Fall 2007 Graduate Seminars

Eng 599R: Master's Thesis
Elliott, TBA, TBA, Max: 99


Eng 700R: Studies in Old English Literature: Old English Language and Literature
Morey, MWF 9:35-10:25, Max: 5


Content: One semester of intensive language study will result in a proficient reading knowledge of the West Saxon dialect (standard Old English) such that we can explore the culture of the Anglo-Saxons and better understand the language we speak today. Selections from heroic and religious poetry and prose will begin with the first recorded poem in the English language and will include the Wanderer and Seafarer, the Battle of Maldon, the Dream of the Rood, Ælfric's preface to Genesis, and King Alfred's lament over the faded glory of English learning. Classes consist of prepared translation, short lectures, and discussion. The standard lexicographic and bibliographic tools in Old English will be covered. Some previous foreign language study is desirable but not required; students should be prepared to use a glossary. Depending on student interest, the class may continue with the reading of Beowulf in the spring.

Enrollment is open to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Particulars: Grammar and translation quizzes, midterm, final, class presentation. English 300 may NOT be used to fulfill the undergraduate writing requirement.

Eng 717R: Milton
Goldberg, Th 1:00-4:00, Max: 8 (Eng 717R/CPLT 751R)


Content: The focus of this course will be to articulate Milton's writing with that of his contemporaries during the revolutionary period, particularly his relationship to political/ philosophical thought (e.g. Hobbes, the Levellers, Winstanley, Lucy Hutchinson), scientific/ philosophical thought (e.g. Margaret Cavendish, Boyle), as well as contemporary poetry (e.g. Marvell). Paradise Lost as well as several prose tracts will be the main focus, as well as a sampling of literary criticism, older (e.g. William Empson) as well as more recent.

Texts: Milton: Major Works, ed. S. Orgel and J. Goldberg (Oxford); Hobbes, Leviathan (Cambridge); Cavendish, Observations Upon Experimental Philosophy (Cambridge); Hutchinson, Life of Colonel Hutchinson (if available), and other texts by or about the authors named above, as available.

Particulars: report and a seminar paper.

Eng 720R: Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature: Early English Novel
Brownley, Tu 1:00-4:00, Max: 12


Content: Over the past two decades, research into the origins of the English novel has been a growth industry in literary studies. After a long theoretical domination by Watt's Rise of the Novel, a number of competing paradigms have emerged to explain the development of the preeminent modern literary genre. This seminar will survey examples of these new approaches, juxtaposing them with selected early prose fictional texts to evaluate theory against practice. Particularly important throughout the course will be the historical and ideological contexts of Restoration and early eighteenth century England that shaped its discursive forms.

Texts: Theorists covered will include Watt, Reed, Ballaster, McKeon, Hunter, and various essayists. Early fictional prose to be assigned will include Behn, Nashe, Lafayette, Defoe, and a few shorter pieces.

Particulars: One or two class facilitations; one short paper; one longer paper.

Eng 740R: Studies in Twentieth-Century British Literature: Eliot, Yeats, and the Divided Tradition of 20th-century British Poetry
Schuchard, W 4:00-7:00, Max: 12


Content: Through an intensive study of major writings by T. S. Eliot and W. B. Yeats, this seminar will explore the nature of the divided romantic-classical traditions of modern British literature. Moving back and forth from Yeats to Eliot decade by decade, we will further examine the literary politics of their mutual criticism and seek an understanding of the modern temper in their antithetical temperaments.

Texts: Readings will focus on their poetry and non-fiction prose. The problems and hands-on solutions of editing the massive amounts of unpublished letters, prose, and other documents by these two modern writers will be part of the discussion and practice of the seminar.

Particulars: Each member will be responsible for leading discussions of designated poems and essays by each poet. At least 20-25 pages of critical writing are required, the number of papers to be negotiated with each student early in the semester.

Eng 752R: Studies in Twentieth-Century American Literature: Globalization, Disaster, and Literary Witness
Kalaidjian, Tu 4:00-7:00, Max: 8 (Eng 752R/CPLT 751R)


Content: Somewhat prophetically, former President Bill Clinton warned in 2000 that "Globalization is not something we can hold off or turn off . . . it is the economic equivalent of a force of nature-like wind or water." In Clinton's naturalized metaphor globalization assumed the power of an inevitable and irresistible energy flow. Read in retrospect, however, his analogy appears tellingly haunted by the specter of a violence to come: a specter of disaster that has increasingly overshadowed if not entirely displaced globalization's purchase on capital's utopian future. After 9/11, no key terms would appear more antithetical yet also more intimately related than the two semantic markers of globalization and disaster. The destruction of the World Trade Center remains, no doubt, the inaugural trauma of the 21st Century insofar as it decisively sutured globalization and disaster into the defining symptom of our times.

This seminar will explore critical theories, cultural objects, and literary texts that link globalization, flexible citizenship, and disaster with psychoanalytic accounts of trauma, delusion and psychosis in the public sphere. Our aim will be to generate original readings of aesthetic and cultural testimony to modernity and the emerging post-9/11 condition.

Tentative Reading List: Hany Abu-Assad, Paradise Now; Siddiq Barmak, Osama; Michael Cunningham, Specimen Days; Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis; Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close; H.D., Trilogy and Tribute to Freud; Ian McEwan, Saturday; Claire Messud, The Emperor's Children; Richard Powers, The Echo Maker; John Updike, Terrorist.

Excerpts from: Jean Baudrillard, The Spirit of Terrorism and Requiem for the Twin Towers; Maurice Blanchot, The Writing of the Disaster; Giovanna Borradori , Philosophy in a Time of Terror: Dialogues with Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida; Judith Butler, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence; David Harvey, Spaces of Global Capitalism: Towards a Theory of Uneven Geographical Development; Jacques Lacan, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book III: The Psychoses; Aiwa Ong, Introduction to Flexible Citizenship: The Cultural Logic of Transnationality; Andrew Ross, Fast Boat to China.

Requirements will comprise a short response essay, a research paper, and a short presentation.

Eng 752R: Studies in Twentieth-Century American Literature: The Tradition of Black Intellectual Radicalism
Jackson, M 7:00-10:00, Max: 12


Content: This course explores 19th and 20th century traditions of black intellectual thought about the African diaspora. The precise focus concerns the efforts of the major black Marxists to infuse a western discourse of social class struggle with the historical problem of colonialism, slavery, imperialism, racism, racial apartheid, domestic colonialism, and neocolonialism. The course bias is toward materials with a historical and interdisciplinary approach to the theoretical problems, but we will also take into account fictional and autobiographical accounts that engage the topic.

We will consider the following texts: C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins; Martin Delany, Blake: or, the Huts of America; Frederick Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom; Brent Edwards, The Practice of Diaspora; W.E.B. Du Bois, Dark Princess, Black Reconstruction, Dusk of Dawn; Claude McKay, Home to Harlem; Harold Cruse, The Crisis of the Black Intellectual; Winston James, Holding Aloft the Banner of Ethiopia; Cedric Robinson, Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition; Richard Wright, White Man, Listen!; Jerry Watts, Heroism and the Black Intellectual; Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X; Lorraine Hansberry, Les Blancs; Franz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth; Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic.

Eng 771R: Studies in Drama: Samuel Beckett
Gruber, M 1:00-4:00, Max: 12


Content: One author, composing in two languages (English, French), across three genres (fiction, poetry, drama), in four artistic mediums (page, stage, radio, and television): his "uncompromising obscurity" notwithstanding, Beckett's writing over six decades (from the 1930s through the 1980s) covers most if not all of the major developments in the literary and figurative arts of the twentieth century. In this seminar we will study the famous early plays (e.g., Waiting for Godot, Endgame) and novels (Murphy, Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable) as well as the important but less well known short fiction and plays (e.g., the narrative "fragments" and the experimental, haunting "dramaticules" of the 70s and 80s). We'll pay special attention to Beckett's work in relation to broad historical and stylistic categories for 20th-century art (e.g., the avant-garde, modernism and postmodernism, minimalism) as well as to more specifically literary questions (e.g., changing ideas of authorship and originality).

Texts: Beckett: Waiting for Godot; Endgame; The Collected Shorter Plays; Trilogy (Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable); Complete Short Prose; and others.

Particulars: two or three oral reports and/or short critical reviews; seminar paper.

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: The Sublime
White, Th 4:00-7:00, Max: 8 (Eng 789R/CPLT751R )


Content: This course will explore the idea of the sublime especially as it informs eighteenth-century British poetry and prose with additional attention to philosophical writings from Germany and France. What is the sublime? The ecstatic, the extreme, the difficult-any mode or figure that involves the intertwining of pain and pleasure-all these belong to the traditional notion of the sublime along with an imagery of ruins, darkness and natural disaster. Our readings and discussions will consider how the notion of the sublime involves a power that exceeds the power of representation to contain it and thus marks the limits of aesthetics within the language of aesthetics itself. With these issues in mind, we will conclude with consideration of how more recent post-structuralist thought addresses the sublime. Readings will be structured around three nodal points in the history of this discourse: Longinus, Burke, and Kant. Other readings to be drawn from Dennis, Addison, Thompson, Young, H. Blair, Ossian, Gray, Collins, Shelley, Hegel, Derrida, and De Man.

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Historical Tourism
Elliott, W 7:00-10:00, Max: 7 (Eng 789R/ILA 790)


Content: This seminar will focus on the construction of history in the public sphere, on questions of how historical knowledge are fashioned for the public in an age of hyper-commemoration. What is the texture of "historical feeling" that public sites of commemoration seek to produce? How does the textual record of fictional and non-fictional history help us to understand that work of commemoration? How can we understand the explosion of tourist destinations -- museums, reenactments, heritage parks -- that promise to deliver an experience of the historical? We will survey the recent "memory boom" in scholarship, with a particular focus on book-length monographs that undertake the assessment of historical experience of particular kinds. In addition, we will read selected works of fiction that have been crucial to the articulation of historical experience in contemporary life. While most of our examples will come from the United States, we will focus on questions of research methodology that can be applied to other contexts. Indeed, this seminar will be function as a "research group," in which participants will design collaborative research projects on the production of historical experience in the local area.

Possible texts include: Edward Linenthal The Unfinished Bombing; Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Destination Culture; Eric Gable and Richard Handler, Old History in a New Museum; Ivan Karp and Corrine Kratz, eds., Museum Frictions; Jenny Thompson, War Games; Edward M. Bruner, Culture on Tour; David Simpon, 9/11: The Culture of Commemoration; and Saidiya Hartman, Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route.

Particulars: will include at least one class presentation, an annotated bibliography; and participation in the design of a collaborative research project.

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Poststructuralist Theory and Technical Culture
Johnston, W 1:00-4:00, Max: 12 (Eng 789R/CPLT 751)


Content: This course will examine the general claim that technology is the "unthought" (l'impensé) of poststructuralist theory. Beginning with Heidegger's questioning of technics and his formulation of a primordial opposition between phusis and techne, we will consider how poststructuralist discourse addresses the traditional metaphysical oppositions between animal, human and machine. Among the topics and perspectives we will take up are Jacques Lacan on the symbolic and the machine, Deleuze and Guattari's concept of desiring machines and the assemblage, Derrida on the writing machine and the archive, the move from discourse analysis (Foucault) to discourse networks and mediality (Kittler), the differences between a technical system (Stiegler) and systems theory (Niklas Luhman). To explore this triad from another side, we will draw upon selected writings of Georges Bataille and Giorgio Agemben, considering themes such as virulent materialism, general as opposed to restricted economy, excess and a science of the heterogeneous, the open, zoe versus bios, the anthropological machine, etc. not only in relation to techne but to technological administration more generally. The course will not presuppose any familiarity with any of these writers.

Required Texts: Martin Heidegger, The Question of Technology; Jacques Lacan, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan: Book II; Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus (excerpts); Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever, Paper Machines; Friedrich Kittler, Gramophone, Film, Typewriter (excerpts); Bernard Stiegler, Technics and Time; Niklas Luhmann, Social Systems (excerpts); Georges Bataille, Visions of Excess; Giorgio Agamben, The Open: Man and the Animal;selected xeroxed essays.

Particulars: a short presentation and a seminar essay.

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Total Theater of W. B. Yeats
Flannery, Th 4:00-7:00, Max: 4


Content: W. B. Yeats is generally acknowledged as the greatest poet and one of the most innovative dramatists of modern times. As T. S. Elliot wrote: "[Yeats] is one of those few whose history is the history of their own time, who are part of the consciousness of an age which cannot be understood without them."

This course will focus on the major poems and plays of Yeats as well as his extraordinarily rich and productive life. The word "total" in the title refers to the Yeatsian idea of a theater in which all the arts (poetry, music, acting, dance and spatial imagery) are combined. The other sense of the word reflects Yeats's lifelong study of folklore, mythology, and the occult sciences as well as his practical involvement in the shaping of modern Ireland as a politician, critic and social activist.

Texts: The Yeats Reader: A Portable Compendium of Poetry, Drama and Prose, ed. Richard J. Finnernan (New York: Scribner, 1997.) Course packet consisting of sixteen additional plays of Yeats.

Particulars: Students are required to write a one-and-a-half to two page response paper every other week based on the assigned reading. In addition, undergraduate students will write a final paper of 3000 - 5000 words. Graduate students will write a final paper of approximately 10,000 words.

Eng 791R: Teaching of Composition
Morey, M 1:00-4:00, Max: 15


Content: This is a two-semester (spring/fall) practicum in Rhetoric/Composition pedagogy for graduate students teaching English 101 (Expository Writing) or 181 (Writing about Literature) for the first time (i.e., fall 2007). We will be concerned with general questions of theory and method, specifically as these apply to course design, textbooks, writing assignments, evaluation, and day-to-day classroom practices. The Spring semester will be concerned primarily with general perspectives and course design; the Fall semester primarily with the reality of classroom experience.

Texts: Readings in pedagogy, rhetorical theory, and examples of student writing.

Particulars: Evaluation is satisfactory/unsatisfactory, with no formal paper. Brief presentations on matters of common concern are required.

Eng 797R: Directed Study
Elliott, TBA, TBA, Max: TBA

Eng 799R: Doctoral Dissertation Colloquium
Elliott, W 4:00-7:00, Max: 15


Content: This colloquium is for those at the writing stage of their dissertation work, including those who are just beginning their dissertations and those who have progressed further. Some sessions early in the semester will be aimed particularly at students early in the process. However, the bulk of the sessions will be structured in a workshop format in which students distribute drafts, make presentations, and engage in dialogue with their peers. All participants must be prepared to read the work of their peers with care and to provide commentary. (Colloquium participants will receive credit on a S/U grading basis.)

Eng 799R: Doctoral Dissertation
Elliott, TBA, TBA, Max: TBA