Fall 2013 Graduate Seminars

Eng 599R: Masters Thesis
Otis, TBA, TBA

 (Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment)

Eng 720R: Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature: Erotic Politics: Literature and History in Later Seventeenth-Century England
Brownley, M 1:00-4:00, Max: 12

Content: No era of English Literature more thoroughly eroticized both public and private life than the Restoration period, in part because of its historical positioning between civil and imperial wars and in part because of the unusual characters of the later Stuart monarchs. This seminar will focus on selected examples of how the personal and the political mutate into one another in the poetry, fictional and nonfictional prose, and drama of the period between the late 1650s and c. 1715. The gender ramifications of developments in satire, lyric and historical poetry, and forms of personal narrative will be major concerns. Among the figures to be covered will be Marvell, Dryden, Behn, Rochester and the Court Wits, Cavendish, and Bunyan.

Texts: TBA. However, please note that given Woodruff Library's holdings, many of the works assigned in this course will be available online at Emory. Waiting until after the first meeting of the class to decide which texts to purchase might be prudent.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment) 

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

Content: In the long nineteenth century, physical, sensory, psychiatric, and cognitive disabilities became a central problem of social organization. This period witnessed the creation of asylums and other specialized institutions 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, promotional materials for entertainments, investigative reports) and historical and theoretical readings on disability, this course will explore the construction and representation of distinctly "disabled" identities. We will also consider disability studies as a lens through which to view literary and cultural studies more broadly. Primary readings will likely include works by Edgar Allan Poe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Herman Melville, William and Ellen Crafts, Emily Dickinson, John Greenleaf Whittier, Walt Whitman, Rebecca Harding Davis, Nellie Bly, Mark Twain, Stephen Crane, and Jack London.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment) 

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Experiments in Scholarly Form
Bammer/Grimshaw, M 1:00-4:00, Max:    (ILA 790/CPLT 751/ANTH 585/ENG 789/WS 585)

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.

Texts: 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)

Particulars: 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.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Biopolitics
Johnston, W 4:00-7:00, Max: 7    (ENG 789/ILA 790/CPLT 751)

Content: The course will examine the emergence and development of biopolitics as an idea or concept and explore its relations to biopower, immunity, biotechnology, neoliberalism, biocapital, and eco-politics. We would read a selection of authors that will include Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, Roberto Esposito, Paolo Virno, Hardt and Negri, Nikolas Rose, Kaushik Sunder Rajan, Jacques Derrida, Paul Rabinow, Melinder Cooper and others.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment) 

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Transpacific Literatures
Suzuki, TU 10:00-1:00, Max: 12

Content: The concept of the "transpacific" has recently emerged to categorize the increasingly transnational focus of contemporary American (and particularly Asian American) literary studies. But while contemporary transpacific scholarship has tended to focus on the ways Asian and American literatures and cultures have come to mutually shape one another, less attention has been paid to the role that indigenous Pacific Island cultures and communities have played in that process of circulation and exchange.

Focusing on questions of militarization, decolonization, and environmental change, this course will explore how American and Pacific Island literatures address and critique these concerns with formal and linguistic innovations and experimentation. Texts for the class will include works by Herman Melville, Theresa Cha, Craig Santos Perez, Keri Hulme, and Lois-Ann Yamanaka. We will read them alongside criticism by Yunte Huang, Amy Kaplan, Lisa Lowe, Elizabeth DeLoughrey, Epeli Hau`ofa, Teresia Teaiwa, and Rob Wilson, among others.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment) 

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Shakespearean Sensoriums
Cahill, TU 1:00-4:00, Max: 12    (ENG 789/FREN 785/CPLT 751)

Content: This seminar will explore a range of (mostly) Shakespearean Renaissance dramas, focusing on how the senses mattered to early modern performance and why early modern anti-theatricalists often described the dangers of the theater in terms of sensory overload. As we read Shakespearean dramas (Midsummer Night's Dream, King John, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, King Lear, and The Winter's Tale ) alongside works such as Lyly's Galatea and Midas, Webster's Duchess of Malfi, and Middleton's The Changeling, we'll pay special attention to the sense of touch, which some early moderns, following Aristotle, understood as the primary or root sense, as well as to evocations of the insensate and its apparent opposite: synesthesia and other sensory crossings. Drawing on recent literary and historical scholarship on sense perception, we will seek to understand these dramas in terms of their linguistic complexities, the rich potentialities of the early modern stage space, and the significance of such matters as spectacle, stage properties, costume, gestures, sound, and aroma. Rather than understand the senses as merely cognitive processes or neurological mechanisms, we will pay particular attention to their aesthetic, historical, cultural and political meanings--to the social life of the senses on the early modern English stage. Final projects will allow seminar participants the opportunity to research sense-related topics of interest to them.

 (Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Visionary Materialisms in Nineteenth-Century American Literature
Moon, TH 1:00-4:00, Max: 12

Content: The term "visionary" is ordinarily used to denote realms of being or orders of experience that are considered to be otherworldly, esoteric, or ineffable. In this course, we shall explore the material bases of several kinds of visionary writing in the domains of embodiment through various common practices of labor, leisure, pleasure, pain and suffering, and the transformation of the physical environment. Readings will be selected from both primary texts (Emerson, Thoreau, Douglass, Poe, Melville, Fuller, Whitman, Dickinson, Stowe, Joseph Smith, Frederick Law Olmsted, selected writings of Native American prophets, African American women preachers, sex reformers, and utopian communards) and pertinent critical and theoretical texts (Cameron, Dayan, Sedgwick, Spillers, Saidiya Hartman, Barbara Johnson, Susan Howe).

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment)

Eng 789R: Special topics in Literature: Sympathy, Philosophy, Literature and Culture
Kelleher, W 4:00-7:00, 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's Prelude, 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 and interviews; Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others; Judith Butler, Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable?; Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, dir., The Lives of Others.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment) 

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: The Art of Scholarly Writing
Bammer, W 9:00-Noon, Max: 3    (ENG 789/ILA 790/CPLT 751/WGSS 585)

Content: This course asks basic questions about academic and scholarly writing: What do we write about and why, and how do we go about writing it? By foregrounding the form, rather than the content, of our writing, we lay bare assumptions and expectations, costs and rewards that often go unspoken and remain unexamined. In the process, questions of form (clear and accessible vs. "difficult" writing, analytical detachment vs. passionate engagement), structure (am I making an argument, telling a story, exploring a question, all of the above, or something else entirely?) and meaning (are what I care about and what I write about connected; if so, how, and if not, does it matter?), will be up for discussion. The goal of the course is to support writing that both meets the criteria of our profession for good academic writing and satisfies our desire to say what we want to say in the way that we want to say it. It envisions writing that is effective, meaningful and satisfying.

Course Materials: We will read a number of works on writing and a few works that model successful solutions to the challenges that good scholarly writing presents. The former (works on writing) include University of Chicago Press classics like The Craft of Research and Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace and the perennial favorite, Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird. Articles and essays by Judith Butler, Primo Levi, George Orwell, T.W. Adorno, C. Wright Mills, Geoff Dyer, Jeanette Winterson, among others, will be available on reserve. The latter (exemplary instances of scholarly writing) include The Question of Hu (Jonathan Spence), Reading National Geographic (Catherine Lutz and Jane Collins), Infinite City (Rebecca Solnit), and The Hysterical Alphabet (Terry Kapsalis and Gina Litherland). These texts will be supplemented by works proposed and presented by seminar participants.

Course Requirements: The focus of this course is on the practice, not the theory, of scholarly writing. Students will progress through a series of practical exercises. Class readings will provide context and a framework. Many of these weekly exercises will entail either imitation (write x in the style of y) or translation (translate a piece by as if z had written it). Our critiques will be based on our practical experience with different forms. Over the course of the semester, each student will produce one piece of original writing suitable for publication (an article, essay, conference paper, or dissertation chapter) in which the question of form has been given primary attention and the formal challenges this particular work presents have been resolved.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment)

Eng 791R: Issues in Composition Pedagogy
Bousquet, W 10:00-1:00, Max: 12

Content:This course provides a one-term introduction to composition theory and pedagogy. It addresses some issues of postsecondary teaching in composition, including such topics as digital publication, undergraduate research, and civic engagement; active, collaborative, problem- and project- based learning; responding to students; using literary works to teach writing; multimodality and media production in assignment design; approaches to usage, vernacular, dialect, and multilingualism; theories of pedagogy; collaboration; courseware; distance learning; social media; and writing in the disciplines. It prepares graduate students in English to design and teach innovative, engaging courses in academic and professional writing, including those classes where the theme is writing about literature. There will not be a final paper. Instead students will engage in significant, inquiry-driven activities designed to generate and digitally publish complete syllabi, engaging and original assignment sequences, supporting documentation, statements of teaching philosophy, and the like. Required for all graduate students in English scheduled to teach English 101/181.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment)

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

Content: This seminar is designed to introduce first-year graduate students to many of the key theoretical and methodological issues that shape the discipline of English. In addition to surveying a wide range of twentieth-century and contemporary theoretical movements, the seminar will expose students to the historical trajectory (Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, for e.g.) of debates central to literary studies today (the value of literature, the particular province of aesthetics, theories of taste, the role of aesthetic and affective cognition). Through readings and discussions, students will be introduced to a disciplinary framework designed to help them frame their interests in light of ongoing debates and abiding questions in literary studies.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment)

Eng 797R: Directed Study
Otis, TBA, TBA, Max: 999

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment)

Eng 799R: Doctoral Dissertation
Otis, TBA, TBA, Max: 999

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment)