from the 19th through the 21st centuries.
We begin with the concept of technoscience, best known in literary discourse for its critique of scientific knowledge and objectivity. The word was coined in the 1950s and became associated in the 1980s-1990s with thinkers such as Bruno Latour, Donna Haraway, and critics in Science, Technology, and Society (STS), but we focus on nineteenth century developments because it is the period when scientific disciplines first assumed their modern form alongside rapid industrialization, growth in technological power, and increases in technocratic control in the social sphere. Since much influential work on technoscience focuses on visuality, or what Martin Jay called the “scopic regime of modernity,” this section concentrates on visual and communication technologies, and will look at Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Henry James’s “In the Cage,”and Gibson and Sterling’s The Difference Engine, as well as critical texts by Jonathan Crary, Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison, Carlo Ginzburg, N. Katherine Hayles, and Friedrich Kittler.
The second phase of the course turns to the interdisciplinary model that Leonard Davis has called Biocultures and reads works that reflect the reciprocal impact of evolution and culture, from Darwin to contemporary genomics. Biocultures actively seeks to intervene in public policy, for it presses the claim that cultural attitudes already shape policy-making around cloning and stem-cell research, genetic engineering, genetically modified foods, ecology, and bioterrorism. There is a robust literature in this field, both creative and critical. Readings will include Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species, H. G. Wells’s The Island of Dr. Moreau, H. Rider Haggard’s She, and David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, as well as texts by Giorgio Agamben, Michel Foucault, Jacques Rancière, Paul Rabinow, and Nikolas Rose.
The course ends with a consideration of knowledge production in the twenty-first century. We use an introduction to recent work on the problem of scale—nanoscale, hyperobjects, and the anthropocene—to frame a discussion of cross-disciplinary collaboration. In addition to two science fiction novels—Greg Bear’s Blood Music and Robert Charles Wilson’s Spin—we will read excerpts from Hayles’s NanoCulture and Timothy Morton’s Hyperobjects, Sander L. Gilman, “Collaboration, the Economy, and the Future of the Humanities,” and Steven Shapin’s The Scientific Life: A Moral History of a Late Modern Vocation.
To provide hands-on experience in interdisciplinary research methods, I will arrange for students to join research teams in science and medical school laboratories around campus. Your project will be to identify a literary work in any period that explores the social, cultural, political, or ethical implications of the lab’s investigations. Students will learn how grants are developed in the sciences; how multi-disciplinary teamwork occurs in the context of laboratory research; and how to generate papers on social, ethical, and cultural issues raised by science and medicine.
Preliminary schedule of readings:
I. Visuality and Communication:
- Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
- Lorraine Daston's and Peter Galison's Objectivity
- Henry James's In the Cage
- Gibson and Sterling's The Difference Engine
- N. Katherine Hayle's How We Became Posthuman
- John Guillory's "The Sokal Affair and the History of Criticism"; Paul Rabinow and Nikolas Rose, 2006 Biopower Today. Biosocieties 1(2): 195-217
- Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species
- Michel Foucault and Giorgio Agamben
- H. G. Wells’s The Island of Dr. Moreau and H. Rider Haggard’s She. Jacques Rancière
- David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. “Biocultures” symposium.
- Greg Bear, Blood Music. Hayles, from NanoCulture
- Steven Shapin’s The Scientific Life: A Moral History of a Late Modern Vocation
- Robert Charles Wilson’s Spin. Timothy Morton, from Hyperobjects
- Dipesh Chakrabarty’s “The Climate of History: Four Theses”
English 355 (8155): Special Topics in English and American Literature: Reality Check: Modes of Reality and Representation in the Age of Cyberculture
"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” – Philip K. Dick
In an age when phantasmal projections on the computer and smart phone screens rule our daily lives and disembodied fragments of our audio-visual/textual representations fly around the globe, the long-standing philosophical question of “what is real and how one is to know what is real” weighs us down with an ever-pressing urgency. This course will explore different modes of reality and their literary representations that make inquiries into the concept and nature of the “real.” Seminar participants will discuss how works of fiction, as that which is inherently “fictive” and therefore “unreal,” provide us with an insight into the intricate mechanisms that underlie the construct of reality by not only representing (whether they claim to mirror material reality or project abstract ideas of a subjective mind), but also creating, and reflecting on reality. Texts include novels and short stories by Philip K. Dick, Ted Chiang, Jorge Luis Borges, Neal Stephenson, Richard Powers, William Gibson, and Vernor Vinge; film (Source Code); animation (Serial Experiments Lain); a graphic narrative (We3); TV production (episodes from Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse); and theoretical/critical readings from authors including Jean Baudrillard, Katherine Hayles, Niklas Luhmann, Graham Harmon, Mark Hansen, Brian Massumi, and Cary Wolfe, among others. The course also features guest speakers who will share their expertise on various fields of digital humanities that relate to the course topic, such as GIS (geographic information system) and TEI (text encoding initiative).
Ernest Cline, Ready Player One
William Gibson, The Peripheral
Richard Powers, Plowing the Dark
Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash
Greg Egan, Permutation City
Grant Morrison, We3
(Short stories and excerpts from critical materials will be posted on OAK)
|Spring 2015 Courses of Interest in Other Departments:|
German 392: Reading and Writing in the Digital Age
Recent media innovations have profoundly re-shaped the place and practice of reading and writing in society. Whether we think of the malleability of digital text production, the speed of written exchanges in an era of handheld devices, the arrival of new methods of machine reading and textual data processing, or the spread of e-readers, touch screens and hybrid forms of online publication: the dominance of personal and mobile computing today not simply calls for new modes of reading and writing, it changes the very concept of what we understand as text in the first place. This seminar is designed to examine the aesthetic, cultural, cognitive, and scholarly transformations associated with electronic formats of reading and writing. In the first half of the semester, we will map the landscapes of contemporary reading and writing, studying a number of recent (and not so recent) theoretical perspectives by authors such as Benjamin, Dehaene, Drucker, Fitzpatrick, Gitelman, Goldsmith, Kittler, McGann, Mendelsund, Piper, and Schnapp. The second half of the semester will be largely project-driven. Students will explore and present literary and poetic works in various languages that engage electronic forms of production and dissemenation: they will analyze, curate, reframe, annotate, and visualize critical and creative texts with help of a variety of digital tools; they will collaborate on line writing projects and investigative new platforms of scholarly communication; they will design hypothertical research projects on the media history of writing; and last but not least, they will probe how today's digital environments affect a reader's and writer's dimension of aesthetic experience. All readings, discussions, and writing projects will be in English. Students may utilize their expertise in other languages to present work that may not be accessible to some of their peers.
Spanish 354: The Politics of Identity in Latino U.S. Literature
This course explores Latinos, people of Hispanic descent born or raised in the United States, who represent the fastest growing population in the United States. Latino literature is at the vanguard of a new discipline, one that erases differences between borders, cultures, and languages. The class will focus on the writings of Latinas/Latinos from the four largest groups: Chicanos, Cuban-Americans, Puerto Rican-Americans, and Dominican Americas. The readings will include Gloria Anzaldúa's Borderland/La Frontera, Junot Díaz's Drown, Gustavo Pérez Firmat's Next Year in Cuba, and Juan Flores's The Di.
English 306 (8330): Seminar in 16th Century Literature: Epic Discontent: On the Critical Potential of Passionate Characters in Tudor England
Beginning with the two most important epics for Tudor translation and imitation - Virgil's Aeneid and Ovid's Metamorphosis - we will consider the intersections among classicism, educational institutions, gender, affect, and sexuality in 16th-century London. Epic discourse played a crucial role in Tudor debates about social, geographic, and national distinction; it was also fundamental to a literary phenomenon for which the period is often celebrated: the invention of dramatic character. Reading in light of institutional rhetorical practices – those imbibed in humanist grammar schools as well as at the Inns of Court – we will discuss a series of so-called minor epics alongside dramatic texts that bring “the matter of Troy” onstage. Most important for our purposes, a short-lived but intense vogue for “minor epics” began when Thomas Lodge, a law student at Lincoln’s Inn, published Scillaes Metamorphosis (1589). It sparked a rapid series of sexually explicit poems by lawyers and dramatists alike in which highly emotional speeches about love sometimes sound like dramatic soliloquies, sometimes like legal arguments, and sometimes both. At the same time, writers of epyllia launched a vigorous critique of epic teleology with important consequences for how we understand both subjectivity and sexuality in the period. All show a recognizably Tudor form of “discontent”: skeptical imitations of passionate ancient characters that undercut normative, end-driven representations of nationhood and useful masculinity from within the genre thought to consolidate these identities and from within the institutions that most benefited from upholding them. Adopting a comparative, trans-institutional perspective, the course examines what the so-called “minor epic” reveals about the classicizing terms that shaped debates about what counted as “male,” “female,” “English,” and “barbarian” discourse and feeling. Texts may include: the Aeneid, the Metamorphoses; Thomas Lodge, Scillaes Metamorphosis; John Marston, The Metamorphosis of Pigmalions Image; Thomas Heywood, Paris and Oenone; George Chapman, Ovid’s Banquet of Sense; Francis Beaumont, Salmacis and Hermaphroditus; James Shirley, Narcissus or, The Self-Lover; Marlowe, Hero and Leander and Dido, Queen of Carthage; Shakespeare, The Rape of Lucrece, Venus and Adonis, Othello, Hamlet, Antony and Cleopatra.
English 318 (8420): Seminar in Victorian Prose and Poetry: Visuality, Visual Culture, and the Victorian Imagination
This course will approach Victorian literary and cultural history from the angle of visuality. Historian often refer to a "pictorial turn" to describe the flourishing of visual culture in the 19th century, in objects that ranged from hand-held stereoscopes to panoramas to world exhibitions. We will consider the multi-faceted aspects of Victorian visuality, from the science of optics to the politics of empire. Our objects of study will include literary works remarkable for their visual play, such as Dickens's Bleak House and Brontë’s Villette, as well as the aesthetic (and political) philosophies of John Ruskin and Walter Pater. We will explore some key archives of Victorian visual culture, including illustrated books, advertising posters, and representations of the Great Exhibition of 1851, usually considered the first World's Fair. Class meetings will also consider Victorian photography, illustration, ekphrasis, criminality, empire, and decadence. For theories and histories of vision, we will look to W.J.T. Mitchell, Walter Benjamin, Jonathan Crary, Michel Foucault, Sharon Marcus, and Martin Jay, among others. The course, aimed at both specialists and non-specialists, will consider some basic questions: How to analyze an image? What is visual culture, and how is it related to the fine arts? What is the relation between politics and visuality in the 19th century?
English 355 (8155): Special Topics in English and American Literature: The Long Poem
This seminar focuses on the once de rigueur task of close reading. Reading will be intensive rather than extensive, and time spent writing will probably equal that spent reading. The seminar will veer toward a “workshop” approach, in which a few students (depending on class size) each week will make available their interventions. These writings will be the basis of our discussion. If you choose to take this class, you must know that participation is absolutely essential. (Let me add: we will also have a great deal of fun.)
The long poem—or what some call “the poetic sequence”—is a hybrid or heterogeneous genre, described by some as a loose and baggy mixture of poetry and prose or a compound of lyric “immediacy” and epic “inclusiveness.” We will discuss the odd genre-marriage of the form, as well as seek to understand what happens when history becomes part of poetry, a division that was not always as stark as we would like to think. Ezra Pound recognized this when he thought of the epic as a long poem that “contained history.” Another major consideration is the nature of the poetic “I” when a poet tackles this discontinuous or fragmented form. Edgar Allan Poe once declared: “A long poem is a contradiction in terms,” and then he went on to write Eureka, with two titles added: “A Prose Poem” and “An Essay on the Material and Spiritual Universe.”
The formal and stylistic range of the poems read in the seminar asks that we confront the interplay between politics and poetry, racial or racially inflected poetic practice and cultural production.We will be concentrating on T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, Adrienne Rich, Derek Walcott, Thylias Morse and N. NourbeSe Philip, after our Whitman introduction (followed by our discussion of the “unreadable,” with Melville’s Clarel at the helm).
I encourage participants to consider – if time permits – the poetry of Hart Crane (The Bridge), Wallace Stevens (Auroras of Autumn), Charles Olson (Maximus), Harryette Mullen (Drudge), Jorie Graham (Materialism and Place: New Poems), and Anne Carson (Autobiography of Red). I will be available to talk with you about any other poets that you would like to study and write about.
English 355 (8155): Special Topics in English and American Literature: Proseminar: The Conflict of the Faculties 2.0
Among the final publications of Immanuel Kant’s lifetime was a curious little assemblage of essays called The Conflict of the Faculties (1798). Ostensibly aimed at protecting what we would now call the ‘academic freedom’ of the philosophy faculty from incursions by the Prussian state, the treatise proceeds to veer into discussions of the history of human progress, mysticism in religion, sleep disorders, and how best to refrain from “morbid feelings.” In other words, it captures the outsized ambitions and unsettling affects of life in the academy today. This proseminar derives its energies from Kant’s peculiar treatise in order to consider the state of our discipline in 2014. As the gateway course into the Ph.D. program, it is designed to reflect on a range of questions that tacitly give contour to nearly everything we do in this profession: What is the status of criticism/critique within the contemporary university? How best to think freely within an increasingly corporatized institution? What are the genres of scholarly expression and professional comportment necessary for success? How does the study of what we still call “English” bear the traces of its institutional history? What does the future hold for some of the structuring keywords of our discipline—periodization, national literature, field, the humanities, the archive, the book? How do we read and write and teach despite it all? How do we avoid morbid thoughts?
The Proseminar is limited to first-year graduate students only.
English 355 (8155): Special Topics in English and American Literature: Caribbean Fiction and Poetry
This course is a comparative survey of twentieth-century Caribbean literatures written in English, French, and Spanish (we will read the latter two in their English translations). Rather than assuming that ACaribbean@ refers to some sort of a priori cultural coherence, be it essentialist or geographical, we will explore the often very different ways in which writers steeped in the cultural traditions of Western Europe, West Africa, and the Americas have approached the idea of “Caribbeanness.” Our task will be to identify representational patterns and analyze the logic of convergences and divergences in both literary and scholarly texts. Three figures, or conceptual clusters, will help focus our conversations: (1) passages and other translations; (2) islands and/as nations; and (3) carnivals. Each figure opens up questions: How do we think and write about multi-directional movements (including linguistic translations) across the Atlantic and among island spaces? What sort of space is an island, and what does it mean for an island to repeat itself? Does carnival signify resistance to culturally dominant practices or accommodation to those practices? Does it signify differently to people of different genders and sexualities?
Readings will include (most) of the following: Robert Antoni, Carnival; Wilson Harris, Carnival; Miguel Barnet, Autobiography of a Runaway Slave; Dany Bébel-Gisler, Léonora; Kamau Brathwaite, The Arrivants; Tobias Buckell, Crystal Rain; Alejo Carpentier, The Kingdom of This World; Aimé Césaire, Cahier d = un retour au pays natal (Return to my Native Land); Michelle Cliff, Abeng; Maryse Condé, I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem; David Dabydeen, Turner; Fred D’Aguiar, Feeding the Ghosts; Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; Rosario Ferré, The House on the Lagoon; Nicolás Guillén, selected poems; Nalo Hopkinson, Midnight Robber; Earl Lovelace, The Dragon Can’t Dance; Patrick Chamoiseau, Texaco; Daniel Maximin et al, AEloge de la créolité@ (In Praise of Creoleness); Derek Walcott, Collected Poems, 1948-1984.
Requirements: weekly short papers (750 words), brief presentations (mainly on anthologies of Caribbean literatures), and a final project, which may be a research paper or an annotated syllabus.
|Fall 2014 Courses of Interest in Other Departments:|
French 362: Émile Zola and Charles Dickens: Naturalism, Realism, and Social Engagement
This course will introduce students to a group of seminal novels from Charles Dickens and Émile Zola, supplemented by essays and letters that discuss their respective approaches to social justice and the role that their literary work plays, or can play, to advance particular causes. Different facets of their writings will be discussed, including their respective methods of researching their subject matter, the style of their writing, as well as their concerns relating to contemporary oppression, violence, prostitution, alcoholism and social inequality. Students will also be introduced to the relationship between realism and naturalism, and will have occasion to explore the idea of the “public intellectual”, with particular reference to Zola’s “J’Accuse,” an open letter to the president denouncing the wrongful conviction of a Jewish officer of the French army for treason.
French 380: French Literary Theory
In the seminar, instead of attempting an sweeping overview of the history of literary theory, we will read a selection of theoretical masterworks and attempt to define the uses and limits of theory in literary analysis. While an exhaustive review of theory is impossible, we will certainly touch upon an array of theoretical approaches to literary criticism with an emphasis on those with particular relevance to French and Francophone literature. In addition to some of the major theoretical texts of Marxism, Structuralism, Post-structuralism, Psychoanalysis, Feminism, the critique of colonial and post-colonial discourses, etc., we will focus on some of the great debates of intellectual history. Students will be required to write a series of short papers, give two presentations, and write a final research essay.
Political Science 308:Individual and Society in Modern Political Thought
This course will explore one important theme in modern political thought—the relationship between the individual and society. To what extent is the individual shaped by his or her social and cultural interactions? How have political theorists historically addressed a critical tension between individuality and sociability? Modern political thinkers approach these questions by examining the impact of a range of collective practices on the identity and behavior of individuals—education, religious communities, cultural and social customs and manners, commerce, and democratic political institutions, among others. With this in mind, we will read widely in modern political thought, including groundbreaking works in moral and social psychology, educational treatises, and democratic theory. Potential authors include Rousseau, Smith, Marx, Mill, Thoreau, Nietszche, James, and Freud.
Women's and Gender Studies 301: Gender and Sexuality: Feminist Approaches
Interdisciplinary introduction to the major debates, theoretical terms, and research methods in feminist, gender, sexuality, and queer studies.
English 303 (7430): Graduate Fiction Workshop
Women's and Gender Studies 301: Gender and Sexuality: Feminist Approaches Nancy ChickInte
English 304 (7440): Graduate Poetry Workshop
The graduate poetry workshop will be focused on class discussion of poetry written by participants. Members should aim to complete 12 pages of their poetry for the course. Each class member will also present the work of a contemporary poet of their choice once during the semester. Discussion of the following books by visiting poets will also be included: World Tree by David Wojahn, Secure the Shadow by Claudia Emerson, New Collected Poems by Eavan Boland.
English 305 (7450): Graduate Nonfiction Workshop