Fall 2014 Graduate Seminars

Eng 599R: Masters Thesis
Reiss, TBA, TBA

 (Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment)

Eng 752R: Studies in Nineteenth-Century American Literature: The Afterworld of Chester B. Himes: From Realism to Genre Fiction
Jackson, F 1:00-4:00, Max: 12

Content: This course is designed to explore the later writings of the African American novelist Chester B. Himes, with special emphasis on his detective fiction.  The approach to the material will be biographical and emphasizing literary history from roughly 1930-1970.  We will use published and unpublished collections of literary correspondence to approach the significance of Himes' shift from literary naturalism to detective fiction in 1956. Several course seminars will occur in MARBL and engage Emory's Chester Himes archival materials.

Requirements: 1. One 15-20 minute class presentations, 10%; 2. Weekly response papers, two pages long and 600 words; due at the beginning of class, 15%; 3. Seminar paper, 15 pages, 75%.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment) 

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

Content: This colloquium-literally, a "speaking together"-will focus on what it means to teach literature and cultural studies at the college level and what we think English majors ought to learn.  As such, it is intended to supplement your prior graduate coursework and experience in teaching composition and literature. As we consider the varied perspectives and histories we bring to the colloquium, we'll reflect both on what we hope to do when we teach literature and on why we hope to do it. That is, we will consider the theories that may be embedded in various pedagogical practices as well as the pragmatics of designing and teaching courses in our major fields of literary and cultural interest. By assigning a selection of diverse readings, I'll aim to stimulate thought rather than to enforce a particular theory of literature pedagogy. Indeed, I'll count on you to bring ideas and issues that you deem relevant into our colloquium discussions.  My goal is to make this colloquium professionally useful, offering you the opportunity to share teaching strategies and challenges; to read and discuss key works about teaching as well as articles that address such matters as syllabi construction; student reading and writing assignments; plagiarism and patch-writing; and technology in the literature/cultural studies classroom. As such, the colloquium meetings are intended to support you as you prepare syllabi for courses you may teach in future and as you formulate or further develop your own statement(s) of teaching philosophy.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment) 

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Publishing Postcolonial Literature
Suhr-Sytsma, TH 1:00-4:00, Max: 12

Content: Why do literary texts take the material forms that they do? How might the editing, publication, and reception of postcolonial texts affect our interpretations of them? In what ways do the material histories of novels, plays, and poems mediate their political effects? Such questions motivate this exploration of anglophone literature and its entanglements with institutions of culture. 

Throughout the semester, we will focus on modern(ist) African writers including Christopher Okigbo and Wole Soyinka, Irish poets including Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, and Booker Prize-winning fiction by Michael Ondaatje and Arundhati Roy. As we consider alternatives to national frameworks for literary study, we will examine critical work on the field of cultural production (Bourdieu), the anthropology of texts (Barber), the politics of translation (Spivak), the economy of prestige (English), and the postcolonial exotic (Huggan). Assignments will include reading responses, a short paper involving MARBL materials, and a conference-style final paper.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment) 

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Sex and Sentiment
Kelleher, TU 4:00-7:00, 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 two key aspects of eighteenth-century culture and to track their persistence into the nineteenth century: 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.  Some of the central questions for our discussions will be: to what extent, and in what ways, do the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries imagine conjugal heterosexual desire as the very precondition of morality and ethics?  How are extraconjugal and non-normative forms of sexual desire figured as a refusal of ethical responsibility, and perhaps even sociability itself?  And finally, by reading them against the grain, can we find in these texts intimations of a moral life that is not exclusively grounded in the conjugal domestic sphere?    

Texts: Authors to be discussed include Samuel Richardson, John Cleland, Laurence Sterne, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley, Jane Austen, and George Eliot.  We will also consider a wide range of theoretical and critical texts, including the work of Michel Foucault, Jürgen Habermas, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Nancy Armstrong, and Terry Eagleton.

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: Cannibalism in Caribbean Literature
Loichot, W 1:00-4:00, Max: 12 (ENG 789/FREN 785)

Content: In Martinican Creole, Mwen ké mangéw, "I'm going to eat you," refers both to the action of ingesting food, and to the sexual act. The seminar will examine the intersection between the primal act of eating, sexuality, and acts of colonization (of land, persons, and language), in a series of texts and films from or about the Caribbean in a Black Atlantic perspective. The following will be addressed: repercussions of slavery and colonialism on eating and sexuality; representations of black subjects as edible products (e.g. banania) or as deviant eaters (e.g. cannibals); culinary and erotic responses to colonial or racialist violence; food metaphors and nationalism; consumption and sexual tourism; closeted and reclaimed sexualities; literary cannibalism and textual authority; and ecocritical agencies.

Primary Texts (purchase the book in English or French, according to your linguistic ability):

  • Aimé Césaire. Notebook of a Return to the Native Land. ISBN-13: 978-0819564528
    • Cahier d'un retour au pays natal. ISBN-13: 978-2708704206
  • Suzanne Césaire. Great Camouflage. ISBN-13: 978-0819572752
    • Le grand camouflage. ISBN-13: 978-2020999083
  • Frantz Fanon. Black Skin, White Masks (2008 Philcox's translation only). ISBN-13: 978-0802143006
    • Peau noire, masques blancs. ISBN-13: 978-2020006019
  • Dany Laferrière. How to Make Love to a Negro. ISBN-13: 978-1553655855
    • Comment faire l'amour avec un Nègre sans se fatiguer. ISBN-13: 978-2842611460
  • Jean Rhys. Wide Sargasso Sea.  ISBN-13: 978-0393310481

Additional texts by Edwidge Danticat, Jack Forbes, Gobineau, Maryse Condé, Marie Vieux Chauvet, Lafcadio Hearn, Édouard Glissant, Jean-Baptiste Labat, Audrey Lorde, Montaigne, Saint-Méry, among others, will be available on electronic reserve.

Films: Vers le Sud / Heading South (Cantet/Laferrière); Mange, ceci est mon corps / Eat, For This is my Body (Quay); Bouillon d'Awara/ Awara Soup (Paes) will be on reserve at the Woodruff Multimedia Library.

Particulars: The seminar will be taught in English. No knowledge of French is required. However, students reading French will be encouraged to do the readings and to write their papers in French. Students working on different linguistic zones of the Caribbean and the African Diaspora will have the opportunity to write their final paper on their respective linguistic area of studies in English or French. All texts will be available in English and French (if French is the text's original language).

Sustained participation, 3 1-2 page response papers on Blackboard, 1 in-class presentation, a 12-page research paper with annotated bibliography.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment)

Eng 789R: Special topics in Literature: Romanticism: Self-Consciousness and Anti-self-consciousness
White, TU 1:00-4:00, Max: 6  (ENG 789R/CPLT 751R)

Content: As Geoffrey Hartman has argued, self-consciousness strikes writers in the romantic tradition as at once a crisis of subjectivity and the (potential) resolution of that crisis.  A sense of paralyzing, at times morbid self-awareness haunts their aesthetic, ethical, and political writings even as the power of a founding "I Am," as Coleridge calls it, seems to offer a way through paralysis that arrives at creative agency.  But the apparent dialectic in which "the hand that inflicts the wound is also the hand that heals it" (Hegel)--or consciousness frees itself of its own fixations--suffers repeated breakdowns that suggest the fictive or allegorical status of that dialectic in relation to acts of inscription for which the concept of self-consciousness -- or subjectivity -- remains inadequate. This seminar takes the problems posed by self-consciousness and the struggle to overcome it as leading, but not exclusive, motifs for readings of major works of British romanticism alongside selections from the German tradition. (It will also give  with some attention to nineteenth-century writers working in the immediate wake of romanticism.) Readings to draw from works by Wordsworth, Coleridge, Hazlitt, Shelley, Keats, and Carlyle as well as Fichte, Novalis, Kleist, and Marx. Additional theoretical and critical readings to draw from works by Abrams, Chandler, Chase, Christensen, Derrida, De Man, Hartman, Hogle, Liu, Jacobus, Levinson, McGann, Pfau, Rajan, Swann, Wang, and Wimsatt.

Texts:  TBA

Particulars:  TBA

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment) 

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature:
Garland-Thomson, W 10:00-1:00, Max: 9  
(ENG 789R/WGS 589)

Content:  Questions about how disability influences and appears in the arts are one of the most compelling and vibrant aspects to emerge from critical disability studies. Scholars and critics are examining how disability as a fact of human life and embodiment affects artistic production across aesthetic genre, from the visual arts, music, dance, literature, to theater. Because the human variations that count as disabilities are pervasive aspects of the human condition, cultural narratives and representations of disability pervade literature.

This graduate seminar considers what constitutes disability literature. We will read works of fiction or nonfiction (not memoir) that have some kind of disability politics or positive identity consciousness (and consider what these terms mean) and that say something significant about disability and disability experience. Together we will develop a definition and criteria for what counts as disability literature. We will begin with a provisional reading list of disability literature and develop our own canon of disability literature in the course. Some examples from the initial reading list are:

  • Finger, Anne, Call Me Ahab
  • Kleege, Georgina, Blind Rage
  • Herman Melville, "Bartleby"
  • Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment)

Eng 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Dark Continent: Blackness and the Feminine
Bradley, TH 10:00-1:00, Max: 4   
(ENG 789R/WGS 586)

Content: This course focuses on the long history of abstract signage and meaning to extend from Freud's initial metaphor of "the dark continent." to describe a deep anxiety about women's sexuality. The goal of the course will be  to think about the philosophical development and structures of race, femininity and sexuality, within the horizon of narratives of capture and escape.  We will examine the trajectory of contemporary feminist thought and how it has developed by way of this psychoanalytic rubric, in order to probe specifically how the black feminine has emerged from a set of dispersed, fractured and sometimes incongruent epistemologies, examining work from the French feminists like Irigaray, Cixous and Kristeva to contemporary feminists like Judith Butler and Elizabeth Grosz.  The course aims to tease out a central dialectic in the critical narratives supplied by these feminist project.  On the one hand, some provide an account of historical subjection, while other thinkers become concerned with the mechanics of survival.  This course will propose that we think about not simply the overlap between what Saidiya Hartman has called "scenes of subjection" with what we might call, senses of survival.  More provocatively, we will think about the concurrent production of the one in the other and vice versa.  Our aim is to ask about the kinds of aesthetic questions that are raised when these fraught political positions are both embodied and contested. Selected readings by: Marx, Freud, Lacan, Toni Morrison, Gayatri Spivak, Hortense Spillers, Ranjana Khana, Jacques Derrida, Walter Benjamin, Sylvia Wynter and others.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment)

Eng 791R: The Teaching of Composition: Composition Practicum
Fisher, TU 10:00-1:00, Max: 12

Content: A practicum in composition studies. This course provides an opportunity for graduate students in English to design (and practice teaching) innovative, engaging courses in academic and professional writing, including those classes where the focus is writing about literature. Through inquiry-driven activities related to their course themes, students complicate and refine the online portfolios they started in ENG 790. They participate in a number of activities central to postsecondary instruction in composition, including outcomes customization, assignment and syllabus development, and scoring guide/rubric development and application. Students respond to sample student papers and portfolios, conduct lessons that integrate the texts they have selected, and observe and reflect on the classroom practices of both a peer and a more experienced teacher. These activities are informed by readings selected to broaden the students' knowledge of composition pedagogies with special emphasis on the related concepts of multilingualism and multiliteracies. 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
Reiss, TBA, TBA, Max: 999

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment)

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

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment)