Fall 2015 Graduate Seminars

ENG 599R: Masters Thesis
Nickerson, TBA, TBA

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment)


ENG 752R: Studies in Twentieth-Century American Literature: American Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance
Sanders, Th 10:00-1:00, Max: 12

Content: While disagreeing on a great many things, New Criticism and African American literary criticism have agreed, until recently, on the mutual exclusivity of American modernism and the Harlem Renaissance.  Despite the fact that both cultural/political events occurred simultaneously, and despite the fact that Harlem Renaissance writers and “mainstream” American modernists alike have commented on the interdependence of the two groups, several generations of critics have insisted that these two movements have little in common.  Taking up the wave of newer criticism (dubbed by some, the “mongrel modernism” model), this course will examine the relationship between mainstream American modernism and New Negro artists.  What are the ideas, organizations, and institutions that define American modernism?  How and why are they attractive to Harlem Renaissance artists?  How do New Negroes appropriate and adapt modernist concepts for their own purposes?  And finally, how is our understanding of modernism transformed by taking into account the presence and influence of black artists?

This course will include Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, James Weldon Johnson, Nella Larsen, Sterling Brown, WE. B. Du Bois, and Anne Spencer.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment.)


ENG 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Crime Fiction
Nickerson, Tu 10:00-1:00, Max: 12

Content: This course will focus on the transatlantic traditions of crime narrative in the United States and the United Kingdom.  Critic David Schmid remarks, “The consummate ‘guilty pleasure’ of academics, crime fiction was for many years dismissed as not worthy of serious critical attention while also consumed avidly behind closed doors.” While we root ourselves in the pleasures of many novels and short stories, we will also give attention to non-fiction crime writing, to television, and to film.  We will explore the diverse strategies that authors use in negotiating the tensions between tradition (or formula) and innovation (or originality.) We will also study the various critical approaches that academics and others have used to illuminate the patterns and preoccupations of the genre.  Our focus will be on the narrative technique and the structure of storytelling, but we will also work to understand the ways in which crime fiction has been used as a form of social criticism. 

Each student will present one annotated bibliography on a particular work.  Each will also undertake a 20-page semester project (or its equivalent in newer scholarly forms).

Authors and auteurs may include:  Poe, Spofford, Green, Rinehart, Hammett, Chandler, Highsmith, Conan Doyle, Christie, Himes, du Maurier, Capote, James, Flynn, Auster, Hitchcock, Gilligan, Chase.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment.)


ENG 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Bakhtin and His Circles
Reed/Epstein, TH 4:00-7:00, Max: 6 ENG 789/CPLT 751

Content: This seminar will study the major writings of the 20th c. Russian thinker Mikhail Bakhtin, placing them in dialogue with writings of others--those on whom he drew most deeply and those on whom he has been most influential. In some cases, as with his close associates in the 1920s, Voloshinov and Medvedev, or with the Russian Formalists, these "circles" are historically proximate. In other cases, as with Bakhtin's studies of Dostoevsky and Rabelais, or his influence on Western cultural studies and Russian postmodernism, they are more extended. The course will focus on the most innovative and cross-disciplinary aspects of Bakhtin's work, including his theories of dialogue, authorship, metalinguistics, and philosophical anthropology, as well as on his own dialogical engagements with Marxism and Existentialism. Applications of Bakhtin’s theories and concepts to other texts and disciplines of interest to students will also be considered.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment.)


ENG 789R: Special Topics in Literature: The Art of Scholarly Writing
Bammer, MW 1:00-4:00, Max: 4 ENG 789/CPLT 751

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.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment.)


ENG 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Biopolitics and the Production of Subjectivity
Johnston, TH 4:00-7:00, Max: 7      ENG 789/CPLT 751 

Content: The course will begin with two of Michel Foucault’s late lectures at the Collège De France, The Birth of Biopolitics and The Courage of Truth (The Government of Self and Others). With Foucault’s analysis of the NeoLiberal subject (the self as entrepreneur and “human capital”) in mind, we will turn to Félix Guattari’s contemporaneous seminars on the production of subjectivity and the crisis provoked by “integrated world capitalism.” Guattari’s work on subjectivity draws on Daniel Stern’s The Interpersonal World of the Infant and is developed in part with Mony Elkaim’s use of double-bind and systems theory for couples and family therapy, as recounted in If You Love Me, Don’t Love Me. From there we will go (back) to Deleuze and Guattari’s theory of capitalism, developed in parts of Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus. We will then take up a sequence of Italian thinkers concerned with biopolitical themes and new forms of “subjectification” in contemporary capitalism: Georgio Agamben, Toni Negri (and Michael Hardt), Franco “Bifo” Berardi, and Maurizio Lazzarato. In conclusion we consider Yann Moulier Boutang’s Cognitive Capitalism and specifically a range of responses to the contemporary subject’s subjugation to totalized surveillance and datafication (for example, in analyses such as Bruce Schneier’s Data and Goliath).

(Written permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment.)


ENG 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Romance and Revolution
White, TU 1:00-4:00, Max: 12 

Content: Writing about revolution often involves a radical re-imagining of the present in language and images taken from the past. This seminar explores the mobilization of older literary forms and values (including the chivalric “romances” of the middle ages) in a range of texts responding to revolutionary events in Europe between 1790 and 1852. Whether written from a revolutionary or reactionary perspective (or somewhere in between) responses to the upheavals of the era typically turn to the past not only to understand but to intervene in the revolutionary project. The effects of these interventions are not always easy to predict: on the one hand, conservative nostalgia for a ‘romanticized’ pre-revolutionary era sometimes produces texts that show a modernizing historical consciousness; on the other, revolutionary attempts to break with the past repeatedly have recourse to figuration and forms drawn from it in ways that seem to ironize the revolutionary project. We will look at a variety of literary genres to explore how these dynamics suggest shifting ways of thinking about the intertwining of history, literature, and revolution in key texts of the era.

Texts: Novalis: Christianity or Europe: A Fragment; Burke: Reflections on the Revolution in France; Walter Scott: Bride of Lammermoor; Shelley: Prometheus Unbound, The Triumph of Life; Keats: Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion; Austen: Persuasion; Hugo: Notre Dame de Paris; Carlyle: selections from The French Revolution & Past and Present;Marx: The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte.

Additional critical and theoretical readings to be drawn from: Arendt, Badiou, Bromwich, De Man, Derrida, Hartman, James, Koselleck, Kouvelakis, Levinson, Schmitt, Terada, Thompson, and H. White.

Particulars: TBA.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment.)


ENG 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Issues in Southern Literature and Literary History
Ladd, M 10:00-1:00, Max: 12 

Content: In this seminar we will explore travel narratives, novels, short stories, letters, essays, and other material, with attention to some of the more promising inquiries currently invigorating the field of southern literary studies, among them the impact of print cultures and histories of the book in the South, ecocriticisms, and the continuing interest in studies of southern literature’s temporalities and spatialities. 

Texts: Primary reading: Ellen Glasgow, The Collected Stories of Ellen Glasgow (out of print; copies to be provided), Eudora Welty, The Golden Apples and/or The Collected Stories; Katherine Anne Porter, The Collected Stories. Other readings tba, but likely to include work by Zora Neale Hurston, Charles Chesnutt, Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, William Gilmore Simms, or others;  selections from accounts of the South by travelers and historians (ex.: Captain Basil Hall, Fanny Kemble, Frederick Law Olmsted, Dickens, Mrs. Trollope, Harriet Martineau, Nancy Prince); a selection of poetry. Secondary reading TBA.

Work: The first part of the semester devoted to wide reading in primary texts, the second part to assigned readings of supplementary material; the final part to individual research and presentations, with the possibility of individualized reading lists. Weekly reaction papers; a literature review with presentation and discussion (due mid semester); a final project (a seminar paper presenting original research or a review essay with annotated bibliography on the scholarship dealing with an issue of interest to you and relevant to the course.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment.)


ENG 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Melancholy and Renaissance Literature
Knecht, M 1:00-4:00, Max: 12 

Content: The Renaissance has been called “the golden age of melancholy.” Defined in the period’s medical literature as a state of grief and fear produced by an overabundance of black bile and considered a sign of artistic inspiration, melancholy was a concern of physicians and philosophers, a theme for artists and poets, and even a pose adopted by fashionable youth. In this course, we will read some of the classic representations of melancholy in English Renaissance literature, including texts by William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, John Donne, Robert Burton, John Milton, and Thomas Browne. We will consider melancholy from both a historical and a theoretical perspective, taking into account both Renaissance medical and philosophical materials as well as recent scholarship on the subject. As melancholy was both a sign of genius and a physical disease, it will provide us with an opportunity to consider similar tensions that have appeared in the wake of the recent “affective turn,” often characterized as a turn from subjectivity to the intractable materiality of the body and the objective world. 

(Written permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment.)


ENG 791R: Composition Pedagogy
Fisher, W 10:00-1:00, Max: 12 

Content: English 791 provides an opportunity for you to design (and practice teaching) engaging writing courses that help undergraduate students achieve the learning outcomes for Emory’s first-year writing program. You will participate in a number of activities central to post-secondary instruction in composition, including outcomes generation and customization, assignment and syllabus development, and scoring guide/rubric development and application. You will respond to sample student papers and conduct lessons and activities that integrate the texts you have selected. You will also observe and reflect on the classroom practices of a peer teaching a first-year course and your own teaching demonstrations (via video capture). These activities are informed by praxis-oriented readings selected to broaden your knowledge of writing instruction in the first-year course and across the curriculum.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment.)


ENG 796R: Survey of English: Histories, Theories, Methods
Bahri, W 10:00-1:00, 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
Nickerson, TBA, TBA, Max: 999

(Written permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment.)


ENG 799R: Doctoral Dissertation

Nickerson, TBA, TBA, Max: 999

(Written permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment.)