Graduate Schedules & Description Archive: Fall '04

ENG 500 – Textual Practices I

(Open Only to English MA Students)
Permission of Department is Required

2441 M 4:15-7:05 p.m. HU 111 R. Hennessy

Literary study in the twenty-first century has been transformed by historical pressures upon identity and culture that have recast what it means to read as well as the parameters of English as a discipline. Taking as our reference points several related problems (textuality, the subject, nation), we will engage selected contesting approaches to the practice of reading that are shaping debates and reading practices in English. Some of the questions that will guide our work will be: How does language feature in the representation of reality, of culture? What is the relation between the textuality of culture and social relations that are not textual -- of labor, of power? Is the subject only an effect of representation and how can its textual inscription be read? Given the intensified transnational movement of capital, peoples, and cultural production, the representation of national identities as well as a national literature and culture have become compelling questions for English Studies. We will take up the problem of national identity as a textual practice from the critical pressure being exerted upon it by recent work in queer, race, and ethnicity studies as well as class analysis. We will examine some of the diverse challenges this work poses to American-ness in particular and how it is carrying the question of nation and identity beyond the concerns of postmodern textual practices, in some cases reclaiming identity in realist terms, in others opening the representation of national identity to the history that haunts its cracks and crises. Possible readings may include work by: Benedict Anderson, Samir Amin, Etienne Balibar, Homi Bhabha, Lauren Berlant, Debra Castillo and Maria Tabuenca, Phen Cheah and Bruce Robbins, Willa Cather, Alex Callinicos, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Antonio Gramsci, Michael Hames-Garcia, Jose Limon, Lisa Lowe, Demitria Martinez, Karl Marx, Toni Morrison, Paula Moya, Katherine Ann Porter, E. San Juan, Raymond Williams.

ENG 515 – Workshop in Poetry

Permission of Instructor is Required

5966 M 7:15-10:05 p.m. HU 125 P. Joris

Beyond Rimbaud, "I" is many others. This workshop/seminar will explore ways in which to make — & think about — a poetry that takes into account the manifold of languages, locations & selves each one of us is constantly becoming. The poem as ongoing & open-ended chart. While focusing on discussing students' work, the workshop will therefore also involve readings in the more experimental writings of the century
and in current theoretical speculation about such issues (with Deleuze-Guattari's A Thousand Plateausas primer for such a re-thinking, re-visioning & re-tooling of poetic practice) as well as in a range of
contemporary poetries (with vol. II of POEMS FOR THE MILLENNIUM as primer & a number of other books by individual poets as specific engagements with a poetics we will see as open-ended and nomadic.)

ENG 516 – Workshop in Fiction

Permission of Instructor is Required – Submit Writing Sample to Humanities 336

2442 T 7:15-10:05 p.m. HU 124 Staff

Intensive practice in writing fiction. Emphasis on development of fictional technique and individual styles. Students’ work is discussed and criticized by all participants in the workshop. Instructors may being to bear on the criticism of student work a discussion of writings by pertinent authors.

ENG 542 – Literary Theory Since 1950

6935 T 4:15-7:05 p.m. HU 19 T. Ebert

Moving between the “The Languages of Criticism and the Sciences of Man” symposium on the end(s) of theory (held at the Johns Hopkins University in October 1966) and the “The Future of Criticism” symposium on the end of theory (organized by Critical Inquiry at Chicago University in April 2003), the course reads the genealogies of such interpretive strategies and (non)concepts in contemporary theory as “differance,” “supplementarity,” “trace,” “race,” “hegemony,” “sexuality,” “power,” “discourse,” “gender,” “ideology,” “undecidability,” “narrative and narration,” “identity,” “queer,” “aesthetic,” “ethics,” “class,” “the literary,” and the “(trans)national.” It will examine the epistemologies of “crisis” and “critique” and will ask whether “English Studies” or the humanities are “in crisis” and how to understand their interpretive, conceptual and institutional transformations in the last several decades. How are these changes related to the larger historical and material shifts in advanced capitalist democracies? Can they be understood in terms of the transformation of labor practices from “Fordism” to “Postfordism” and the emergence of “Neoliberalism”? What are, for instance, the class conditions that lead to the increasing questioning of the assumptions of “New Criticism” in the late 1950’s and 1960’s and the surfacing of a more explicit theoretical inquiry in the humanities as exemplified by the Johns Hopkins theory symposium? Does “theory” play a role in social change? Is the resistance to theory, as de Man argues, “a resistance to the use of language about language”?

To engage these and related questions, the course will examine the problematics of “poststructuralism,” “cultural studies,” “Marxism,” and “cybertheory,” as well as the impact of the new cognitive sciences on recent literary studies (e.g. “neuroaesthetics”). It will also study the ways in which “theory” has been received in gender, race, sexuality and pedagogy studies. In the process of asking these questions, the course will also raise the issue of whether “theory” has lost its radical intelligibility and become part of the regulated cultural sciences.

The work of the course will be carried out by reading such writers as Leavis, Ransom, Sartre, de Beauvoir, Levinas, Saussure, Levi-Strauss, Lacan, Barthes, Derrida, Foucault, Lyotard, Cixous, Irigaray, Marx, Fanon, Lukacs, Adorno, Althusser, de Man, Lacoue-Labarthe, Bourdieu, Zizek, Stuart Hall, Judith Butler, Rey Chow and Alain Badiou. However, as a prelude to these readings, the course will interpret short texts by Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche whose writings have formed the interpretive vocabularies and conceptual strategies of contemporary theories.

There will be three major projects: two papers and a seminar presentation. Students will also have the option of participating in the theory conference at the end of the semester as part of the public pedagogies of the course.

ENG 581 – Studies in a Literary Period: Politics and the Novel in the Victorian Period

7233 W 4:15-7:05 p.m. HU 115 R. Craig

Nineteenth-century England feared the spread of revolution from the continent even more that it prided itself on the rule of law. The French Revolution encouraged Victorians to read their history as a ghost story haunted by the restless (and head-less) spirit of Charles I. The Reform Bill of 1832 did not allay those fears, often contributing to the general anxiety that expanded suffrage would lead to anarchy. While Queen Victoria may not have feared the loss of her head, is it entirely accidental that a popular children’s tale prominently featured a Queen (ironically, of Hearts) quite fond of the death sentence? Many in England felt that a woman, and a young and inexperienced one at that, was not equal to the threats posed by labor riots at home and armed revolt abroad.

The novel played an active role in an ongoing and often urgent national discussion.of “the condition of England.” Several prominent political figures (for example, Bulwer Lytton and Disraeli) were also popular novelists. “Novels with a Purpose” were almost as common as the escapist fictions that George Eliot pejoratively labeled “Silly Novels by Lady Novelists.” Eliot herself, excluded from political office by law, and other writers (for example, Gaskell and Brontë) turned to fiction as a means of entering the national debate.

This course focuses on several forms of the political novel, with an emphasis upon the “the condition of England” fiction of mid-century. Readings will be selected from such works as Coningsby and Sybil (Disraeli), Mary Barton and North and South (Gaskell), Shirley (Brontë), Alton Locke (Kingsley), Oliver Twist and Hard Times (Dickens), Phineas Finn, Phineas Redux, and The Duke’s Children (Trollope). The seminar may conclude with several later works of eutopia/dystopia, such as Erewhon (Butler) and News from Nowhere (Morris).

ENG 582 – Studies in an Author: Fitzgerald and Hemingway

6098 TH 4:15-7:05 p.m. HU 129 J. Berman

The course will focus on the art and life of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, emphasizing psychoanalytic and feminist approaches. We will read Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise, The Great Gatsby, Tender Is the Night, Zelda Fitzgerald's Save Me the Waltz, Hemingway's Collected Short Stories, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, and For Whom the Bell Tolls. There will be two fifteen-page essays, a class presentation, and reader-response diaries.

ENG 680 – Problems of Periodization and Canonicity (SEMINAR)

Periodizing the Novel, 1660-1789: Writing and/as Revolution

8065 M 7:15-10:05 p.m. HU 108 M. Hill

This course references the Civil War in England and the French Revolution to delimit the historical emergence of something called "the novel" as a mass cultural event. Our fundamental task will be to link the unprecedented dissemination of imaginative writing in the long eighteenth century to the categorical
investment in identities, and to examine both items as the essential components of revolutionary democratic potential. Beyond that, we will examine how popular fiction, within and beyond "literature," targets temporality (e.g. notions of the probable, the repeatable, or the periodized) as a problem implicit to
the divisions and intra-divisions of subjects and nations. Students should expect to read variously in the areas of social movement theory (e.g. Negri, Virno, Foucault) in history (e.g. Linebaugh and Rediker, Colley); as well as read novels and archival material relevant to the period under consideration
(e.g. Behn, Smith, Scott). A more complete list of texts will be available upon request in the final weeks of the Spring 2004 semester.

ENGG 685 – Special Topics: “Modernism and Surrealism in Literature, Art, Music, and Film”

2443 TH 7:15-10:05 p.m. HU 128 J. Johnson

European and American Modernism arose as an international movement inspired in part by changes in how knowledge, myth, mind, science, and culture were conceived, in part by the European encounter with alterity as represented by Asian and African cultural production, and in part by serious questions about the nature of art and access to the arts in a world of unequal economic opportunity and class-based differences in education . The result was a profound rupture in almost every creative field between traditional modes and the new. This entailed a break with tonality in music, with representation in art, with the privileging of traditional Judeo-Christian structures in myth, and with naturalistic narrative and traditional European forms in fiction and poetry, and brought about a concomitant discovery of such modes as Surrealism and abstraction.

The pursuit of the new, of making everything new, of "The Modern" as in itself a greater value than anything encoded in tradition, was in itself a rupture with all past ways of seeing and creating, which had until then been based on a pattern of apprenticeship and "mastery" of the already enshrined methods. Within Modernism, a split developed between those artists whose revolt against tradition entailed a revolt against "high" or "academic" art and literary diction, with a turn toward the vernacular, the "low", the populist, and the accessible across the arts, and those artists whose revolt against tradition entailed such complex disruptions of "meaning" and "accessibility" as to make their art anti-populist and aristocratic in its assumptions.

This course will look at how international modernism, and, within it, global Surrealism, changed our modes of seeing, thinking, hearing, speaking, and writing. We shall read poems in English and in translation from other literatures, including three or more major poetic sequences, and also read two or more novels. We shall look at works of modernist and surrealist painting and sculpture, shall listen to a number of musical works, and shall view two surreal films and a dance work. Required work will include one class presentation, one midterm project, and one final project. All discourses are acceptable for projects, including standard academic essays, fiction, poetry, videotape, dramatic performance, music, art, electronic media, and choreography.

ENG 700 – History of English Studies, 1880 to the Present

(Open Only to English Ph.D. Students)

2448 W 4:15-7:05 p.m. FA 114 R. Barney

This course will examine several philosophical, intellectual, theoretical, and institutional contexts that have converged on so-called “English Studies” during the 20th and 21st centuries, with a speculative final section that will cast an eye toward what may be coming next for the discipline. Rather than proceed chronologically, this course will consider the development of English studies via a series of perspectives that have inevitably shaped a multifarious, if not apparently disjointed, field of study. Those perspectives will have the following rubrics: “Formalisms,” which will examine the influence of elements such as New Criticism, Structuralism, and Russian Formalism; “Materialisms,” which will study Marxism, various historicist approaches, cultural studies, feminism, and gender and sexuality studies; “Post-Formations,” which will cover various critiques of formalist and materialist methodologies, including poststructuralism and deconstruction (with perhaps a glance at so-called post-Marxism and post-feminism); and “Institutional Contexts and Futures,” which will consider the socio-institutional beginnings and projected (quasi-)endings for English studies or its current configuration. This last section will include readings from texts such as Gerald Graff’s Professing Literature, Michael Berube and Cary Nelson’s Higher Education Under Fire, and Terry Eagleton’s After Theory.

ENG 755 Special Topics: Antebellum Spectacle: Literature and Performance in 19th-Century America

Class #: 8531, M, 4:15-7:05 p.m. Room: ES 108, J. Greiman

From melodrama to minstrelsy, from religious revivals to displays of spiritualism and mesmerism, antebellum spectacle comprised a range of cultural activities both mainstream and marginal. This course will put key texts of the antebellum period (as well as some postbellum works) into dialogue with such pivotal modes of performance to consider the ways in which forms of spectacle defined both the center and the peripheries of American culture, while also engaging with recent critical work in performance studies and visual culture. Organized around venues of public performance--religious revivals, museums, theatres--our readings will consider a range of pressing social and political problems in 19th-century America: the relationship between the sentimental tradition and popular spiritualism, the emergence of mass culture, and the role of melodrama and minstrelsy in negotiating conceptions of race. We will pay particular attention to constructions of race and representations of slavery through such forms as melodrama and minstrelsy. However, we will first consider how the institution of slavery itself operated through highly public and spectacularized modes of terror: If slavery functioned in part through the spectacularization of violence, how might we read its reproduction, over and over again, in popular forms? Can popular spectacles be read as fostering cross-racial sympathy and identification, or do they reify white identities through the reproduction of racial violence? These are questions around which many recent studies of performance and race in nineteenth-century America have divided, and which are also shaping work in performance studies and visual culture more broadly. Along with 19th-century materials, we will also read a selection of theorists of performance and visuality, considering a range of methodologies for studying both antebellum literature and the cultures of spectacle it engages.

Books & Plays:
Frederick Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin
P.T. Barnum, Autobiography
Herman Melville, The Confidence-Man
Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Dion Boucicault, “The Octoroon”
John Augustus Stone, “Metamora”
George Aiken, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”
Eric Lott, Love and Theft
Saidya Hartman, Scenes of Subjection
Joseph Roach, Cities of the Dead

A reader with work by: Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Lyman Beecher, Lydia Maria Child, Walt Whitman, William Wells Brown, Herman Melville, Judith Butler, W.J.T. Mitchell, Peter Brooks, Linda Williams, Lawrence Levine, and others.

ENG 771 – Practicum in English Studies

2449 TH 4:15-7:05 p.m. HU 128 H. Elam

This course, entitled the "practicum," will raise questions about pedagogy as one of several problematic modes of communication in the West. From Plato's Socrates to Wordsworth's Nature and its scenes of instruction, or from Hegel to Lacan, the course will focus not merely on the "practice" that fosters communication but more centrally on the problems of thought that impede communication and are constitutive of "teaching." Requirements will include a term paper and seminar presentations.

ENG 775 – Special Topics: Postcolonial Novel

8074 - G. Griffiths

New Day & Location: T 7:15-10:05 p.m. HU 32

It is arguable that some of the most exciting fiction to emerge in recent years in English has been from societies, which have experienced British colonization. These societies are often very different both in their indigenous cultures and in their interactions with the British colonizing presence. These presences have often been very varied too, ranging from situations in which the colonizer was mainly a small but significant trading and military presence to situations in which the colonizing settlers quickly outnumbered the original inhabitants whom they displaced. Clearly it would be foolish to assume that all texts from such varied situations will be similar let alone identical. It will certainly not be possible in a single course to examine all the different forms of British colonialism and the different responses to them in the various colonized regions. Yet in comparing the differences and the similarities of responses from a select number of regions to the impact of colonialism we may draw broader conclusions about the operations of colonialism and the ways in which narrative fiction has enabled peoples affected by it to respond to these operations. The course will examine several novels from different colonial situations and will ask in what ways we are justified in comparing them as “post-colonial” texts? To allow us to do this successfully we may also look at some of the ways in which narratives of the colonial period represented these cultures and how post-colonial novels have “written back” to these. We will examine whether there are significant and consistent narrative tropes and narrative concerns across the different post-colonial situations in the regions with which these texts engage. In addition to the novels studied we will also look at various ways in theorizing the post-colonial experience that have emerged in the last twenty years or so and how these theories help us to better engage with the power of narrative both to construct and to resist colonial and imperial ideologies. The principal concern of the course though will be to engage with the novels themselves and to discover their role and the role of narrative fiction in establishing the discourse of post-colonial resistance.