Graduate Schedules & Description Archive: Spring '06
ENG 500 – Textual Practices I
(Open Only to English MA Students)
Permission of Department is Required
7352 W 4:15-7:05 p.m. HU 130 M. Pryse
If you have ever tried to play the piano, take seriously yoga or martial arts, or engage in any kind of activity requiring discipline and regular practice, then you will understand that in this course, you will work primarily to slow down and intensify your own textual practices in order to develop the conceptual skills and ability to focus on what will sustain you in thinking and writing about literature. We will read theory primarily in conjunction with fiction, the fiction itself will require close reading, and the course will allow time for you to practice reading slowly and closely. Theory selections will include short works by literary and cultural theorists Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Melanie Klein, Jacques Lacan, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Eve Sedgwick, Toni Morrison, and Judith Butler. Fiction selections will be drawn from the American canon and include the following writers: Henry James, Nella Larsen, William Faulkner, and Toni Morrison. Therefore the course is not simply “about” deconstruction, psychoanalysis, African American literary theory, or queer theory—terms that denote various “textual practices” in English studies—although we will of necessity talk about all of these because your own textual practices will require you to enter a larger conversation in order to move beyond the limitations of your private reading. Students will also have weekly “finger exercises,” to develop the piano lesson motif further they will take turns bringing in and presenting a poem of their choice that allows the class to engage in some regular moments of collective reading practice. Two papers, essay final exam.
ENG 515 – Workshop In Poetry
Permission of Instructor is Required – Submit Writing Sample to Professor Joris
7878 TH 4:15 -7:05 p.m. HU 113 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 Plateaus as 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 Professor Tillman
2308 T 4:15-7:05 p.m. HU 108 L. Tillman
In the graduate fiction workshop, we will present our stories and excerpts from novels, etc., to the group for discussion and constructive, thoughtful criticism. As a graduate-level course, some of what we discuss and read, in addition to your own writing, can be generated by workshop members. We will stay alert to our needs concerning the writing of fiction, and especially to the questions in writing narrative. To narrate is to tell, but the kinds of tellings are various and the kinds of stories achieved can be very different. We will discuss these issues and others, to help us recognize more possibilities for our own writing.
ENG 580.1 – Performing "History": The Politics of Memory and Inscription (Faulkner)
6142 M 7:15-10:05 p.m. AS 015 T. Cohen
The seminar will examine competing mode(l)s of history and time in literary performance using Faulkner as a central case study (with central focus on Go Down, Moses), and drawing on several support texts (Melville, Hitchcock). We will draw on theoretical discussions of language and the "event," materiality and reading deriving from Nietzsche, Benjamin, Derrida, Deleuze and others. Among the questions we will engage is: the politics of memory in the tele-technic era, the "Americanist" ideology, interventionist reading, the semiotics of "race," "natural history," the archive, the institution of "literature" as laboratory of times, the non-human.
ENG 580.2 – Models of History: Modernist American Lyric & Theories of the Subject
7880 W 7:15-10:05 p.m. HU 130 E. Keenaghan
As he famously declared about his Cantos, Ezra Pound was intent on producing “a poem containing history.” Many modernist poets could be generally said to share that goal, and they pursued it in different ways by testing the relations between lyric enunciation and social action, poetry and politics. Since the 1990s, New Modernist Studies—influenced by New Historicism and growing up with New Americanism—has used history and politics to redefine what counts as modernist poetries, who counts as modernist authors, and what counts as political poetics. High modernism is often judged to be apolitical or conservative since critics’ political narratives and historical readings are based on unquestioned precepts about the liberal democratic subject and political agency. Through two units, we will rethink the politics of lyric enunciation in ways that extend the benefits, and work beyond the foundational limits, of historical revisionism.
(1) Theory: We will begin by thinking the relations between voice and writing, poetry and politics, performativity and institution, history and subject. We will study portions of several theoretical works: Roland Barthes’ Writing Degree Zero; Jacques Derrida’s “Signature Event Context” and Of Grammatology; J.L. Austin’s How to Do Things with Words; Judith Butler’s Excitable Speech; Stanley Cavell’s Philosophy the Day After Tomorrow; and Jacques Rancière’s “The Distribution of the Sensible,” The Flesh of Words, and Disagreement. We will reflect on questions like: What is writing? What is voice? How does lyric poetry move between the two? How does that movement affect a poem’s ability to be “political”? Is that movement illocutionary (or, performative)? If so, on whom does it act and in what context? Does the poetic speech-act relate to a people now, or does it produce a new subject or a people yet-to-come? Why is lyricism not just a solitary subject’s solipsistic exercise? How can the lyric “I” serve as both a private enunciation and a placeholder for collective enunciation? Who does this voice addressing us, the readers, belong to? Where (or when) does it come from? Does the poem’s address of us—its future readers—remove the text from history? Or, does it remove us from history by incorporating us into the act of the text?
(2) Period Study: Our theoretical frame will be immediately followed with a brief look at how modernism has been defined as a period by historical revisionists. We will read Cary Nelson’s seminal study Repression and Recovery in relation to now-canonical primary texts like The Waste Land and short lyrics by the likes of Moore, Stevens, Brown, Toomer, Loy, Crane, Reznikoff, as well as selections from “recovered” labor, ethnic, racial, gender, sexual poetries. This will not be a comprehensive period study, but an opportunity to use our earlier conversations to interrogate the limits, gaps, and strengths of historical revisionism and its understanding of “the lyric subject.” Following our critique of New Modernism, we will engage in-depth five modernist long poems (and related essays by the writers on poetics and politics) to rethink the lyric subject: Ezra Pound’s Cantos; H.D.’s Trilogy; William Carlos Williams’ Paterson; Louis Zukofsky’s A; and Langston Hughes’ Montage of a Dream Deferred.
Lecturing will be minimal. All students must actively participate in the seminar discussions. Requirements for M.A. students: Two 10-15 papers, including a researched final paper preceded by a researched abstract. Requirements for PhD students: A seminar paper (20-30 pages, preceded by a researched abstract), and a presentation (either a conference-style talk or a less scripted pedagogical exercise) that poses questions to kick-start our seminar discussion for the day. BEFORE THE FIRST CLASS MEETING, ALL STUDENTS MUST PURCHASE AND READ ROLAND BARTHES’ WRITING DEGREE ZERO, IN ITS ENTIRETY.
ENG 615 – Poetics and Literary Practice: The Poetics of Entropy/ Information/ Emergence
6140 TH 7:15-10:05 p.m. HU 130 D. Byrd
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Henry Adams noted the remarkable acceleration of historical change: "The movement from unity into multiplicity, between 1200 and 1900, was unbroken in sequence, and rapid in acceleration. Prolonged one generation longer, it would require a new social mind." He was quite correct: in the 1930s the sequence was broken. The conception of mind and the conception of form on which mind depended failed. Form was not ideal, but it was not reducible to matter and energy. The forms of knowing, as it turns out, are not semiotic but entropic; they are based not on difference but on measure. Both content and form are fully secular, physical, empirical. The data site and its shapes evolve together.
Thomas Pynchon is among the primary literary investigators of this change, and a close reading of Gravity's Rainbow will be a central occupation of this course. In addition, a wide range of other texts, films, and multimedia works will be considered in an attempt to define a poetics of entropy or information. Other evidence may include texts by HD, Ezra Pound, Charles Olson, Peter Lamborn Wilson, John Cage, Mac Low, Louis Zukofsky, Norbert Wiener, Stafford Beer (advisor to Allende and the Chilean Revolution), John R. Boyd (advisor to Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney during the First Gulf War), Stuart Kauffmann, Paul K. Miller (a.k.a. DJ Spooky); movies by Jack Smith, Stan Brakhage, and the Living Theater; as well as multimedia and web art from various sources.
ENG 642 – Current Trends in Critical Theory: Key Works of Trans-National
Cultural Theory (Seminar)
7881 M 4:15-7:05 p.m. HU 116 B. Benjamin
This course will serve as an introduction to some of the key debates, methods, and thinkers in the field of transnational cultural studies. Students working on projects related to postcolonial or cultural studies will benefit from this survey of seminal texts in those fields. Readings will include books or selections from Karl Marx, Antonio Gramsci, Frantz Fanon, C.L.R. James, Frederic Jameson, Paul Gilroy, Stuart Hall, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Edward Said, Homi Bhabha, Raymond Williams, Ranajit Guha, and Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, among others.
ENG 681.1 – Texts/Authors and Their Critics: The Politics of Literary Reputation
(xlisted w/Information Science) (Seminar)
2310 M 4:15-7:05 p.m. HU 130 R. Bosco
Justifying his highly selective appropriation and interpretation of historical fact to suit his artistic purposes while writing The Crucible, the American playwright Arthur Miller remarked, “One finds I suppose what one seeks.” Miller’s comment recognizes the influence that the intellectual and imaginative predispositions of writers and readers exert on historical materials, and the comment is as instructive for biographical and critical writing and theories of textual editing as it is for fiction and drama that have their sources in history. It is especially instructive in accounting for the variety of ways in which biographers, critics, and textual editors have treated the respective lives, writing, and thought of Americans Anne Bradstreet, Benjamin Franklin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, and Nathaniel Hawthorne or Henry David Thoreau or Walt Whitman (participants in the course will determine the author to be treated).
Each of these writers enjoys remarkably sound canonical status today, and the purpose of this course is to examine the ways in which biographers, critics, and editors have contributed to that status. Discussions about personal or cultural needs that these writers and their work were found to fill will dominate the course. Readings will be equally divided between primary texts and biographical, critical, and textual studies.
Requirements include two in-class presentations (one of which will involve collaborative reading and writing) and, by the end of the semester, a substantial “working paper” and presentation on a topic relevant to the explicit thesis of the course.
ENG 681.2 – Texts/Authors and Their Critics: The Work of Jacques Lacan
7882 T 7:15-10:05 p.m. HU 130 C. Shepherdson
This seminar will focus on the work of Jacques Lacan, whose importance for contemporary cultural theory is matched by his extreme and notorious obscurity. We will read widely and cover most of the major topics in Lacan's work. Sections of the course will be devoted to (1) need, demand and desire, (2) the imaginary, symbolic and real, (3) the drive, sexuality, and the theory of the "object a," and (4) the question of femininity and the "Other jouissance." While the seminar itself will focus on Lacan's own writings, students will be free to develop paper topics and presentations that explore Lacan's relation to various areas of literary and cultural theory, including psychoanalysis and film, psychoanalysis and gender theory, Lacan's relation to other thinkers such as Derrida, Foucault, Hegel, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and other thinkers, and other topics, such as Lacan's theory of language, or his impact on the visual arts, especially painting. Required texts will include Seminar I, Seminar II, Ecrits: A Selection, Seminar XI (The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis), and Seminar XX (Encore: On Feminine Sexuality). Required work will include one class presentation and one final paper of approximately 20 pages, of which a prospectus will be due at mid-term.
ENG 685 – Special Topics: Models of History: Postmodernism’s Enlightenment/
The Enlightenment’s Postmodernity (Seminar)
7016 TH 4:15-7:05 p.m. HU 115 R. Barney
Why has the Enlightenment been a constant focus for defense, critique, or attack in the context of emerging postmodern and poststructuralist arguments in the past thirty years? Despite poststructuralism’s general aim to dislodge the Enlightenment’s conceptual legacy, what in fact might be the historical continuities between early modern philosophy, criticism, and literature and late 20th-century theoretical concepts of individual subjectivity, textual dynamics, or social relations? These are two of the main questions this course will consider while focusing largely on British writing and culture from the late 17th to the late 18th century in the context of recent work by authors such as Jacques Derrida, Paul de Man, Frances Ferguson, Richard Rorty, Jurgen Habermas, Francois Lyotard, and Michel Foucault.
We will begin with what it meant to be “modern” during the 17th and 18th centuries, considering contexts including the emergent public sphere, the professionalization of writing, concepts of scientific rationalization, class-based models for social relations, and the implications of venture capitalism and colonialism. From there, we will study pairs of authors—one early modern, one recent—such as John Locke and de Man, Jean Jacques Rousseau and Derrida, or Anne Finch and Slavoj Zizek, covering a broad range of 18th-century genres including lyric poetry, analytical prose, and the gothic novel. Our aim will be to form a strong sense of 18th-century writing, while also exploring how 20th-century critics have chosen to interpret such texts in order to promote perspectives that could disorient or surpass outworn principles of modernity.
A final component of the course will be a speculative consideration of the idea that during the 17th and 18th centuries, texts supposedly establishing “modern” principles also at least provisionally displaced them, producing a doubled—and troubled—modernity that anticipated later, full-blown critiques of the early modern project. The point will not be to equate these distinct historical moments, but to examine critically postmodernism’s claim to radical innovation or to founding an era that was “past” the modern. We will study in particular the concept of the sublime, which emerged in the 18th century as an aesthetic experience that could both traumatize and elevate the human subject, and which later, in the 20th century, became reformulated as a general, decentered model for human perception and identity.
ENG 701 – Race, Gender and Class: Split Subjects and Ambiguous Identities
(Open Only to English Ph.D. Students)
7019 T 4:15-7:05 p.m. HU 113 H. Phan
This course will explore the parallels, convergences, and contradictions of race, gender, and class as key terms of contemporary criticism and theory. The course will analyze each of these terms as distinct forms of mediation: between subject and other; between the individual and the collective; between social identity and the state. In particular, the course will study literary and critical texts that employ these terms to theorize forms of subjectivation, identification, and recognition. The organizing thread of our critical study will be provided by readings in theories of contract, and other variations on the dialectic of lord and bondsman: from the sexual contract (Pateman) and the subject of desire (Butler) to the racial contract (Mills) and the racial state (Goldberg); from the black Atlantic (Gilroy) to the Asia Pacific (Lowe); from the postcolonial (Fanon) to the transnational (Spivak); from the political unconscious (Jameson) to the sublime object of ideology (Žižek). The cultural frame of our study will be provided by readings of texts from the African American and Asian American literary traditions, by Richard Wright, Nella Larsen, Carlos Bulosan, and others.
ENG 770 – Teaching, Writing and Literature
2326 W 4:15-7:05 p.m. HU 116 L. Wilder
This course will provide an introduction to the varied terrain of teaching and learning in contemporary departments of English. Our overview approach will be wide-ranging and, consequently, necessarily incomplete. But in aiming to address the pedagogies of literary and cultural studies, rhetoric and composition, and creative writing (each of which provides enough diversity and debate to make up the substance of several courses) I hope to put us in a position that will allow us to draw connections that might otherwise go unacknowledged—to attempt to see some forest through the trees, if you can pardon the cliché. For instance, we might see that there exists a cultural studies strain within the pedagogies of rhetoric and composition, a literary theory strain within the pedagogical projects of creative writing, and a rhetorical approach to the pedagogies of literary and cultural studies.
Our mapping of the terrain of teaching in English will examine pedagogical theory and research with attention to their translation into classroom practice. We will also explore: effects of intuitional setting on teaching and learning such as the structure of a department or curriculum, the type of school (community college, small liberal arts college, research university), and the hierarchies of instructor employment status (adjunct, graduate instructor, tenure-track faculty), the afterlives of a semester--potential outcomes of a course in relation to a student’s development, career, and civic life, the roles history and disciplinarity play in the power dynamics of a classroom, the effects of technology on the teaching of writing, reading, and research, relationships between professional scholarship and undergraduate instruction, and opportunities for researching and writing about teaching for publication.
This course will encourage you to think reflexively about your own experience as a learner. It will also help you prepare for teaching at the college-level by introducing you to available resources and providing opportunities to work collaboratively on producing course plans and documents. Our syllabus will include works (frequently excerpts and articles) by Gerald Graff, Robert Scholes, Richard Ohmann, Stanley Fish, Paolo Freire, Henry Giroux, bell hooks, David Shumway, Michel Foucault, James Sosnoski, David Downing, William Spanos, David Gershom Myers, Lynette Felber, William Thelin, David Bartholomae, Patricia Bizzell, Patricia Sullivan, Christina Haas, Carol Berkenkotter, Thomas Huckin, Lester Faigley, James Berlin, Robert Brooke, Michael Halloran, Cheryl Geisler, David Kaufer, Donald Daiker, Rosa Eberly, Sharon Crowley, Jennie Nelson, Anne Herrington, Tim Mayers, Steve Westbrook, and Richard Fulkerson.