Fall 2008 Graduate Seminars

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


(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment.)

Eng 720R: Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature: Sex and Sentiment
Kelleher, W 10:00-1:00, Max: 12


Content: This seminar will explore the various ways in which sexuality and moral feeling are conceptually intertwined in the literature and philosophy of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain.  We will be especially concerned to examine the relationship between two key aspects of eighteenth-century culture: first, the rise and consolidation of what historians have termed "companionate marriage" (that is, marriage understood as the affectively saturated ideal of conjugal intimacy, reciprocity, and companionship); and second, the rise of literary and philosophical sentimentalism, which privileged the notions of sympathetic and benevolent feeling, and articulated the belief that "good nature" predisposes humankind to live together peacefully and justly.  A central question for our discussions will be: to what extent, and in what ways, does the eighteenth century imagine heterosexual desire as the very precondition of morality and ethics?

Texts: Authors to be discussed include Adam Smith, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Laurence Sterne, Edmund Burke, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley, and Jane Austen.

Particulars: A presentation and a final seminar paper will be required.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment.)

Eng 740R: Studies in Twentieth-Century British Literature: Thomas Hardy and Contemporary English Poetry
Schuchard, W 4:00-7:00, Max: 12


Content: This seminar will begin with a study of the poetry and poetics of Thomas Hardy and proceed to a study of contemporary poets who look less to the Yeats-Eliot-Pound tradition of modern poetry than to Hardy for liberation from the burdens of that tradition: W. H. Auden, Dylan Thomas, Philip Larkin, Ted Hughes, Seamus Heaney.

Texts: A primary text will be Thomas Hardy: The Complete Poems (Palgrave, paper). Others texts will include the collected or selected poems of Auden, Thomas, Larkin, Hughes and Heaney, together with their available critical writings.

Particulars: Each student will be responsible for preparing and leading discussion of particular volumes of poetry and criticism. The writing requirement (20-25 pages) will be worked out on an individual basis as to the number and kind of papers.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment.)

Eng 752R: Studies in Twentieth-Century American Literature: American Modernism and Archival Recovery
Kalaidjian, Tu 4:00-7:00, Max: 4 (Eng 752R/CPLT 752/WS 585/ILA 790)


Content: How do archives shape modern literary textuality and poetic discourse? What roles do first editions, anthologies, little magazines, ephemera, broadsides, exhibitions, avant-garde happenings, political movements, and popular culture play in the makeup and reception of modern American verse? In taking up such questions, this seminar will review archival theory and consider recent recovery projects in American literary Modernism that read twentieth-century American verse against the historic and transatlantic contexts of its material production. In particular, we will study how archives provide insight into modernist sites of cultural production such as salons, galleries, bookstores, and little magazine collectives: taking into account the nexus of aesthetic and social production in the modern women's movement, the Harlem Renaissance, the American labor movement, and other emergent countercultural tendencies such as the Beat scenes in New York and San Francisco. For example, we will examine the formation of American modernism through the editorial collaborations of, say, Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap, Hilda Doolittle and Annie Winifred Ellerman, Alain Locke and Langston Hughes, Harriet Monroe and Ezra Pound, Max Eastman and Claude McKay, Diane Di Prima and Amiri Baraka. Beyond engaging close readings of canonical and emerging poetry, the seminar will employ the resources of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library, the collections of James Weldon Johnson, Michel Fabre, Broadside Press, as well as MARBL's collections in the Harlem Renaissance and African-American material culture generally.

Particulars: Assignments will include a short response essay, a research essay, and a short presentation of the research essay.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment.)

Eng 780R: Methods of Literary Interpretation: Simulacra, Simulation, and Game Theory
Johnston, Th 1:00-4:00, Max: 8
CANCELLED 6/23/2008

Content: This course will begin with a critical history of simulacra (Plato, Nietzsche, Deleuze), followed by an examination of several theories of simulation (Baudrillard, Langton, Grand, Casti), conceived of as both a strategy and a digital technology no longer determined by mimetic protocols (i.e., of truth and representation). In this context we will examine shifts in the meaning of "code" and the relevance of game theory to the dynamic play of simulations that increasingly shape contemporary reality. Thus we will also be concerned with information warfare and (to a lesser extent) with the importance of computer games. In short, we will test and problematize media theorist Friedrich Kittler's claim that "all but simulation is war." While the primary readings will be drawn from theoretical sources, we will also read several literary texts focused on these themes and devote some class time (and preparatory research for the seminar) to looking at actual computer simulations as well as documents, artifacts and websites from the military-entertainment complex.

Texts: Gilles Deleuze, The Logic of Sense; Jean Baudrillard, Symbolic Exchange and Death; John L. Casti, Would-be Worlds; Joshua M. Epstein and Robert Axtell, Growing Artificial Societies; William Poundstone, Prisoner's Dilemma; Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game; Richard Powers, Plowing the Dark; Vernor Vinge, Rainbows End.

Short texts by John von Neumann, Donna Haraway, Chris Langton, Steve Grand, Paul Virilio, Friedrich Kittler, Tim Lenoir, Linda Nagata, Bernadette Wegenstein and others to be announced

Particulars: a class presentation and seminar paper.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment.)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Ruined Histories
White: W 1:00-4:00, Max: 6 (Eng 789R/CPLT 752)
(CANCELLED)

Content: This course explores how ideas of history and historicity come into crisis in British, French, and German writing over the course of the nineteenth century.  Even as works of this period show an acute historical consciousness often informed by ideas of progress and development they simultaneously explore the idea of history in ruins and put the explanatory power of history itself into question.  Reading a wide range of authors and genres -- from romantic epic and historical novel to philosophic argument and political polemic -- we will consider how the "historical orientation" or "need" of the nineteenth century (Nietzsche's words) repeatedly must come to terms with the breakdown of history both as event and as narrative.  We will also consider a series of twentieth-century authors whose interpretations of the nineteenth century help to crystallize these issues.

Texts: Readings to include works by Scott, Keats, Shelley, Carlyle, Marx, Nietzsche, and Hugo as well as Adorno, Benjamin, De Man, Hartman, Koselleck, and Hayden White.

(Written Permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Bakhtin and His Circles: Dialogues Across the Disciplines
Reed/Epstein, Th 1:00-4:00, Max: 4 (Eng 789R/CPLT752/ILA 790/RUSS 550)


Content: This seminar will study the major writings of the 20th c. Russian thinker Mikhail Bakhtin, placing them in dialogue with writings of others--those on whom he drew most deeply and those on whom he has been most influential. In some cases, as with his close associates in the 1920s, Voloshinov and Medvedev, or with the Russian Formalists, these "circles" are historically immediate. In other cases, as with Bakhtin's studies of Dostoevsky and Rabelais, or his influence on Western cultural studies and Russian postmodernism, they are culturally mediated. The course will focus on the most innovative and cross-disciplinary aspects of Bakhtin's work, including his theories of dialogue, authorship, metalinguistics, and philosophical anthropology, as well as on his own dialogical engagements with Marxism and Existentialism.

Texts: Bakhtin, Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics, trans. Emerson; Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination, trans. Holquist and Emerson;  Bakhtin, Rabelais and His World, trans. Iswolsky;  Bakhtin, Speech Genres and Other Late Essays, trans.McGee; The Bakhtin Reader, ed. Morris;  Morson and Emerson, Mikhail Bakhtin:Creation of a Prosaics; Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground, trans. Pevear and Volokhonsky; Friedman, ed. The Worlds of Existentialism:  A Critical Reader; Felch and Contino, ed. Bakhtin and Religion:  A Feeling for Faith; assorted essays by others.

Glossaries of Bakhtin's terms can be found in Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination, pp. 423-434 and in The Bakhtin Reader, 245-252.

Particulars: Active participation in discussion, a 20-25-minute presentation to the class, and a term paper will be required of each student in the seminar. In addition, students will be invited to take part in a collective improvisation on a Saturday to be determined.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment.)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: The Arthurian Tradition
Bugge, Th 10:00-1:00, Max: 12


Content: The course surveys both medieval and modern expressions of the remarkably durable myth of King Arthur and the Round Table.  Readings will range from medieval chronicle and romance to modern novels, plays, and long poems.  The main critical approach will be myth criticism, with special attention to the "cultural work" the myth performs in successive periods in the history of English and American literature.

Texts: To be announced later, but will include some of the following: The Romance of Arthur, ed. J. Wilhelm and L. Gross [medieval texts]; Sir Thomas Malory, Works; Matthew Arnold, Tristan and Iseult; William Morris, The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems; Alfred Lord Tennyson,  Idylls of the King; Twain, Mark.  A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court; A. G. Swinburne, Tristan and Iseult, The Tale of Balen; T. S. Eliot,  The Waste Land ; Edwin Arlington Robinson, Merlin; Lancelot; Tristram; John Steinbeck, Tortilla Flat; Charles Williams, Taliessin through Logres; Region of the Summer Stars; T. H. White, The Once and Future King; C. S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength; John Arden and Marguerite d'Arcy. The Island of the Mighty;   Walker Percy, Lancelot; Marian Zimmer Bradley.  The Mists of Avalon; David Lodge.  Small World; Donald Barthelme,  The King; Thomas Berger, Arthur Rex; C. J. Cherryh, Port Eternity; Robertson Davies, The Lyre of Orpheus;Anthony Burgess, Any Old Iron.

Particulars: Students will write ONE SHORT PAPER (two pages) each week on the assigned work.  These papers are to be read or paraphrased in seminar; they will determine the direction discussion takes. In addition, participants write a LONG PAPER which is due at the end of term.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment.)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Contemporary Women Novelists
Brownley, Tu 1:00-4:00, Max: 5 (Eng 789R/CPLT 751/WS 730)


Content: Since at least the 1970s, it has been a critical commonplace that contemporary women novelists have been engaged in wide-ranging projects of revising, and in the process re-envisioning, various historical, cultural, and literary pasts.  By now, however, many of the best of these novelists have been writing long enough to begin to revise their own discursive pasts, as they revisit earlier subject matter and themes to resituate their positions for the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st.

This course focuses on seven major women novelists who have treated political topics in their works: Doris Lessing, Toni Morrison, Nadine Gordimer, Julia Alvarez, Jeanette Winterson, Margaret Atwood, and Christa Wolf.  Early and later novels of each will be juxtaposed to assess major trends in contemporary women's fiction and evaluate the scope of these writers-  achievements over the past forty years.  Although feminist theory relevant to these novelists will be included, the focus of the course will remain primarily literary.

Particulars: short paper; 2 class facilitations; final paper.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment.)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Deception and War in the Age of the Image
Caruth, Th 4:00-7:00, Max: (Eng 789R/CPLT 751/ILA 790/FREN 780)


Content: Taking as a starting point Hannah Arendt's late essays on lying and politicis, this course will examine the role of war in the era of what Arendt refers to as "image-making."  We will consider 20th-century literature and film, as well as political and literary thoery, in order to explore the relation between action and lying, "image-making" (of different kinds) and war-making, war and deception.

Across these various genres and media, we will ask: what is the relation between the possibility of history and the possibility of its denial?  And what does it mean to act, or to reveal truth, in the age of the modern (or absolute) lie?

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment.)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Literature and Justice: Writers on Trial
Felman, M 4:00-7:00, Max: 2  (Eng 789R/CPLT 751/ILA 790/FREN 780)


Content: History has put on trial a series of outstanding thinkers.  At the dawn of philosophy, Socrates drinks the cup of poison to which he is condemned by the Athenians for his influential teaching, charged with atheism, and corruption of the youth.  Centuries later, in modernity, similarly influential Oscar Wilde is condemned by the English for his homosexuality, as well as for his provocative artistic style.  In France, Emile Zola is condemned for defending a Jew against the state, which has convicted him.  E. M. Forster writes about a rape trial / race trial of an Indian by the colonizing British Empire.  Different forms of trial are instigated by religious institutions, as well as by psychoanalytic ones. Jacques Lacan, the French psychoanalyst, compares his banning by, and expulsion from, the International Psychoanalytic Association, with a religious "excommunication" for charges of nonorthodoxy and heresy (Luther, Spinoza). However  different, all these accused have come to stand for something greater than themselves: something that was symbolized  -- and challenged -- by their trials.  Through the examination of a series of historical and literary trials, this course will ask:  Why are literary writers, philosophers and creative thinkers, repetitively put on trial, and how in turn do they put culture and society on trial?  What is the role of literature as a political actor in the struggles over ethics, and the struggles over meaning?  Why does justice matter, philosophically, artistically and humanly, and how does it move us, make us think, and pervade the emotion and the drama of our lives

Authors: Plato; Oscar Wilde; Moises Kaufman; E. M. Forster; Emile Zola; Hannah Arendt; Baruch de Spinoza; Jacques Lacan;  Nella Larsen; Virginia Woolf.

Particulars: Regular attendance; two short papers; brief oral presentations; intensive weekly reading and active  (annotated) preparation of texts for class discussion; ongoing participation.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment.)


Eng 791R: Teaching of Composition
Ayer, M 12:00-2:00, 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.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment.)

Eng 796: Survey of English: Histories, Theories, Methods
White, W 1:00-4:00, Max: 12


Content: This course introduces first-year graduate students to fundamental issues in the discipline of English. The course addresses a range of methodological and theoretical approaches in order to help students orient themselves within the field; it also provides some background in the history of the discipline.  By offering students a preliminary perspective on crucial debates that have shaped English literary studies, English 796 aims to give them foundations on which they will build in future course work and research.

Particulars: This course is required of all first-year students in English.

(Written Permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment)


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

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment.)


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

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment.)


Eng 799R: Doctoral Dissertation Colloquium
Goldberg, W 1:00-3:00, Max: 12 (Two Credits)

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.)

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment.)


Eng 799R: Doctoral Dissertation
Reiss, TBA