Spring 2015 Graduate Seminars

ENG 599R: Masters Thesis
Reiss, TBA, TBA

(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment)


ENG 752R: Studies in Twentieth-Century American Literature: Transnational Surrealism and the Discourse of the Unconscious
Kalaidjian, W 1:00-4:00, Max: 12

Content: This interdisciplinary seminar will explore the cultural, political, and psychoanalytic registers of surrealist aesthetics reaching back to early, theoretical works of the 1920s such as André Breton's "First Manifesto of Surrealism" (1924) and Walter Benjamin's "Surrealism, The Last Snapshot of the European Intelligentsia" (1929) up through surrealism's continuing influence on contemporary fiction, poetry, and film. Employing the archival resources of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library, we will explore surrealism's migration at mid-century from Europe to London and finally New York City in little magazines such as Minotaure, London Bulletin, VVV , and focusing, in particular, on the New York circle represented by the Julien Levy Gallery and in View: Charles Henri Ford's fashionable, avant-garde journal of the 1940s.

Particular attention will be devoted to the dialogue surrealism engages early on with contemporaneous writings by Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan. The seminar will seek to understand what John Ashbery in his Charles Eliot Norton Lectures would later describe as surrealism's mission to "accurately reflect experience in which both the conscious and the unconscious play a role." In this vein, the seminar will consider surrealism's intervention in the public sphere as in Salvidor Dalí's Dream of Venus pavilion for the 1939 New York World's fair and his later Hollywood collaboration with Alfred Hitchcock in Spellbound (1945). In addition to reading texts such as Charles Henri Ford and Parker Tyler's collaboratively-authored The Young and the Evil, Djuna Barnes's Nightwood, and Leonora Carrington's The Hearing Trumpet, we will explore the modern American tradition of "painterly" surrealist verse from Wallace Stevens through Ashbery and its imbrication with the contemporaneous visual art of figures such as Dalí, Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo, Frida Kahlo, Man Ray, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, Pavel Tchelitchew, Yves Tanguy, Joseph Cornell, Florine Stettheimer, and Leonor Fini, among others.

Particulars: A short paper, presentation, and a final seminar research essay are required.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment.)


ENG 752R: Studies in Twentieth-Century American Literature: William Faulkner
Ladd, M 10:00-1:00, Max: 12

Content: An intensive reading and study of Faulkner (and some few additional texts that illuminate or contextualize Faulkner's work). Students should come away from this seminar with a better understanding of U.S. literary history and the inquiries that are shaping work in the field of American literature at present. The format of the course encourages students to pursue their study of Faulkner by way of individual interests.

Requirements: We will spend the first six weeks reading the major texts for the course; 6 short essays (i.e. 300-500 words each), one on each week's reading; a book review (of a work of criticism or scholarship); a final project, either an annotated bibliography with an introductory essay on a Faulkner or Faulkner-related subject of your choice or a seminar paper.

Texts: The Sound and the Fury; As I Lay Dying, Light in August, Absalom, Absalom!, Go Down, Moses; selected short stories by Faulkner and others, as well as other readings tba. (Random House, Vintage editions of Faulkner's novels preferred.)

(Written permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment.)


ENG 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Emerson and Neitzsche
Lysaker, TH 1:00-4:00, Max: 12

Content: The topic is Emerson and Nietzsche, looking at overlapping and divergent themes as well as performative structures and gestures. This will involve a close look at the Emersonian "essay" as well as whatever one should term a text like "Beyond Good and Evil." Some attention to historical influence and the logic of indirect reading/quotation will also be discussed. But each will also be read as a powerful intellectual presence in his own right. I haven't finalized the texts I will be reading, but this is the likely line-up:

Week One: Uses of Great Men, The American Scholar, The Divinity School Address Week Two: Method of Nature, Nature (1844) Week Three: Self-Reliance; Week Four: The Poet Week Five: Experience; Week Six: Fate, Power; Week Seven: New England Reformers, Race, Fugitive Slave Law.

Week Eight: Use and Abuse of History for Life; Schopenhauer as Educator; Week Nine: Gay Science; Week Ten: Gay Science; Week Eleven: Beyond Good and Evil; Week Twelve: Beyond Good and Evil; Week Thirteen: Genealogy of Morals; Week Fourteen: Genealogy of Morals.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment.)


ENG 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Biography, Autobiography and Scandal: Literature as Testimony and as Courtroom Drama
Felman, M 4:00-7:00, Max: 12

Content: History has put on trial a series of outstanding thinkers.  At the dawn of philosophy, Socrates drinks the cup of poison to which he is condemned by the Athenians for his influential teaching, charged with atheism, and corruption of the youth.  Centuries later, in modernity, similarly influential Oscar Wilde is condemned by the English for his homosexuality, as well as for his provocative artistic style.  In France, Flaubert and Baudelaire are both indicted as criminals for their first, innovative literary works; Emile Zola is condemned for defending a Jew against the state, which has convicted him.  E. M. Forster writes about a rape trial / race trial of an Indian by the colonizing British Empire.  Different forms of trial are instigated by religious institutions, as well as by psychoanalytic ones. The French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan compares his expulsion from the International Psychoanalytic Association with a religious "excommunication"-- for charges of nonorthodoxy and heresy (compare Luther, Spinoza). However different, all these accused have come to stand for something greater than themselves: something that was symbolized -- and challenged -- by their trials.  Through the examination of a series of historical and literary trials, this course will ask:  Why are literary writers, philosophers and creative thinkers, repetitively put on trial, and how in turn do they challenge culture and reflect its crises?  What is the role of literature as a political actor in the struggles over ethics, and the struggles over meaning?  How does literature become the writing of a destiny, or what can be called Life-Writing?

Texts selected among: Plato's Dialogues; Molière's plays; Shakespeare's plays; Oscar Wilde (Plays, Autobiography, Critical writings); Gustave Flaubert (autobiographic letters and novel); Charles Baudelaire (poems); Emile Zola (political writings); Herman Melville (novella); Bertolt Brecht (plays, interrogation before the Committee on Un-American Activities); Walter Benjamin (Critical writings); Hannah Arendt (Eichmann in Jerusalem, interviews); Spinoza (Ethics); Sigmund Freud (Psychoanalytic writings); Jacques Lacan (psychoanalytic seminar); E. M. Forster (novel); Virginia Woolf (novel); Franz Kafka (short stories, parables).

Particulars: Regular attendance; two short papers distributed in the course of the semester (not just at the end); brief oral presentations; intensive weekly reading (weekly one-page reading reports) and active  (annotated) preparation of texts for class discussion; ongoing participation.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment.)


ENG 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Postcolonial & Global in the Studies 21st Century
Bahri, TU 10:00-1:00, Max: 9      ENG 789/CPLT 751 

Content: This course will focus on emergent areas of focus in postcolonial and global studies: new forms taken by capital and colonialism; contemporary marxism and racism; intersections with aesthetics, ecocriticism, neurocognitive studies and emergent formulations of "world literature."

(Written permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment.)


ENG 789R: Special Topics in Literature: James, Cather, Stein
Goldberg/Moon, TH 1:00-4:00, Max: 6  ENG 789/WGS 589

Content: This seminar considers James, Stein and Cather both as writers of fiction and as theorists of writing.  We will first consider The Wings of the Dove as inspiration for Stein's QED and Cather's Alexander's Bridge. We will read the retrospective preface James wrote for the New York edition of Wings; we will pursue this agenda as well by way of Cather's "My First Novels (There Were Two)" and compare her way of starting anew with O Pioneers! to Stein's Three Lives in conjunction with various of her theoretical pieces on writing. The aim of these inquiries will be to further the understanding of the varieties of queer modernisms these authors represent.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment.)


ENG 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Locating Irish Studies
Higgins, TU 1:00-4:00, Max: 12 

Content: "Irish Studies" as a discipline is primarily an American invention, born of the academic interest in the great men of Irish literature -- Yeats and Joyce -- and of the ethnic interest in key events in Irish history such as the Famine.  Its uneven development in the American academy reflects the uneven resources (in people and in money) of its practitioners. "Location" is a key term in discussing the place-based knowledge of any Area Studies program.  It is invoked as a guarantor of authenticity and is also implicated in the discourse of globalization.  In this course we will examine a range of Irish writers in the context of trends in the discipline such as the geography of the archive, the historical turn in Irish studies, memory and commemoration, Troubles tourism, and cultural and political usage of space.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment.)


ENG 789R: Special Topics in Literature: Thoreau and Modernity
Reiss, TH 10:00-1:00, Max: 12 

Content: The popular image of Henry David Thoreau is that of an anti-modern aesthete who rejected the "restless, nervous, bustling, trivial Nineteenth Century" in favor of a nostalgic commitment to rural life.  Yet his writing bespeaks a sustained and even visionary engagement with the forces that have shaped the modern and postmodern world: industrialism, consumerism, human alienation from the natural world, environmental degradation and conservation, the communications revolution, racism and anti-racism, global flows of culture, and the politics of protest.  In this course we will consider both the sources and reverberations of Thoreau's thinking about modernity, from the Transcendentalist avant garde to the work of contemporary climate scientists.  We will also examine Thoreau's influence on innovators in politics, literature, intellectual life, and the arts - including Sarah Orne Jewett, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., B. F. Skinner, Annie Dillard, Bill McKibben, and John Cage.

(Written permission of DGS required prior to Enrollment.)


ENG 790R: Composition Theory
Fisher, W 10:00-1:00, Max: 16 ENG 790/CPLT 735

Content: This course offers a sustained introduction to composition theory and current scholarship in writing studies. It is required of all graduate students in English and Comparative Literature in the spring term of their first year. This requirement reflects the widespread recognition that composition and rhetoric has since the mid 1960s emerged as a large interdisciplinary body of scholarship within and beyond English studies, intersecting communications, computer science, creative writing, education, psychology, linguistics, literary studies, and media studies. The course introduces you to writing studies via the field's history, theories, research methodologies, pedagogies, and technologies.

 By the time you finish this course, you should be able to

  • Highlight areas of debate, articulate theoretical issues, and identify pointed areas of contention among competing theories of composition.
  • As a Collaborative IRB Training Initiative (CITI)-certified researcher, develop a line of inquiry and protocol for a classroom- or curriculum-based study involving human subjects. 
  • Apply selected theories to your own teaching practice as evidenced by a syllabus you develop for CPLT 110 or ENG 101, a statement of your teaching philosophy, and a simple ePortfolio.
  • Work with several digital composing tools that can contribute to your ability to develop, assess, and assist your students with multimodal composing.

(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 798R: Dissertation Colloquium
Johnston, W 10:00-1:00, Max: TBA

(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.)