Spring 2010 Graduate Seminars

Eng 599R: Masters Thesis
Reiss, TBA, TBA

(Written permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment)

Eng 710R: Studies in Renaissance Literature:Dark Shadows: Africa on the Early Modern English Stage
Cahill, Tu 1:00- 4:00, Max: 12

Content: This seminar will involve close scrutiny of a range of sixteenth and seventeenth century dramas that often entail not only English evocations of Africa and white English performances of Africa and the figure of the Moor but also proto-Gothic, highly melodramatic plots.  Because we will be intent on challenging basic assumptions about racial histories in England, we will begin by considering the extraordinary archival traces recently uncovered by Imtiaz Habib and attesting to a substantial Black presence in England and Scotland before the establishment in the  late seventeenth century of Atlantic slavery. We will also begin by grappling with representations of Africa and Africans in texts such as Hakluyt's Navigations, Queen Elizabeth's infamous deportation letters, and Leo Africanus's History and Description of Africa. Our goal will be to put such texts in conversation with early modern dramas, including George Peele's The Battle of Alcazar; Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus and Othello; Thomas Dekker's Lust's Dominion; John Marston's Sophonsiba, or The Wonder of Women; John Webster's The White Devil; Thomas Heywood's 2-part The Fair Maid of the West; and Richard Brome's The English Moor.  Our inquiries will be aided by attention to other literary works (such as Edward Gilpin 1598 verses on Nigrina, Ben Jonson's 1605 Masque of Blackness, and a variety of medieval texts) as well as by scholarship current in early modern race studies.  As we engage English performances of Africa and Africans, we will aim to make sense of both their theatrical materiality and their racial logic, including their fetishization of whiteness, their extraordinary claims about skin and climate, their fantasies of heritability and maternal impression, and the highly charged connections they forge between discourses of race, sexuality, and gender.  If time allows and there is sufficient interest, we will also consider some contemporary revivals and revisions of these dramas so as trace connections and divergences between early modern and contemporary ways of imagining racial difference.

     (Written Permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment)

Eng 751R: Studies in Nineteenth-Century American Literature: Representing Race in the Age of Barnum and Stowe
Reiss, Tu 10:00-1:00, Max: 12

Content: This course will use the careers of P.T. Barnum and Harriet Beecher Stowe to organize a study of racial currents in nineteenth-century culture.  On the surface, the two seem to be cultural opposites: Barnum the masculine, brazenly self-promoting, openly fraudulent manager of spectacles; Stowe the piously earnest, feminine, moralistic crafter of sentimental tales.  But they are linked by more than being almost exact contemporaries from Connecticut (whose careers intersected in Barnum's sponsorship of a stage adaptation of Uncle Tom's Cabin.)   Through their differing approaches to representing problems of race to a broad public, they became arguably the most famous man and woman of the American nineteenth century and ultimately shaped American popular and mass culture in lasting ways.  We will situate their work within a broad range of cultural forms, including blackface minstrelsy, sentimental novels, slave narratives, plantation fiction, abolitionist lectures, ethnological displays, museums, freak shows, and literary fiction. 

Texts will include: Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin and Dred; Barnum, The Life of P.T. Barnum and The P.T. Barnum Reader (ed. James Cook, Jr.); Thomas F. Gossett, Race: The History of an Idea in America; writings by Henry Box Brown, Okah Tubbee, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Jacobs, Robert Montgomery Bird, Sarah Josepha Hale, Herman Melville, and others, as well as critical and historical writings on the main actors and their milieu.  

Particulars: Weekly responses to readings on Blackboard; regular participation in discussion; one class-leading session; one formal presentation; a final 20-page research paper

          (Written Permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Rethinking Bakhtin
Branham, W 1:00-4:00, Max: 4    (Eng 789/PHIL 789/ILA 790/CPLT 751)

Content: For those students who are familiar enough with Bakhtin (and the Bakhtin Circle) to be interested in using them in their own research, this course is ideal.  For those who have no idea why Bakhtin (1895-1975) is considered one of the leading thinkers of the 20th century outside of the natural sciences, this is a chance to find out.  We will not attempt to survey all of the philosophical and literary terrain that he covered: e.g., Marxism and Russian Formalism; the critique of Freud; the Marburg School; Marxism and the Philosophy of Language; the studies of Dostoyevsky and Rabelais; ancient Menippea; the essays on the theory and history of the novel in The Dialogic Imagination; focal concepts such as those of the utterance, polyphony, the dialogic, the chronotope, carnival, etc.  Instead we will focus on key texts and passages and explore their ramifications with reference to the research projects developed by students.


  1. Books by Bakhtin

Bakhtin, M. M. 1981. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays.Ed. M. Holquist. Trans. C. Emerson and M. Holquist. University of Texas Press Slavic Studies, 1. Austin.
               . 1984a. Problems of Dostoeyevsky's Poetics. Trans. C. Emerson. Minneapolis.
               . 1984b. Rabelais and his World. Trans. H. Iswolsky. Bloomington.
               . 1986a. "K filosofii postupka" ["Toward a Philosophy of the Act"]. In Filosofiia i
sotsiologiia nanki i tekhniki, Yearbook 1984-85, 80-160. Moscow.
               . 1986b. Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. Ed. C. Emerson and M. Holquist.
Trans. V. W. McGee. Austin.
Bakhtin, M. M., and P. N. Medvedev. 1985. The Formal Method in Literary Scholarship.
Cambridge, Mass.
Holquist, M., ed. 1990. Art and Answerability: Early Philosophical Essays by M. M. Bakhtin.
Voloshinov, V. N., 1973.  Marxism and the Philosophy of Language.  Trans. Ladislav Matejka
            and I. R. Titunik.  New York.
               . 1987.  Freudianism: A Critical Sketch. Trans. I. R. Titunik.  Bloomington, IN.

  1. Books on Bakhtin and the Bakhtin Circle

Brandist, Craig. 2002. The Bakhtin Circle: Philosophy, Culture and Politics. London.
Clark, K., and M. Holquist. 1984. Mikhail Bakhtin. Cambridge, Mass.
Morson, G. S. and C. Emerson, eds. 1989. Rethinking Bakhtin: Extensions and Challenges.
               . 1990. Mikhail Bakhtin: Creation of a Prosaics. Stanford.
Shepherd, David, Craig Brandist, and Galin Talinov, eds. 2004  The Bakhtin Circle: In the Master's Absence.  Manchester.
Todorov, T. 1984. Mikhail Bakhtin: The Dialogical Principle. Trans. Godzich. Minneapolis.

            (Written Permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Colloquium in the Pedagogy of Literature
Cahill, W 1:00-4:00, 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 preparing one's teaching materials for the academic job market and 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 and cultural studies; the significance of the digital archive and of different institutional settings; the value of a variety of classroom practices; and the notion of failure in the classroom. The colloquium will combine readings on the pedagogy of literature with workshops in which participants share their written work and solicit feedback from others. Students will receive credit on a S/U grading basis.

              (Written Permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Reading Eve Sedgwick
Goldberg/Moon, TH 10:00-1:00, Max: 6  
(Eng 789/ILA 790)

Content: Essays and book-chapters from the full range of this influential critic and theorist's work, from early writings on the Gothic to field-defining work in queer theory, affect theory, Buddhist pedagogy, and aesthetics; we will also read some of the literary texts Sedgwick famously analyzed:  Austen, James, Proust, Cather. 

              (Written Permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Community Approaches to Academic Research
Womack, M 4:00-7:00, Max: 12     

Content: The course will focus on students designing a project that links
academic work to community work within their own chosen discipline.
In order to do so, we will present a course on Creek language and culture
as a case study of relationships between academic researchers and community

The course will consist of a live video-interaction between Emory and Creek
language instructors and Creek community members in a classroom in the
Muscogee Creek capitol of Okmulgee, Oklahoma, a Native American tribe with
65,000 members and a history of writings by and about the community. The
course on Creek language and culture will examine the relationship between
written texts and community members in regards to the ethics of written
depictions and authorship.

Texts: The Creek Stories of Earnest Gouge by Earnest Gouge; A Creek Warrior for the Confederacy by G.W. Grayson; Black, White and Indian by Claudio Saunt; The Fus Fixico Letters by Alexander Posey; A Seminole Legend by Betty Mae Jumper; Keeping Slug Woman Alive by Greg Sarris.

Particulars: The course will culminate in an end of term paper that describes how ideas
from the dialogue with community members in Oklahoma might be applied to
designing a project for community research involvement in the student's own

           (Written Permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Texts and Contexts
Bahri, Th 1:00-4:00, Max: 12 

Content: Rushdie's complex biography places him within a postcolonial and global context of writing and readership. This seminar will focus on the major works of Rushdie, locate him in multiple traditions and contexts, and familiarize students with his archives at the Emory Library.

Texts: Major works by Salman Rushdie

Particulars: Presentation and a final paper incorporating archival content.

      (Written Permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: The Short Story
Rushdie, Tu 4:00-7:00, 2 credits, Max: 16

4 weeks only

Content: This course will focus on the short story. From Chekhov to Hemingway, Carver to Borges, we will explore the short story as a genre of story telling. We may discuss the history of the form, its development and significance, and compare it to its larger fiction sibling, the novel. We may explore the stories of writers deemed to be a master of the form-Cheever or Munro, for instance-and we will also turn to novelists who have written short stories-James Joyce, Henry James, Hemingway, questioning what themes, incidents, characters, for these writers, seem to lend themselves to the shorter, as opposed to the longer fictional form. While we will discuss the classic elements of the short story-character, setting, plot, action, climax and denouement-we will also look to writers who do away with such formalities, jumping off into the work of Borges and Cortázar or Barthelme. We may pay particular attention to the American short story and its development from Mark Twain and Kate Chopin to Hemingway and more contemporary writers whose stories help redefine the American short story. We will also look to world voices in short stories, perhaps including VS Pritchett, Stefan Zweig, Franz Kafka, `Saki,' Kipling, S.H. Manto.


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, (February 23, March 2, March 16, and March 23. Away the week of Spring break.

                        (Written Permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Discerning Psychoses in Literature, Culture, and Society
Kalaidjian, W 4:00-7:00, Max: 4    (Eng 789/CPLT 751/WS 585/ILA 790/PSP 789)

Content: For this seminar, we will attend to representations of gender, race, and sexuality inflected by literary narratives of psychosis, delusion, and magical thinking in modern American fiction and poetry.  In particular, we will analyze and interpret such figures as Ernest Hemingway (The Garden of Eden), Hilda Doolittle (Tribute to Freud and Majic Ring), Djuna Barnes (Nightwood), Nella Larsen (Quicksand and Passing), Robert Lowell (Selected Poems), James Merrill (The Changing Light at Sandover), Patrick McGrath (Spider), Brenda Marie Osbey (All Saints), and Rivka Galchen (Atmospheric Disturbances).  Toward that end we will begin by exploring foundational theories, case studies, and controversies that bear on the psychoanalysis of both florid and "ordinary" psychoses including Freud's reading of Daniel Paul Schreber's Memoirs of My Nervous Illness, excerpts from Lacan's The Psychoses (Seminar III), essays by Melanie Klein and D. W. Winnicott, up through such contemporary theorists as Michel Foucault, Jacques-Alain Miller, Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, Willy Apollon, Françoise Davoine, Jean-MaxGaudillière, and Emily Martin among others.  Finally, we will consider cultural and ethnographic accounts of psychoses, examining contemporary popular narrative, graphic novels (David Small's Stitches), film, and recent societal symptoms of delusion in the public sphere.

Particulars: Requirements for this seminar include a short response paper, a research essay, and a presentation.

              (Written Permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Elements Atlanticisms Ecologies
Allewaert, Th 4;00-7:00, Max: 12

Content: In this seminar, we will explore the foundational assumptions of Atlanticist and ecological theories, considering how each mode of analysis is changed by being putting into dialogue with the other.  We will closely and carefully read theoretical and critical works pertaining to Atlanticism and ecocriticism, using the insights gained from this reading to investigate oral and literary productions relating to eighteenth-century plantation spaces.

The central goal of this course is to unsettle Atlanticism's dependency on the citizen-subject (whether nationalized or cosmopolitized) as the only relevant political figure and to consider how to access and describe alternate forms of political agency.  Some of the questions we will explore include: how is personhood conceived in Atlantic and ecological analyses, and how is it produced? How do Atlanticist and ecological critics not simply acknowledge and mourn slavery and the middle passage but also find the voices, the political history, and the political philosophy of Africans in the diaspora?  What is the relation of human agency to non-human forces such as animals or climatological phenomenon?  How might focusing on Atlantic ecologies transform our understanding of eighteenth-century politics specifically and revolutionary politics more broadly? 
Theoretical readings are likely to include works by Édouard Glissant, Baruch Spinoza, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guatarri, David Hume, Arne Naess, and Charles Montesquieu.  Critical readings may include works by Ian Baucom, Achille Mbembe, Marjorie Levinson, Joseph Roach, Paul Gilroy, Marcus Rediker and Peter Linebaugh, Richard Price, Susan Scott Parrish, Fred Moten, Colin (Joan) Dayan, and William Pietz.  Literary texts may include works by William Shakespere, Olaudah Equiano, William Earle, John Stedman, Patrick Chamoiseau, Zora Neale Hurston, Matthew Lewis, Aimé Césaire, Derek Walcott, Leonora Sansay, and Wilson Harris.
Course requirements include two presentations and one paper or annotated bibliography

                 (Written Permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Subjectivity and Truth:  Autobiography, Fate, Loss, and Literary Writing
Felman, M 4:00-7:00, Max: 3   (Eng 789R/CPLT /ILA)

Content:  "Death," wrote Walter Benjamin, "is the sanction of everything that the storyteller can tell.  He has borrowed his authority from death."  In a different context, Paul de Man writes: "And to read is to understand, to question, to know, to forget, to erase, to repeat-that is to say, the endless prosopopeia by which the dead are made to have a face and a voice..."

The course will be reflecting on literary writing as bearing testimony to our lives, our losses, and our destinies, thus addressing why we write and why we read.  How, in creating a literary signature, do we (indirectly or directly) give an account of ourselves, in literature and criticism alike? 

Studied texts will span, deliberately, across different literary genres, and will be selected from the following: Poems by Percy B Shelley, William Blake, Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud; Plays by Shakespeare (Hamlet), Oscar Wilde (An Ideal Husband), Bertolt Brecht (Life of Galileo); Novels by Mary Shelley (Frankenstein). Autobiographical Memoirs by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Confessions), Henry David Thoreau (Walden), Oscar Wilde (De Profundis), Plato (Apology).  Critical works by Walter Benjamin ("The Storyteller"), Michel Foucault, Barbara Johnson, and Paul de Man.

           (Written Permission required of DGS prior to Enrollment)

Eng 791R: Teaching of Composition
Cavanagh, W 10:00-12:30, Max: 12

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. 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-designs; the Fall semester primarily with reflection on day-to-day practices.

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 797R: Directed Study

Reiss, TBA, TBA, Max: TBA

          (Written Permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment)

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

           (Written Permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment)

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

         (Written Permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment)