Spring 2012 Graduate Seminars

Eng 599R: Masters Thesis
Reiss, TBA, TBA

 (Written permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment)

Eng 751R: Studies in Nineteenth-Century American Literature: Disability and American Culture, 1830-1914
Reiss, M 10:00-1:00, Max: 12

Content: In the long nineteenth century, physical, psychiatric, and cognitive disabilities became a central problem of social organization.  This period witnessed the creation of asylums for people identified as insane, blind, deaf, and otherwise unable to work; the problem of disabled veterans of the Civil War; and the creation of eugenics policies mandating the quarantine and/or sterilization of mental and physical "defectives."  Through a range of primary readings (novels, poems, memoirs, institutional records, show-biz accounts, promotional materials, investigative reports) and historical and theoretical readings on disability, this course will explore the construction and representation of distinctly "disabled" identities.  Primary literary texts will include Herman Melville, The Confidence Man; Edgar Allan Poe, stories; Julia Ward Howe, The Hermaphrodite; Stephen Crane, "The Monster"; Elizabeth Packard, Modern Persecution; Walt Whitman, Specimen Days; and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Herland.   Critical writings will include works by Michel Foucault, Erving Goffman, Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Martha Nussbaum, Tobin Siebers, Lennard Davis, Robert McRuer and others.

(Written Permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment) 

Eng 752R: Studies in Twentieth-Century American Literature: Archives of Modernity
Kalaidjian, Th 1:00-4:00, Max: 8  (Eng 752R/CPLT 752/WS 585)      

Content: What is an archive? Where is it located?  How do archives operate retrospectively and prospectively to shape modern literary textuality?  In taking up such questions, this seminar will review archival theory, practices, and institutions.  In particular, we will consider recent recovery projects in American literary modernism that read twentieth-century American verse against the historic and transatlantic contexts of its material production.  Specifically, we will study the roles that first editions, anthologies, little magazines, ephemera, broadsides, exhibitions, avant-garde happenings, salons, galleries, bookstores, political movements, and popular culture play in the makeup and reception of modern American verse:  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 and MARBL collections in the Harlem Renaissance and African-American material culture generally.

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 752R: Studies in Twentieth-Century American Literature: Rewriting Agency in Slavery and Reconstruction Era Southside Virginia

Jackson, Tu 1:00-4:00, Max: 12

Content: This course is a research laboratory and colloquium with a precise focus on the lives of roughly 15,000 African Americans living in Pittsylvania County, Virginia between 1850 and 1870.  More generally the course seeks out the calculating radius behind our modern dayattempts to recover the attitude, disposition, comportment, and `exercise of being' available to African-Virginians ten years on either side of the Civil War.  Since Virginia historically held the largest number of African Americans in bondage, we can also make some important generalizations about 19th century African American identity.

The colloquium will develop its conversations and work up its findings out from a variety of archives.  The key "metanarrative" for the course is the US Census of 1860 and 1870.  What does this document tell us about the lives of African Americans that are absent from slave narratives written by formerly enslaved black people and abolitionists and the contemporary and highly regarded subject-agency restorative histories such as by Melvin Ely and Henry Weincek?  How is the census record, with its focus on color, age and gender, and, later, name, a narrative that inscribes and attributes meaning and determines the interpretation of African American life?  How is Schedule #2, the Slave Schedule from the 1860 census, similar to slave ship manifests, used in the work of David Eltis, Stephanie Smallwood and Marcus Rediker?  What kind of work is possible if we consider the 1860 slave schedule as a document on par with slave ship logs, diaries or manifests, as a narrative in and of itself valuable for the map it provides of relational human possibilities?

Another key piece of primary evidence at Emory to help us understand Africa-Virginia in the mid-nineteenth century is the William H. Scott archive at MARBL in Woodruff Library.  As a boy Scott escaped slavery in Virginia, joined the Union Army, and later helped to found the Niagra Movement which became the NAACP.  We will sift through his holdings to add a non-autobiographically-narrativized life account of black Virginia to our discussions.  
In addition to Census materials, we will use slave interviews, testimonies, narratives and fictions about slavery written during the finalgeneration of chattel slavery, between roughly 1845-1865.  Some estimates suggest that more than three thousand former slaves narrated the events of their lives and that more than six thousand slave narratives were published.  The course is premised on the notion that narrative writing about the experience of slavery is central to understanding the nature and the meaning of the African American ethnic identity.

Requirements: 1. Class presentations 80%.  The major work for the course is conducted during the semester and the results are regularly shared with colleagues.  The presentation is typically a primer for conference activity and in this class it is one of our primary "laboratory" activities. The number of presentations is based on whether or not you take the class for two or four credits.  Students taking the class for two credits are expected to give two presentations. Four credit students are expected to present four presentations.  There are two styles of presentation corresponding to the material. (1) Reading a five to six page paper that powerfully engages the reading assignment for the week, including an annotated bibliography of eight to ten key sources that reveal the intellectual origins and debts of the major writer for that week.  The list should include at least one comprehensive book review.  In some cases, it will be necessary to show the debates that the work has generated or which it is a product of.  The annotations should be succinct, but need to be at least two sentences.  These bibliographies will be distributed to the class. (2) The alternative presentation is a ten page analysis--a descriptive summary, annotation, and opinion of research value of one of the following research materials.  The task is to pursue Virginia archives on-line or through inter-library loan: (A) U.S. Census of 1860 and 1870 for Pittsylvania County, Virginia; (B) William H. Scott Papers; (C) Pittsylvania County Court Order Books; (D) Civil War and Later Pension Files, 1861-1942, RG 15 National Archives; (E) American Freedmen's Inquiry Commission Interviews [Some of these are collected in Blassingame]. All students have to make a presentation on the census records.

2. Response Papers 20%.  300-500 word weekly critiques that include three questions about the reading. 

(Written Permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: The Philosophy and Literature of Cynicism: Ancient and Modern

Branham, F 1:00-4:00, Max: 4    (Eng 789/PHIL 789/ILA 790/CPLT 751)

Content: The purpose of this seminar is to investigate the origins and nature of the Cynic movement in antiquity and its reception in Renaissance and modern Europe. We will focus initially on the primary sources for the Dog-philosophers (e.g., Diogenes Laertius, Lucian, Plutarch, Dio Chrysostom, et al.), the most influential figures in the movement (Antisthenes, Diogenes, Crates, Menippus) and the peculiar place of the Cynics within Greek culture (including its role in the invention of Stoicism). The rest of the course will be devoted to exploring the ideological, literary and cultural ramifications of Cynicism in a variety of contexts from the Renaissance to the twentieth century: 1) the response to Cynicism in the works of the Renaissance Humanists, Diderot, Nietzsche and Foucault; 2) Cynic literary forms such as Menippean satire, satiric dialogue and aphorism; and 3) the Cynic philosophy of laughter will provide central points of reference. In general we will be asking: What made Cynicism the most influential branch of the Socratic tradition in antiquity? Why has it become an object of contemporary interest in Nietzsche, Sloterdijk and Foucault? No previous knowledge of Greek philosophy is required. Greek, Latin, French, German or Italian is useful, but the basic texts are available in bilingual editions. D. R. Dudley's A History of Cynicism (recently re-issued in paperback by Ariel) provides a good introduction to the ancient traditions.

Required Texts: D. R. Dudley, A History of Cynicism (Cambridge 1937) rpt. Ares Pub. Chicago 0890053650; R. B. Branham and M. O. Goulet-Caze, eds., The Cynics: The Cynic Movement in Antiquity and Its Legacy (Berkeley 1996) 0520216458; M. Foucault, Fearless Speech (ed. J Pearson; Semiotext[e]) 1584350113; Diogenes Laertius, Loeb Classical Library vol. II (Cambridge, Mass. 1970) 0674992040; Diderot, Rameau's Nephew(Penguin) 0140441735

 (Written Permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Experimental Texts
Bammer/Grimshaw, M 1:00-4:00, Max: 2 (Eng 789/ILA 790/ANT 585/ WS 585/CPLT 751)

Content: Recent developments in American higher education-the increasing emphasis on inter-disciplinarity, the so-called "crisis" of academic publishing, the call for more attention to public scholarship, and the emergence of new fields of scholarly inquiry-have put pressure on the forms in which scholarship is presented. While such pressure is sometimes experienced negatively, as a problem, it also presents a productive occasion for innovation and creativity. New forms emerge from within given fields themselves as well as from encounters across fields. In this spirit of discovery and experimentation, we will explore challenges to established forms of academic representation. Drawing on a series of case studies, we will examine ways of pursuing intellectual inquiry that extend beyond the conventional academic text. In particular, we will consider experiments in writing (e.g. personal memoir, dialogue, the essay, diary) and in image-based forms (the photo-essay, film and CD Rom).

The goal of this course is twofold: 1. Students will learn to critically assess the possibilities and limitations of conventional forms of scholarly presentation in their own fields; 2. They will learn to explore new forms of scholarly presentation relevant to their work.

Course requirements: Assessment will be based on class presentations, critical writing and an assignment that demonstrates the student's own experimentation with a non-conventional academic form.

Course Materials: A selection will be made from the following list: Coover, Roderick. Cultures in Webs: Working in Hypermedia with the Documentary Image (1991-2003); Dwyer, Kevin. Moroccan Dialogues: Anthropology in Question (1982); Dyer, Geoff. Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling with D.H. Lawrence (1997); MacDougall, David. The Doon School Series [Doon School Chronicles: A Study in 10 Parts (2000) and The Age of Reason(2004); Said, Edward and Jean Mohr. After the Last Sky: Palestinian Lives(1999); Steedman, Carolyn. Landscape for a Good Woman: A Story of Two Lives (1986); Stewart, Kathleen, Ordinary Affects (2007); Trinh T. Minh-ha,When the Moon Waxes Red: Representation, Gender, and Cultural Politics(1991); Williams, Patricia L. The Alchemy of Race and Rights: Diary of a Law Professor (1991).

(Written Permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Colloquium in the Pedagogy of Literature
Cahill, M 1:00-4:00, Max: 12

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 interest and preparing one's teaching materials for the academic job market.   Participants can expect to meet bi-weekly to consider such matters as syllabus design; the ends of teaching; forms of resistance to pedagogy; the selection of assigned texts and anthologies; the significance of the digital archive, different institutional settings and different 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: Making History in Irish Literature
Higgins, TH 10:00-1:00, Max: 12     

Content: Making History examines the representation of history in Irish literature and culture - the real, the invented, the imagined - all key terms in recent Irish Studies. Irish literature is profoundly concerned with historical events and frequently reflects upon its own role as the interventionist interrogator of History. This course examines ideas of history and historicity in contemporary Irish literature and film in order to investigate the relationship between art and the historical event. From Yeats's question, "Did that play of mine send out/Certain men the English shot?" to Brian Friel's assertion, "You don't go to Macbeth for history," Irish writers have negotiated between the recognizable and the useable past. 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. Reading a wide range of Irish writers and genres - from plays to historical fiction to poetry and political polemic - we will consider how the "historical turn" in Irish writing raises questions about representation, truth-value, narrative and memory.

Texts:  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; Neil Jordan, Michael Collins, Ken Loach, The Wind that Shakes the Barley. 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, and final paper. 

(Written Permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Sympathy: Philosophy, Literature, Culture
Kelleher, TU 10:00-1:00, Max: 12

Content: This seminar will explore the literary and cultural history of sympathy, from the eighteenth century to the present.  In the works of eighteenth-century philosophers, such as David Hume and Adam Smith, sympathy signified the various ways in which an individual accesses, shares, and responds to the feelings and thoughts of others.  As Hume writes in his Treatise of Human Nature (1739), " no quality of human nature is more remarkable" than sympathy: " the minds of men are mirrors to one another, not only because they reflect each other's emotions, but also because those rays of passions, sentiments, and opinions may often be reverberated."  Philosophical investigations of sympathy (and such closely related concepts as pity, compassion, fellow-feeling, and empathy) were energetically complemented, complicated, and amplified in the works of numerous novelists and poets: from the eighteenth-century "novel of sentiment" (e.g. Henry Mackenzie's The Man of Feeling), to Wordsworth'sPrelude, to George Eliot's Middlemarch.  As Eliot famously writes in her 1856 essay, "The Natural History of German Life," "The greatest benefit we owe to the artist, whether painter, poet, or novelist, is the extension of our sympathies".Art is the nearest thing to life; it is a mode of amplifying experience and extending our contact with our fellow-men beyond the bounds of our personal lot."  At the same time, although sympathetic feeling often has been understood as a natural and spontaneous human capacity, we also will be interested in exploring how sympathy's failure, blockage, and exhaustion (e.g., "compassion fatigue") have been theorized and represented.  Consider, for instance, this recent striking critique of sympathy: "the dirtiest thing the Western imagination ever did, and it does it compulsively still," argues the critic Marcus Wood, "is to believe in the aesthetically healing powers of empathetic fiction."  In this seminar, we will engage with sympathy's advocates and critics, and as we work our way from the eighteenth century to the present, we will have the opportunity to consider how sympathy informs (often implicitly) recent debates around the issues of traumatic experience, human rights, political activism, and historical memory.    

Texts: Possible texts include Adam Smith, Theory of Moral Sentiments; Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality; Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; George Eliot, Middlemarch; Friedrich Nietzsche,Genealogy of Morals; Emmanuel Levinas, selected essays; Susan Sontag,Regarding the Pain of Others; Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, dir., The Lives of Others.

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

(Written Permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Great Novels Made into Great Films

Rushdie, TU 4:00-7:00, Max: 16
4 weeks only



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 22 and March 1)/(March 15 and March 22). March 6- March 14 away for Spring break.

(Written Permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Cosmopolitanism & Nationalism
Womack, W 4:00-7:00, Max: 12

Contents: We will examine cosmopolitanism and nationalism in terms of how the subject has shaped fiction and literary theory. As a case study we will look at the way debates over cosmopolitanism and nationalism, particularly in relation to tribal sovereignty, have affected Native American Studies. The course will culminate in a conference in April that class members will participate in by presenting their work during the semester. The conference will include three prominent scholars who have contributed to the debate in Native American Studies: Lisa Brooks from Harvard, Elvira Pulitano from Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo, and Arnold Krupat from Sarah Lawrence. Grad students will interact with these scholars as well as have a panel of their own. 

Texts: Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie; Cosmopolitanism by Anthony Appiah; Black Skins, White Masks by Frantz Fanon Also readings of chapters from Native American literary criticism.

Particulars: The class will be graded in regards to in-class work and conference participation which will be turned into a final paper due at the end of the semester.

(Written Permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: The Body and the Stage: From Tragedy to Comedy and Back
Felman, M 4:00-7:00, Max: 2  (Eng 789R/CPLT 751/ILA 790/Fren 780/PSP 789)

Content: Theories of theater, world stage and bodily performance (selected texts among: Aristotle, Freud, Marx, Antonin Artaud,  Walter Benjamin, Jean-Paul Sartre, Roland Barthes, Michail Bakhtine), and close reading of seminal and epoch-making playwrights (Aeschylos, Sophocles, Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Bertolt Brecht, Beckett).

The course will try to pose the question:  What does it mean to be a player (in life, and in the world)?  How is the question staged differently in Tragedy, and in Comedy? 

We will view the stage as a space of intersection between the private and the public, between the individual and the collective, between the sacred and the secular, as well as a space of exchange between illusion and reality, reason and madness, consciousness and the unconscious ("the other scene", in Freudian terms). 

We will examine thus the interactions among space, language and gesture, and the use of the speaking body on the stage, in investigating the relationship between the theatrical and the historical/ political/psychoanalytic drama. 

(Written Permission required of DGS prior to Enrollment)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Freud, 1898-1901
Rudnytsky, TH 9:00-12:00, Max: 3  (Eng 789R/CPLT 751/ILA 790/PSP 789)

Content: This seminar will focus on the most pivotal period of Freud's intellectual development, the years following the death of his father in 1896 in which he undertook his self-analysis and wrote his magnum opusThe Interpretation of Dreams.  Using Joyce Crick's translation of the first edition, we will pursue a close reading of Freud's dream book in order to gain an understanding of his theory in its original conception and to explore its embeddedness in the subjective context of his life.  We will likewise read other key texts from this period, including Freud's autobiographical papers, "The Psychical Mechanism of Forgetfulness" and "Screen Memories," On Dreams, and selected chapters of The Psychopathology of Everyday Life.  A particular concern of the seminar will be with the thesis of Peter Swales that Freud engaged in a love affair with his sister-in-law, Minna Bernays, in the summer of 1900, evidence for which can be found in Freud's texts as well as in the testimony of Carl Jung.  To situate Freud's creation of psychoanalysis in its cultural setting, we will rely principally on Larry Woolf's Child Abuse in Freud's Vienna: Postcards from the End of the World.

(Written Permission required of DGS prior to Enrollment)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Ecocriticism and Ecological Thought
Johnston, W 1:00-4:00, Max: 4    (Eng 789R/CPLT 751)
Content: An acute awareness that human actions are seriously damaging the earth's basic life support systems --and the consensus in the scientific community is that this damage will soon become irreversible-- gives new weight and urgency to current reflections on how American society and indeed the human species can and even must learn to live responsibly within the complex mesh of living beings that inhabit the planet.  Ecocriticism and green studies have emerged in large part as a response to this mounting sense of ecological crisis.

 The purpose of this course is to explore not only ecocritical and related interdisciplinary perspectives like animal studies but what Tim Morton calls ecological thought.  We shall first become acquainted with the basic terms and concepts of ecology and the typical themes (like the representation of nature) taken up in ecocriticism and green studies; we then will consider a selection of short literary texts chosen by the seminar participants (obvious examples are Shakespeare, romantic poetry, nature writing) within an ecocritical frame.  Our readings will then expand across additional institutional frameworks, from anthropology, philosophy and holistic science to questions of the viability of our economic system and what role new technologies can play in reversing current environmentally destructive practices. Throughout the course, however, we shall be mindful of the overriding question of sustainability:  what course of action can lead to a more viable future for life on this planet?  

Required Texts: The Ecocriticism Reader, ed. Glotfelty and Fromm; The Green Studies Reader, ed. Laurence Coup; Ecology: Key Concepts in Critical Theory, ed. Carolyn Merchant ; The Future of Environmental Criticism: Environmental Crisis and Literary Imagination, Lawrence, Buell;Ecology without Nature: Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics, Timothy Morton; Sense of Place and Sense of Planet: The Environmental Imagination of the Global, Ursula Heise; When Species Meet, Donna Haraway; The Revenge of Gaia, James Lovelock; Whole Earth Discipline, Stewart Brand; The Sustainability Revolution: Portrait of a Paradigm Shift, Andres R. Edwards.

Course requirements: Every student will be expected to present a short ecocritical analysis of a text in class. A critical essay of 18-20 pages will also be due at the end of the semester. 

(Written Permission of DGS required 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 799R: Doctoral Dissertation
Reiss, TBA, TBA, Max: TBA

(Written Permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment)