Spring 2009 Graduate Seminars

Eng 599R: Masters Thesis
Reiss, TBA, TBA

Eng 704R: Chaucer
Morey, W 10:00-1:00, Max: 12

Content: This course covers Geoffrey Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, most of the Canterbury Tales, and his three dream visions, with supplementary readings of literary analogues and criticism.  Chaucer synthesizes classical (e.g. Ovid), vernacular (e.g. Dante) and biblical models and thus redefines the medieval traditions of epic, romance, fabliau, Breton lay, saint's life, and exemplum.  Edmund Spenser called Chaucer the "well of English undefiled," and John Dryden called him the "father of English poetry."  As we examine these claims, we shall attempt to fathom at least three of the great mysteries of Chaucer's life and work: how such a prolific poet could also find time to be a prominent diplomat and court official, how his poetic persona consistently veils and deprecates his genius, and how his complicated relationships with women find poetic expression.

Text: The Riverside Chaucer, ed. Benson.  The Yale Companion to Chaucer, ed. Lerer.  Who Murdered Chaucer?, by Terry Jones.

Particulars: short weekly papers, one class presentation, term paper.

Eng 711R: Shakespeare
Cavanagh, M 1:00-4:00, Max: 12

Content: We will be reading a range of current Shakespearean critical essays and books and discussing how 21st century theoretical trends manifest themselves in the academic world of Shakespeare studies.  We will be also looking at Shakespeare within the culture more broadly and discussing Shakespearean pedagogy.  Students will have a number of options for their course projects.

Eng 751R: Studies in Nineteenth-Century American Literature: Emerson's Circles
Reiss, Th 4:00-7:00, Max: 12

Content: Emerson wrote in his essay "Circles" that "our life is an apprenticeship to the truth that around every circle another can be drawn."  As a generative force around which literary, philosophical, critical, and political circles have been drawn for close to two centuries, Emerson's essays and addresses have been a source of inspiration and provocation unparalleled in American literary history.  The bulk of the course will consist of an extensive and intensive reading of Emerson's most important works, from Nature (1835) through The Conduct of Life (1860), including essays, sermons, addresses, lectures, and poems. We will also study some of the circles in which he traveled (the Unitarian church; transatlantic romanticism; American transcendentalism; the abolition movement) and some of the ripples he generated in the work of Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Friedrich Nietzsche, William James, and W.E.B. DuBois. 

Texts: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays and Lectures; Collected Poems and Translations; Joel Porte, ed., Emerson in His Journals; David M. Robinson, ed., The Political Emerson; Lawrence Buell, ed., The American Transcendentalists: The Essential Writings.  A packet of critical works,  by authors including F. O. Matthiessen, Sacvan Bercovitch, Julie Ellison, Sharon Cameron, Cornell West, Barbara Packer, Christopher Newfield, Stanley Cavell, and Wai Chi Dimock.

Particulars: Class participation; one course facilitation; one short paper and a 20-page research paper.

Eng 752R: Studies in Twentieth-Century American Literature
Sanders, Th 10:00-1:00, Max: 12     Content: "The Harlem Renaissance and American Modernism"
This course will explore African American artistic expression, from the turn of the twentieth century to World War II, and its relation to American modernism.  Attending to issues of epistemological uncertainly, pragmatism, cultural pluralism and nativism, first-wave feminism, Boasian anthropology, and more, the course will examine how specific artists and institutions appropriated and refashion "mainstream" ideas for their own purposes.  Artists examined in this course will include Oscar Micheaux, Zora Neale Hurston, Sterling Brown, Anne Spencer, Langton Hughes, Nella Larsen, and James Weldon Johnson.

English 752: Students in Twentiety-Century American Literature: William Faulkner
Ladd, Th 1:00-4:00 , Max: 12 

Content: An intensive reading and study of William Faulkner and literary history and criticism.

Texts include: The Sound and The Fury, As I Lay Dying, Absalom, Absalom!, Light in August, The Wild Palms/If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem, and Go Down, Moses as well as selected critical studies of Faulkner, literary history, and  literary criticism. The format of the course permits students to pursue individual interests (in gender, race, cultural studies, etc.) while extending their knowledge of 20th century literature and deepening their understanding of one of the most important authors of the 20th century.

Particulars: 1, short (i.e. 1-2 single-spaced page) essays on each novel for a reading notebook; 2, a review of one important, book-length, scholarly or critical study, presented to the class for discussion; and 3, an annotated bibliography with evaluative overview of the scholarship and criticism on one of Faulkner's novels, an issue important to his work, or a body of work in which Faulkner figures prominently, also presented to the class for discussion. As an alternative to 3, students in their second year or beyond are encouraged to write a seminar paper, a draft to be presented to the class for discussion. 

Eng 780R: Special Topics in Literature: Race and Aesthetic Theory from Plato to Postcolonialism
Bahri, W 1:00-4:00, Max: 6    Eng 780R/CPLT 752
Content: This course will examine major articulations of aesthetic theory since Plato, with a focus on intersections between theories of race and those of aesthetics in the writings of Hume, Kant, Hegel, Foucault, Bhabha, Said, Spivak and so on.

Literary selections will focus on race and racially hybrid characters in colonial and postcolonial literature and film, and will be drawn from works by writers such as Kipling, Manto, Rushdie, Kureishi, Kunzru, Ghosh, Masters, Seally and filmmakers Kucor, Nair, Sen. Selections may include the following fiction and films: Kim, Toba Tek Singh, The Moor's Last Sigh, The Impressionist, Sea of Poppies, Bhowani Junction, Queenie, Mississippi Masala, and 36 Chowringhee Lane.

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Pedagogy of Literature
Cahill, M 10:00-1:00, Max: 12


Content: This colloquium, which is required of students in their fourth year, considers both theoretical matters relating to the teaching of literature as well the pragmatics of designing courses in one's major field of literary or cultural interest.  Participants can expect to meet bi-weekly to consider such pedagogic matters as the ends of teaching and syllabus construction; forms of resistance to pedagogy; the selection of assigned texts and anthologies; the import of teaching close reading; the value of a variety of classroom practices; failure in the classroom; and the significance of the digital archive and of different institutional settings. The colloquium will combine readings on the pedagogy of literature with workshops in which participants share their work and solicit feedback from others.
Particulars: Students will receive credit on a S/U grading basis.

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Histories/Sexualities
Goldberg, Tu 10:00-1:00, Max: 6      (CPLT 752/WS 585)

Content: This course will focus on recent work in the history of sexuality. In the first half of the term, the emphasis will be on work around African American and other diasporic experiences, with literary readings including the novels of Nella Larsen and The Pagoda, a novel by Patricia Powell (the latter will be doing a reading in Feb 2009 sponsored by Studies in Sexualities). In the second half of the term, we will focus on work in the medieval and early modern period, probably including readings of female saints lives and poems by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey. The course will work from recently published scholarship, including Once You Go Black by Robert Reid-Pharr (he will be coming to lecture and run a seminar with the sponsorship of Studies in Sexualities), essays by Nayan Shah (a historian of Asian diasporic experience, also lecturing thanks to Studies in Sexualities), chapters from books by Scott Herring, Virginia Burrus, Carla Freccero, Daniel Juan Gil, among others.

 Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Simulacra, Simulation, and Game Theory
Johnston, Th 1:00-4:00 , Max: 8     Eng 789R/CPLT 751

Content: Beginning with a critical history of simulacra (Plato, Nietzsche, Deleuze), the course will examine several theories of simulation (Baudrillard, Langton, Grand, Casti), conceived of as both a strategy and a digital technology no longer determined by mimetic protocols (like those of 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 culture. Thus we will also be concerned with information warfare and the convergence of media simulation and military logistics. In short, we will test and problematize the military (Stricom's) motto that "all but war is simulation." 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 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; Vernor Vinge, Rainbows End; Charles Stross, Halting State. Short texts by John von Neumann, Donna Haraway, Manuel De Landa, Chris Langton, Steve Grand, Paul Virilio, Friedrich Kittler, Tim Lenoir, Evelyn Fox Keller, Bernadette Wegenstein and others to be announced.

Particulars: a class presentation and seminar paper.

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Desiring History in Irish Literature
Higgins, Tu 1:00-4:00, Max: TBA 

For history's a twisted root
with art its small translucent fruit

and never the other way round.
Paul Muldoon, "7, Middagh Street".

Content: Irish literature is profoundly concerned with historical events and frequently reflects upon its own role as the interventionist interrogator of History.  Similarly, historical events are strongly influenced not only by writers and their works but also by the imagined identities formed by literary texts. Desiring History examines the use of fictional histories and historical fictions in contemporary Irish literature and film in order to investigate the relationship between art and the historical event. We will examine how literary narratives dislodge other versions of history and seep into the popular consciousness, shaping the way in which cultures remember.

The question of historical accuracy is one that informs the burden of representation borne by the texts under consideration as underlined by Brian Friel's remark, "You don't go to Macbeth for history." Historian Roy Foster, in his 2004 book, The Irish Story: Telling Tales and Making it Up in Ireland, calls attention to the Irish tendency to narrate history, to tell the Story of Ireland from various (biased) points of view. A central question for our discussions will be: how do alternative histories contribute to the formation of new, often disruptive cultural memories that reshape our collective understanding of the past.
Texts:  Writers and critics may include Eavan Boland, In a Time of Violence; Angela Bourke, The Burning of Bridget Cleary; Terry Eagleton, Heathcliff and the Great Hunger; Roy Foster, The Irish Story: Telling Tales and Making it Up in Ireland; Brian Friel, Freedom of the City and Making History; Seamus Heaney, North; Declan Kiberd, Inventing Ireland; Deirdre Madden, One by One in the Darkness; Paul Muldoon, Meeting the British; Ian McBride, History and Memory in Modern Ireland; Joseph O'Connor Star of the Sea and W.B. Yeats, "Easter, 1916."

Particulars: Short weekly presentations, bibliographical essay, final paper.

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Great Novels Made into Great Films
Rushdie, Tu 4:00-7:00, 2 credits, Max: 16
4 weeks only (February17-March 3, March 17)

Note that this seminar will be for two credits only, and that all students will be graded on an S/U basis.  The seminar will meet for four weeks, from February 17-March 3.

Texts/films: The Leopard,Giovanni D'Lampedusa and Luchino Visconti; Wise Blood, Flannery O'connor and John Huston; The Age Of Innocence, Edith Wharton and Martin Scorsese;
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens and David Lean.

Particulars: Permission is required to register for this course.  To request permission, follow the instructions below:

Send an e-mail with the subject line as "Rushdie seminar" to Melanie Tipnis at mtipnis@emory.edu.  The e-mail should contain the following information: your name, your graduate program, your year of study, and your student ID number.  In a short paragraph, please provide an explanation of how this seminar relates to your academic course of study.  This e-mail must be received by Friday, October 24.

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: History of American Theater
Flannery, 1:00-2:15, Max: 4

Content: This course intends to provide students with a broad overview of the history of American theater and drama in relation to those political, social, religious and cultural forces that shaped the theatrical art of their time.  As such, the course is also a history of the changing dynamics of American culture and society over the past two and a quarter centuries.  For each class session students will be expected to read at least one full-length play as well as other material to be distributed.  Much of the course will focus on class discussion of the assigned plays.

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. 

Eng 791R: Teaching of Composition
Bauerlein, W 4:00-7:00, Max: 15

Content: This is the second-semester of a year-long 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 student writing, specifically as these apply to course design, textbooks, writing assignments, evaluation, and day-to-day classroom practice.  We will also address the profile of Emory freshmen.

Texts: Readings in pedagogy, stylistics, survey data, 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
Reiss, TBA, TBA, Max: TBA

Eng 798R: The Dissertation Colloquium
Reiss, TBA, TBA, Max: 12   (2 Credits)

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