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Graduate Student Handbook

Graduate Course Description Archive
Spring 2020

Spring 2020 Courses

Textual Studies Survey: Wound Culture, True Crime, and the Gothic Tradition
5419 AENG500
Wednesday | 04:15-07:05PM | Lilley, James

In order to describe what is so distinctive about our modern forms of community and society, Mark Seltzer has famously diagnosed what he calls America’s “wound culture.” In Seltzer’s view, what brings us together as a modern society is not our involvement in some shared political process or our pursuit of universal ethical standards. Nor do more selfish quests for personal happiness or private capital seem to capture the peculiar ties that bind us into our distinctively modern social configurations. Instead, Seltzer argues that we moderns now need to revisit (time and time again) scenes of suffering and violence—replete with bodies that have been broken, brutalized, and cast aside—in order to energize us toward each other, forming communities bound together by their voyeuristic participation in the spectacle of crime.

Indeed, as Edgar Allan Poe—the inventor of the modern detective story and the true crime genre—observed in the 1830s, to be modern is to live as if we are detectives who have stumbled across the scene of some horrific and nameless crime. With Poe’s Gothic as our anchor, this course will offer students an introduction to a variety of methodologies and theories of literary study. In addition to the nature and origins of modernity’s “wound culture,” some of the other questions we'll ponder will include: What is a ghost? What constitutes a literary genre? How do texts register the anxieties of cultural, political, and psychological trauma? How do standards of taste emerge? And how have new media technologies transformed the genre of the Gothic into such popular and lucrative contemporary modes such as the detective story, the vampire flick, and the horror movie? Some of the theories/methodologies we will engage: formalism and genre studies, psychoanalytic and post-Freudian theory, ideology critique and post structuralism, theories of the modern and postmodern, and a variety of approaches to gender, campiness, and kitsch. Authors/movies/podcasts/TV shows to include: Stranger Things, Walpole, Black Mirror, Melville, Missing Maura Murray, Blue Velvet, Kafka, The Matrix.


Graduate Fiction Workshop
1646 AENG516
Wednesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Tillman, Lynne M.

In this Graduate Fiction workshop, we will focus on writing prose fiction in its various forms, and consider all of writing's vicissitudes. We will especially focus on what narrative is, how many kinds there are, what its elements are –questions of time, order, tone, mood, etc. Voice will be of particular importance: Who is telling the story is a significant question. We will focus on language, word choice, the very bones of writing. An engaging, fruitful discussion is to be hoped for, with constructive criticism aimed at helping you and your fellow writers to understand the issues, problems and possibilities in making fictions. Constructive criticism, that is, aimed at noticing possible explanations and reasons for any problems. In this graduate level course, it is expected that each student-writer will have had some experience in writing stories, and in receiving criticism and providing it to others’ stories in a helpful manner. Enrollment is by permission of the instructor; please submit a sample of your fiction writing with a brief cover letter about yourself and your writing to Prof. Tillman (tillwhentillman@gmail.com).


On Translation
9689 AENG555
Thursday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Elam, Helen Regueiro

In an age of multiculturalism / transnationalism/ globalization, language is at the core of our understanding of otherness and exile, and “translation” is the process that most clearly highlights issues around linguistic and political migrations: translation understood not in its ordinary sense of ferrying meaning from one language to another, but as the very problem of “meaning” at the heart of literature and culture. A famous story of translation has a German poet translating Sophocles’ Oedipus the Kingliterally, word for word, with a result that defies sense. What this strange exercise suggests, to this poet (Hölderlin) and to theorists of language who come after, is that “translation” occurs, already, in the “original,” and that the slippage cannot be fully contained by the grammatical safety of either original or target language. Translation unveils the “otherness” of the original, its condition of exile from itself, and thus raises questions affecting philosophies of language as well as political issues of linguistic and cultural identity: who ‘owns’ a language, a geographical space, a culture? Readings from a range of literary and theoretical texts: Walter Benjamin, Vladimir Nabokov, Marcel Proust, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jacques Derrida, Anne Carson, Lydia Davis, Alice Kaplan, Tejaswini Niranjana –not all of these, and possibly others. Requirements: three papers (the second a project statement, the third a term paper), intense class participation, presentations. Term projects may include creative translations (with critical intro and abundant commentary) for students who are versed in more than one language.


Reading the Haitian Revolution
9690 AENG580
Tuesday | 07:15PM-10:05PM | Griffith, Glyne

Our historical model or framing eventis the San Domingo Revolution, that historically significant plantation slavery revolt that blossomed into a full-blown revolution ignited by the same precepts of liberty, fraternity and equality that came to be associated with the French Revolution. Our seminar will focus on readings of C.L.R. James's The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution. Originally published in 1938, James’s text was republished in 1963 with significant authorial revisions. We will read James’s text and examine other readings and assessments of this important work. For example, in Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment, David Scott reads the discursive space between James’s two editions as a “problem-space”, a conceptual space within which Scott offers his interpretation of James’s 1938 edition read against the 1963 revision. Alternatively, in The Haitian Revolution in the Literary Imagination: Radical Horizons, Conservative Constraints, Philip Kaisary offers a reading of James’s work from a perspective that counters Scott’s analysis in Conscripts. These interpretations and re-interpretations of James’s foundational text, including James’s own revisioning of his classic work, offer us profit able examples of models of history in literary criticism. In addition to the aforementioned texts, we will also read Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s Silencing the Past: Power and Production in History, Alejo Carpentier’s The Kingdom of This World, Marie Vieux-Chauvet’s Love, Anger, Madness: A Haitian Triptych, and Edwidge Danticat’s Breath, Eyes, Memory.


The Scandal of Excess: Early Modern Economics and Aesthetics
9691 AENG580
Monday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Murakami, Ineke

This course explores the problem of excess during early modern England’s fitful transition from feudalism to capitalism. Today, we tend to divide excess into discrete realms that correspond to disciplines like medicine, ethics, design and psychology, but no such distinctions existed in the medieval moral philosophy inherited by early modern people. England’s sudden influx of wealth in the sixteenth century put pressure on traditional ways of thinking, and engendered suspect new habits in commerce and consumption. In this environment, even an excess of personal gifts (strength, wit, ambition) could create friction between an exceptional individual and their community, threatening to confuse distinctions of familial status, religion, gender, and occupation that ordered social relations. Both clergy and satirists proposed self-restraint as the antidote to this embarrassment of riches until it became apparent that pious parsimony--the precursor to our mid-century minimalist aesthetic--was yet another alienating form of immoderation. Examining textual and visual works from the late fifteenth to the early seventeenth century, we will contemplate why the scandal of excess became a focal point for emerging concepts of private and public, individual and collective selves. A variety of theoretical and historical texts will guide our efforts to understand ways in which early modern writers articulated questions prescient of those that continue to puzzle us: where do we draw the line between “mine” and “thine”? What counts as surplus and to whom does it belong? How much should the concept of privacy protect even that apparently indisputable boundary between inside and outside—the body?

Course texts include: More’s Utopia, Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, Isabella Whitney’s “Wyll and Testament,” Jonson’s Alchemist, Webber’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, and numerous paintings by Holbein, Vermeer and the Dutch Genre painters.


Current Trends in Critical Theory:Comparative Realisms
10047 AENG580
Monday | 07:15PM-10:05PM | Hill, Mike

This course will be useful Masters or Doctoral students who are interested in the following set of literary and theoretical problems: the history of the novel; genre theory; realism as a narrative technique; and the relationship between science and aesthetics (especially as regards climate change and climate science denial).

We will start where the modern novel itself begins, which is in the eighteenth century, a time where an interest in the real emerged as part of the Enlightenment's investment in probability, empirical forms of knowledge, tool-based epistemology, and the veracity of human experience. Here we will examine a range of different kinds of texts—literary, scientific, and philosophical—and ask how they approach the problem of realism from their specific disciplinary vantage points. Once we have established the historical connection between different genres of realistic writing, we will move into more contemporary work on the question of the real. Here we will be interested in relating early modern endorsements of realist discourse with two other approaches to the question of what's real—historical materialist, and speculative—in order to show how these other approaches may extend, reform, and refine, the Enlightenment's original claims.

Reading will be drawn from the following texts: (theoretical) Deutsch, The Beginning of Infinity; Cohen, "History and Genre"; Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere; Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-Criticism; Bryant et. al. The Speculative Turn; Parikka, A Geologic of Media; (historical) Nixon, Novel Definitions, Watt, The Rise of the Novel; Newton, "New Theory of Light"; Smith, "History of Astronomy"; Astell, "A Serious Proposal to the Ladies"; Cavendish, "On Experimental Philosophy"; (literary) Behn, Oroonoko; S. Fielding, The Governess; H. Shelly, Frankenstein; Powers, The Overstory.


Hitchcock and Faulkner-Reading, Technics, and Materiality from a Post-Anthropocene Perspective
7954 AENG582
Thursday | 07:15PM-10:05PM | Cohen, Thomas

This seminar will create a dialog between two iconic “modernist” works of contrasting mediums and styles. By pairing the literary and cinematic we will explore the interfaces they generate between them around figures of blackness, memory, technics, and the transition from 20th century writing/cinema into the era of hyper technologies and extinction events the term Anthropocene has come to designate (or obscure). Along the way, we will engage methods of close reading and consult theoretical issues surrounding us today. Participants will be expected to rigorously prepare assignments and participate in discussion, make short presentations, and define (with instructor feedback) a final essay topic.


Personal Politics and Impersonal Poetics
9692 AENG615
Tuesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Keenaghan, Eric

Between c.1960 and c.1980, amongst the New Left an activist rhetoric about “personal politics” emerged. It was not entirely new, of course. In the United States, such ideas—albeit without the catchphrase—had been common amongst anarchist, libertarian, and Popular Front activists. But the idea that individual personhood and collectivity or mutual aid were not mutually exclusive assumed more legitimacy in later decades. Before the emergence of the New Left and its related predecessor movements, especially the Civil Rights movement, socially progressive and radical writers affiliated with the New American Poetry or contemporaneous groups came into prominence. Carrying on the legacy of interwar modernism, these poets were invested in versions of an earlier modernist “impersonal poetics” that seems to run contrary to activists’ advocacy of personal freedom and the writers’ own rhetoric about personhood, freedom, and individualism. How might their work challenge current political vocabularies about and preconceptions of direct action, minoritarian and minor democratic politics, and social and political representation? To what extent does activist discourse, with its focus on direct action and embodiment, compel our reimagining of our own critical investments in poetry as capable of making strong public interventions? Where does such recursive and speculative thinking put us in relationship to our own sociopolitical commitments and writing?

Our literary studies will begin with three modernist theorizers of impersonality, as exemplified by T.S. Eliot before The Waste Land, T.S. Eliot after The Waste Land, and William Carlos Williams (who opposed his praxis and poetics to all things Eliot). We then will move on to explore how these two key modernists’ ideas about impersonality might be read as informing the work by various cold war and New American poet-activists, who might include: Paul Goodman, Julian Beck and Judith Malina (of the Living Theatre), Muriel Rukeyser, LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka, Gwendolyn Brooks, Walter Lowenfels, Jack Spicer, Robert Duncan, Denise Levertov, Allen Ginsberg, Diane di Prima, Michael McClure, Franklin and Penelope Rosemont, and John Wieners. Throughout the semester, we will be developing a conceptual context for our studies by reading excerpts from theories of impersonality, assemblage, and third-person politics; excerpts from political philosophy and theories of social justice and embodied activism from the 1960s through today; primary historical documents from the New Left and its affiliated activist organizations; and chapters from cultural and political histories of related issues in modernist and cold war American poetries. (Readings and/or authors may vary from what is listed here.)

Requirements: (a) Class attendance and participation (2 absences max.); (b) a researched class leader presentation on the day’s assigned poet (15-20 minutes, 3-5 sources); (c) a short position paper (5-6 pages) and annotated bibliography based on the presentation, due one week afterward; and (c) a final seminarproject, developed in stages over the last half of the semester (proposal, annotated bibliography, conference, presentation of work-in-progress). The final project may take the form of either a critical seminar paper (20-to 30-pages) or a hybrid creativeproject (a creative manuscript, plus a 6-8 pages researched poetics statement or artist’s statement).

Note: In early January, enrolled students will be emailed the finalized textbook list. A reading assignment for our first meeting will be available through Blackboard two weeks before the start of the semester.


Textual Studies II:Aesthetics and the History of Subjectivity
7211 AENG720
Monday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Shepherdson, Charles
(Please note: AENG720 can be repeated for credit and is available to MA as well as PhD students)

The recent history of literary theory could be seen as a double turn: (1) first, a turn away from New Criticism (1940-70), which was thought to detach literature from its social and political context in the name of an idealized “aesthetic” domain of art, and (2) later, a turn away from post-structuralist thought (particularly deconstruction), insofar as the so-called “linguistic turn” was thought to reduce everything to language and the “free play of the signifier,” thereby detaching art (once again) from its social and political context.

However inadequate these generalized claims may have been, they had –and continue to have –significant force in the humanities. Movements in literary theory with very diverse aims –including feminist theory, the New Historicism, Marxism, and the general development of cultural studies –had the great advantage of restoring the political, social and historical dimension of art as a central focus of inquiry. In the process, however, the peculiarity of aesthetic experienceh as often been effaced or ignored. “Cultural theory” (as it is often called –rather than “literary theory”) has tended to neglect the borders that separate aesthetic experience from experience shaped by religious, legal, political, medical and other social and discursive practices.

This course will explore the distinctive character of aesthetic experience as it appears in three different historical moments in Western thought, and the implications that emerge for the history of subjectivity.Arguments about the "social construction of subjectivity" in literary criticism too often neglect the distinctive character of aesthetic experience, absorbing it into the "social," "cultural," or "political" domain, as if there were no difference between the literary work and the medical, religious, political and other discourses that surround it. And yet, the work of art cannot simply be situated in its place and time like other historical objects, as a “sign” (or symptom) of the times, as if it were one historical artifact among others (a sewer system, a technological invention, a medical practice or a religious doctrine). The work of art does not belong to time in the same way as other “historical” objects, but has a distinctive historicity which authors as diverseas Jauss, Foucault, and Adorno attempted to elaborate. The work of art does not simply represent its time, or mirror the ideologies and discourses that surround it. Of the contrary, art has a relation to history that is distinctive, disruptive, adversarial, or just imaginatively contrary (i.e. fiction), and it thereby elaborates forms of subjective life, and possibilities of thought and meaning, that do not exist in the social world around it. This point also bears on the role of aesthetic experience in the historical formation of subjectivity. The work of art does not testify to the prior existence of a “social” form of subjectivity that exists independently and outside the work of art, as though art could only repeat or “document” the categories of class, gender, and other normative forms of social identity that predate the work of art. On the contrary, aesthetic experience brings into being new affective possibilities that challenge the social and historical forms of subjectivity that surround the work of art.

This course will focus on the peculiar character of aesthetic experience as it appears in three distinct moments in the history of Western thought –ancient Greece, the late Enlightenment, and contemporary aesthetics –tracing the overt or implicit conception of subjectivity that accompanies aesthetic theory in each of these moments. From a more or less Foucauldian perspective, we will consider the discursive and institutional formation of subjectivity that takes shape under the heading of aesthetic experience in each of these historical moments. Our main points of reference will be: (1) tragic theater as it appears in Aristotle’s Poetics; (2) the concepts of the “beautiful” and the “sublime” as they appear in Kant’s Critique of Judgment, and (3) some representative recent texts on aesthetics in modern thought, possibly including Theodor Adorno, Hans-Robert Jauss, Michel Foucault, Jacques Rancière and Jean-Luc Nancy.

REQUIRED WORK

  1. Annotated Bibliography: Each student will produce an annotated bibliography on the topic you plan to explore in your final paper (topics to be determined individually with considerable latitude). Students will submit a list of 20 items (articles or book chapters), which will be reduced to 10 in consultation with me.The final bibliography will consist of a 2-page description of the main arguments of each item on your list.

  2. Final Paper: A 15-20 page paper will be developed on the basis of the bibliography and background research.


Teaching Writing and Literature
1657 AENG770
Tuesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Wilder, Laura

This course aims to provide an overview of both practical and conceptual concerns related to teaching English with guided practice in applying this learning for instructors who will be new to teaching at the University at Albany. As such, we will explore the immediate teaching situation course participants can expect to encounter in the English Department at the University at Albany and we will explore larger questions about the purposes for teaching English and the social, cultural, and disciplinary histories that shape the study of English today. Because “English” is a broad tent, including literary and cultural studies, creative writing, and rhetoric and composition, and because the University at Albany is a large, complex institution, our overview approach will be wide-ranging and, consequently, necessarily incomplete. But students can expect to leave the course with an increased sense of what supports and services exist on campus for you to draw on as you teach, what requirements the department and university asks you to fulfill in your teaching, what roles the individual courses you teach play in a larger curriculum and in students’ lives beyond your classroom, and what philosophies and theories you wish to underpin your pragmatic teaching choices.


Spring 2020 Course Concentration Distribution 

Literature, Modernity, and the Contemporary
ENG580: The Scandal of Excess: Early Modern Economics and Aesthetics
ENG580: Current Trends in Critical Theory: Comparative Realisms
ENG615: Personal Politics and Impersonal Poetics


Writing Practices
ENG516: Graduate Fiction Workshop
ENG555: On Translation
ENG770: Teaching Writing and Literature


Cultural,Transcultural, and Global Studies
ENG580: Reading the Haitian Revolution


Theoretical Constructs
ENG500: Textual Studies Survey: Wound Culture, True Crime, and the Gothic
ENG555: On Translation
ENG582: Hitchcock and Faulkner: Reading, Technics, and Materiality from a Post-Anthropocene Perspective
ENG720: Textual Studies II: Aesthetics and the History of Subjectivity

Fall 2019

Fall 2019 Courses

Workshop in Fiction 
7661 AENG516
Wednesday | 07:15PM-10:05PM | Kaul, Aashish

Intensive practice in writing fiction. Emphasis on development of fictional technique and individual styles. Students' work will be discussed and criticized by all participants in the workshop. We will discuss creative and critical contexts involved in the study and writing of fiction by way of classic and modern works, theoretical studies and evaluations, in an attempt to understand the power of stories to entertain and enlighten us. May be repeated for credit. S/U grading. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.


Writing and Art: Sports, Promise and Selfhood
9292 AENG517
Wednesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Schwarzschild, Edward & Goodwin, Daniel

In this deeply interdisciplinary class, taught by professors from both the English Department and the Art Department, student writers and photographers will collaborate on creative projects related to the exhibition at the University Art Museum this fall semester, entitled ACE: Art on Sports, Promise, and Selfhood. The University Art Museum has stated that ACE will be particularly focused on “the social and cultural impact of competitive sports on young athletes” and that “
ACE will explore how youth, gender, race, promise, and identity are intertwined with athleticism and share roles in 
defining cultural codes and rituals and engendering community.” Our semester-long collaborations will be informed not only by the exhibition and critical reviews of it, but also by wide-ranging readings and viewings of materials related to writing, photography, and museum practices. Throughout the course, we will interrogate the lines between various disciplines as we rigorously examine the ways we see, describe, and understand the world around us. In addition to producing artistic collaborations, students will also be expected to write essays and deliver presentations 
connected to the exhibition and our readings.      


Old English (Satisfies Advanced Language Requirement)
9293 AENG555
Monday | 07:15PM-10:05PM | Scheck, Helene

Old English language, literature, and culture offer much, therefore, to writers and scholars seeking greater historical and linguistic depth. The literature and language of early England (up to about 1100 C.E.) has inspired such revered poets, novelists, and scholars as Milton, Tolkien, and Pound, and continues to excite the modern imagination. A film adaptation of the Old English epic, Beowulf, appears every two or three years, it seems, and Benjamin Bagby performed his artful recitation of the poem to a full house at Lincoln Center and continues to attract audiences in Europe, England, and 
America. Indeed, poets from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney seemed to view translation of Beowulf as a measure of poetic achievement. The legacy of Anglo-Saxon England has political significance as well. Henry VIII hearkened back to Anglo-Saxon letters to prove that the Church of England had always been independent of the Church of Rome. Thomas Jefferson was an avid Anglo-Saxonist who found early English forms of governance to be exemplary and even proposed as a design for the national seal the first Anglo-Saxon (military) leaders, Hengist and Horsa. In our own cultural moment, Anglo-Saxonism is being (mis) appropriated in troubling ways to support white supremacist fantasies. One could say that some knowledge of early English language and culture is crucial in our day if only to disarm such causes. Indeed, exposure to the vestiges of early English culture left to us paint a very different picture. One could say it is incumbent upon those of us in the field to have some acquaintance with the language and literature in order to dispel dangerous myths of supremacy. In addition to learning to read Old English, therefore, students will consider some of the intellectual and social issues facing the Anglo-Saxons, as well as the uses to which Old English and Anglo-Saxon studies has been put in later centuries, especially in England and the United States. In addition, we will consider the poetics and politics of translation in our own practices and as we participate in the project of recovery--however limited or skewed--that is Old English Studies.

This course will help students to develop the skills necessary to read poetry and prose of early England in their original form. No experience with Old English or language learning is necessary: though it looks very different from the current form of English, Old English is an early form of the English language as we speak it today, and it won’t take long to achieve reading competence. The approach is based in immersion rather than philological analysis, which will enable us to move quickly to literature and other textual documents in their cultural context. Together, primary and secondary texts will enrich our understanding of the language, literature, and culture of the Anglo-Saxons and help us to think critically about their legacy and our (ab)uses of it.


Anglo American Modernism (Reading Course)
8375 AENG580
Thursday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Stasi, Paul

This course is a survey of Anglo-American modernism with attention to some of the major ways this literature has been discussed. Authors likely to include:Eliot, Moore, Stevens, Pound, Faulkner, Conrad, Joyce, Woolf and others.


Fictions of the Colony and After (Reading Course)
9294 AENG580
Tuesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Barney, Richard

This course will offer a broad survey of fiction about the (post)colonial experience, with a particular focus on the Anglophone traditions. Beginning with one of the first novels about slavery, Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko(1688), we will focus initially on texts from the so-called long 18thcentury, when the engine of the British empire began to surge into global dominance, before turning to more recent accounts of colonialism—and what has come after—during the 19th, 20th, and 21stcenturies. As one framework for our exploration of the links between earlier and later fictions about colonization, this course will highlight the work of J.M. Coetzee, the South African-born novelist and Nobel prizewinner (2003), many of whose texts have been crafted as a response tothe Enlightenment, including Foe, his reimagining of Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, and The Lives of Animals, which responds to Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. Part of our goal will also be to examine the notion of fictionitself as literary genre, historical phenomenon, and sociopolitical construct—all which become subject to conceptual and discursive reformulation from the 17thcentury to the present. In addition to Oroonoko, Robinson Crusoe, and Gulliver’s Travels, we will study novels including John Thelwall’s The Daughter of Adoption(1801), Coetzee’s Foe, Waiting for the Barbarians, The Lives of Animals, and Disgrace, Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John, and Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. We will also draw on readings in postcolonial theory, political philosophy, and literary scholarship by authors including Gayatri Spivak, Charlotte Sussman, Michel Foucault, Suvir Kaul, Homi Bhabha, John Bender, and Carrol Clarkson.


Native American Literature (Reading Course)
7772 AENG581
Tuesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Roberts, Wendy

This course will feature Native American writings (broadly conceived) in English primarily from the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries, though we will spend some time on much older oral traditions and perhaps read one or two texts from the twentieth-and twenty-first centuries. We will explore critical reading practices for engaging Native American writings and archival practices that acknowledge rather than erase such writings as well as affirm Native American influence on Anglo writing. Students will do weekly writing assignments, a presentation, an annotated bibliography, and create an original syllabus accompanied by a reflection paper on the syllabus.


Current Trends in Rhetorical Theory and Research: Digital Rhetorics (Reading Course)
8381 AENG621
Thursday | 07:15PM-10:05PM | Tetreault, Laura

From the widespread digital circulation of social movement rhetoric such as #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo, to the exploitation of digital media by both everyday trolls and specialized information agents, much recent work in rhetorical studies has grappled with both the promises and risks of communication online. This course will focus on trends in rhetorical theory and research under the broad topic of Digital Rhetoric. Topics covered may include digital circulation and virality; multimodality, including visual rhetoric in digital spaces; and algorithms and automation, especially through the lens of bias and inequity. Across all these areas, the course will center on questions such as: How do digital contexts shape rhetorical actions? How can nonhuman elements such as algorithms change the way we theorize rhetoric? How do digital spaces and tools work to both reinforce societal oppression and provide generative possibilities for resistance? How can rhetoricians practice digital research in ways oriented toward social justice? To these ends, we will analyze how people communicate online both as a form of resistance to dominant ideologies and as a method of upholding these ideologies, and how the complex, multimodal, and quickly changing nature of digital media changes the way we think about rhetoric and social action.

As a reading course, this course will also give participants instruction and practice in conducting their own digital research—including considerations of research methods, ethics, data collection and evaluation, and use of both digital materials and digital tools for research. Readings will foreground not only what comprises digital rhetoric as a field of study, but also how to do innovative and ethical research in digital spaces. Class members will leave with an understanding of major conversations in digital rhetoric and digital research methods in rhetoric and writing.


Reading Capital
9295 AENG641
Tuesday | 07:15PM-10:05PM | Benjamin, Bret

Marx’s Capital tands as one of the foundational texts of modern critical theory.Some acknowledge openly the debts owed to Marx’s critique of capitalist social relations; others consider the obligations odious.Between Marxist critics and Marx’s critics, Capital casts a long shadow.

Never more relevant than today, at this moment of sustained global economic crisis following forty years of “free market” triumphalism, Capital Volume I (in its entirety) will serve as the primary text for this course.In contrast to the typical broad ranging, book-a-week grad seminars (my own included), this course will assume a slower, more meticulous pace; we will devote the majority of the semester to a careful, critical reading of this difficult but rich text.We will supplement our primary reading of Marx with a focused survey of Capital’s legacy on Marxist feminism and gender studies. Possible supplemental texts include works by the following authors: Tithi Bhattacharya, Dalla Costa, Endnotes collective, Silvia Federici, Marha E. Gímenez, Kevin Floyd, Selma James, Lise Vogel, among others.

Interdisciplinary by nature, this seminar is open to graduate students from other departments as well as those from English. Contact Bret Benjamin <bbenjamin@albany.edu> for additional information.


Archives in Black & White
9296 AENG681
Thursday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Fretwell, Erica

This course considers the methods, theories, and politics of the archive in the long nineteenth century –as well as the ways that race both reflects and refracts these methods, theories, and politics. It “unpacks” the archive through the prism of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, both the “supertext” of U.S. sentimental fiction (c.f. Lauren Berlant) and a worldwide sensation that inspired a large network of literary, cultural, and political responses, from stage adaptations to consumer products. Uncle Tom’s Cabin and thearchive are mutually-sustaining sites of inquiry for us. How does the archive can both support and challenge our investigation into the sentimental repertoires encoded in the novel?

What can the novel illuminate about archival practices? We will spend thefirst weeks acquainting ourselves with theories of the archive (from Derrida and Foucault to Allan Sekula and Stephen Best); then read Uncle Tom’s Cabin alongside contemporary reviews, paratexts, illustrations, and film adaptations; we will conclude by thinking about what it means to decolonize the archive (Spivak, Mbembe), paying attention to biopolitics, necropolitics, and the possibilities and perils of the digital. Overall, our goals in this course are to examine the relationship between the archive and racial capitalism, the life of books beyond the “text” itself, and the politics and poetics of digital remediation.


Textual Studies I
4299 AENG710
Monday | 04:15PM-7:05PM | Kuiken, Kir

This course is an advanced doctoral-level survey of recent developments in literary and critical theory. It focuses specifically on the question of how to think through the relationship between the “literary” and the “theory” that would attempt to account for it. We will ask how “literature” and “textuality” came to be defined in relationship to each other within different theoretical traditions, as well as what role these terms play in the treatment of the philosophical and political problems these traditions address. The course will start in the early 19th century, beginning with the emergence of philosophical aesthetics as a discourse on art more generally. We will then turn to late 19th and 20th century attempts to develop modes of analysis specific to the literary text. At stake will be such questions aswhether or not emergent art forms such as photography and film begin to erode the specificity of the “literary,” or whether certain strains within literary theory still provide a powerful resource for advancing contemporary theoretical debates. We will then turn to recent debates on the relationship between aesthetic form and politics, as well as recent attempt to carry forward the challenge of literary theory into other domains not usually associated with literature. Authors studied will include Agamben, Barthes, Derrida, Kant, Ranciere and others.


Practicum in Teaching Writing and Literature
5064 AENG771
Wednesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Lilley, James
(Enrollment Prerequisites: Ph.D. students who have completed ENG 770)

This course provides support for graduate students who are beginning a teaching assignment in the English Department. English 771 offers a workshop environment in which students will observe and reflect on each other’s’ pedagogical skills, research and discuss solutions to common problems in the college classroom, design effective lesson plans, develop innovative assignments, formulate cogent assessment rubrics, and prepare compelling statements of teaching philosophy. We will also reflect on the role and status of college-level Humanities instruction in the neoliberal university.


Fall 2019 Course Concentration Distribution 

Literature,Modernity, and the Contemporary
AENG555: Old English
AENG580: Anglo American Modernism
AENG580: Fictions of the Colony and After
AENG581: Native American Literature
AENG681: Archives in Black and White


Writing Practices
AENG516: Workshop in Fiction
AENG517: Writing and Art: Sports, Promise and Selfhood
AENG771: Practicum in Teaching Writing and Literature
AENG621: Current Trends in Rhetorical Theory and Research: Digital Rhetorics


Cultural,Transcultural,and Global Studies
AENG580: Fictions of the Colony and After
AENG581: Native American Literature


Theoretical Constructs
AENG621: Current Trends in Rhetorical Theory and Research: Digital Rhetorics
AENG641: Reading Capital
AENG681: Archives in Black and White
AENG710: Textual Studies I

Spring 2019

Spring 2019 Courses

Textual Practices I: Gothic, Ghosts, and Genre
6153 AENG500
Wednesday | 07:15PM-10:05PM | Lilley, James

With the Gothic as our focus, this course will offer students an introduction to a variety of methodologies and theories of literary study. Some of the questions we'll ponder: What is a ghost? What constitutes a literary genre? How do texts register the anxieties of cultural, political, and psychological trauma? How do standards of taste emerge? And how have new media technologies transformed the genre of the Gothic into popular and lucrative contemporary aesthetic modes such as the detective story, the vampire flick, and the horror movie? Some of the theories/methodologies we will engage: formalism and genre studies, psychoanalytic and post-Freudian theory, ideology critique and Marxism, theories of the modern and postmodern, and a variety of approaches to gender, campiness and kitsch. Authors/movies/TV shows to include: Poe, Stranger Things, Walpole, Black Mirror, Melville, Blue Velvet, Kafka, The MatrixPan's Labyrinth.


Workshop in Poetry
9712 AENG515
Thursday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Leong, Michael

This course will, in many ways, function as a conventional workshop in which participants share new work or work-in-progress for group critique. We will focus on local matters of craft and technique as well as broader issues regarding aesthetics and cultural ambition; the goal is not only to gain feedback that can help with the next draft but to explore new directions that can lead to the next poem—indeed, to the next project. In addition, through the study of assigned readings, we will pay particular attention to a poet's first book. We will discuss a variety of successful first books by respected writers, examining both individual poems that are exemplary as well as the larger orchestration of the volumes.Other topics of discussion may include the current state of literary publishing and the possible trajectories of a poet's career.Requirements include active participation,in-class presentations,and a final creative portfolio accompanied by a statement of poetics.


Graduate Fiction Workshop
1665 AENG516
Wednesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Tillman, LynneM.

For the Graduate Fiction workshop, each person is expected to have had experience in writing stories. Each will be a full participant in the discussion and commentary on colleagues' fictions --stories/prose of all kinds --and on the writing of fiction, in all its forms. We will focus on what narrative is; varieties of narrative; what its constituent elements are –questions of time, order, tone, mood, etc. Voice will be of particular importance: Who is telling the story, is a significant question. Each student will be expected to present three (perhaps four) stories to the group over the semester (depending on time and class size). Through the workshop, it is hoped that all of the participants will gain greater understanding of their practice; better their skills, their craft, and become better writers, especially in their own eyes.


“Clifi”: Climate Change Science and Science Fiction
4289 AENG581
Tuesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Hill, Mike

Award winning fiction writer Amitav Gosh has lamented famously that the novel has failed to take into account the most pressing issue facing the human species today, which is its ecological condition. Given the increasingly persistent reality of climate change, Gosh asks us to consider various mainstays of the Enlightenment that were concurrent with the development of the "realist" novel as a genre, and to think about how they obscure our access to "the real" that is ecology as such. Whether it is the collaboration between empire and capital, the marginalization of Asia, techno-phobia in the humanities, or the divide between science and aesthetics, Gosh sees modernity as having failed to keep up with the times. This class will put Gosh' thesis to the test. We will ask both if the Enlightenment is over, and whether or not it ever actually arrived.

What is the relationship between "realism" and "the real"? How is this question relevant to how we think about fiction—perhaps as a specific kind of technology, and with a specific compatibility with science—both at the novel's origin, and in the face of the new subgenre called "clifi"?

To get at these questions, we will consider historical and contemporary writing, some film, literary and philosophical books, and one or two scientific articles. From the (long) eighteenth-century, writers might include: Bacon, Defoe, Newton, and Shelly (Mary), with the addition of V. I. Lenin on "empirio-criticism," and Darwin on "species differentiation." Contemporary works, in addition to Gosh, will draw from such figures as Asimov, Badiou, Ballard, Deutsch, Latour, Le Guin, Robinson, and Watt. A more detailed reading list can be discussed by email upon request. Note: This course is open to both MA and Ph. D. students, and can be repeated if other 581s have already been taken.


American Modernist Poetry, 1900-1950
7955 AENG581
Tuesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Keenaghan, Eric

This reading course offers an intensive introduction to, or deepening of students’ already existing foundations in, American modernist poetry, circa 1900 to 1950. As many modernist studies scholars do today, we will approach the poetry by synthesizing close reading and poetics; author studies; critical theory and conceptual analysis; and historical materialism and discursive analysis of the writers’ contexts. Our emphasis will be on select individual authors whose work is exemplary for studying avant-gardesand aesthetic and cultural movements (such as transnational Dadaism and Surrealism or the New Negro Renaissance), for considering the close relationship between some of the period’s poetries and social justice movements (like first-wave feminism, anarchism, proletariat and labor movements, racial justice, antifascism, and wartime pacifism), and for tackling other issues examined by modernist scholars today (such as immigration and naturalization, globalization and the expansion of American empire, technological effects on bodies and the aesthetic origins of affect and new materialist theories). Because of this approach, we will not necessarily study all the American modernist canon’s “heavy-hitters.” (For exam list development or further study of “canonical” and “minor” authors, a supplementary reading list—in the form of the syllabus for my undergraduate modernist poetry survey—will be provided for interested students.)

Each week we will read deeply in a major work or selections by one author, supplemented with select manifestoes or poetics statements by the poet and 2-3 essays or chapters about the period’s related context. Digital archives—such as Brown University and the University of Tulsa’s Modernist Journals Project and Princeton University’s Blue Mountain Project—will be used to access and examine the little magazines where much of this poetry first appeared. Through a presentation on recent scholarship from academic journals featuring modernist studies and twentieth-century poetry studies about a studied author or related issue (c.2010-today) and a separate seminar paper (20-30 pages, with 10-20 secondary sources), each student will be expected to take the shared material or other American modernist poetry in an original direction, conversant with her own theoretic or period interests. Class attendance is mandatory (2 absences, max.), and regular active participation in discussions is expected.

Poets are subject to change, but ten are likely to be selected from the following: Ezra Pound; William Carlos Williams; Gertrude Stein; Louis Zukofsky; George Oppen; Langston Hughes; Alain Locke (ed.); Marianne Moore; Hart Crane; Lola Ridge; Eugene Jolas (poet and ed.); Mina Loy; H.D.; Kenneth Patchen; Kenneth Rexroth; José Garcia Villa; Muriel Rukeyser; Charles Olson; and Robert Duncan. Required criticism and theory about modernism (for purchase or borrowed through the Library’s Reserve Desk): Alain Badiou, The Century; Sean Latham and Gayle Rogers, Modernism: Evolution of an Idea; Charles Altieri, The Art of Twentieth-Century American Poetry: Modernism and After; Tim Armstrong, Modernism: A Cultural History; and Alex Davis and Lee Jenkins (editors), The Cambridge Companion to Modernist Poetry. Recommended texts for students new to the period: Peter Gay, Modernism: The Lure of Heresy; Peter Howarth, The Cambridge Introduction to Modernist Poetry; and Steven Gould Axelrod, et al. (editors), The New Anthology of American Poetry, Volume 2: Modernisms, 1900-1950.

For the first class, students will be asked to read selections from Alain Badiou’s The Century and Peter Sloterdijk’s essay “What Happened in the 20th Century?” In early January, specifics for that assignment and a finalized book list will be emailed to registered students.


Allegory, the Other Speaking of “Fantasy”
9713 AENG581
Monday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Murakami, Ineke

In a recent article for the Chronicle of Higher Education, a department chair worries that including courses on “fantasy” literature in the curriculum may encourage students “to retreat from the real at the very moment when it’s under assault.” “The real” is a loaded phrase, and has been since an age in which demons and angels were believed to walk the world of men, but also of note is the modern assumption that what we call “fantasy fiction” is mere escapism. Quite the opposite assumption reigned for centuries. When a premodern reader encountered a narrative full of magical objects, talking animals, and spiritual beings disguised as human, the assumption was that it was time to roll up one’s sleeves and read more closely. Allegory, as a figural device and generic mode, was central to understanding the complex operations of early modern texts and political thought, but understanding allegory will also sensitize today’s reader and teacher to texts that veil debates of the utmost seriousness in “fantasy” elements. This is a course that explores allegory’s power to link a text to social discourse, to assert authorial agency, and to convey its culture’s most inflammatory ideas about identity or governance past defenses of subjects in denial and censorious political regimes alike. Exploring a range of ancient to post-modern statements about the way allegory works, we will weigh how such theories facilitate our understanding of allegorical texts, from epic poetry to the novel. While our work will be anchored in the historical period of early modernity sometimes called “the Renaissance,” we will move to more modern materials later in the semester to ponder how and to what extentthe reader is always, as Maureen Quilligan insists, “a definite component of the form.”


Emily Dickinson
8620 AENG582
Wednesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Elam, Helen Regueiro

Both as a major figure in the American literary tradition, and as a poet thoroughly anthologized, Emily Dickinson is altogether too familiar, and that familiarity occludes the strangeness that is the source of her power. She appears to come out of nowhere, without precursors, though lines have been drawn to Shakespeare, Keats, the Bible. Her rhythm, as Higginson, editor of the Atlantic Monthly puts it, is ‘spasmodic.’ Her style, compressed to the point of fragmentation, is marked by the dash, a punctuation that functions not as shortcut but as trope for the unsayable, the silence that underwrites her poems. Accessible at different registers of complexity, the matizable to the point of being ‘shaven and fitted to a frame,’ she guides the particular into a zone of abstraction where concepts break under the pressure of her barely articulated interrogations. Like Whitman, that ‘awful man’ she claims not to have read, she is ‘untranslatable, but his ‘barbaric yawp’ is articulated in her poetry, and in her letters, sotto voce. Infinitely familiar, she remains untranslatable even, and especially, in her own language, as she focuses on word and concept at the limits of understanding, at the point at which they vanish. Hers is the drama of poetic language--of literary language--in extremis, confronted with its own muteness and evanescence and speaking out of its own impossibility.

While the course will focus on Dickinson, it will also bring in other figures, including two other writers—Anne Carson and Lydia Davis—whose styles exert similar pressures on the relation between trope and abstraction and the in-between spaces of the fragment.

Two short papers, term paper, class presentations, and for students in ‘possession’ of a foreign language the possibility, for term paper, of translating this most untranslatable poet.


Regarding Pity: Emotion and Ethics
8622 AENG642
Monday | 04:15-07:05 | Shepherdson, Charles

This course will trace some of the major debates in literary history and philosophical aesthetics about the relation between emotion and ethical judgment, focusing on the topic of pity.Pity is an emotion, a bodily feeling that at the same time carries a cognitive judgment about the suffering of the other, and therefore entailsan ethical relationship.This course will explore the history of commentaries on this issue, focusing in particular on the way in which literary works engage this question, and running from ancient Greek tragedy, through Enlightenment debates, and on through contemporary work on trauma, with some consideration of photography, public art, and recent work on emotion in ethology and evolutionary biology. Readings will run from Aristotle’s Poetics, through Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiment and Rousseau’s Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, to more contemporary material, possibly including Freud, Nancy, Rancière and others. A central question will be whether aesthetic works distribute or configure emotion in a way –or according to a discursive and institutional formation – that is distinct from other adjacent domains of knowledge that deal with emotion, such as philosophical ethics, legal discourse, psychoanalysis, and biological conceptions.


Hitchcock and the (Post) Anthropocene
9714 AENG681
Thursday | 07:15PM-10:05PM | Cohen, Thomas

Contemporary auteurs seem to relentlessly cite and try to reconfigure scenes and logics from Hitchcock, as if he were a sort of “motherboard”--a sort pf Hegel or Shakespeare of cinema itself. But this may be done less for his famous mastery of the craft than because of a limit thinking of cinema’s agency in prefiguring the aporia of the 21stcentury’s post-cinematic culture of totalized screens. The era of fossil fuels is, after all, the era of cinema (and photography). Our seminar will use five core Hitchcock works to place in dialog with what is called the “Anthropocene” impasses of today and consult a select number of critical theorists and clips from contemporary films that advance this dialog. Bernard Stiegler’s concept of arche-cinema will be of particular import, supplemented by Derrida on spectrality, Zizek on Hitchcock’s “thing,” Benjamin on “inscription” and photography, and current discourses on extinction logics (or species retirement--which Hollywood is increasingly marketing now that the “post-apocalyptic” genres seem depleted). The seminar primarily aims to develop the student’s the critical and cinematic reading skills, particularly in relation to today’s image culture, but it will not be a “film studies” course. Students will be invited to make short, rotating presentations on specific assignments and concepts, and will construct their own final essay project from this broader scope, in which cinematics appears the genealogical forebear of the specter of A.I., neuro-telemarketing, perceptual regimes, the capture of screen culture and digital totalization, and extinction accelerations--in short, the spells of “Anthropocene” imaginaries. All of which, today, may seem vertiginous.


Textual Studies II: Biopolitics, Early and Late
7634 AENG720
Monday | 07:15PM-10:05PM | Barney, Richard
(Please note: AENG720 can be repeated for credit and is available to MA as well as PhD students)

This course will study the field of biopoliticsby focusing particularly on how the work by Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, Roberto Esposito, Hannah Arendt, Jacques Derrida, and others has been crucially based on particular interpretations of Enlightenment political and philosophical authors such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, and Adam Smith. Since many recent analysts like Foucault consider the birth of biopolitics during the 17th and 18th centuries to have been a central part of the emergence of Western modernity, we will read several early works they rely on with a careful eye toward how those works support or complicate specific constructions of concepts such as the Enlightenment, the modern, subjectivity, and political sovereignty. Along the way, we will consider how during the 18th century, new scientific discoveries about human physiology, as well as innovative formulations of human perception or socialization, produced new understandings of “life” and its potential for political control, revolution, or reform.

Because the convergence of “life” and politics was by no means ready-made during this period, we will explore how medical, literary, and political texts played a role in representing or actively forging the bio-political liaison from the 18th to the 19th century in Britain. Examples of that process will include the poetry of Anne Finch, George Cheyne’s popular medical publications, Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year, Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, and Mary Shelley’s The Last Man. In tracking a broad historical arc from those “early” examples to “late” ones, we will also consider 20th-and 21st-century literary and cinematic transformations of biopolitcal themes, such as in Colson Whitehead’s hit zombie novel, Zone One, Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion, and Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead.

This course is aimed to accommodate both Ph.D. students and M.A. students with strong analytic and writing skills.


Teaching Writing and Literature
1678 AENG770
Thursday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Yagelski, Robert

This course addresses the broad question of the purposes of the teaching of English, broadly construed, at the post secondary level with the goal of developing a workable answer to the more specific question, “What should I teach in my undergraduate English course?” We will consider the history of the academic discipline of English Studies as well as its relationship to English instruction at the secondary level as a way to understand the current state of the discipline in the context of broader social, political, and cultural developments that have shaped higher education today. We will also examine the relationship between the broader goals of an English course and specific student learning outcomes with respect to the sophisticated kinds of writing and reading expected at the post secondary level. Assignments will likely include short papers on assigned readings, a collaborative project, and a complete syllabus and rationale for an undergraduate English course.


Spring 2019 Course Concentration Distribution 

Literature, Modernity, and the Contemporary
AENG581: Allegory, the Other Speaking of “Fantasy”
AENG581: American Modernist Poetry, 1900-1950
AENG582: Emily Dickinson
AENG681: Hitchcock and the (Post) Anthropocene


Writing Practices
AENG515: Poetry Workshop
AENG516: Graduate Fiction Workshop
AENG770: Teaching Writing and Literature


Cultural,Transcultural and Global Studies
AENG581: “Clifi”: Climate Change Science and Science Fiction


Theoretical Constructs
AENG500: Textual Practices I: Gothic, Ghosts, and Genre
AENG642: Regarding Pity: Emotion and Ethics
AENG720: Textual Studies II: Biopolitics, Early and Late

Fall 2018

Fall 2018 Courses

Textual Practices I: Introduction to Writing in English Studies
8256 AENG500
Tuesday | 07:15PM-10:05PM | Roberts, Wendy

This course will explore the archive as both theory and practice. We will think about our role in accessing, mediating, and interpreting literatures and contexts and the ethical stakes of doing so. While doing so, students will be introduced to various foundational concepts in the study of English, such as the reader, author, writer, text, literature, context, and history. The course focuses on early American literature, but the theoretical inquiries and interpretive strategies students engage will form the ground for their future work in any area of literary study.


Workshop in Fiction
8652 AENG516
Tuesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Schwarzschild, Edward

In this course, each student will be expected to complete and revise two or three pieces of fiction (short stories or novel excerpts) during the semester, to be submitted for workshop discussion. Most of each class period will be devoted to this workshop discussion (for which prepared written comments will be expected). Time will also be spent studying and discussing isolated aspects of effective writing, such as description, dialogue, character depiction, openings, endings, vocabulary and syntax. There will be various texts for reading, as well as occasional in-class writing exercises and supplemental brief assignments. Permission of Instructor required. Please submit a sample of your fiction writing with a brief cover letter about yourself and your writing to Prof. Schwarzschild (eschwarzschild@albany.edu).


Models of History in Literature
9767 AENG580
Monday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Bosco, Ron

The Department of English characterizes this seminar as an exploration of the connections between the literary text and the social and political contexts within which the text is imagined and produced, with particular attention to the assumptions that govern definitions of both text and context. What challenges have contemporary critical theories (for instance, Marxist, feminist, post-structuralist) posed to our understanding of history? What does it mean to propose that a literary text has an historical effect?

This seminar will pursue these questions while posing another: How does each new generation of readers read the past, and, in the context of, especially, archival research, what tools has the past bequeathed to the present generation to read it? We will concentrate on five early-mid nineteenth-century American writers and their contemporary (i.e., current) critics and readers in our quest to answer such questions: Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), Margaret Fuller (1810-1850), Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), Walt Whitman (1819-1892), and Emily Dickinson (1830-1886). Collectively, the prose and poetry of these writers constitute versions of what for the past two centuries has been casually, but also critically, characterized as the “American Renaissance.”

The chief “practical” requirements for all seminar participants include the completion of a substantial body of reading and active participation in the intellectual life of the seminar. Requirements also include (1) one assigned presentation to the seminar on a topic relevant to the seminar based on research materials, some of which will be placed on reserve in the University Library; and (2) by the end of the semester a substantial “working paper” together with a formal seminar presentation on a topic related to the subject matter of the seminar. An important methodological interest of the seminar in which all participants will engage is the development of an archive devoted to a writer, or a movement, or a genre, or a topic located within early to mid-nineteenth century America, or a theory relating to some portion of the period and its historical relevance for later nineteenth, twentieth, or twenty-first century American experience.


Nature Landscape Writing
8847 AENG581
Thursday | 07:15PM-10:05PM | Kaul, Aashish

The course will discuss several seminal works of both prose and poetry from around the world that explore and study the complex philosophical, religious, and phenomenological relationship of humans to the natural world. The course may discuss Classical Chinese and Japanese Landscape Poetry, in particular Du Fu, Li Bai, Basho, and Izumi Shikibu, the Romantic Poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, the German Expressionist Poetry of Georg Trakl, American and Canadian nature writings of Henry David Thoreau, Kenneth Rexroth, Gary Snyder, and Jan Zwicky, and nature and travel writings of J. A. Baker, David Hinton, Rebecca Solnit, Bill Porter, and Eliot Weinberger.


Romanticism Collectivities
8848 AENG581
Tuesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Kuiken, Kir

This course explores the way aesthetics and poetics became, in the wake of democratic theorizing about the social contract and the investment in the liberal subject as the putative locus of political authority, a key site for inventing new forms of community that surpassed or challenged the nation-state. The course will start with an examination of central assumptions in social contract theory of the 18th century, focusing on Rousseau’s and Hobbes’ accounts of the formation of collectivity. We will then move to examine the way that the category of the aesthetic, particularly in Kant and Schiller, became a way of addressing the impasses of the liberal tradition, suggesting alternative forms of collectivity that no longer depended on a social compact or the category of the “citizen.” From there, we will focus on the way Romantic poetics—in its difference from aesthetics—became a means by which to broach various forms of counter-community: either in the form of collectivities that include non-human members (Wordsworth), in the radical suspension of identity as the means by which a collective realizes itself (Keats), in aleatory communities whose impermanenceis precisely what makes them “revolutionary” (Shelley), or in attempts to undermine the central foundations of social contract theory from within (Coleridge). We will also consider the tradition of German Romanticism, starting with its reaction to Fichte’s “Addresses to the German Nation” which, at a moment when the German nation did not yet exist, attempted to define the national community in ways the transcend geographic or linguistic homogeneity. We will look at two key challenges to this emergent German nationalism in Kleist, whose exploration of the “community of lovers” in his plays and novellas develops what Blanchot calls a “war machine” against the state, generating impossible demands that cannot be recognized by the present constitution of its political and legal apparatuses. We will also consider the figure of Holderlin, exploring the way his poetry evinces a collapse of the sacred, which in turn disrupts any form of community conceived as either “national” or homogeneous with itself. Finally, we will turn to the way contemporary re-theorizations of community (Nancy, Agamben, Blanchot and Latour in particular) have re-articulated these thematics and forms of writing in an attempt to think what a “community of those who have nothing in common” would look like.


Women Writers of the Middle Ages
9769 AENG581
Monday | 07:15PM-10:05PM | Scheck, Helene

Female experience and potential in the period we call the "Middle Ages" (ca. 500-1500 CE) was shaped by various cultural forces that limited women's creative, social, spiritual, and political activity. And yet, women writers did flourish during that periodin Europe as well as in China, Japan, Byzantium, and the Middle East--indeed, there are too many women writers to cover in a single semester. To further our understanding of women's participation in literary and intellectual culture during this period, therefore, we will consider some of the more prominent women writers and their motivations (political, social, spiritual, etc.); the reception of their work by contemporaries as well as by modern audiences; and issues of selection and preservation of texts. We will encounter storytellers, scholars, spiritual leaders, historians, playwrights, court poets, and mystics, including Radegund of Poitiers (ca. 520-587); Rabia al-Basri (717-801); Xue Tao (768-831); Hrotsvit of Gandersheim (ca. 930-1000); Murasaki Shikibu (978-1014); Anna Comnena (1083-1153); Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179); Marie de France (fl. 1160-80); Julian of Norwich (1342-1416); Christine de Pizan (1364-ca. 1430); and the infamous and indefatigable Margery Kempe (ca. 1373-1438). Situating their work within the various cultural milieuin which they wrote, we will grapple with notions of authority, authorship, canonicity, and writing/literacy itself in relation to class, gender, power, sexuality, and spirituality, identifying the strategies women used to work in, through, and against the limitations imposed by masculinist social structures. We will also trace some of the ways in which women negotiated male-dominated discourses and genres, alternately promoting and challenging perceptions of womanly weakness (intellectual, spiritual, and physical), appropriating and revising historical and literary traditions, and advancing literary devices of their own. In addition to weekly readings, course assignments include active participation, weekly response papers, a short essay, and research assignments in preparation for the final term paper.


Poe and Gothic Fiction: Studies in an Author
9770 AENG582
Monday | 07:15PM-10:05PM | Lilley, James

Though this seminar is anchored in the fiction, poetry, and criticism of Edgar Allan Poe, we will also situate his aesthetic practice within the literary, political, and scientific culture of his time.For example, we will explore how his work interrogates and extends the transatlantic revival of gothic romance forms in the C18th and early C19th, contextualizing Poe within a wider nexus of literary, artistic, and architectural movements. We will also take seriously Poe’s expertise in emerging forms of scientific knowledge, reading his gothic fiction—in particular his only novel, Pym, and the enigmatic prose poem/cosmology, Eureka (a work Einstein would later acknowledge as “a very beautiful achievement”)—in relation to new theories of materialism, heat, and movement that were developing during Poe’s life.

Of special concern here will be the birth of thermodynamics, an event that revolutionizes these same three concepts—matter, heat, and movement—by intimately interconnecting them in new equations that transformed the face of the globe. In this sense, we will begin to see how Poe’s aesthetic practice is never simply obsessed with the macabre, the dead, and the darkly distant regions of the past; rather, we will come to appreciate Poe—and the gothic—as actively and critically engaged with modernity and ‘progress’ in its many technological, colonial, and scientific-racial forms.


Current Trends in Rhetorical theory and Research: Longitude Studies of College Writers
9774 AENG621
Thursday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Wilder, Laura

This course will provide an introduction to and thorough overview of research in rhetoric and composition which has taken a longitudinal approach to studying college writers. Such studies use a variety of research methods, including ethnographic observation, interview, think aloud protocols, and textual analysis, to trace how college writers acquire rhetorical and genre knowledge, writing skill, writing habits and practices, and attitudes and beliefs about writing during college. Many such studies trace these developments over students’ entire four years of college and beyond. We will examine some of the early classic studies in this vein, such as Richard Haswell’s Gaining Ground in College Writing: Tales of Development and Interpretation (1991), Christina’sHaas’s “Learning to Read Biology: One Student's Rhetorical Development in College” (1994), Marilyn Sternglass’s Time to Know Them: A Longitudinal Study of Writing and Learning at the College level (1997), Anne Herrington and Marcia Curtis’s Persons in Process: Four Stories of Writing and Personal Development in College (2000), and Lee Ann Carroll’s Rehearsing New Roles: How College Students Develop as Writers (2002). We will also examine the publications coming out of recent, large-scale longitudinal studies of writing and transfer of writing knowledge at institutions like Harvard, Stanford, and Dartmouth. Students will be asked to design and propose their own longitudinal study of college writing and will have the opportunity to work with some of the data coming out of the instructors’ own longitudinal study of college writers at U. Albany. Students will leave the course with a firm foundation in longitudinal research in rhetoric and composition, but also with a solid introduction to empirical research methods more broadly used in this field.


Textual Studies I
4501 AENG710
Thursday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Stasi, Paul

This course introduces some of the central debates and key concepts that have helped shape the field of English Studies.We will begin our story in the 19th century, reading texts by Marx, Freud and Nietzsche that, in various ways, have set the parameters for 20th and 21st century intellectual inquiry.We will then track a series of intellectual genealogies that emerge from these figures with an eye towards some of the most pressing and relevant areas of contemporary critical debate. Our aim will be to see both the distinctions and overlaps among competing intellectual traditions.


Teaching Practicum
5463 AENG771
Wednesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Fretwell, Erica

This course provides support for doctoral students who are beginning a teaching assignment in the English Department. This class will be run as a workshop. We will address practical issues around teaching (assignments, grading rubrics, lesson plans, classroom management), with attention to recent scholarship that addresses the state of the university, as well as the influence of race, gender, and ability on pedagogy. We will also work on the common genres of pedagogy: course description, essay prompts, and the teaching statement. Our primary texts will balance recent work/critique of the university (potentially, but not prescriptively: Margaret Price’s Mad at School, Sara Ahmed’s On Being Included, Roderick Ferguson’s The Reorder of Things, Stefano Harney and Fred Moten’s The Undercommons, and perhaps Cathy Davidson’s The New Education) with your own syllabi, handouts, and anonymized student papers. In this way, the course has a certain kind of praxis in mind, one that enjoins theories and critiques of the neoliberal university to practical strategies for teaching within it.


Fall 2018 Course Concentration Distribution 

Literature, Modernity,and the Contemporary
AENG580: Models of History in Literature
AENG581: Nature Landscape Writing
AENG581: Romanticism Collectivities
AENG581: Poe and Gothic Fiction


Writing Practices
AENG516: Workshop in Fiction
AENG621: Current Trends in Rhetorical theory and Research
AENG771: Teaching Practicum


Cultural, Transcultural and Global Studies
AENG581: Nature Landscape Writing
AENG581: Women Writers of the Middle Ages
AENG641: Black Feminist Rhetoric
 

Theoretical Constructs
AENG500: Textual Practices I
AENG581: Romanticism Collectivities
AENG641: Black Feminist Rhetoric
AENG710: Textual Studies I
 

Spring 2018

Spring 2018 Courses

Textual Practices I: Gothic, Ghosts, and Genre
6153 AENG500
Wednesday | 07:15PM-10:05PM | Lilley, James

With the Gothic as our focus, this course will offer students an introduction to a variety of methodologies and theories of literary study. Some of the questions we'll ponder: What is a ghost? What constitutes a literary genre? How do texts register the anxieties of cultural, political, and psychological trauma? How do standards of taste emerge? And how have new media technologies transformed the genre of the Gothic into popular and lucrative contemporary aesthetic modes such as the detective story, the vampire flick, and the horror movie? Some of the theories/methodologies we will engage: formalism and genre studies, psychoanalytic and post-Freudian theory, ideology critique and Marxism, theories of the modern and postmodern, and a variety of approaches to gender, campiness and kitsch. Authors/movies/TV shows to include: Poe, Stranger Things, Walpole, Black Mirror, Melville, Blue Velvet, Kafka, The Matrix, Pan's Labyrinth.


Graduate Fiction Workshop
1794 AENG516
Wednesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Tillman, Lynne M.

In this Graduate Fiction workshop, each person is expected to be a full participant in discussion and commentary on colleagues' fictions -- stories/prose of all kinds. We will consider the complexity of writing fiction, in all its forms, and with all its vicissitudes. We will focus on what narrative is, what its constituent elements are – questions of time, order, tone, mood, etc. Voice will be of particular importance. Who is telling the story, another significant question. The workshop will consider the importance and effects of all aspects of writing, including what to leave out and why, why this word not that one. I am interested in close readings, and careful attention to all facets of writing. Entry to the workshop is by permission only. Please email me at tillwhentillman@gmail.com with no more than eight pages of your prose fiction, and tell me your experience in writing, courses, main interests, etc.


Writing and Photography
9956 AENG517
Wednesday | 01:00PM-04:00PM | Goodwin, Daniel & Schwarzschild, Edward

In this deeply interdisciplinary class, taught by professors from both the English Department and the Art Department, student writers and photographers will collaborate on creative projects related to the current exhibition at the University Art Museum. This spring semester’s exhibition, entitled This Place, explores the complexity of Israel/Palestine through the eyes of twelve internationally acclaimed photographers. Our collaborations will be informed not only by the exhibit and reviews of the exhibit, but also by wide-ranging readings and viewings of materials related to writing, photography, and museum practices. Throughout the course, we will interrogate the lines between various disciplines as we rigorously examine the ways we see, describe, and understand the world around us. In addition to producing artistic collaborations, students will also be expected to write essays and deliver presentations.


Representing Slavery
10075 AENG580
Thursday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Smith, Derik Jalal

We can’t get past slavery. Or, we can’t seem to get slavery into the past.Since the 1970s, representations of slavery have been prominent in African American high-culture texts.The great majority of these texts have been wrought in the mode of “melancholic historicism,” bearing reverent witness to a tragic, defining and “ongoing” slave past.For many, the quintessential text of this mode is Toni Morrison’s Beloved—which we will read in the seminar.The title character of Morrison’s vastly influential novel is a ghost-figure who contains within her a number of selves that seem to have existed at disparate moments in a trans-Atlantic, antebellum past.At one point in the novel, Beloved ruminates on history and asserts that “all of it is now, it is always now.” The continuing impingement of the slave past on the present is a key trope in representations of slavery that are beholden to melancholic historicism. Our seminar will consider a variety of these representations—as in Gayl Jones’s Corregidora, Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, and (maybe) Kevin Young’s Ardency—while paying close attention to the politics of the “temporal accumulation” theory of history that is advanced in these texts. We will think about why one important critic—Kenneth Warren—is unimpressed by these versions of history and insists that “to understand both the past and present, we have to put the past behind us.”A number of recent critical and creative texts—like Warren’s What Was African American Literature? and Paul Beatty’s The Sellout—will help us to think about the relation between developments in American political economy and the rise of the neo-slave narrative in the final decades of the twentieth century.And, our study of rather contemporary representations of slavery will be prefaced by an introduction to the antebellum genre of the slave narrative, and at least one recently-influential history of nineteenth-century slavery in the U.S.A.


Anglophone Caribbean: Studies in a Literary Period
4591 AENG581
Wednesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Griffith, Glyne A

Study of a given period in terms of the texts which comprise it and the contexts within which they have been traditionally understood. In light of the general rubric that this course offer graduate students exposure to texts in a selected period, we will examine a grouping of Anglophone Caribbean textual works –prose fiction, essays of literary and cultural criticism, poetry, and drama -produced during those years immediately preceding formal decolonization and national independence in the English-speaking Caribbean. Our readings will concentrate on the diverse ways in which a colonized people creatively reconfigured ideas of imagined community in order to delineate the contours of a new national consciousness and anticipate the shape of post-colonial experience. Some of the authors and critics working in the 1950s and 1960s, or reflecting on that historical period from the vantage point of the post-60s decades will likely include Edward Baugh, Sylvia Wynter, Louise Bennett, Derek Walcott, Harold Telemaque,Roger Mais, John Hearne, George Lamming, Kamau Brathwaite, Wilson Harris, Rhonda Cobham-Sander, Leah Rosenberg, Shalini Puri, and others.


English Renaissance Drama
9037 AENG581
Tuesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Murakami, Ineke

When Ben Jonson memorialized Shakespeare, he praised him not as a lone “colossus” who “doth bestride the narrow world” eclipsing all other writers, but as the “Soul of the age.” The difference bears consideration for it asks us to evaluate Shakespeare in context―not only with the vertiginous historical changes that fostered the rise of commercial theater, nor even next to the extraordinary output of playwrights whose names once outshone Shakespeare’s―but in relation to the wealth of dramatic forms which influenced any writer who grew up in an age that took the theatrum mundi topos, “all the world’s a stage,” seriously. Consequently, this class includes only one Shakespeare play. And because this is a “reading course,” most of our time will be spent with the plays themselves, sampling the most influential dramatic forms of the period, from moral drama to revenge tragedy; from civic entertainment to royal entry; from elite masque to folk play; and from city comedy to romantic tragicomedy. We will read professional stage poets like Webster and Middleton next to writers like Preston and Carey who took time out from more respectable employment to dally with dramatic “toys.” Historical and critical readings scheduled to accompany each dramatic text will foster our thinking about problems of genre, theatricality, publicity, privacy, and drama’s function in relation to the cultural transformations that affected all who partook in the heady collaboration that was early modern theater. Expect a take-home exam that emulates the conditions of a Masters or field exam, presentation of an annotated bibliography, and a term paper with presentation.


Queer Poetry and Politics
10076 AENG581
Monday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Keenaghan, Eric C.

“The personal is political.” This famous slogan, coined by Carol Hanisch, was introduced into second-wave feminist discourse in 1969, the same year as New York City’s Stonewall riots which often are used to date the start of gay and lesbian liberation. It is a commonplace to assume that poetry is one of the most personal of the arts. What better form, then, to bring together a personal politics and the intimate experiences of individuals’ sexual and erotic lives? But what does a personal politics truly mean? And in the wake of Romanticism’s negative capability and modernist poetics of impersonality, what does it mean for poetry to be presumed to be a form of “personal” expression? How can an often-esoteric art form like poetry be political—that is, can poetry really transform institutions and the socio-political landscape?

Conceptually, this course sets out to examine how queer poetries have held the personal and the political in tension while addressing what it means to love, to live, to survive, and to revolutionize. Pragmatically, this seminar will explore this conceit through a twofold objective: (1) An introduction to the history of American LGBT+ politics and culture during the Cold War (c.1950-1989), from the start of the homophile movement through gay and lesbian liberation to the rise of intersectionality and the response to the HIV/AIDs crisis; (2) The study of a range of American poetries produced alongside, and sometimes as part of, the gender and sexual activist movements from the latter half of the twentieth century. Eight to ten activist-poets will be studied in depth, either in key standalone volumes or their selected works. Emphasis will be placed on “experimental” poetries, but we also will examine agitprop and formalist queer verse by LGBT-identified writers. By using digital archives and published anthologies to access primary historical materials (activist periodicals, mimeo newsletters, manifestos, broadsides), we will consider the poets’ political and aesthetic innovations in light of their respective moments’ activist rhetorics. Selections from LGBT+ cultural and political histories, plus poetics and craft statements by the examined writers, will supplement our readings of the poetry and the primary historical materials. Our ambition will be to do what most queer theorists have failed to do—i.e., to take poetry seriously, by considering its historical, aesthetic, and political ambitions. Thus, we will use the form as a foundation for develop newtheories and political understandings, rather than groundlessly apply existing queer theory or other literary theories to these poetries. Queer writers (inclusive of straight-identified seropositive writers) who might be studied in-depth include: Allen Ginsberg, Jack Spicer, John Wieners, Judy Grahn, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Ronald Johnson, Gloria Anzaldúa, Aaron Shurin, Essex Hemphill, Tory Dent. Other LGBT+ poets from whose work we might read samplings include: Stephen Jonas, Frank O’Hara, Paul Goodman, Muriel Rukeyser, Robert Duncan, Harold Norse, Diane di Prima, Jonathan Williams, Tim Dlugos, Jack Sharpless, Leland Hickman, Antler, Elana Dykewoman, Olga Broumas, Marilyn Hacker, Pat Parker, Martha Shelley, Joan Larkin, John Giorno, Charley Shively, Kenneth Pitchford, Miguel Piñero, James Baldwin, Paul Mariah, Dennis Cooper, Thom Gunn, June Jordan, Eileen Myles, MarkDoty, Kevin Killian, Reinaldo Arenas.

Requirements for PhD and MA students:

  1. Preparation for every class meeting and participation in discussion

  2. Three brief response papers (3-5 pages, one per unit —the homophile movement, gay and lesbian liberation, the HIV/AIDS crisis), to be shared on Blackboard 24 hours before the class session

  3. Prewriting assignments for a seminar paper (including proposal, annotated bibliography, and revised abstract)

  4. A researched critical seminar paper (20-30 pages, 15-20 sources). Given our historical focus, no hybrid or creative projects will be permitted for the final projects. We will deal with the writers who have come before us on their own terms, as best as we can, without the temptation of trying to force them into our conceptual, aesthetic, or political rubrics.

Required and recommended texts:

In late December or early January, a complete list of required poetry volumes will be sent to enrolled students. A brief reading assignment for the first class session will be available through Blackboard two weeks before the semester’s start. Before then, students are encouraged to find online cheap editions of the following required out-of-print or costly (if bought at full price) texts—We Are Everywhere: A Historical Sourcebook of Gay and Lesbian Politics, edited by Mark Blasius and Shane Phelan (Routledge); Rethinking the Gay and Lesbian Movement, by Marc Stein (Routledge); and Gay and Lesbian Poetry in Our Time, edited by Carl Morse and Joan Larkin (St. Martin’s Press). I also highly recommend that you purchase one or two of the following out-of-print LGBT+ period poetry anthologies (all available and inexpensive from online retailers)—The Male Muse: A Gay Anthology, edited by Ian Young (1973); Angels of the Lyre: A Gay Poetry Anthology (1975), edited by Winston Leyland (this title will be available on reserve at the library); Amazon Poetry: An Anthology (1976), edited by Elly Bulkin and Joan Larkin; Orgasms of Light: The Gay Sunshine Anthology (1977), edited by Winston Leyland;Lesbian Poetry: An Anthology(1981), edited by Elly Bulkin and Joan Larkin; The Son of the Male Muse: New Gay Poetry, edited by Ian Young (1983); Poets for Life: Seventy-Six Poets Respond to AIDS, edited by Michael Klein (1989).

Lastly,all graduate students should apply for a New York Public Library card. As SUNY students and/or NY State residents, you are eligible. It is easiest to get one if you visit the city; just pop into any NYPL branch with the required identification. You also can apply online (https://www.nypl.org/library-card), but it could take some time to validate your application. For this course, I recommend students research primary historical documents (and some poetry magazines) through the following online research databases and digital archives, available through NYPL.org: Independent Voices and the Archives of Sexuality & Gender. Through UAlbany’s library, you can access the following, more limited databases: LGBT Lifewith Full Text and Alternative Press Index.


Reading (in) Faulkner
10077 AENG582
Thursday | 07:15PM-10:05PM | Cohen, Thomas

Faulkner is perhaps the novelistic titan of early 20th century America, yet it remains a question how the intricacies of his writings and their regional and race motifs are read today. These riddles pertain not just to the manner in which the memes of the “South” and its racialisms seem weirdly conjured today. The course will offer the student an opportunity for a close reading or engagement with Faulkner and the parallel opportunity to question the role of canonical “literature” from a 21st century perspective—that is, ask how Faulkner probes the epistemologies of “reading” as read from the era of climate change, of tele-mnemonics, and of extinction imaginaries. The class will be conducted as a seminar, with student participation in discussion and rotating presentations mandatory. The course itself will open with a series of select readings to introduce students to Faulkner and the critical legacies (modernist, regionalist, psycho-analytic, post-structuralist), then turn to a close reading of Go Down, Moses--whose title suggests an active dismantling of the historical and figurative systems which Faulkner inherited from an era of the Book and “American” fables of origin. It is, accordingly, in this work which will be at the core of this seminar that two over-riding motifs converge: that of “race” (the novel most addressing blackness and black figures), and what is called the question of the “earth”—and with that, the trans-animate and an epochal crisis in reading. Students will be encouraged to frame their own interpretive project for the final paper.


Current Trends in Critical Theory: Realisms & the Origins of theNovel
10079 AENG642
Tuesday | 07:15PM-10:05PM | Hill, Michael K.

This course will be useful to the Masters or Doctoral student who is interested in the following set of literary problems:the history of the novel; genre theory; realism as a narrative technique; and the relationship between science and aesthetics.

We will start where the modern novel itself begins, which is in the eighteenth century,a time where the value of realism emerged as part of the Enlightenment's investment in probability, empiricism, and the human being per se. Here we will examine a range of different kinds of texts—literary, scientific, and philosophical—and ask how they approach the problem of realism from their specific disciplinary vantage points.Once we have established the historical claims for realistic writing, we will move into more current work on the topic.This reading will also move between literary and extra-literary kinds of work.Here, specifically, we will be interested in comparing and contrasting early modern endorsements of realist discourse with three other variations—materialist, speculative, and ecological—which either extend or attempt to correct realism's original Enlightenment claims.

Students should expect to read both contemporary and eighteenth-century novels, as well as theorists and scientific thinkers, writing then and now.Texts may include: (Literature) Behn, Oronooko; Fielding,Joseph Andrews; Lennox, The Female Quixote; Mackenzie, The Man of Feeling; Pope, Essay on Criticism and Essay on Man; Scott, Millenium Hall; Gosh, The Calcutta Chromosome. (Philosophy of Science) Bacon, from Major Works; Boyle, A Free Inquiry into the Vulgarly Received Notion of Nature; DeLanda, Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy; Morton, Humankind: Solidarity with Non-Human People; Smith, from Essays on Philosophical Inquiry. (Literary Theory) Gosh, The Great Derangement; Jameson, Marxism and Form; McGann, A New Republic of Letters; Morretti, Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for Literary History; Ong, Literacy and Orality.


Theories of Language
10080 AENG651
Thursday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Elam, Helen Regueiro

This course will focus on “translation” not in its ordinary sense of ferrying meaning from one language to another but as the most intense expression of a problem within language: “translation” as a nickname for the issue of “meaning” at the heart of literature.Three texts on translation (Benjamin, de Man, Derrida) will function as theoretical stakes for a range of readings (Nabokov, Carson, Beckett, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Agamben, et al).In addition to the literary/theoretical components, students may wish to consider a ‘creative’ component:an actual translation to/from English subtended by a critical introduction and substantial footnote commentary.Three papers (the first two tending toward a term paper), intense class participation. The ‘creative component’ fulfills advanced proficiency in a language requirement.The course fulfills reading proficiency in a foreign language upon submission of a brief translation that is separate from its other requirements.


Textual Studies II:Aesthetics and the Fate of Literature 
8509 AENG720
Monday | 07:15PM-10:05PM | Shepherdson, Charles
(Please note: AENG720 can be repeated for credit)

The recent history of literary theory could be seen as a double turn:(1) a turn away from New Criticism, which was thought to focus exclusively on the literary object, and cultivate “close reading,” thereby detaching literature from its social and political context in the name of an idealized “aesthetic” domain of art, and later as (2) a turn away from post-structuralist thought (particularly deconstruction), insofar as the so-called “linguistic turn” was thought to reduce everything to language and the “free play of the signifier,” thereby detaching art (once again) from its social and political context.

Movements inliterary theory with very diverse aims –including feminist theory, the New Historicism, Marxism, and the general development of cultural studies –had the great advantage of restoring the political, social and historical dimension of art.In the process, however, the peculiarity of aesthetic experience has been effaced or ignored. “Cultural theory,” as it is called –rather than “literary theory” –has tended to neglect the borders that separate aesthetic experience from experience shaped by religious, legal, political, medical and other forms of social and discursive practice. Arguments about the "social construction of subjectivity" in literary criticism too often neglect the distinctive character of aesthetic experience, absorbing it into the "social," "cultural," or "political" domain, as if there were no difference between the literary work, and literary formations of subjectivity, and the medical, religious, political and other discourses that surround the work of art.

This course will explore the elusive border that separates and links aesthetic experience and experience as it is shaped by neighboring discourses and institutions. We will read two canonical texts – Aristotle’s Poetics and Kant’s Critique of Judgment – which decisively shaped ancient and modern conceptions of aesthetics, and we will then turn to some more contemporary figures, to trace this problem in some of its current forms.Authors may include Michel Foucault, Hans-Robert Jauss, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jacques Rancière, and possibly recent work in affect theory and cognitive neuroscientific approaches to literature.


Teaching Writing and Literature
1807 AENG770
Tuesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Carey, Tamika L.

This course explores disciplinary traditions, pedagogical theories, and practical matters that foster and complicate effective teaching within English and Writing Studies. With some attention to recent scholarship and commentary on the evolution of these two fields, the influence of race, gender, and sexuality on embodied pedagogy, and retention, we will take a thematic walk through the process of conceptualizing and designing an effective undergraduate English course. The topics we are likely to discuss include: how to translate learning outcomes into curricular objectives, how to structure classes in regards to scope and workload, how to design the “Writing Intensive” course, how to incorporate technology, and how to create effective lessons. Throughout the semester, seminar participants will lead class-discussions, write short-papers on course scholarship or independent research, and develop a “dream course” portfolio that will, ideally, aid them in their teaching career at UAlbany and beyond.


Spring 2018 Course Concentration Distribution 

Literature, Modernity and the Contemporary
AENG581: English Renaissance Drama
AENG581: Queer Poetry and Politics
AENG651: Theories of Language
AENG720: Textual Studies II: Aesthetics and the Fate of Literature
AENG642: Current Trends in Critical Theory
AENG582: Reading (in) Faulkner


Writing Practices
AENG516: Graduate Fiction Workshop
AENG517: Writing and Photography
AENG651: Theories of Language
AENG770: Teaching Writing and Literature


Cultural, Transcultural and Global Studies
AENG500: Textual Practices I: Gothic, Ghosts, and Genre
AENG581: Anglophone Caribbean: Studies in a Literary Period
AENG580: Representing Slavery


Theoretical Constructs
AENG500: Textual Practices I: Gothic, Ghosts, and Genre
AENG581: Queer Poetry and Politics
AENG651: Theories of Language
AENG720: Textual Studies II: Aesthetics and the Fate of Literature
AENG642 Current Trends in Critical Theory

Summer / Fall 2017

Summer 2017 Courses | Four Week 1 (May 30 – June 23, 2017)

Blackness & Cinema(Shared Resource with AENG412Y)
2401 AENG518
MTWTHF | 08:30AM –10:50AM | Derik Smith

This course is a historical survey of the representation of African Americans in popular American cinema.It will begin with D.W. Griffith’s brutal vision of race in The Birth of a Nation, and it will end exactly one hundred years later with discussion of films released in 2016.Considering a century of American movie-making, the course will chart and analyze evolving representations of blackness through historicization. In other words, we will spend a lot of time thinking about how Hollywood depictions of “African-Americana” have both reflected and informed American culture in the past century.The approach will require students to read a variety of critical and theoretical writings that will suggest a “subversive” (and usefully portable) method of textual analysis.So, rather than searching for the intended meaning of films, we will be more interested in their unintended meanings—in the cultural anxieties, longings and repressions that show up in these texts when they are considered closely.As we work our way through several dozen films—some quite influential and others merely representative—we will develop strong understandings of individual filmic texts, of traditions of racial representation in Hollywood texts, and of the various forces that shape racial representation in these texts.

As is usual in college courses, students will have to produce written work that analyzes course material, and students will be expected to participate in regular classroom discussions. But in this course students will also be asked to demonstrate their understanding of studied texts in some unconventional ways: In this course you will be challenged to creatively engage with course content, and with your fellow course participants. In this course you will be involved in an active community of learning in which each individual contributes to the collective through movement, voice, and performance. You won’t just be watching performances, you’ll be making your own as well.


*Open only to Masters Students*
 

Fall 2017 Courses

Textual Practices I
9513 AENG500
Tuesday | 04:15PM -07:05PM | Helen Elam

This course explores some of the debates that have shaped the context of literary study. Readings will move across genres and disciplines, structured as a conversation between literary and critical texts, and will comprise writers suchas Nietzsche, de Man, Derrida, Wordsworth, Carson, Freud, Agamben, Nabokov, Proust. Two short papers leading to term paper, weekly responses to readings, and class presentations.


Workshop in Fiction
10079 AENG516
Tuesday | 07:15PM -10:05PM | Edward Schwarzschild

In this course, each student will be expected to complete and revise two or three pieces of fiction (short stories or novel excerpts) during the semester, to be submitted for workshop discussion. Most of each class period will be devoted to this workshop discussion (for which prepared written comments will be expected). Time will also be spent studying and discussing isolated aspects of effective writing, such as description, dialogue, character depiction, openings, endings, vocabulary and syntax. There will be various texts for reading, as well as occasional in-class writing exercises and supplemental brief assignments.

Permission of Instructor required. Please submit a sample of your fiction writing with a brief cover letter about yourself and your writing to Prof. Schwarzschild (eschwarzschild@albany.edu)."


History and Theory of Rhetoric (Reading Course)
10081 AENG522
Thursday | 04:15PM -07:05PM | Laura Wilder

This course will provide a survey of Western rhetorical theory, a “zoom” overview of excerpts of texts on the teaching and practice of rhetoric from the Ancient Greek Sophists to The New Rhetoricians of the 1960s with studies of Medieval, Renaissance, Enlightenment, Belletrist, and Nineteenth Centuryr hetorical theories. This dizzying breadth is intended to support the goal of our department’s "reading" courses: “the acquisition of foundational knowledge that would serve as the basis for more specialized study [in this case, of rhetoric] in the future.” Our weekly study will be comparative in nature: together we will compare different systems and theories of rhetoric as they emerged in the West over 2,500 years. The course aims to give students a clear sense of how rhetoric manifested itself differently in different historical periods and how rhetoric has been conceptualized in comparison to philosophy, theology, politics, literature and other bodies of knowledge. We will pay particular attention to rhetoric’s diachronic relationship to writing instruction. Required Text: Patricia Bizzell and Bruce Herzberg’s anthology, The Rhetorical Tradition, 2nd Ed


Translation Theory
10085 AENG 555
Wednesday | 04:15PM -07:05PM | Helene Scheck

The literature and language of early England (up to about 1100 C.E.) has inspired poets, novelists, and scholars, including Milton, Tolkien, and Pound, and continues to excite the modern imagination. A film adaptation of the Old English epic, Beowulf, appears every two or three years, it seems, and Benjamin Bagby performed his artful recitation of the poem to a full house at Lincoln Center and continues to attract audiences in Europe, England, and America. Indeed, poets from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to Seamus Heaney seemed to view translation of Beowulf as a measure of poetic achievement. The legacy of Anglo-Saxon England has political significance as well. Henry VIII hearkened back to Anglo-Saxon letters to prove that the Church of England had always been independent of the Church of Rome. Thomas Jefferson was an avid Anglo-Saxonist and even proposed as a design for the national seal the first Anglo-Saxon leaders, Hengist and Horsa. Old English language, literature, and culture offer much, therefore, to writers and scholars seeking greater historical and linguistic depth.

This course will help students to develop the skills necessary to read poetry and prose of early England in their original form. Rather than dwelling on the development of the language and philological minutiae, we will move quickly to the literature in its cultural context. In addition to learning to read Old English, students will consider some of the intellectual and social issues facing the Anglo-Saxons, as well as the uses to which Old English and Anglo-Saxon studies has been put in later centuries, especially in England and the United States. Secondary readings will enrich our understanding of the texts and culture of the Anglo-Saxons and help us to think critically about their legacy.

No experience with Old English or language learning is necessary: though it looks very different from the current form of English, Old English is in fact an early form of our language, and students typically achieve a fairly high level of reading proficiency by the end of one semester.


Postcolonial Literature (Reading Course)
10315 AENG 581 / 6704
Thursday | 04:15PM -07:05PM | Paul Stasi

In this course we will read a number of postcolonial novels (and one epic poem) alongside some of the theorists that have tried to describe them. Our interest will be in the various thematics common among these texts—the struggle for national liberation, the disillusionment of the independence period, the forms of culture clash and hybridity that attend the colonial encounter—as well as the differences between their national situations. Readings will likely include Rushdie, Naipaul, Jameson, Ahmad, De Assis, Devi, Djebar, Fanon, Ghosh, Jameson, Naipaul, Rushdie, Schwarz and Walcott.


Hemispheric Turn in American Literature (Reading Course)
10316 AENG 581
Wednesday | 04:15PM –07:05PM | Wendy Roberts

“What happens if the ‘fixed’ borders of a nation are recognized not only as historically produced political constructs that can be ignored, imaginatively reconfigured, and variously contested but also as component parts of a deeper, more multilayered series of national and indigenous histories?” Questions like these posed by Caroline F. Levander and Robert S. Levine in their essay collection Hemispheric American Studies (2008) have reshaped early American literary scholarship. Yet, syllabi and reading lists can often retain a firm hold on the nation as their implicit guiding principle. This reading course will present graduate students with the opportunity to expand their sense of what constitutes early American literature by surveying a rich set of texts that have become central to hemispheric scholarship. Focusing on texts from the sixteenth through the first half of the nineteenth century, students will explore analytical and research methods as well as create their own hemispheric American literatures syllabi.

Texts, among many others, will include Cabeza de Vaca, The Narrative of Cabeza de Vaca (1542), Gaspar de Villagra’s, History of New Mexico; Bernal Díaz del Castillo, History of the Conquest of New Spain;Christopher Columbus, The Book of Prophecies; Hopi Legend, “TheComing of the Spanish and the Pueblo Revolt”; Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz, selected writings;

Olaudah Equino, The Interesting Narrative; Robert Montgomery Bird, Calavar, or, The History of the Conquest (1834); Edgar Allan Poe, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket(1838).


Poetics and Literary Practice: Documentary Poetry
10092 AENG615
Monday | 04:15PM –07:05PM | Michael Leong

Consider the following recent writing projects—a poet travels to her home state of Indiana in search of remaining traces of the Underground Railroad; another reproduces newspaper excerpts about mining disasters in China, interleaving them with photographs and worker transcripts regarding the 2006 Sago Mine disaster in West Virginia; yet another composes a long poem that only uses words from titles, catalog entries, or exhibit descriptions of Western art objects that depict a black woman. “Documentary Poetry” will assess this documentary turn in late twentieth and early twenty first century poetry. If, according to Horace, poetry is meant to “delight and instruct,” then a major strand of contemporary poetry is now embracing—over and against a delightful lyricism—a pedagogical, historical, or memorializing function. We will study important modernist precursors such as Muriel Rukeyserand William Carlos Williams and then proceed to a range of contemporary practitioners that may include Philip Metres, M. NourbeSe Philip, Vanessa Place, Robin Coste Lewis, Rachel Zolf, Jordan Abel, Rob Fitterman, Mark Nowak, Dionne Brand, Claudia Rankine,Julie Carr, C.D. Wright, Rob Halpern, Brenda Coultas, and Collier Nogues. In addition, reading thinkers from Michel Foucault to Maurizio Ferraris will bolster our sense of what we mean by the term “document.” Requirements include regular attendance and participation, an in-class presentation, and an article-length essay by the end of the semester.


Literature in the Anthropocene
10110 AENG 642
Monday | 07:15PM -10:05 PM | Kir Kuiken

This course will interrogate the role of literature in relation to recent attention in the Humanities to the term “the Anthropocene”: a period which entails the recognition that humans are altering the Earth’s systems (geological, biological, climatological etc.) to such as extent that these changes will be registered in the geological record of the planet for millennia. How does literature become a site for taking stock of the meaningof these changes, for how they alter our conceptions of the human, of nature, and of time? We will begin by situating these questions within what is arguably the first literature of the Anthropocene (before this term came into use): late 18thand early 19thcentury Romanticism. In an era of the advent of modern democracy, of rapid industrialization and urbanization, how did Romantic writers shape our current conceptions of our relation to nature, of the relation between humans and non-humans etc.? We will explore Romantic authors’ fascination with notions of “deep time,” which called into question not just prior theological conceptions of the world, buthuman-centered ones as well. Why were Romantic authors so fascinated with “apocalypses” of various kinds, from Mary Shelley’s novel “The Last Man” to Blake’s “prophetic” poems? We will also explore the way in which the Romantics considered the socio-political consequences of these questions. Co-extensively with these discussions, we will read 20thand 21stcentury theorists and philosophers who have extended and elaborated on these questions in various ways, examining the close connections between Romanticera concerns and the way that these have been picked up (and reshaped) in contemporary critical theory. The course will then conclude with a brief exploration of the recent rise of “speculative fiction” as well as non-fiction (e.g. Kolbert’s “The Sixth Extinction”) as genres in which “the Anthropocene” has been confronted most recently. Authors studied will include Blake, Hölderlin, Kleist, Keats, the Shelleys (Percy and Mary), and Wordsworth. Theorists/ Philosophers studied will include Deleuze, Derrida, Foucault, Heidegger, Latour, Levinas, Nancy, and Serres. Assignments will include a presentation and seminar paper.


Contemporary Writers
4473 AENG681
Thursday | 07:15PM –10:05PM | Carolyn Yalkut

This is a course about the life and work of the artist. In this course, students study the work of the authors appearing on campus with the New York State Writers Institute Fall 2017 Visiting Writers Series. The Institute invites a broad array of writers whose work ranges from short and long fiction to nonfiction, poetry and drama and film. We will analyze (critically and creatively) one major work by each author considering it the context of the writer’s complete oeuvre as well as the intellectual, historical, aesthetic, and pragmatic issues at play in each author’s work. In addition to course meetings students will be expected (whenever possible) to attend relevant sessions of the Visiting Writers Series which often, although not exclusively, are scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays (craft seminars at 4:15 and evening readings at 8). Students will be expected to make presentations in seminar sessions, produce a short critical paper, and write a substantial critical final paper.


Textual Studies: Intersections
4827 AENG710
Tuesday | 04:15PM –07:05PM | Erica Fretwell

The determinations of race and gender are forms of reading: reading bodies, reading gestures, reading histories. In this spirit of intersectional feminist inquiry, this course introduces graduate students to a range of theoretical traditions –psychoanalysis, Marxism, post-structuralism, historicism, affect theory, etc. –through critical writing that thematizes reading race and gender in its diverse forms: literature, photography, cinema, performance, and new media. The main objective of this course is to familiarize students already adept at literary analysis with theories that both open up key topics in textual studies and interrogate the racial and sexual politics –the operations of power –inherent in those topics. The course will be organized around the following textual concepts: word, voice, name, author, reader, body, subject, aesthetics/history, performance, photograph, film, and technology. Our authors span Roland Barthes, Walter Benjamin, Michel Foucault, Hélène Cixous, Susan Sontag, and Louis Althusser to bell hooks, Giyatri Spivak, Judith Butler, Stuart Hall, Eve Sedgwick, and José Muñoz.


Practicum in Teaching Writing and Literature
5992 ENG 771
Wednesday | 07:15PM -10:05PM | James Lilley

Enrollment Prerequisites: Ph.D. students who have successfully completed ENG 770. This course provides support for graduate students who are beginning a teaching assignment in the English Department. English 771 offers a workshop environment in which students will observe and reflect on each other’s’ pedagogical skills, research and discuss solutions to common problems in the college classroom, design effective lesson plans, develop innovative assignments (focusing on recent developments in the digital humanities and other modes of digital literacy), formulate cogent assessment rubrics, and prepare statements of teaching philosophy for future employment opportunities.


Summer / Fall 2017 Course Concentration Distribution 

Reading Courses:
AENG 522 -History and Theory of Rhetoric (Reading Course)
AENG581 -Hemispheric Turn in American Literature (Reading Course)
AENG 581 / 6704 -Postcolonial Literature (Reading Course)


Literature, Modernity,and the Contemporary
AENG 642 -Literature in the Anthropocene
AENG 615 -Poetics and Literary Practice: Documentary Poetry
AENG 681 –Contemporary Writers


Writing Practices
AENG 615 -Poetics and Literary Practice: Documentary Poetry
AENG 555 -Translation Theory
AENG 522 -History and Theory of Rhetoric (Reading Course)
AENG516 -Workshop in Fiction


Cultural, Transcultural, and Global Studies
AENG 581 -Hemispheric Turn in American Literature (Reading Course)
AENG 581/6704 -Postcolonial Literature (Reading Course)


Theoretical Constructs
AENG 710 -Textual Studies: Intersections
AENG 642 -Literature in the Anthropocene

Spring 2017

Spring 2017 Courses

Textual Practices
6468 AENG500
Thursday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Elam, Helen R

This course will deal with some major writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and with theoretical and critical essays whose arguments have shaped contexts of literary study. Readings from Beckett, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Proust, Dickinson, Kafka, Davis, others. Two papers, term paper, presentations.


Fiction Workshop
1873 AENG516
Wednesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Wolff, Rebecca

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 bring to bear on the criticism of students' work a discussion of writings by pertinent authors. May be repeated for credit. S/U grading. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.


History & Theory of Composition
9998 AENG521
Monday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Wilder, Laura

This course will provide an introduction to composition theory, a body of thought and research on how writers write and how writing should be taught at the post secondary level. We will locate the historical starting point for this ongoing conversation in the mid-to-late-20th Century, when Rhetoric and Composition emerged as a viable scholarly field within English Studies. But this starting point includes within it historical work which looks backwards to the 19th Century (when formal college writing courses were first offered in the U.S.) and earlier to oratorical traditions. We will read together key scholarly articles from the emerging tradition of composition theory. We will also examine three recent edited collections which purport to introduce and provide an overview of the current state of composition theory: Ritter and Matsuda’s Exploring Composition Studies (2012), Tate, Taggart, Schick, and Hessler’s A Guide to Composition Pedagogies (2014), and Adler-Kassner and Wardle’s Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies (2015). We will attempt to draft a map which surveys this complex terrain of competing camps. Students should gain a nuanced understanding of key terms from the history of composition theory such as expressivism, cognitive rhetoric, social epistemic rhetoric, and discourse community as well as gain a sense of how emerging concepts such as genre theory, writing about writing, and teaching for transfer are shaping the future of the field.


Renaissance Bodies Politic
4819 AENG581
Tuesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Murakami, Ineke

This course explores some of the earliest literary meditations on the trope of the body politic: a corporate entity of the church and/or state that was intimately tied to understandings of the individual human body, with its physical and affective vulnerabilities. The latter body found itself the object of intense scrutiny and debate in the sixteenth- and seventeenth-centuries. Those invested in a bounded, and scrupulously regulated Protestant body attacked disturbing rival conceptions of a more fluid, permeable body, one that could meld amorously with other subjects and objects, or be moved through the powers of charisma or rhetoric to become what Deleuze and Guattari would now call a “body without organs.” Reading a variety of Renaissance plays, poetry, paintings, and prose pamphlets in relation to modern theoretical texts, we will consider some of the ways the English of this period understood themselves as embodied creatures negotiating a relationship to larger political forces. Figures of dismemberment, infection, and metamorphosis―man and woman becoming hermaphrodite, Christian “turning Turk,” human transforming into wolf―will ground our exploration of Renaissance meditations on the governance of individual and collective bodies, revealing a prelude to modern biopolitics.

Texts include: More’s Utopia, Marlowe’s Tamburlaine I, Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, Jonson’s Bartholomew Fair, Middleton’s Revenger’s Tragedy, and excerpts from Spenser’s Faerie Queene and Hobbes’s Leviathan. Course requirements include: response papers, an annotated bibliography, a substantial presentation on your final paper topic, and a term paper produced in steps.


Theories of the Secular and American Literary History
10004 AENG581
Tuesday | 07:15PM-10:05PM | Roberts, Wendy R

Histories of American literature typically trace the emergence of new aesthetic forms, readerships, and political identities to the decline of religion. For instance, Puritan literature often represents the high point of religious enthusiasm in early America (Bradstreet, Edwards) and its decline made evident by the rise of a new canon of writers (Hawthorne, Melville) who have outgrown such superstitions. But contrary to such trajectories, several recent measurements show that Christian practice was at its lowest in early America and at its highest in the twenty-first century—evidence that points to America’s Christianization over time not its secularization. Even so, this narrative does not seem entirely satisfactory because it continues to place religion and the secular in opposition. A reevaluation of our terms and their uses is in order.

This course will stress the relationship between developing theories of the secular and the study of early American religion and literature. It will progress in two parts. First, we will read two landmark books that have invigorated an entire rethinking of the secular, Talal Asad’s Formations of the Secular (2003) and portions of Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age (2007), as well as several important responses to them. Second, we will explore how these theories come to bear on the study of American literature and culture. To do this, we will read Americanist scholars who are changing the way we conceive of religion and the secular, including selections from Michael Warner’s forthcoming book The Evangelical Public Sphere in Eighteenth-Century America, John L. Modern’s Secularism in Antebellum America (2011), and Tracy Fessenden’s Culture and Redemption: Religion, the Secular, and American Literature (2007), as well as a number of important essays. Students will pursue a course-long case study in pre-twentieth-century American materials to flesh out what their chosen selections can tell us about the formation of the secular in America. This will include crafting one presentation and writing an article length seminar paper. Students interested in later American periods, English literature, or global studies will be encouraged to mobilize theoretical readings from the course toward a paper that best furthers their interests and goals.


Theories & Practice Creativity (seminar): Symbolic Power & The Sonnet
10005 AENG600
Tuesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Cable, Lana

This course takes a close look at sonnets to understand the workings of symbolic power from a theoretical perspective, with emphasis on Pierre Bourdieu’s arguments for linguistic habitus, discursive style and market forces, and individual or collective misrecognition as shapers of culturalauthority along with other dynamics perceived in poetic activity. Our focus on the sonnet, from its invention in the 13th century Sicilian court of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II to its present-day revival, provides a concrete test for the role played by linguistic form in symbolic power, as it brings logic and purpose into play with poetic inspiration, as distinct from the common notion that inspiration comes to mind full blown and needs only to be poured into preset forms in order to make poetry. After looking into the intellectual and political character of the imperial court that gave rise to the sonnet, we will discern causes beyond self-expression that led thinking people to take up this new form. We will discover how it can be used as a tool for intellectual analysis and problem solving; a vehicle for witty disputation; a guide to moral or spiritual inquiry; a device for social or political control; an instrument of aesthetic theory, philosophical speculation, scientific or sensory description; a definer or redefiner of emotional experience; a refuge for identity in crisis; even a lifeline for individual sense of self under torture. While exploring sonnets written from the 13th through 21st centuries, we will also create and evaluate examples of our own. Additional course requirements include written notes and assigned discussion leadership on passages from theoretical texts, and an article-length analysis of exactly what it is in particular sonnets and the circumstances that have inspired them that might explicate the nature of their symbolic power.


American Lyric Re-visited: Epic, Series Book-Poem
8949 AENG615
Monday | 07:15PM-10:05PM | Keenaghan, Eric C

At a time when self-described “uncreative” conceptual poetry gets a lot of attention, and following the Language poets’ shift from voice to discourse/the New Sentence, “lyric” seems a fraught term, especially for the world of so-called “experimental” poetries. Yet, the word has been revisited and promisingly recast in bracing studies like Jonathan Culler’s recent Theory of the Lyric (2015), which urges a rethinking of lyric forms as refiguring (rather than just “expressing”) subjectivity and experience. While performing this work through what we conventionally conceive of as lyric—usually, shorter forms resembling songs—many modernist and contemporary poets refigured lyricism’s possibilities by moving into other, often longer forms. Epic is typically conceived of as narrative rather than lyric, but American writers cast doubt on that before modernism even hit the scene. Just think of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. No lover of Whitman, the biggest (and littlest) epic was written by T.S. Eliot in order to evacuate personality and lived emotion from poetic voice, giving us what we might call the first impersonal lyric: The Waste Land. “Il miglior fabbro” of that poem, Eliot’s collaborator Ezra Pound, would go on to challenge presuppositions about lyric even further, while putting a bit of the person back into impersonal persona. Anyone reading the opening of his Cantos is introduced—by its very title—to a series of songs “sung” in the form of a first person voice, that of the “poet” in a library reading Homer aloud. (Or is it aloud only because we’re in his head?) Quickly, Pound’s songs become written documents. The Cantos offered William Carlos Williams a challenge he took up late, in his own readerly lyric epic Paterson; and Pound also offered Charles Olson a model for his Maximus, a tone-deaf lyric that forswears singing altogether to present voice mediated through letters and documents. Louis Zukofsky’s A might be likened to what would happen if Spinoza started singing Marx, while trying to harmonize with Bach fugues when wearing the ass’s head of Shakespeare’s Bottom. But should we make facile distinctions between “lyric” and “narrative” poetry? Gertrude Stein, oddly enough, might be the one to help trouble that distinction, not so much with her poetry but with what she once said of narrative in her Narration lectures: “Narrative concerns itself with what is happening all the time, history concerns itself with what happens from time to time.” It’s that “all the time” that puts lyric in a new, narrative light. (As C.D. Wright notes in Cooling Time: “Narrative is. You have to know when to enter in, when to egress, when to provoke, when to let be, be.” Note that “you,” the writing hand, are present for her, always, in that is, all the time.) “All the time” is pretty visionary stuff, and that’s what other modernists transformed epic forms into, all those visionary vehicles, often falling short of “epic” proportions and scope, as in Hart Crane’s The Bridge. Or, consider H.D.’s Trilogy or the even stronger later (and understudied) long poems Helen in Egypt and her posthumously published Vale Ave and Hermetic Definition. There is something visionary and epic (and epochal) about Langston Hughes’ recording the rhythms of an entire communities, making black neighborhoods sing in the multiple but as a common voice, in his late-career jazz and be-bop fiats Montage of a Dream Deferred and Ask Your Mama.

Alongside epic runs the series, another modification of lyric forms. George Oppen’s Discrete Series was his farewell to poetry, a paean on the impossibility of wartime Leftism (after which he and his lyric self disappeared for a quarter century). Muriel Rukeyser’s Elegies turned her antifascist yet pacifist politics into a recurrent thread in over a decade’s worth of volumes from roughly 1936 to 1950. Robert Duncan, innovating on his friend Jack Spicer’s idea of the book-poem (each book conceived as one poem), opened the series even further by introducing a literal open series poetics, in which different recurring poems mirrored his life and language assumed a body all its own, in the form of different songs that recurred over decades, interwove with one another, and braided, only to split into separate songs again. Duncan’s friend Ronald Johnson would make the body and matter itself sing in a humanist epic called ARK that began as an abandoned gay series, “Wor(l)ds.” Or there is Johnson’s own book-poem where he finds his voice by erasing another’s, his erasure of Milton’s Paradise Lost to bring us Radi Os (the title itself nodding to Spicer, whose lyric poetry are just broadcasts of the Martians and the dead). And then there is Diane di Prima, who, since before Stonewall, has connected a queer feminist politics with a visionary song of social justice in the anarchist agitprop of the decades-long series Revolutionary Letters and her shamanistic Loba, a feminist re-vision of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl.” Then, there’s the queerest book-poem to end all book-poems, John Wieners’ collagist, enigmatic Behind the State Capitol; or, Cincinnati Pike, published by Good Gay Poets, Boston Gay Liberation Front’s publishing arm. Over the intervening decades between then and now, “lyric” epic, series, and book-poems have recurred in the work of several major contemporary experimental poets who play with their predecessors’ work in these major forms. In the process, lyricism is transformed further.

Lyric, voice, personhood, and enunciative subjectivity—we will set out to trouble such terms such. Our studies will entail immersive reading in epics, serial poems, and book-poems written in the United States during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, alongside poetics or craft essays and/or interviews. We will devote our attention each week to a different poet, going as far as we individually can in a major work by the likes of: Pound, Zukofsky, H.D., Crane, Olson, Rukeyser, Hughes, WCW, Spicer, Duncan, Oppen, R. Johnson, Ginsberg, di Prima, Wieners, Stephen Jonas, Julian Beck, John Ashbery Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Lyn Hejinian, Nathaniel Mackey, Alice Notley, Ed Roberson, Beverly Dahlen, Claudia Rankine, C.D. Wright, Ron Silliman. The emphasis will be on the poetry, but throughout the semester each week we also will read one or two brief selections from theories of lyric and personhood, including: classic selections of lyric theory (included in Virginia Jackson and Yopie Prins’s The Lyric Theory Reader), sections from Jonathan Culler’s Theory of Lyric, from Roberto Esposito’s Third Person, and essays by Gilles Deleuze, Denise Riley, SusanStewart, James Longenbach, Robert von Hallberg, Judith Balso, Reginald Gibbons, Fred Moten, and others. Recommended readings will include critical essays about the assigned poets and their works.

A list of required books will be sent to registered students in January, so that everyone might find cheaper copies. To start our conversation for the first class, students will be asked to purchase and read Ben Lerner’s long essay The Hatred of Poetry (2016) for the first class and a few “classic” twentieth-century lyrics (available on Blackboard, two weeks before class).

Requirements for BA/MA and MA students: Class attendance and participation; one class leader session (structured presentation synthesizing the secondary readings and posing related questions about the poetry, to frame our conversation; 10 minutes); midterm paper (critical, not researched; 8-10 pages); final paper (critical or hybrid, researched; 12-15 pages and developed in stages).

Requirements for PhD students: Class attendance and participation; once class leader session (structured presentation synthesizing the readings and posing related questions about the poetry, to frame our conversation; 10 minutes); seminar paper or creative project with poetics essay (researched, 20-30 pages and developed in stages).


Critical Methods: Testing the Limits- The Frankfurt School and Contemporary Culture Critique
10007 AENG641
Monday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Ebert, Teresa

Is it possible to have a "true life" in a false system? We begin by thinking about this question, which Theodore Adorno raises, and relate it to his maxim: "The whole is the false" (Minima Moralia). We tease out the implications of these ideas which have had a deep impact on contemporary cultural theory and literary and digital studies. With this prelude, we continue examining some of the contributions of "The Frankfurt School" (of "Critical Theory") to social and cultural analysis through its engagements with Marx and Freud. Why, for example, do people accept as normal the social and economic conditions that alienate them from their work, from other people, from the world and from themselves? What are the responsibilities of literature and the arts in unmasking these conditions that produce "mystical consciousness"? How to understand the relation of culture and environment—what, for example, are some of the problems of bourgeois "climate change" without class critique? Is "the Anthropocene" a "myth" that blames "all of humanity for climate change" and "lets capitalism off the hook"? How to analyze the way capitalism transvalues all values ("all that is solid melts into air") but at the same time makes some "obsessed" with the erosion of "traditional standards" and renders many so powerless in dealing with social change that they blame the "other" (the Jew, the gay, the communist, the immigrant)? What does Marcuse mean by "repressive tolerance"? Is tolerating difference, debate and opposition a means of control in democracy? Is democracy itself an elaborate game played to pretend that people, through "free" elections, participate in the way social life is organized? How does the "aesthetic" engage the socialin a technological age? Walter Benjamin argues that art and technology come together in film which he sees as a process of awakening people to other social arrangements. If, he writes, fascism renders politics as aesthetics, then resistance to it is by politicizing the aesthetic (“The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”); this opens up the space for our reading of Ernest Bloch’s concept of the "ontology of the Not-Yet Being" and his notion of utopia. We will examine the relation of these and other concepts—such as materialist aesthetics, Benjamin's "the angel of history," "modernity," "Enlightenment," "reification" (e.g. Alex Honnth's interpretation of it as "recognition" and Marcuse's "one dimensional man"), as well as, "biopolitics,” "control society," "desiring production," "deterritorialization," "Accelerationism," "Vitalism,” “New materialism” and "the idea of communism" in the writings of Deleuze, Negri, Badiou, Zizek and Butler. We will pay special attention to Bruno Latour’s critique of critique and to a critique of his critique of critique. The seminar will be a plural place of lectures, discussions, reports and a theory conference. Students are required to actively participate in seminar discussions every week; write one short paper (about 10 pages); present a seminar report on specific theoretical problems, and write a long theory paper (about 20 pages). All students will have an opportunity to participate in the end of semester “Theory Conference”  The bourgeois ... is tolerant. His love of people as they are stems from his hatred of what they might be".


Transnationalism & Globalization: Anglophone Caribbean Literature & Criticism
8951 AENG660
Wednesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Griffith, Glyne A

This course will examine issues that situate the study of literatures in English within the broader contexts of transnationalism and globalization. It will address trends, movements and problems that cannot be adequately comprehended within the boundaries of national literatures and cultures.

Our assigned texts will include Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid; When I was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago; She’s Gone by Kwame Dawes; The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. We will also read the following works to provide critical context: Discourse on Colonialism by Aime Cesaire; Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon; A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid; Culture and Imperialism by Edward Said and An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire by Arundhati Roy.


Poetics of the Hyper – Incarceration Era
10008 AENG685
Thursday | 07:15PM-10:05PM | Smith, Derik

Reading theoretical, critical and primary texts produced after the Moynihan Report of 1965, the course will consider the aesthetics and politics of recent African American poetry. By some accounts the release of Moynihan Report precipitated a policy logic that lead to rapid expansion of the American carceral state, and also to the rise of affirmative action programs. We will test the premisethat these and other developments in post-civil rights era political economy played a determinative role in the post-1965 trifurcation of black poetry into overlapping, yet recognizably distinct, modes:rap, spoken word, and high-literary. Students will study these class-marked and separately institutionalized poetic modes relationally, and also as responses to social acceleration, the ascendance of visual culture, the general entrenchment of neoliberalism and other postmodern developments.

The syllabus will include poetic texts by Claudia Rankine, Nasir “Nas” Jones, Terrance Hayes, Onika “Nicki Minaj” Maraj, Douglas Kearney, M. NourBese Philip, Public Enemy, Lawerence “KRS One” Parker, Saul Williams, Patricia Smith, Nikki Giovanni, Amiri Baraka, Etheridge Knight, Robert Hayden, Gwendolyn Brooks, and theoretical and critical texts by David Harvey, Paul Gilroy, Richard Iton, Loic Wacquant, Kenneth Warren, Mahdu Dubey, Adolph Reed, Zygmunt Bauman, and Angela Davis.


Textual Studies II: Quantitative Enlightenment: Numbers and the Origins of the Novel
9325 AENG720
Wednesday | 07:15PM-10:05PM | Hill, Michael K
(Please note: AENG720 may be repeated for credit)

The Enlightenment (the late seventeenth, through the early late eighteenth centuries) is traditionally regarded as a period that brought forth the fundamental tenants of Western modernity. These might be summed up as: the sanctity of the individual in politics as much as in literary life; subjective mastery over the material world; the division between human experience and technology; and, especially for the purposes of our discipline, the institutionalization of English with an emphasis on the uniqueness of literature per se. Common to all of these topics is a strong reliance on qualitative over quantitative forms of knowledge: deep thought, not data; identity, not multitudes; distinction and good taste, not the incalculable hordes of written media that would be impossible, letalone desirable, to squeeze on to a literary canon. This course will ask a series of questions about the Enlightenment and our discipline, with a focus on subjectivity and numbers. Our case study will be the origins of the first truly popular literary (as in strictly print based) enterprise known as the eighteenth-century novel. Did subjectivity really prevail in the Enlightenment in the sense that novels are said to produce? If not, what did? If so, is qualitative study all there is in our discipline? Alternatively, how might we think about quantitative analysis then and now? Our reading will include novels and writing about novels from the eighteenth-century, contemporary theory about them, and a series of historical and current philosophical texts that variously forbid or affirm ways of thinking with numbers. Reading list available on request (<mhill@albany.edu>) .


Teaching Writing and Literature
1886 AENG770
Thursday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | North, Stephen M

In this course, we will explore the connections between our ongoing discussion of a fairly broad question—i.e., What is the purpose of teaching English in higher education today, and how are people going about it?—with the narrower form it tends to take in our own lives: What am I supposed to do when I teach Eng ###? We will read a range of commentators on both questions, but the term’s major writing assignments will entail creating syllabi for two of the courses (one in literature and culture, the other in writing) you will likely teach during your time at UAlbany.


Spring 2017 Course Concentration Distribution 

Literature, Modernity, and the Contemporary
ENG 581: Renaissance Bodies Politic
ENG 581: Theories of the Secular and American Literary History
ENG 600: Symbolic Power and the Sonnet
ENG 615: American Lyric Re-visited: Epic, Series Book-Poem


Writing Practices
ENG 516: Fiction Workshop
ENG 521: History & Theory of Composition
ENG 770: Teaching Writing and Literature


Cultural, Transcultural, and Global Studies
ENG 581: Theories of the Secular and American Literary History
ENG 660: Transnationalism and Globalization
ENG 685: Poetics of the Hyper-Incarceration Era 
ENG 720: Textual Studies II: Quantitative Enlightenment: Numbers and the Origins of the Novel


Theoretical Constructs
ENG 521: History & Theory of Composition
ENG 641: The Frankfurt School
ENG 720: Textual Studies II: Quantitative Enlightenment: Numbers and the Origins of the Novel

Summer / Fall 2016

Summer 2016 Courses | Four Week 1 (May 23 – June 17, 2016)

Workshop in Dramatic Writing (Shared Resource with AENG402Z)
2394 AENG518
Monday -Thursday | 06:00PM-08:40PM | Yalkut,Carolyn

Intensive practice in writing drama. In this workshop, each student functions primarily as a dramatist, but also as audience and actor. Students give onstage readings of and discuss each other'soriginal work, engage in creative “exercises,” and familiarize themselves with the contemporary canon of dramatic literature by reading (and reporting on) plays new to them. Students also attend at least one live performance of a play during the session. For the final project, students complete an original one-act play. May be repeated for credit. S/U grading. (4 Credits)
 

*Open enrollment; permission of instructor not required.*
 

Fall 2016 Courses

Textual Practices
10585 AENG50
Wednesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Shepherdson, Charles

This course is a survey of major twentieth-century movements in literary and critical theory. We will read only primary texts (no secondary surveys) and we will focus on theory rather than trying to "apply" theory to literary works. The aims of the course are (1) to acquaint students with most of the major movements in recent literary theory, so they will be able to read literary criticism in their advanced courses with an understanding of the broader theoretical horizon, and (2) to train students to read abstract theoretical arguments and to manage the philosophical vocabulary and the main issues that are addressed by these texts. Perspectives covered will include structuralism, anthropology (both French and American), reception theory, the Frankfurt School, the problem of literary "history," Foucault, and psychoanalysis. Students will write a series of six short papers, based on readings from the class. Students will be free to choose which six texts they discuss in these papers.Permission of MA Director.


Workshop In Poetry
10106 AENG51
Thursday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Leong, Michael C

This course will, in many ways, function as a conventional workshop in which participants share new work or work-in-progress for group critique. We will focus on local matters of craft and technique as well as broader issues regarding aesthetics and cultural ambition; the goal is not only to gain feedback that can help with the next draft but to explore new directions that can lead to the next poem—indeed, to the next project. In addition, through study of assigned readings, we will pay particular attention to serial form and other extended structures. Other topics of discussion may include the relationship between the serial and the sequential, proceduralism, and the book (or chapbook) as a unit of measurement. Requirements include active participation and a final creative portfolio accompanied by a statement of poetics.


Workshop in Dramatic Writing
10107 AENG518
Wednesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Yalkut, Carolyn

Intensive practice in writing drama. In this workshop, each student functions primarily as a dramatist, but also as audience and actor. Students give onstage readings of and discuss each other's original work, engage in creative “exercises,” and familiarize themselves with the contemporary canon of dramatic literature by reading (and reporting on) plays new to them. Students also attend at least one live performance of a play during the session. For the final project, students complete an original one-act play. May be repeated for credit. S/U grading. (4 Credits)


The Medical Imagination in Britain, 1660-1826
10108 AENG580
Monday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Barney,Richard A

This course will examine the signal role of the medical sciences in shaping the poetry, fiction, and prose of the so-called long 18th century in Britain. In a historical moment when scientific and literary discourses frequently overlapped, the period’s literary authors drew on and often transformed new knowledge regarding anatomy and physiology, which informed a remarkable reinvention of medical practices and institutions during the period. It was also a historical moment when the discourses of medicine and politics—as documented, for instance, by the recent biopolitical commentary of Michael Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, and Roberto Esposito—became mutually implicated in new ways. The topics covered will include: the sociological implications of the Black Plague (including its apparentdemise); the science of “spleen” and the imagination; the recharting of the nerves and the operation of human sensibility; the gendered repercussions of hysteria’s reformulation; the political implications of vitalism, which opposed the mechanistic perspective of Descartes; and the medico-cultural logic of modern immunization and epidemics. The literary texts examined will include: Anne Finch’s poetry, Daniel Defoe’s The Journal of the Plague Year, Henry Mackenzie’s The Man of Feeling, Charlotte Smith’s sonnets, Percy Shelley’s The Triumph of Life, and Mary Shelley’s The Last Man. Scientific texts from the period will include work by William Stukeley, George Cheyne, Robert Whytt, John Hunter, and John Thelwall. Students will also consider the relevance of theoretical and historical accounts of the medical-literary connection in texts by Michel Foucault, Roberto Esposito, Roy Porter, Georges Canguilhem, Jane Bennett, Adela Pinch, and others.


The Victorian Era
9180 AENG581
Wednesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Craig,Randall T

This course focuses on post-romantic narrative literature at a time when the term “Victorian” was primarily designative rather than conceptual (the often pejorative connotation of “Victorian” being reserved for novels themselves). The emergent and conflicted self-consciousness of the period and the genre constitutes the primary focus of the course. An attendant consideration will be the dilemma confronting novelists whose aesthetic objectives, such as realism, entail languages, styles, or techniques that conflict with normative literary conventions and with readers’ expectations. One consequence of the self-consciousness, on the one hand, and the conflict, on the other, is a narrative form that directly challenges divisions between literary and non-literary and novelistic practices that directly engage social issues. A variety of social narratives will be studied, ranging from parliamentary debates and legal decisions to political pamphlets to political novels. Among the novelists who may be included are: Mary Shelley, Harriet Martineau, Caroline Norton, William Makepeace Thackeray, Charlotte Bronte, Geraldine Jewsbury, Elizabeth Gaskell, Benjamin Disraeli, George Eliot, George Meredith, and Anthony Trollope.


Theory of the Novel
7063 AENG641
Thursday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Stasi,Paul

“The novel is the epic of the world that has been abandoned by God.” Thus begins Georg Lukács’ 1915 Theory of the Novel, a text that sets the tone for the scholarly discourse that follows, most of which reads the novel’s form as intimately related to the development of modernity, however that contentious term is understood. In this course we will read some of the most well-known novel theories – Watt, Armstrong, McKeon, Gallagher, Moretti – alongside a set of canonical novelists (including Defoe, Austen, Eliot and Woolf). Our focus will be on the various forms of community and subjectivity the novels present. For if novels are quintessentially modern in their orientation, they also contain a set of residual aristocratic values tied to the moment of the novel’s earliest development. How do novels understand the individuals’ relationship to the developing nation-state or to capitalistmodernity? What happens when we expand our frame to consider questions of empire and the world economic system? How do the range of aesthetic techniques available for the novel represent how subjects come to understand their place in the world? What can we say about the seemingly necessarily relations among the novel, realism and the aesthetic innovations typically understood as modernism? What competing regimes of value can we find within our novel’s forms?


Contemporary Writers
4683 AENG681
Tuesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Brown,W. Langdon

This course focuses on contemporary writers utilizing the New York State Writers Institute Fall 2016 Visiting Writers Series. The course will employ work by writers on the schedule (selections will be announced when the Institute announces its final list, usually in late summer). The Institute invites a broad array of writers whose work ranges from short and long fiction to nonfiction, poetry and drama and film. Examples of past authors include Junot Diaz, Richard Russo, Margot Livesey, George Saunders and Chang Rae Lee. We will analyze (critically and creatively) one major work by each author considering it the context of the writer’s complete oeuvre and creative life and in its literary context. In addition to course meetings students will be expected (whenever possible) to attend relevant sessions of the Visiting Writers Series which often, although not exclusively, are scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays (craft seminars at 4:15 and evening readings at 8). Students will be expected to make presentations in seminar sessions, produce a short critical paper, and write a substantial critical final paper.


Emerson & Thoreau
10110 AENG681
Monday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Bosco,Ronald A

Against the larger context of nineteenth-century American Transcendentalism and their major and lesser-known writings, this seminar will substantively engage the politics, attitudes toward environmental and social reform, conflicting conceptions of history, natural history, and the relation between the individual and society-at-large, personal relationship, and subsequent enduring reputations of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) and Henry D. Thoreau (1817-1862). Because over the past half-century Emerson and Thoreau have each been the subject of more than 1,000 articles and books per decade, a question that will foreground many of our discussions is, “What personal or cultural needs elevated each of these writers to canonical standing in their time, and have continued to inform that standing in our own time?” To begin answering that question, initial seminar readings will be directed toward primary texts and the biography of each figure; the reasoning behind this arrangement is that Emerson and Thoreau are not only the best known among America’s Transcendentalists, but traditionally also the most complex for readers to deal with in terms of the body of interpretative criticism, biography, and editorial as well as bibliographical scholarship devoted to each of them.

Requirements include active engagement in the intellectual life of the seminar, two or three brief in-class presentations related to seminar readings, and by the end of the semester a substantial“working paper” and an in-class presentation on a topic explicitly related to the seminar. By early August, relevant volumes from the current standard editions of Emerson’s and Thoreau’s writings (e.g., the Harvard editions of Emerson’s journals and miscellaneous notebooks [1960-82] and of his collected works [1971-2013]; volumes from the Princeton edition of Thoreau’s major writings and journal published to date) will be placed on library reserve for the use of seminar members.


Literary Sense & Scientific Sensibility
9181 AENG685
Tuesday | 04:15PM-07:05PM | Fretwell,Erica N

Science is generally considered an endeavor conducted primarily using one’s sense of vision: researchers peer into microscopes, gaze through telescopes, and stare at charts, diagrams, and screens. But what other senses do scientists rely upon? This course offers a historical overview of the status of the senses in the sciences, as well as tracks more recent efforts to expand science studies beyond the visual. In addition to discussing how scientists and philosophers evaluated sense perception, we will explore how the senses and their cinematic, musical, and literary mediations constitute and precipitate different modes of sociality.

Each week, we will focus on a different sense perception. We will begin studying sensuous approaches to the social study of science, and then examine the canonical five senses. The next unit delves into less acknowledged senses (kinesthesia, chronoception) and appraises how synesthesia (the cognitive referral of a stimulus from one sense to another) and extrasensory perception may operate as both tools and objects of scientific and cultural investigation. But most importantly, we will consider how literature itself performs what we now call science studies.. The literary texts we read are deeply engaged in the same historical, philosophical, and scientific questions about sensation. This course takes the senses as a “lens” into science studies and the history of science, but it also considers the long overlooked role of the aesthetic (which means “sensory faculty”) in the social construction of the human sensorium.


Textual Studies
5054 AENG710
Monday | 07:15PM-10:05PM | Lilley,James D

This course introduces some of the central debates and the key concepts that have helped to shape the field of English Studies. By exercising our close reading skills, we will look for important areas of overlap and influence among scholars from an array of different disciplines—philosophy, literature, economics, linguistics, psychology, political science, and sociology, to take just a few examples—paying particular attention to the ways in which they reconfigure the concept of literature and the practice of "literary theory" in the C20th. We will divide the readings into five three-week segments,each focused on a specific area of interest or overlap: 1) ideas of linguistic, economic and aestheticvalue (Saussure, Marx, Agamben); 2) ideology, registration, and exchange (Althusser, Simmel, Balibar, Derrida, Žižek); 3) reason, technicity, and the human (Weber, Horkheimer, Jünger, Stiegler, Latour); 4) objects, affects, and affective objects (Meillassoux, Deleuze, Bennett, Canguilhem, Whitehead); and, 5) forms of community/states of exception (Arendt, Benjamin, Schmitt, Agamben, Nancy, Esposito).


Textual Studies II: Decolonizing Marxisms
10111 AENG720
Tuesday | 07:15PM-10:05PM | Benjamin,Bret Ellio

This course will examine the vexed influence of Marxism on intellectuals involved in the decolonizing movements of the mid-Twentieth Century. We will analyze writings from a group of thinkers who understand themselves to be working within a Marxist tradition, but who nevertheless seek to revise and extend Marxist thought to more explicitly account for the social dynamics of colonialism and decolonization. We will begin by reading some of Marx’s on work on colonialism, as well as a few selected early-twentieth-century Marxist critiques of imperialism (e.g., Lenin, Bukharin, Luxemburg, Hilferding, etc). We may also read secondary sources to provide historical background on the decolonizing era. The majority of the course, however, will be devoted to an in-depth investigation of three towering thinkers from the Caribbean: C.L.R. James, George Padmore, and Frantz Fanon. In different ways James and Fanon have each come to assume a celebrated place among the intellectual forefathers of cultural studies and postcolonial studies. Padmore’s work has been less influential. This oversight would likely come as a shock to James and many other decolonizing intellectuals of the era, who often conceived of themselves as working in Padmore’s shadow. This class will ensure that Padmore’s sophisticated analysis of race, class, and imperialism gets its due. We will read Fanon’s published and translated writings in their entirety. James and Padmore were each more prolific than Fanon, so in their cases we will read representative, but substantial, selections from each. We will likely take up writings from José Carlos Mariáeigui, Kwame Nkrumah and Amilcar Cabral to extend our geographic scope. Additional contemporary theoretical materials may be added to help analyze the implications of work from the decolonizing intellectuals. Among other questions we will take up the problems of the state relative to the world market, uneven geographical development, imperialism, the relation between race and class, national cultures and transnational movements. Throughout, we will assess the place of James, Padmore, Fanon, and Mariategui within Marxism; further we will assess their place, and the place of Marxism, within postcolonial and cultural studies.


Practicum in Teaching Writing and Literature
6268 AENG771
Thursday | 07:15PM-10:05PM | Carey,Tamika L

Throughout this course we will address the practical issues that foster or complicate effective teaching. With some attention to recent scholarship and commentary on such topics as the state of the academy, the influence of race, gender, and sexuality on embodied pedagogy, and retention, we will examine our shared and individual teaching experiences to develop strategies for effective lesson design, classroom management, written feedback, and grading. More specifically, we will focus on course planning and we will work with common genres like the statement or philosophy, the evaluation, the course description that will aid you in your teaching career at UAlbany and beyond.


Summer / Fall 2016 Course Concentration Distribution

Literature, Modernity, and the Contemporary
ENG 580: The Medical Imagination in Britain, 1660-1826
ENG 681: Emerson and Thoreau
ENG 681: Contemporary Writers
ENG 581: The Victorian Era
ENG 685: Literary Sense and Scientific Sensibility
ENG 641: Theory of the Novel


Writing Practices
ENG 515: Poetry Workshop
ENG 518: Workshop in Dramatic Writing


Cultural, Transcultural, and Global Studies
Benjamin ENG 720: Textual Practices II - Decolonizing Marxisms


Theoretical Constructs
ENG 720: Textual Practices II - Decolonizing Marxisms
ENG 710: Textual Practices I
ENG 641: Theory of the Novel

Spring 2016

Spring 2016 Courses

Textual Practices 1
6863 ENG 500
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | H. Elam

This course will deal with a few major writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and with important critical essays about them which bring forth debates that have shaped the context of literary study. Readings from Nabokov, Beckett, Nietzsche, Dickinson, Proust, Kafka, Davis, H. Macdonald, others. Two short papers, term paper, student-led discussions.


Workshop in Fiction(Seminar)
1899 ENG 516
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | L. Tillman

In the Graduate Fiction workshop, each person is expected to be a full participant in the discussion and commentary on colleagues' fictions --stories/prose of all kinds --and on the writing of fiction, in all its forms, and with all its vicissitudes. Each person will present three to four stories to the group over the semester (depending on class size). We will especially focus on what narrative is, what its constituent elements are –questions of time, structure, order, tone, mood, style, etc. Voice will be of particular importance: Who is telling the story, is a significant question. Admission is by approval of Prof. Tillman. To apply, you must email tillwhentillman@gmail with 5-8 page sample of your prose fiction. You must be a graduate student.


Old English Composition Theory and Pedagogy
10021 ENG 555
Thursday | 7:15-10:05PM | H. Scheck

The literature and language of early England (up to about 1100 C.E.) has inspired poets, novelists, and scholars, including Milton, Tolkien, and Pound, and continues to excite the modern imagination. A film adaptation of the Old English epic, Beowulf, appears every two or three years, it seems, and Benjamin Bagby performed his artful recitation of the poem to a full house at Lincoln Center and continues to attract audiences in Europe, England, and America. Indeed, poets from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to Seamus Heaney seemed to view translation of Beowulf as a measure of poetic achievement. The legacy of Anglo-Saxon England has political significance as well. Henry VIII hearkened back to Anglo-Saxon letters to prove that the Church of England had always been independent of the Church of Rome. Thomas Jefferson was an avid Anglo-Saxonist and even proposed as a design for the national seal the first Anglo-Saxon leaders, Hengist and Horsa. Old English language, literature, and culture offer much, therefore, to writers and scholars seeking greater historical and linguistic depth.


The Quantitative Enlightenment:Numbers, Popular Contention, the Novel
5093 ENG 581
Wednesday | 7:15-10:05PM | M. Hill

The early modern period is traditionally presented as a time in which the key tenets of modernity where invented and affirmed: subjectivity, sociability, representative politics, and not least, mass literacy and the concept of English Literature per se. These items are all urgently addressed in the early modern novel, a literary form which itself has eighteenth-century origins. While we’ll pay close attention to the Enlightenment as traditionally defined, our ultimate goal will be to examine this historical moment of political and epistemological change from a different perspective: not subjectivity, but things; not sociability, but popular contention; not reasons of state, but intra-state violence; and finally, not taste, canons, and genres, but quantities of writing so massive that they require media technologies and sensibilities other than those usually associated with print to properly fathom.

Current philosophical texts will include writing by Althusser, Foucault, and Latour, among others. From the period at hand, we’ll read Hobbes, Bacon, Spinoza, Hutcheson and Ferguson. In addition to these, we’ll examine a range of early-modern novels and novel commentary, among them, by Behn, (Sarah) Fielding, Smollett, and Scott.

Note: This course will have different content from previous ENG581 sections. If you have already taken a ENG581 section, it can be repeated.


The Sentimental Origins of Affect
7118 ENG 581
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | E. Fretwell

Studies and theories of affect have a variety of unique and frequently overlapping origins and genealogies, from Spinoza and Deleuze to Tomkins and Sedgwick. This course focuses on one particular genealogy of studying affect: sentimentality. We will study the place of sentimentality in 19th c American literature, but in so doing study the place of sentimentality in affect theory. Our readings will survey the migration of sentimental fiction from England to the United States in the 1790s, the rise of abolitionist discourse in the 1830s, and the genre’s entwinement with the ideology of separate spheres. Our focus will be on how sentimentality developed as an identifiable set of rhetorical poses, political strategies, and formal conventions, with particular attention to sympathy, mourning, and melodrama. We will ask how and why certain kinds of feelings—and suffering in particular—have become central to the articulation of American identity. We will explore how sentimental literature, in its various guises, seeks to enable identification across boundaries of race, class, gender, and ability. What kinds of politics do spectacles of emotion enable –and foreclose?

Alongside our investigation into the literary history of sentimentality, we will study the history of literary criticism about sentimentality –a crucial strain in how Americanists talk about affect today. We will develop an understanding not only of sentimentality’s cultural politics, but also the cultural politics of certain affects in the American literary canon itself. The work we do will thus culminate in an extensive research paper that reads sentimentality with its cultural and conceptual history. Primary readings include Ruth Hall (Fern), The Scarlet Letter (Hawthorne), Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Stowe), and The Decoration of Houses (Wharton). Secondary readings will span the sentimentality/affect canon from Jane Tompkins to Lauren Berlant.


Shakespeare: Sources and Offshoots
10022 ENG 582
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | M. Rozett

Nearly all of Shakespeare’s plays were inspired by previous texts, and within a few decades after they were first performed, they began inspiring offshoots of various kinds: sequels, adaptations, revisions, parodies, and radical, often ideologically-inflected appropriations. This course will examine six plays and their sources and offshoots:A Comedy of Errors, Richard III, Hamlet, Othello, Antony and Cleopatra, and The Tempest. We will consider the ways in which changing conceptions of history, character, gender, and other cultural assumptions have contributed to the shaping and reshaping of a story and the language and genres or forms in which that story is constructed. Readings will range from the Romans (The Menaechmi Twins by Plautus, Plutarch’s Lives of Famous Greeks and Romans) to twentieth-century fiction (The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey, Gertrude and Claudius by John Updike) and plays (All for Love by John Dryden, Desdemona: A Play about a Handkerchief by Paula Vogel, A Tempest by Aime Cesaire).


Poetics and Literary Practice: Modern Imagination and Poetics of Possibility (Reading Course)
10023 ENG 615
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | E. Keenaghan

The idea for this exploratory course was spurred by a well-intentioned question a colleague recently asked me after reading a draft of an essay on Robert Duncan and Charles Olson. “What do you mean by ‘the imagination’? Maybe you should quote Raymond Williams’ Keywords, or something like that...” The answer should have been simple to provide, and, no, Williams would not suffice for it. I would have to articulate my definition out of Duncan’s own poetics. (Olson, after all, has no imagination.) But her question still has turned into an albatross, as all good questions do, and I’ve been left wondering: What has been the theoretic and philosophical discourse on the imagination, especially after Romanticism and outside Romantic Studies? How has the imagination been thought about?

We know that twentieth-century modernist poets and poetics often invoked the imagination in ways that left many later writers embarrassed or intent on rejecting it (vide Olson, the coiner of the term “post-modern” to describe cold war art and poetry as sharply distinguished from modernism). But not all later writers had the same response (vide Duncan, who dubbed himself a “belated Modernist” and espoused the continuing significance of imaginative poetics). In fact, critic Albert Gelpi (American Poetry After Modernism, 2015) has argued recently that much modernist poetry and related cold war poetry ought to be read as “Neo-romantic,” in part because of poetics that embrace imaginative faculties (vision, witness, incarnation, flux, crisis) to effect social ends befitting a “post-modern” age. The philosophical and theoretic archive to help critically explore these issues remains underdeveloped, though: How might we use our thinking about the imagination to better understand the effects of and to flesh out the poets’ own narratives about these imaginative leanings? And that’s a way of asking: How does the imagination function, and is it working in these poets’ writings in the ways they believe it does?

Imagination may have become a progressively dirtier word for American poets as the twentieth-century wore on, but, happily, that was not the case in philosophy. Indeed, schools of thought contemporaneous with modernism (such as pragmatism, process philosophy, post-Freudian psychoanalysis, phenomenology and existentialism) and afterward (such as gestalt psychology and social theory, Situationism, post-structuralism, legal theory) and up until even today (affect theory, autonomist and other political philosophy) have addressed the concept directly or indirectly. So, this course will explore the different ways philosophers and theorists in the last century or so have addressed the imagination, as well as some related concepts—image and the imaginary, of course; but also judgment (in a neo-Kantian sense), potential, the future, possibility, process, visionary, creativity, the virtual...even life. Our conversations will be focused on the philosophical and theoretic texts, but we will testthe concepts and arguments through poetry and essays by six or seven key imaginative poets from the last century (2 modernists, 2 late modernists, 2 or 3 contemporary writers). The course will conclude by considering the limits of the imagination, probably a human faculty, in our post-human/post-humanist age of ecological crisis. How do “hyperobjects,” Timothy Morton’s classification for such phenomena as catastrophic climate change and black holes, interfere with the good sense or even the ethicality or political viability of a critical and poetic vocabulary of imagination?

Note: We will be using American poetry as our shared literary archive for our weekly conversations, but the final projects (MA) and seminar projects (PhD) may put some relevant theory and philosophy into conversation with primary texts and critical conversations from students’ own fields and periods of study. Creative writing students should discuss with me well in advance the possibilities for, and my expectations of, a hybrid final project. The last two to three weeks of the seminar will be devoted to the development and presentation of seminar members’ independent work for the final project (MA) or seminar projects (PhD).

Requirements for MA students: Attendance and participation in seminar discussions; midterm paper (critical conversation between theory and a poem, 10-to 12-pages); researched final paper or researched hybrid project (12-to 15-pages); final presentations on your work.

Requirements for PhD students: Attendance and participation in seminar discussions; researched article-length seminar paper or researched hybrid project (20-to 30-pages); final presentations on your work.

A finalized book list, along with a brief reading assignment for the first class meeting, will be available to all registered students in January when the Blackboard site opens two weeks before the semester’s start. Authors and/or texts on the final reading list are subject to change, but possible philosophers and theorists could be chosen from: William James, John Dewey, Alfred North Whitehead, R.G. Collingwood, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Otto Rank, Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Gaston Bachelard, Hannah Arendt, Paul Goodman, Raoul Vaneigem, Roland Barthes, Gilles Deleuze, Martha Nussbaum, Peter Sloterdijk, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Raymond Geuss, Bifo Berardi, Mark Augé, Jane Bennett, and Timothy Morton. The poets are likely to be: Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, Muriel Rukeyser, Robert Duncan, Alice Notley, Nathaniel Mackey, Ed Roberson.

Highly Recommended: For an overview of and some background about Romantic (and some post-Romantic) philosophies of the imagination, read philosopher Mary Warnock’s Imagination (1976) prior to the start of the semester. A complete edition is available for free online through Google Books.


Esthetics and Emotion
8925 ENG 641
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | C. Shepherdson

The recent history of literary theory could be seen as a double turn: (1) first, a turn away from New Criticism, which was thought to detach literature from its social and political context in the name of an idealized “esthetic” domain of art, and (2) later, as a turn away from post-structuralist thought (particularly deconstruction), insofar as the so-called “linguistic turn” was thought to reduce everything to language and the “free play of the signifier,” thereby detaching art (once again) from its social and political context. However inadequate these generalized claims may have been, they had –and continue to have –significant force in the humanities.

Movements in literary theory with very diverse aims –including feminist theory, the New Historicism, Marxism, and the general development of cultural studies –had the great advantage of restoring the political, social and historical dimension of art. In the process, however, the peculiarity of esthetic experience has been effaced or ignored. Cultural theory (as it is called –rather than “literary theory”) has tended to neglect the borders that separate esthetic experience from experience shaped by religious, legal, political, medical and other forms of social and discursive practice. Arguments about the "social construction of subjectivity" in literary criticism too often neglect the distinctive character of esthetic experience, absorbing it into the "social," "cultural," or "political" domain, as if there were no difference between the literary work and the medical, religious, political and other discourses that surround the work of art. And yet, the work of art cannot simply be situated in its place and time like other historical objects, as a “sign” (or symptom) of the times, as if it were one historical artifact among others (a sewer system, a technological invention, a medical practice or a religious doctrine). The work of art does not belong to time in the same way as other “historical” objects, but has a distinctive historicity which authors as diverse as Jauss, Foucault, and Adorno attempted to elaborate. The work of art does not simply represent its time, or mirror the ideologies and discourses that surround it. Of the contrary, art has a relation to history that is distinctive, disruptive, adversarial, or just imaginatively contrary (i.e. fiction), and it thereby elaborates forms of subjective life, and possibilities of thought, that do not exist in the social world around it.

This point also bears on the role of esthetic experience in the history of subjectivity. The work of art does not testify to the prior existence of a “social” form of subjectivity that exists independently and outside the work of art, as though art could only repeat or “document” the categories of class, gender, and other normative forms of social identity that predate the work of art; rather, esthetic experience brings into being new affective possibilities that challenge the social forms of subjectivity that surround the work of art.

This course will therefore explore the distinct affective and institutional formation of subjectivity that belongs to esthetic experience, focusing on the problem of “emotion.” It will explore the particular ways in which “emotion” is conceptually configured within the horizon of esthetic experience, moving through three case studies, linked to three historical moments and three affective pairs: (1) “pity and fear” in Greek tragedy, in the context of emerging democracy; (2) “fear and “respect” (or “awe”) in Kant’s account of the sublime, and in the poetry of Wordsworth; and (3) more recent elaborations of the esthetic in work by Jean-Luc Nancy and Jacques Rancière, which concerns the post-Romantic period identified by Rancière as “the esthetic regime.”

The aim of the course is to explore how literature and esthetic experience contribute to (and intervene in) contemporary accounts of the “politics of affect.” Within this trajectory, the seminar will be flexible enough to allow students to explore individualized topics that may be oriented to students’ individual interests and professional orientation.

REQUIRED WORK

Annotated Bibliography: Each student will produce an annotated bibliography on the topic you expect to explore in your final paper. Students will submit a list of 20 items (due as posted on the syllabus), which will be reduced to 10 in consultation with me. The final bibliography (due as posted on the syllabus) will consist of a short two-page description of the main arguments, for each of the 10 items on your list.

Final Paper: Each student will produce a final paper based on the bibliography, and developing your own argument in relation to the material you have read.

REQUIRED TEXTS

Aristotle, Poetics, trans S. H. Butcher, ed. Francis Ferguson (NY: Hill and Wang, 1961).Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgement, ed. N. Walker, trans. James Meredith (Oxford UP, 2012).Philip Fisher, The Vehement Passions (Princeton UP, 2002).Jean-Luc Nancy, The Muses, trans. Peggy Kamuf (Stanford University Press, 1996).Jacques Rancière, Aesthetics and Its Discontents, trans. Steven Corcoran (Polity Press, 2009).


Current Trends in Critical Theory: Disability Studies and Literary Criticism
10024 ENG 642
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | S. Schalk

This course will focus on using disability studies for literary criticism. Students will develop a robust knowledge of disability studies as a field and the current major theories for analyzing the representation and rhetoric of disability in literature. We will also explore how disability studies can enhance our readings of issues of race, gender and sexuality. The course will be both reading and discussion intensive. Assignments may include book reviews, leading class discussions and a final paper.


Transnational or Global Studies
10025 ENG 660
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05| G. Griffith

This course examines issues that situate English studies within broader transnational, global, or planetary contexts. It addresses trends, movements, or problems that cannot adequately be analyzed within the boundaries of national literature or culture. Possible topics might include postcolonial literatures, ecological crises and their cultural implications, colonial or imperial archives, globalization and culture, among others.


Seminar: Texts/Authors and Their Critics
10027 ENG 681
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | S. North

This course will consider the relationship between a selected set of authors working in mystery and detective fiction and those critics who, especially over the past 30 years, have tried to make cultural and/or literary sense of this impressively durable and prolific form of popular literature. Among the likely authors to be included: Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Anna Katherine Green, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Dorothy Roberts Rinehart, Walter Mosley and Sara Paretsky. Critical texts will include both broader background readings (e.g., Walter Benjamin, Tsvetan Todorov); and more recent specialized work such as Maureen Reddy’s Traces, Codes and Clues: Reading Race in Crime Fiction; Catherine Ross Nickerson’s The Web of Iniquity: Early Detective Fiction by American Women; John Irwin’s Unless the Threat of Death is Behind Them;and Sean McCann’s Gumshoe America. Assignments will include regular short writings, a class presentation, and an extended final project.


Teaching Writing and Literature
4809 ENG 770
Monday | 7:15-10:05PM | D. Smith

This course will help doctoral students develop pedagogical philosophy and also prepare them for practical matters of the college classroom. We will explore the efficacy of various approaches to teaching—the utility of lectures, the value of Socratic questioning, the importance of (dis)comfort in a learning context, etc. We will develop ideas about a variety of assignments that can be used to help students engage cultural texts, and we will build syllabuses that shape our own intellectual interests into teachable courses. But before working through the details of personal teaching styles and pragmatic concerns about delivering courses, we will situate ourselves by reading about the history of higher education in the West and the place of The University in contemporary political economy. This study should help us understand that college teaching today is a key vocation within a neoliberal order that generally prizes efficiency, competitiveness and “outcomes” that can be measured in quantitative terms. Our readings will also help us to recognize that we are teaching cultural texts in a historical moment that is characterized by great wealth disparities (often calibrated by gender and race), by the increasing costs of college education, and by official discourses that valorize study in “STEM” fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). This historicizing and contextualizing will strengthen our pedagogical practice; it will allow us to begin a frank assessment of our teaching work and sharpen our thinking about what we teach, how we teach and why we teach.

Summer / Fall 2015

Summer 2015 Courses | Four Week 1 (May 26 – June 19, 2015)

Modernist Women Writers
1646 ENG581
Arranged | Online | P. Chu

This course offered online through the Blackboard Learning System. The primary texts for this course will be shorter works of British and American women modernists; we will read these stories and novellas in their sociopolitical contexts. We will, therefore, read literary criticism and history as well as fiction and essays. Authors may include Katherine Mansfield, Rebecca West, Virginia Woolf, Sara Jeannette Duncan, May Sinclair, Nella Larsen, Kay Boyle. The modernist period, roughly 1900-1945, was a time during which people experienced urbanization, the rise of fascism, world war, the development of open cultural configurations outside the bourgeois family, empire and its decline, progressive social movements such as those for suffrage and worker’s rights and the rise of the modern social sciences (psychoanalysis, eugenics, anthropology). Conflicting reactions to these experiences of modernity manifest, many argue, in the writing of the period as the experimental literature called “modernist.” Women writers had complicated relationships to the new artistic circles even as this period marks a time when women’s writing increased markedly and women had more access than ever before to publishing venues, collaboration with other artists, and lifestyles that allowed for creative work. Reading for this course will be quite heavy and the four-week length of the course does not allow for any incompletes or late work (including postings to the discussion and the completion of quizzes/exams/essays) for any reason. Students will be expected to participate in online discussion frequently. (2240) Chu, Patricia 4 Week 1: May 28-June 21 Online course in Blackboard
 

Summer 2015 Courses | Four Week 3 (July 20–August 14, 2015)

20th Century American Poetry
2250 ENG581
MTWTF | 12:30-2:30 PM | P. Stasi

In this course we will read a range of American poets.Our class will begin in the 19th century with Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, generally considered to be the founders of competing strands of American poetry.We will then spend the rest of our course in the 20th century, paying careful attention to how different poets understand their craft, their relationship to the literary past and the nation they are taken to represent. How can writing embody and even shape elements of the national character? What, if anything, is specifically American about these writers?


Fall 2015 Courses

Textual Practices I
1893 ENG500
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | R. Craig
(Open Only to English MA& MALS Students)

Textual practices fall into two broad categories: production and consumption. The former includes factors such as the material conditions of production, the concept of the author, and the historical and biographical connections between writers and works. The latter includes issues such as the history of reception and the roles of readers. A consideration of textual practices necessarily entails issues of literary and critical theory. A third category of textual practice relevant to graduate students in English is pedagogy, which extends theoretical questions into the sphere of praxis.

The emphasis of this course will be upon hermeneutics, narrative theory, and nineteenth-century British fiction.
 

Fiction Workshop
1894 ENG516
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05PM | E. Schwarzschild

In this course, each student will be expected to complete and revise two or three pieces of fiction (short stories or novel excerpts) during the semester, to be submitted for workshop discussion. Most of each class period will be devoted to this workshop discussion (for which prepared written comments will be expected). Time will also be spent studying and discussing isolated aspects of effective writing, such as description, dialogue, character depiction, openings, endings, vocabulary and syntax. There will be various texts for reading, as well as occasional in-class writing exercises and supplemental brief assignments.

Permission of Instructor required. Please submit a sample of your fiction writing with a brief cover letter about yourself and your writing to Prof. Schwarzschild (eschwarzschild@albany.edu). Any student who is an undergraduate or who is a graduate student from a department other than English should e-mail the Director of Graduate Studies <jgreiman@albany.edu> to inquire about workshop eligibility requirements (please include your student ID# in this e-mail).


History and Theory of Rhetoric (Reading Course)
9901 ENG522
Monday | 7:15-10:05PM | L. Wilder

This course will provide a survey of Western rhetorical theory, a “zoom” overview of excerpts of texts on the teaching and practice of rhetoric from the Ancient Greek Sophists to The New Rhetoricians of the 1960s with studies of Medieval, Renaissance, Enlightenment, Belletrist, and Nineteenth Century rhetorical theories. This dizzying breadth is intended to support the goal of our department’s "reading" courses: “the acquisition of foundational knowledge that would serve as the basis for more specialized study [in this case, of rhetoric] in the future.” Our weekly study will be comparative in nature: together we will compare different systems and theories of rhetoric as they emerged in the West over 2,500 years. The course aims to give students a clear sense of how rhetoric manifested itself differently in different historical periods and how rhetoric has been conceptualized in comparison to philosophy, theology, politics, literature and other bodies of knowledge. We will pay particular attention to rhetoric’s diachronic relationship to writing instruction. Required Text: Patricia Bizzel and Bruce Herzberg’s anthology, The Rhetorical Tradition, 2nd Ed


Romantic Subjectivities
10085 ENG 581
Thursday | 7:15-10:05 PM | K. Kuiken

A period that saw the birth of “popular sovereignty” out of its origins in political theology, Romanticism is usually understood as contemporaneous with the process by which political authority passes to the “autonomous Subject.” Wordsworth’s epic autobiographical poem, The Prelude, for instance, has often been read as a long meditation on the construction of subjective interiority, of a “mind” slowly weaned from its dependence on the external world. This course will develop a counter-history of Romantic conceptions of the sovereign Subject by focusing on a set of canonical and non-canonical texts that complicate this traditional view. The course will open with Kant and Rousseau, and focus on two key Enlightenment notions: that of the citizen and the Subject. It will then proceed to explore how Romantic poets and thinkers destabilized rather than solidified these notions, and how in doing so they exposed fundamental anxieties about the nature of subjectivity and its relation to power. The course will ultimately investigate the consequences of this destabilization for the projects of liberal democracy, popular sovereignty, and other emancipatory struggles. Questions addressed will include the development of new forms of nationalism, the relation between colony and metropole, the Subject’s relation to the Law, the nature of “sovereignty” and the return of new forms of political theology. The course will conclude with an exploration of how the Romantics’ attempts to articulate a politics without the Subject relate to contemporary debates. Readings will include Blake, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Smith, Kleist, Hölderlin, Lacoue-Labarthe, Nancy, Ranciere and others.


Fitzgerald & Hemingway
8754 ENG582
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | 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 several reader-response diaries.


John Milton
8755 ENG 582
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | L. Cable

“Why Milton?” That intentionally provocative question was not new to Milton criticism when British feminist Catherine Belsey highlighted it in 1988. John Milton's disconcerting brand of classicism construed as Puritan revolutionism has fomented controversy for over three and a half centuries not least because the provocation is double edged: shibboleths cherished by each new generation of critics make their own thinking a target for Milton's iconoclasm. By reading Milton’s poetry and some of his prose through the lens of 17th century controversies that shaped his artistic mission, we will gain an intimate sense of Milton as a radical thinker who confronted the most powerful religious and political forces of his time, one whose intellectual and artistic legacy influences writers to this day. At the same time, we will familiarize ourselves with the contemporary criticism that followed Christopher Hill's Marxist interventions into seventeenth century English political history and Stanley Fish's affective stylistics, which skewers evasions on which orthodoxies and formalisms rely. Drawing on new-historicist, feminist, and psychoanalytic readings as needed, we will discover why contemporary Miltonists have come to realize that articulate debate, rather than consensus or adulation, constitutes the most illuminating and appropriate response to Milton’s extraordinary achievement. Along with selected shorter poems, we will be reading all of Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes. Selections from Milton’s prose, in addition to Areopagitica, will include Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, A Treatise of Civil Power, and Ready and Easy Way to Establish a Free Commonwealth. Prior experience reading Milton is very helpful but not required. Writing requirements include weekly Short Essays (maximum 1 page); one Oral Report with Annotated Bibliography; and a Term Paper (approximately 20 pages) based on the oral report and bibliography.


Reading Capital
7388 ENG641
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05AM | B. Benjamin

Marx’s Capital stands as one of the foundational texts of modern critical theory. Some acknowledge openly the debts owed to Marx’s critique of capitalism and his philosophical contributions to historical materialism; others consider the obligations odious. Between Marxist critics and Marx’s critics, Capital casts a long shadow.

Never more relevant than today, at this moment of sustained global economic crisis following thirty years of “free market” triumphalism, Capital Volume I (in its entirety) will serve as the primary text for this course. In contrast to the typical broad ranging, book-a-week grad seminars (my own previous seminars included), this course will assume a slower, more meticulous pace; we will devote the majority of the semester to a careful, critical reading of this difficult but rich text. To supplement our primary reading of Marx we will follow David Harvey’s excellent lectures on Volume 1. Further we will examine several recent theorizations of Capital’s legacy from distinct, though overlapping disciplinary perspectives. Possible supplemental texts include: Frederic Jameson’s Representing Capital: A Reading of Volume One, Silvia Federici’s Revolution at Point Zero, Kevin Anderon’s Marx at the Margins, John Bellamy Foster’s Marx’s Ecology, Harvey’s Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism, Michael Heinrich’s Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marx’s Capital, Moshe Postone’s Time, Labor and Social Domination, or Alex Calinicos’ Deciphering Capital.

Interdisciplinary by nature, this seminar is open to graduate students from other departments as well as those from English. Contact Bret Benjamin <bbenjamin@albany.edu> for additional information.


Current Trends in Critical Theory: The Dialectic of Ideology and the Aesthetic in Cultural Theory
8759 ENG 642
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | T. Ebert

The seminar will be a plural place of lectures, discussions, reports and a theory conference. There will be no conventional examinations. Students are required to actively participate in seminar discussions every week; write one short paper (about 10 pages); present a seminar report on specific theoretical problems, and write a long theory paper (about 20 pages). All students will have an opportunity to participate in the end of semester "Theory Conference."


Contemporary Authors
4827 ENG681
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | L. Brown

This course focuses on contemporary writers utilizing the New York State Writers Institute Fall 2015 Visiting Writers Series. The course will employ work by at least eight of the writers on the schedule (selections will be announced when the Institute announces its final list, usually in late summer). The Institute invites a broad array of writers whose work ranges from short and long fiction to nonfiction, poetry and drama and film. We will analyze (critically and creatively) one major work by each author considering it the context of the writer’s complete oeuvre and creative life and in its literary context. In addition to course meetings students will be expected (whenever possible) to attend relevant sessions of the Visiting Writers Series which often, although not exclusively, are scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays (craft seminars at 4:15 and evening readings at 8). Students will be expected to make presentations in seminar sessions, produce a creative project with a critical self-evaluation, and write a substantial critical final paper. Authors who have appeared in recent Institute readings include Alison Lurie, John Lahr, Marie Howe, Bill Bryson, Laurie Moore, and Walter Issacson.


Democracy and 19th century American Literature
10086 ENG 685
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | J. Greiman

Democracy tends to be the name by which almost all politics in the U.S. go, regardless of whether the outcome is the expansion or contraction of citizenship or state power, the expansion or contraction of freedom, equality, or justice.We say “democracy” when we speak of both the form of rule and the form that resistance to rule takes, as Wendy Brown argues. Or, as Jody Dean puts it, we use the term to mean both the broken or degraded “condition of our politics and the solution to that political condition.”In the context of the term’s capaciousness, critics tend to invoke democracy in American literary studies with preconceived attitudes of optimism or cynicism about the promise it holds for transformative political action. By returning to a 19th-century archive of American thinking on democracy, this course will explore the roots of the term’s conflation with all political actions and institutions in order to recover some of its lost historical specificity–its relationship to state power,sovereignty,and slavery;its figuration of person hood and attenuation of agency in the definition of citizenship;and its dependence on futurity and models of expansion and accumulation.

While studying the work of contemporary democratic theorists –Bonnie Honig, Jason Frank, Jody Dean, Jacques Ranciére, Colin Dayan, Dana Nelson, and others –we will also read key figures of 19th-century American literature astheorists of democracy–Alexis de Tocqueville(obviously),Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, Charles Chesnutt, and others.Rather than a broad survey, this seminar will take a focused look at key problems in a particular history of American thinking on democracy. Students will be expected to write a short book review on a recent work in democratic theory and a longer research paper. In the final two weeks of the course, students will present conference-style papers on their ongoing research for the final paper.For our first meeting, everyone should read Ranciére’s short essay, “Does Democracy Mean Something?” which I will email to members of the seminar over the summer.


Textual Studies I
5231 ENG 710
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | R. Barney

This course will provide a survey of the philosophical, intellectual, theoretical, and disciplinary contexts that have converged to shape English Studies during the 20th and 21st centuries. By proceeding roughly in chronological order, this course will consider the development of English Studies via a series of multifarious perspectives that have influenced the concept of “literature” and the practice of literary theory. Those perspectives will come under rubrics that include: “Language and Form,” which will examine the influence of elements such as New Criticism, structuralism, and Russian Formalism; “Materialisms,” which will study Marxism, feminism, and cultural studies; “Post-Formations,” which will examine critiques of Marxist, formalist, and other materialist approaches from poststructuralist or deconstructive perspectives; and “Bio-Aesthetico-Politics,” which will consider recent considerations of the overlap of the biological, aesthetic, and political by analysts such as Foucault, Rancière, Agamben, and Esposito.


Reading in/of “the Anthropocene”: The Literary Structure of Climate Change
5472 ENG 720
Wednesday | 7:15-10:05PM | T. Cohen

This graduate seminar involves studying a critical problem or milieu to introduce students to critical idioms. This course will focus on different ways in which the new horizons of 21st-century ecocide, or catastrophic climate change, challenge or reset the 20th-century narratives and goals that are the organizing legacy of critical studies. These include critical programs that brought us to the same impasse that failed to anticipate the mutation of the biosphere altogether, and that seem to attend a dilution of the humanities today. Bruno Latour, for instance, brackets 20th-century pre-occupations with the archival past as a “modernist parenthesis” that brought about a foreclosed future today. Dipesh Chakrabarty finds that the import of extinction logic closes out any human-on-human priority of post-colonial criticism (and utopianism in general).Does the recent concept of the “anthropocene”–as a way of questioning an ecocidal present as an era of “man”–either reset our epistemologies, violently, or provoke a self-defensive regression, or does it find itself in its own twilight? This seminar will examine a little attended to question: what is the role, if any, of “language” and literary formations in climate change itself?We will select a sequence of critical articles, films, and literary texts to isolate various questions. Along the way we will engage contemporary writers on the subject who are changing the terms of textualized studies today(Morton, Chakrabarty, Latour, Zizek, Colebrook, Baucom, Stiegler, Hamilton, et al.), and we will put these, in turn, in touch with earlier critical thinking (Nietzsche, Benjamin, de Man). We will examine the role that critical reading has in this new environment, its relation to “contemporary” unfolding events (and telecratic mutations), and the role that writing and cinema have in these accelerations.


Practicum in Teaching Writing and Literature
6513 ENG 771
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | C. Yalkut

This course serves as a pedagogical venue for learning about the practical dynamics of teaching, in which students work as a group and one-on-one with a faculty member in planning and administering a particular undergraduate course. Prerequisite: English 770.


Summer / Fall 2015 Course Concentration Distribution

Literature, Modernity, and the Contemporary
ENG 582: Fitzgerald and Hemingway
ENG 582: Milton (Reading Course)
ENG 581: Romantic Subjectivities (Reading Course)
ENG 681: Contemporary Writers
ENG 685: Democracy in 19th-C American Literature


Writing Practices
ENG 516: Fiction Workshop
ENG 522: History & Theory of Rhetoric


Cultural, Transcultural, and Global Studies
ENG 641: Reading Capital
ENG 642: Cultural Theory & the Dialectic of Aesthetics & Ideology


Theoretical Constructs
ENG 500: Textual Practices
ENG 641: Reading Capital
ENG 720: Critical Theory and the Anthropocene
ENG 642: Cultural Theory & the Dialectic of Aesthetics & Ideology
ENG 710: Textual Studies I

Spring 2015

Spring 2015 Courses

Textual Practices 1
7211 ENG 500
Monday | 4:15-7:05 | S. North

This course (re)introduces students to some of the theoretical issues, interpretive strategies, and transdisciplinary interchanges that have shaped the enterprise we have come to call English Studies. Readings will be drawn primarily from David Richter’s comprehensive anthology, The Critical Tradition (3rd edition, 2007) and Terry Eagleton’s Literary Theory: An Introduction (3rd edition, 2008).


Poetry Workshop
1908 ENG 515
Tuesday | 7:05 –10:05PM | R. Wolff

Intensive practice in writing poetry. Emphasis on development of poetic technique and individual styles. Students' work is discussed and criticized by all participants in the workshop. Instructors may bring to bear on the criticism of students' work a discussion of writings by pertinent authors. May be repeated for credit. S/U grading. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Please submit a sample of your fiction writing with a brief cover letter about yourself and your writing to J. Greiman (jgreiman@albany.edu).Please include your student ID# in this e-mail.


Fiction Workshop
1908 ENG 516
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | L. Tillman

For the graduate fiction workshop, students are expected to have already been developing, thinking about, and working on fiction. Poets who are interested in writing fiction are also welcome to apply. During the workshop, each student will present pieces to the group, three or four times (depending upon our number). Each student is expected to be a full participant in the discussion and commentary on colleagues' fictions, stories, and consequent questions about issues in writing. We may do additional readings, stories and theory, to augment our discussions. This is a Permission by Instructor course. Those interested in applying should email 5 -7 pages of their writing to: Tillwhentillman@gmail.com.In addition, students must also indicate previous writing courses; major or area of specific interest in graduate school, and reasons for wanting to take this workshop.


Composition Theory and Pedagogy
10322 ENG 521
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | R. Yagelski

This course introduces students to the area of English Studies variously referred to as Rhetoric and Composition, Composition Studies, or Writing Studies. Accordingly, part of the agenda of this course is to explorethe theories and practices that define the field and to encourage students to examine their participation in that field as teachers, scholars, researchers, and writers. Through varied readings and in-class activities, the course will explore some of the issues, problems, and questions around which the field has organized itself. This project inevitably begins with questions about the nature of writing (and rhetoric) and writing instruction; it will lead as well to examinations of the purposes of literacy education and the role of writing in students’ lives. Ultimately, however, this course is about the teaching of writing and how it is understood and practiced. The course will thus focus to a great extent on addressing questions about how best (or even whether) to teach writing. Students will be encouraged to focus their work in this course on issues related to writing instruction that grow out of their own experiences as writers and teachers and to examine those issues in light of the evolution of theory and research on writing. Requirements will include several short writings and presentations and a longer project.


Models of History in Literary Criticism
9988 ENG 580
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | G. Griffith

In this course, our historical model or foundational historical event is the San Domingo Revolution, that New World Revolution that began as a slave revolt and expanded into a full blown revolution undergirded by the same principles of liberty, fraternity and equality that fueled the French Revolution. Out of the San Domingo revolution, the only successful slave revolution in modern history, came the first black, independent republic in the so-called New World, Haiti.

In this course we will read C.L.R. James's The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution as our foundational historical text and we will then examine diverse critical and literary responses to the revolution, its key figures, and its meaning in the shaping of freedom and modernity in the Atlantic world. Additional texts will include Phillip Kaisary's The Haitian Revolution in the Literary Imagination:Radical Horizons, Conservative Constraints, George Lamming's essay "Caliban Orders History" in his The Pleasures of Exile, David Scott's Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment, and Michelle Cliff's novel, No Telephone to Heaven.


Taste and Postbellum Literature
5306 ENG 581
Wednesday | 7:15-10:05PM | E. Fretwell

No longer can we accept without question the distinction between aesthetic taste and gustatory taste. To take the metaphor of “taste” seriously is to infuse the word with its etymological meaning: to bring the two meanings of sensation and style together into a versatile, comprehensive, and powerful whole. In its combined form, then, ‘taste’ governs far-reaching and crucial aspects of American literature and culture, from the mid-nineteenth through early-twentieth century, in which a new definition of aesthetic taste was forming just as the social function of eating was being redefined. How were food and eating deployed in postebellum writing and art, as well as at the table, so as to direct and reflect concerns about national life in the wake of the Civil War? What, if anything, did the so-called “Negro Problem” have to do with the nation’s skyrocketing consumption of sugar? Looking at aesthetic taste and literal eating in postbellum writing –in novels, poems, and cookbooks –this course explores simultaneously the development of dietary preference as a racialized characteristic and the history of metaphors of eating. The two, we will find, are intertwined. As a readings course, this course will largely focus on literature of the Civil War and postwar period (Alcott, Chopin, Dickinson, Howells), but also expand our conception of “literature” to include lesser known texts by cooks and servants. Foundational critical essays by Levi-Strauss, Barthes, Bourdieu, and bell hooks will help our collective endeavor to understand the relationship between physiological and aesthetic taste in an era of dramatic social change.


Studies in a Literary Period: Enlightenment Networks and the Novel
8605 ENG 581
Thursday | 7:15-10:05PM | M. Hill

Philosopher Bruno Latour has famously stated: “we have never been modern.” At stake in this controversial claim are fundamental and longstanding achievements of the Western Enlightenment (a period covering roughly, the late seventeenth, through the early late eighteenth centuries). These achievements might be summed up as: the sanctity of the individual; human mastery over technology and therefore, society’s transcendence over nature; the necessity of historical progress; and the uniqueness of literary discourse per se. Ideas like this appear now to be empirically vulnerable, and open to serious question. Multitudes over identity; accident over probability; the secret life of things; the aesthetics of other than strictly literary media—these are the new prospects to which Latour’s provocative assertion alludes.

Our task will be to read Enlightenment philosophy (e. g. Bacon; Rousseau; Spinoza), histories of the period (e.g. Morretti; Thompson), in partnership with contemporary theory (e.g. Althusser; Latour; Serres), to field the question: if not modern then what? As one of the most popular and controversial kinds of discourse in the Enlightenment, and as arguably, a key feature of modernity, the novel (e.g. Behn,; Burney; Sterne; Scott) will have special prominence in our discussion throughout the semester.

NOTE: Students who have taken 581 in the past may repeat this course for credit as the material does repeat previous offerings.


The Vitalist Turn, Early and Late: “Life,” Literature, and the Modern Sciences
9989 ENG 641
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | R. Barney

How does the definition of life matter forliterature and the other way around? This course will approach that question by examining how 18th-and 19th-century vitalism—which was based on the conviction that living organisms have an inherent source of vitality that distinguishes them from mere objects—spawned noteworthy innovations in the British biological sciences as well as in the period’s fiction, poetry, and prose. While vitalism has had an intellectual pedigree stretching as far back as the ancient Greeks, it was René Descartes’ powerfully dualistic separation of mind and body, or matter and spirit, that launched self-described “modern” efforts to reject that dualism in favor of describing “life” as a profoundly unified phenomenon in terms of biological composition, philosophical origin, or sociopolitical organization. Among other things, it was a shift in thought that accompanied new discoveries about the function of the nerves, a corresponding reformulation of “sympathy” in both physiological and ethical terms, and pioneering descriptions of the biological environment or “milieu” that had crucial political implications. We will explore the influence of these historical developments on Enlightenment and Romantic poets, novelists, and essayists, while considering how a literary aesthetic also shaped the period’s vitalist turn. Along the way, we will examine the relevance of the more recent theoretical renovation of vitalism in the wake of Gilles Deleuze, whose work has inspired writers including Jane Bennett, John Protevi, and Patricia Clough. Readings will include: philosophical and theoretical work by Descartes, Deleuze, Bennett, Georges Canguilhem, Adam Smith, and Mary Wollstonecraft; scientific texts by John Hunter and Marie François Bichat; and poetry and fiction by Wollstonecraft, Laurence Sterne, John Thelwall, John Keats, and Percy and Mary Shelley.


Theories of Language
9110 ENG 651
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | H. Elam

This course will focus on “translation” not in its ordinary sense of ferrying meaning from one language to another but as the most intense expression of a problem within language: “translation” as a nickname for the issue of “meaning” at the heart of literature. Readings from a broad range of literary and theoretical texts—Proust, Nietzsche, Benjamin, de Man, Nabokov, Carson, Davis. Two papers, the first one a project statement, the last one a term paper; intense class participation, student presentations.


Body Politics: The Early Anglo/European Stage
9556 ENG 685
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | H. Scheck

This course will examine the uses and abuses of bodies in early drama from the medieval into the early modern period. We will consider recent theories relating to performance, performativity, and bodies as well as to cultural and historical documents from the period in order to trace connections among lived bodies, the economic, social, and political forces with which those bodies interacted, and the staged bodies that emerged. Readings will include a variety of dramatic texts; critical analyses of dramatic texts, modes, and production; short historical documents (as relevant); and theoretical texts relating to bodies and performance. Primary texts include plays ranging from the early medieval to the early modern period, sacred and profane, from plays by a 10th-century nun to some early modern plays by Jonson and Marlow; comic interludes and farce to moral drama to socio-political. Our engagement with each play will begin with some historical background and then move towards developing historically and culturally aware, theoretically informed responses to the texts. Assignments will include informal presentation on a critical essay; response papers relating to critical and primary texts; and a seminar paper. In class we will likely engage in impromptu informal performances of short scenes or interludes to more fully appreciate early dramatic forms in their material, visual, and spatial dimensions. For more information, contact Helene Scheck at HScheck@albany.edu.


Literature and the Aesthetics of Materiality
4809 ENG 720
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05PM | J. Lilley

What is the nature of substance? From Aristotle and Lucretius to Carnot and the Higgs boson, philosophers and scientists have often attempted to define what we so often take for granted—the stuff of matter—in variety of often contradictory and sometimes strangely beautiful ways. After introducing some of the ways that matter mattered in the classical and medieval world, we’ll focus our attention on a key, transformational moment in the aesthetics of substance—the birth of thermodynamics—in order to explore the ways in which the transatlantic literature of Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment influences—and is influenced by—debates in physics, medicine, natural philosophy, economics, ontology, epistemology, geology, and taxonomy concerning the nature of matter. In what ways do aesthetic transformations in the nineteenth-century novel reflect new vitalist or thermodynamic approaches to materiality, where substance is no longer an inert and passive participant in a world of external forces but is now imbued with its own energetics and its own capacity to transform the world? Whether we are reading an “it narrative” from England (where inanimate objects become the protagonists of the rising novel form) or an American romance of metempsychosis (where the consciousness of our protagonist will hop between the receptive flesh of different bodies), we’ll not only be paying attention to the aesthetics of substance in these texts but also marking the ways in which this new sense of materiality works in tandem with its spiritual Other, paving the way for the transformation of religious—as well as secular—experience. And in transatlantic novels of colonial exploration and expansion, we’ll examine how the new world of thermodynamic forces challenges the inherent mechanism of the nation-state and encourages us to imagine new forms of political community. Readings to include: Serres, Poe, Latour, Montgomery Bird, De Landa, Jonathan Edwards, Marx, Simondon, Canguilhem, Walpole, Hobbes, Spinoza, Lyell, Shaftesbury


Teaching Writing and Literature
1922 ENG 770
Monday | 7:15-10:05PM | B. Benjamin

Required of all doctoral students in their first year of study. This course examines current issues in the teaching of writing and literature, with attention to how teachers think students learn, and the institutional context within which teaching and learning occur. Particular attention will be given to how issues of gender, race and class affect teaching theory and practice.


Spring 2015 Course Concentration Distribution

Literature, Modernity, and the Contemporary
ENG581 The Enlightenment and its Peripheries: Community, Popular Contention, and the Novel 
ENG581 English Renaissance Drama and Culture: A Survey 
ENG581 African American Literature 
ENG680 Eccentric Enlightenment: Literature, Science, and the Trivial in Atlantic Modernity
ENG681 The William Carlos Williams Era


Writing Practices
ENG516 Fiction Workshop
ENG621 Current Trends in Rhetorical Theory and Research: Research Methods in Rhetoric and Composition


Cultural, Transcultural, and Global Studies
ENG560 Postcolonial Theory
ENG581 African American Literature
ENG720 The Ethnic Novel


Theoretical Constructs
ENG560 Postcolonial Theory
ENG680 The Eccentric Enlightenment
ENG720The Ethnic Novel

Summer / Fall 2014

Summer 2014 Courses | Four Week 1 (May 27 - June 20, 2014)

Modernist Women Writers
1745 ENG581
Arranged | Online | P. Chu

This course offered online through the Blackboard Learning System. The primary texts for this course will be shorter works of British and American women modernists; we will read these stories and novellas in their sociopolitical contexts. We will, therefore, read literary criticism and history as well as fiction and essays. Authors may include Katherine Mansfield, Rebecca West, Virginia Woolf, Sara Jeannette Duncan, May Sinclair, Nella Larsen, Kay Boyle. The modernist period, roughly 1900-1945, was a time during which people experienced urbanization, the rise of fascism, world war, the development of open cultural configurations outside the bourgeois family, empire and its decline, progressive social movements such as those for suffrage and worker’s rights and the rise of the modern social sciences (psychoanalysis, eugenics, anthropology). Conflicting reactions to these experiences of modernity manifest, many argue, in the writing of the period as the experimental literature called “modernist.” Women writers had complicated relationships to the new artistic circles even as this period marks a time when women’s writing increased markedly and women had more access than ever before to publishing venues, collaboration with other artists, and lifestyles that allowed for creative work. Reading for this course will be quite heavy and the four-week length of the course does not allow for any incompletes or late work (including postings to the discussion and the completion of quizzes/exams/essays) for any reason. Students will be expected to participate in online discussion frequently. (2240) Chu, Patricia 4 Week 1: May 28-June 21 Online course in Blackboard


Summer 2014 Courses | Four Week 3 (July 21 - August 15, 2014)

Modern American Poets
2574 ENG581
Arranged | Online | J. Hanifan

Focused examination of Modern American Poetry and Poetics after the Turn of the Twentieth Century. The course will invite students to read important works of American poets of the period closely and in context. The online format of this course offers a unique opportunity for advanced students to explore the impact of developing media on modern poetry, and its social, political and aesthetic frames. The online structure of the course will provide ample opportunities for discussion, and as well as advanced critical analysis and theoretical explorations.


Fall 2014 Courses

Textual Practices I
1911 ENG500
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | R. Craig

Textual practices fall into two broad categories: production and consumption. The former includes factors such as the material conditions of production, the concept of the author, and the historical and biographical connections between writers and works. The latter includes issues such as the history of reception and the roles of readers. A consideration of textual practices necessarily entails issues of literary and critical theory. A third category of textual practice relevant to graduate students in English is pedagogy, which extends theoretical questions into the sphere of praxis.

The emphasis of this course will be upon hermeneutics, narrative theory, and nineteenth-century British fiction.


Fiction Workshop
1912 ENG516
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05PM | E. Schwarzschild

Permission of Instructor required. Please submit a sample of your fiction writing with a brief cover letter about yourself and your writing to Prof. Schwarzschild (eschwarzschild@albany.edu). Any student who is an undergraduate or who is a graduate student from a department other than English should e-mail the Director of Graduate Studies <jgreiman@albany.edu> to inquire about workshop eligibility requirements(please include your student ID# in this e-mail).

In this course, each student will be expected to complete and revise two or three pieces of fiction (short stories or novel excerpts) during the semester, to be submitted for workshop discussion. Most of each class period will be devoted to this workshop discussion (for which prepared written comments will be expected). Time will also be spent studying and discussing isolated aspects of effective writing, such as description, dialogue, character depiction, openings, endings, vocabulary and syntax. There will be various texts for reading, as well as occasional in-class writing exercises and supplemental brief assignments.


Early American Poetry (Reading Course)
8362 ENG581
Thursday | 7:15-10:05PM | W. Roberts

David Shield’s anthology of early American verse (2007) officially inaugurated the newly reinvigorated field of early American poetry. This reading course will provide students with the opportunity to cover an expansive array of seventeenth-and eighteenth-century North America poetry. From the first epic poem of European origin written in the Americas—Gaspar Perez de Villagra’s The History of New Mexico(1610) in which he defended his military crimes against natives in an attempt to escape punishment from the Spanish crown—to Phillis Wheatley’s poems that instigated her emancipation, early American poetry was often explicitly political and practiced as a social form. The course will explore the relationship between the forms of early American poetry and its multiple uses through close attention to the primary sources, while also providing a survey of the state of the field and recent methodological developments. We will cover various categories and forms: Spanish poetry in translation; foundational British poets; Puritan poetry; Atlantic verse; Christian belletrism; hymns and revival poetry; southern poetry; revolutionary poetry; national epics; national poetry; popular broadsides; newspaper poetry; and manuscript verse. Though the course will stop with the first anthology of United States poetry in 1829, we will think about the connections and differences between pre-1800 poetry and the major mid-nineteenth-century movements, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of quarantining pre-1800 poetry from later developments. It is expected that most students will have no previous knowledge of this earliest American poetry and should feel welcome. The course will be most useful for students who intend to teach American literature and/or poetry, who want to investigate early America as a research field, or who are ready to pinpoint a specific long-term research project—though students working outside of early American studies will benefit from the discussion of transnational models and genre. Students will be encouraged to apply their own methodological interests and to conduct original research as they develop substantive annotated bibliographies and state of the field narratives. Arrangements will be made to visit the American Antiquarian Society to introduce students to archival resources. Students will read Villagra’s The History of New Mexico (a long epic poem) in translation prior to the first class meeting.


Shakespeare, Marlowe, and the Challenges of Biographical Speculation
9551 ENG582
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | M. Rozett

This course has two linked objectives: to read Shakespeare's and Marlowe's plays against one another with an eye to influences, echoes, and the development of dramatic strategies from the late 1580s to 1600; and to investigate the ways in which scholars have attempted to reconstruct the lives of Shakespeare and Marlowe from the fragments of evidence and imaginative speculation that have surrounded these two dramatists for four centuries.Readings will include Doctor Faustus, Tamberlaine, The Jewi of Malta, Edward II by Marlowe, and Hamlet, Henry V, The Merchant of Venice,and Richard II by Shakespeare. Also,parts of The Reckoning by Charles Nicholl, Will in the World by Stephen Greenblatt,Contested Will and 1599 by James Shapiro,The Genius of Shakespeare by Jonathan Bate, Shakespeare's Wife by Germaine Greer, and other recent critical biographies.


Melville’s Reading, Melville’s Readers
9552 ENG 582
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05PM | J. Greiman

An extensive survey of Herman Melville’s prose and poetry from the 1840s through the 1880s, this course will also pursue an intensive study of Melville as a rigorous reader of philosophy whose work has, in turn, fundamentally shaped literary and political theory into the 21st century. Put another way, this course will study Melville as a thinker, whose experiments in prose and poetry continue to animate questions of ontology, ethics, politics, and aesthetics. To establish a sense of Melville’s broad influence over contemporary critical and literary theory, the course will begin where the academic study of Melville did (and in many ways, where the institutionalization of American literary studies began) –with the discovery of Melville’s Billy-Budd in 1924. Taking a brief survey of that text’s influence on theorists from F.O. Mathiessen and Hannah Arendt to Sharon Cameron, we will then go back and read Melville’s work in order of its publication, beginning with two of his early novels, Typee and Redburn, and following (in highly abridged form) Melville’s own readings in state-of-nature theory and political philosophy. We will spend the middle weeks of the semester withMoby-Dick, first dipping into Melville’s studies in epistemology and natural history, and then beginning our more sustained readings in the work of those theorists who have built on Melville’s intellectual work, including C.L.R. James, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, and Peter Szendy. As we continue through Melville’s Bartle by and The Confidence-Man, we will study his place in the development of more recent literary critical turns toward affect theory, impersonality, and the posthuman. Finally, we will end the course with select readings from the most under-read of Melville’s works –the 18,000 line epic poem, Clarel. Works by Melville will include: Typee, Redburn, Moby-Dick, The Confidence-Man, Billy-Budd, along with selections from The Piazza Tales,Battle-Pieces, and Clarel. Other authors will likely include: T. Hobbes, J-J Rousseau, T. Paine, E. Burke, R. Descartes, J. Edwards, R.W. Emerson, C.L.R. James, C. Olson, F.O. Mathiessen, H. Arendt, G. Deleuze, F. Guattari, J. Ranciére, P. Szendy, S. Cameron, and S. Ngai. The requirements for the course will include a presentation, a scholarly book review, and a final seminar paper. For our first class meeting, be sure to have read Billy-Budd.


African American Rhetorical Traditions
8364 ENG 621
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | T. Carey

This seminar explores African Americans’ persuasive and strategic use of discourse as a rhetorical tradition. While our primary framework draws upon the work of scholars in the field of rhetoric and composition, our exploration is interdisciplinary by necessity. The nearly fifty-year long project of recovering and theorizing African American rhetorics includes scholarship in Speech Communication, Literary Studies, Literacy Studies and incorporates insights from Critical Race Theory and Black feminism. Drawing upon these frameworks, we will read a variety of book-length and short-critical works and consider such questions as: what constitutes “freedom” in African American struggle and how definitions of freedom influenced epistemologies and language practices? How have African American leaders and laypeople engaged in collective struggle against racism and racist exclusions confronted the problem of access—access to technologies, access to media, access to audiences? What rhetorics have Black women cultivated to struggle with and within their communities? And, how can the study of African American rhetorical traditions inform and influence conversations about writing and literacy instruction? In taking up these questions, we’ll pursue the broad goal of the course, which is to gain a historical, critical and cultural perspective on the development of African American Rhetorical Traditions as a knowledge-making enterprise. Texts under consideration include: Keith Gilyard’s True to the Language Game: African American Discourse, Cultural Politics, and Pedagogy; Shirley Wilson Logan’s We Are Coming: The Persuasive Discourse of Nineteenth-Century Black Women; James Cone’s The Spirituals and the Blues; Adam Banks’ Digital Griots: African American Rhetoric in a Multimedia Age; Elaine Richardson and Ronald Jackson’s African American Rhetorics: Interdisciplinary Perspectives and others. Assignments may include: a course presentation; weekly writing assignments; and a seminar-length essay.


Testing the Limits Marxism and Cultural Theory
7703 ENG641
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | T. Ebert

As a theoretical prelude, we will start with theories of culture and ask whether culture, as Descartes, Diderot, Hume, Condorcet, Rousseau and Kant, among others argue, is a universal that unfolds by what Kant calls “Coherence according to one principle” (Critique of Pure Reason) or is it the “unspeakable difficulty” of knowing actuality and the singularity of the differences of “habits, wants, characteristics of land and sky” which cannot be understood without “feeling sympathy with a nation if one is to feel a single one of its inclinations or acts, or all of them together” (Herder). For Herder culture is always in the plural and in difference. These views have radically different implications for cultural theory: should, for example, “reason” (Kant) be the logic of cultural critique or “language” (Herder) or class (Marx) or...? Are these oppositions? Are oppositions the effects of a will-to-Truth or reproductions of class contradictions in cultural theory? How does Herder’s idea of culture relate to Negri and Hardt's anti-dialectics of the "common" as affirmation of singularities and the suspension of the negative in contemporary cultural theory (e.g. Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy)? Along these lines, we will carefully read Derrida’s suggestion: “what is proper to a culture is not to be identical to itself. Not to not have an identity, but not to be able to identify itself, to be able to say, ‘me’ or ‘we’; to be able to take the form of a subject only in the non-identity to itself or,...only in the difference with itself [avec soi]. There is no culture or cultural identity without this difference with itself” (The Other Heading: Reflections on Today’s Europe).We place these theories in relation to Marx’s statement that “This much, however, is clear, that the middle ages could not live on Catholicism, nor the ancient world on politics. On the contrary, it is the mode in which they gained a livelihood that explains why here politics, and there Catholicism, played the chief part. For the rest, it requires but a slight acquaintance with the history of the Roman republic, for example, to be aware that its secret history is the history of its landed property. On the other hand, Don Quixote long ago paid the penalty for wrongly imagining that knight errantry was compatible with all economic forms of society”(Capital,I)

One of the main questions raised by the course is how Marx's concept of "general intellect" (Grundrisse) has re-fashioned contemporary digital cultural theory. We will examine the question through analysis of such concepts as "the law of value," "species-being,” “bio-communism,""base and superstructure," "turn to ontology," the "Common," “commune” (asin the Paris Commune), "the idea of communism," "dialectics," "immaterial labor," "vitalism," "new materialisms,” the "specter," and “communization.” We will read these concepts in relation to class and ask whether the emergence of immaterial property hastransformed property relations and dissolved class in what Mario Tronti calls the"social factory." We will read avariety of texts such as selections from Marx’s Grundrisse, Capital, and Critique of the Gotha Program; Lenin's texts on militant materialism; Adorno's writings on the culture industry; Althusser's writings on "aleatory materialism”; "Negri's Time for Revolution; Badiou's The Communist Hypothesis; Zizek's collection on The Idea of Communism; as well as writings by Raymond Williams, E.P. Thompson, Marcuse, Walter Benjamin, Agamben, Paolo Virno, Carlo Vercellone and Maurizio Lazzarato, and discuss Deleuze's project (“the Grandeur of Marx”).

Throughout the course, we will return to Marx’s reading of Balzac’s novel, The Peasants, in Capital and examine how his reading of cultural texts is grounded in a theory of reading as use-value.We will ask whether contemporary cultural theory has displaced reading as use-value with interpretation as exchange-value—that is, interpretation with a market value. What are the relations of the popularity of cultural theory and its market value with the dominant social relations that they normalize? Marx’s reading is a militant defamiliarization that reads culture in relation to the conflicts of social relations and the forces of production. How effective is such a reading? What is the place of language in it? This question leads us to a discussion of Jacques Lecercle’s A Marxist Philosophy of Language.

The discussion of the common (in communism) raises the question: should cultural theory be militant and take sides in the struggles of our times (around class, ecology, labor relations, sexualities,....) and produce transformative interpretations of texts of culture? Why (not)? Are we in a post-political time—the end of political imagining? How are these questions fought out in contemporary discourses? Here we open a parenthesis to examine Marx’s maxim, “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it,” and its re-signification by Vattimo and Zabla as "the philosophers have only described the world in various ways; the moment now has arrived to interpret it" (Hermeneutic Communism). In The Parallax View, Zizek writes, “the Derridean fashion is fading away.” Within thisspace, Jeffrey Nealon claims (in Post-postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Just-in-Time Capitalism) that “The last ‘big thing’ on the North American theory horizon, arguably, has been the work of Antonio Negri. Among all the provocations contained in Negri ’s recent work (with and without Michael Hardt), perhaps none is more memorable than a series of polemical provocations concerning postmodern thought in general, and the legacy of deconstruction in particular. Recall Hardt and Negri’s assessment of the contemporary, post-postmodern state of “theory” in Empire: ‘When we begin to consider the ideologies of corporate capitalism and the world market, it certainly appears that the postmodern and postcolonialist theorists who advocate a politics of difference, fluidity, and hybridity in order to challenge the binaries and essentialism of modern sovereignty have been outflanked by the strategies of power. Power has evacuated the bastion they are attacking and has circled around to their rear to join them in the assault in the name of difference. These theorists thus find themselves pushing against an open door’.”

In the struggles over the role of cultural critique and social change, this reading of Negri is countered by another that states: “Negri and Hardt’s work hides a subtle apology for capital and constitutes an inverted version of the traditional Marxism that it was set to oppose” (“Keep on Smiling—Questions on Immaterial Labour,” Aufheben no.14).

We return to a second reading of Balzac's novel, this time by Lukacs (Studies in European Realism). Lukacs extends Marx's reading and proposes a theory of realism which we will discuss in relation to Fredric Jameson's The Antinomies Of Realism.

There will be no conventional examinations. Students are required to actively participate in seminar discussions every week; write one short paper (about 10 pages); present a seminar report on specific theoretical problems, and write a long theory paper (20-25 pages). All students will have an opportunity to participate in the end of semester "Theory Conference."


Sovereignty and Religion-The Return of Political Theology?
9558 ENG 642
Monday | 7:15-10:05AM | K. Kuiken

This course will explore the recent proliferation of critical theories of sovereignty, focusing on the question of the persistence of the religious in recent developments, particularly the apparent “religious turn” of a number of recent theorists (Agamben, Derrida, and Badiou among others). If Carl Schmitt, at the beginning of the last century, defined modern sovereignty in terms of a break with, and secularization of, political theology, what then accounts for the persistence of the religious in formations of sovereignty in the present century? How and why has the public space (defined since the enlightenment as separate from the “private” domain of religion) been required to accommodate questions of spirit, faith and dogma? In the wake of 20th century critiques of onto-theology (Marx and Heidegger, among others), and the secularizing discourses of the enlightenment, how and why has the figure of the religious managed to survive at the heart of those discourses, and at the heart of modern the orizations of sovereignty? The course will begin by exploring the advent of the secular model of sovereignty (in late 18th and early 19th century texts), moving on to explore arguments about ways in which those discourses appropriated certain theological motifs in their re-construction of the problem of sovereignty. It will then turn to more recent texts to discern whether, how, and why the current theoretical attention to the problem of sovereignty has been forced to take account of the persistence of the religious in the wake of (or because of) the weakening of modern sovereignty’s most trenchant institution: the modern nation-state. Authors studied will include Hobbes, Hegel, Marx, Benjamin, Agamben, Derrida and Badiou. Assignments will include a presentation and seminar paper.


Biography and the Politics of Literary Reputation
4954 ENG681
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | R. Bosco

Justifying his highly selective appropriation and interpretation of historical fact to suit his artistic purposes when writing The Crucible, the American playwright Arthur Miller remarked, “One finds I suppose what one seeks.” Miller’s comment is one individual’s acknowledgment of how the intellectual, imaginative, and aesthetic predispositions of creative writers and readers exert a significant influence on their disposition toward historical materials, and it is as instructive for biographical and critical writing and theories of textual editing as it is for fiction, poetry, and drama that nominally locate their sources in history. It is especially instructive in accounting for the variety of ways in which biographers, literary editors, and critics have treated the respective lives, writings, and thought of Americans Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret Fuller, and Henry David Thoreau.

The thesis governing this seminar is that, regardless of the theory informing their practice(s), no biographer, textual editor, or critic ever “objectively” or “disinterestedly” approaches the subject of his or her research. It is a thesis admirably demonstrated by the enormous range of revisionist biographical, textual, and critical studies on Emerson, Hawthorne, Fuller, and Thoreau produced over the last twenty-to-thirty years as well as by print and online arguments presently advanced concerning the “authority” and “accessibility” of ongoing and recent editions of their public and private (personal) writings. During Fall 2014, the emphasis of the seminar will be on biography, although on occasion our discussions will necessarily take us into considerations of the work of editors and critics as well.

Each of these writers enjoys reasonably sound canonical status today, yet a question rarely asked bout that status, but which we will ask in the seminar, is, “What personal or cultural needs have driven the canonical standing of these four writers?” To begin answering that question, initial seminar readings and discussions on each writer will be equally divided among that person’s primary texts and biographical works devoted to him or her. Seminar requirements include two brief in-class presentations on assigned topics that will involve current biographies devoted to the featured writers and, by the end of the semester, a substantial “working paper” together with a presentation on a topic related to the explicit thesis of the seminar.


Textual Studies I: Survey –Thinking With and Through Theory
5370 ENG 710
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | E. Keenaghan

Theory and philosophy are discursive tools we might engage, think through and alongside, and make use of to discover our own new points of entry into analyses of literary and cultural texts and practices. They can help us articulate why texts “matter,” how they engage (or fail to engage) the world beyond them.It helps us discern and argue why our work and the texts we study are worth engaging now.

The first two-thirds of the semester will be devoted to a weekly cluster of readings in short selections, complemented by one longer selection or full text, from foundational texts in several philosophical genealogies: historical materialism and critical theory; phenomenology and existentialism; psychoanalysis; structuralism and structuralist linguistics; vitalist metaphysics and creative evolution; pragmatism and process philosophy; deconstruction and other post-structuralisms; and contemporary thought. One broad question will govern our engagement of this wide range of source-texts: How have philosophy and literary theory conceptualized the imaginative and symbolic work of literary and other cultural texts, in their capacity to act as bridges connecting the aesthetic and other realms of experience? As we progress, we will strive to articulate differences and similarities between the thinkers’ treatments of the literary and cultural work of language, writing, the imagination, and (in)communication. During this unit, we also will discuss (and practice) strategies for writing focused, detailed critical summaries about philosophical and theoretic arguments, such as summaries you might use to frame a seminar paper, a dissertation chapter, or publishable essay. How much information is enough to orient general but informed readers? How many details are too much? What are the costs and the benefits of not trying to convey everything articulated in a theoretic source? How might summary be used productively not as a demonstration of mastery of theory but as a critical engagement of, thinking with and through, theorists so as to open new questions about texts? When is it advantageous to mix multiple thinkers, perhaps from different genealogies, in one study? When is such a move possibly detrimental to the integrity of an analysis?

Two weeks of the last third of the semester will consist of our investigation of key texts from one particular contemporary subfield in English Studies whose critics deploy such philosophical and theoretic source-texts as starting points in their critical methodologies. Although that subfield is likely to be one of my own specialties—queer theory and queer studies—the objective is to have a shared ground on which to test your ideas. How might new approaches or questions be opened in that field by rethinking prominent critics’ ideas in light of our earlier readings of their foundational philosophical sources? How might one shift ongoing critical conversations by looking elsewhere for new theoretic foundations than what surfaces explicitly current discussions or implicitly informs them? What traditions are not used or cited? What problems or limits could emerge in trying to incorporate a new genealogy into an ongoing field discussion just for the sake of critical innovation?

This brief unit will provide methodological tools for using “theory” to pose new interventions in your final project, the basis of your work and our meetings in the last three weeks of the semester. Each of you will prepare annotated bibliographies of 10-15 sources to identify trends in criticism from your prospective literary period(such as early modern drama, modernist poetry, or antebellum fiction) or prospective field (such as Composition and Rhetoric, African American studies, globalization studies, film studies, creative writing/poetics, ecocriticism), or the intersection of both. Based on those biographies, you will write a 15-to 20-page position paper fulfilling two major objectives: (1) that starts to articulate an original intervention in your field by working with a new theoretic foundation or working a given foundation anew; and (2) argues the value of your theoretic approach through a brief analysis of a major primary literary or cultural text from your field.

Two or three chapters from intellectual histories about the discipline’s relationship to theory will be available via Blackboard before the semester begins and will be the basis for our first class meeting’s discussion. A complete list of required books will be emailed to students registered for the course in early August.


Realism vs. Modernism
5625 ENG 720
Wednesday | 7:15-10:05PM | P. Stasi

Writing under the rubric “Peripheral Realisms Now,” Jed Esty and Colleen Lye have recently called for an unseating of the “familiar pattern whereby national realisms compete on unfavorable terms with international modernisms” (MLQ 73 (3): 283). This work proceeds, in part, through a re-valorization of the realist impulse present in many postcolonial texts, an impulse, they contend, that a modernist methodology emphasizing rupture, defamiliarization and hybridity has failed to properly acknowledge. In this course we will examine this argument by looking at the tension between “modernist” and “realist” modes within select texts from the mid-19th to the late 20th century. We will begin with Flaubert’s Sentimental Education, which encodes the birth of modernist narrative in response to the events of 1848. We will then address the emergence of an early modernism (Henry James) out of canonical realism (George Eliot), before turning to a series of realist “episodes” within modernism proper, (works will include Dubliners, The Years, “Owl’s Clover,” stories by Katharine Mansfield). Our course will (likely) end with one or two more contemporary postmodern and postcolonial works yet to be determined. Readings will, at times, be paired with theory (Adorno, Lukacs, Jameson, Moretti) and select critical essays, but our emphasis will largely be on the literary works themselves and their formal structures.


Practicum in Teaching Writing and Literature
6710 ENG 771
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | L. Cable

This course builds on AENG 770 Teaching Writing & Literature (which is a prerequisite) by providing a forum for dealing with the practical challenges of teaching undergraduate English courses at the University at Albany. Your own current syllabus and handouts, as well as classroom experiences and samples of student writing will be the primary texts used to identify pedagogical problems and consider how to solve them. We will discuss classroom dynamics, develop paper topics, assess grading methods in workshop by focusing on sample student papers, and explore various techniques for developing student skills in reading and writing. We will also discuss professional issues such as teaching evaluations, classroom observation, and documents required for professional files such as a statement of your teaching philosophy. Overall this course will increase your confidence as a teacher of English Writing and Literature as well as your understanding of professional obligation in the field. Prior to the first day of class, course participants should send their current course syllabus to: lana.cable@albany.edu


Summer / Fall 2014 Course Concentration Distribution

Literature, Modernity, and the Contemporary
ENG 581: Early American Poetry (Reading Course)
ENG 582: Shakespeare and Marlow
ENG 582: Melville’s Reading, Melville’s Readers
ENG 680: The Modernist Parentheses
ENG 681: The Politics of American Literary Reputation
ENG 681: Contemporary Authors and Their Critics


Writing Practices
ENG 516: Fiction Workshop
ENG 621: African American Rhetorical Traditions


Cultural, Transcultural, and Global Studies
ENG 580: Staging Empire
ENG 621: Feminist Rhetoric(s)


Theoretical Constructs
ENG 582: Melville’s Reading, Melville’s Readers
ENG 641: Marxism and Cultural Theory
ENG 642: Sovereignty and Religion

Spring 2014

Spring 2014 Courses

Textual Practices 1
7684 ENG 500
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05PM | G.Griffith

This course will introduce graduate students to a range of theoretical and interpretive strategies in literatures in English. The course will use the survey approach to expose students to a broad range of statements and analyses in literary and cultural studies and will employ The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism as the touchstone text.


Workshop in Fiction
1944 ENG 516 
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | L.Tillman

For the graduate fiction workshop, students are expected to have already been developing, thinking about, and working on fiction. Poets who are interested in writing fiction are also welcome to apply. During the workshop, each student will present pieces to the group, three or four times (depending upon our number). Each student is expected to be a full participant in the discussion and commentary on colleagues' fictions, stories, and consequent questions about issues in writing. We may do additional readings, stories and theory, to augment our discussions. This is a Permission by Instructor course. Those interested in applying should email 5 -7 pages of their writing to: Tillwhen@aol.com. In addition, students must also indicate previous writing courses; major or area of specific interest in graduate school, and reasons for wanting to take this workshop.


Postcolonial Theory
9529 ENG 560 
Monday | 7:15-10:05PM | P. Stasi

In this course we will read broadly in postcolonial theory, focusing on itsearliest practitioners (Said, Spivak, Ahmad, Subaltern Studies Collective), its antecedents (James, Fanon) and some contemporary manifestations (possibly including debates around globalization, alternative modernities, cosmopolitanism and world literature). We will also read a few novels to see how we can put some of these theories into contact with literary texts. (These may include texts by Bronte, Woolf, Conrad, Rhys, Ghosh or Rushdie).


The Enlightenment and its Peripheries:Community, Popular Contention, and the Novel
5627 ENG 581
Thursday | 7:15-10:05PM | M.Hill

The eighteenth century in is marked in a variety of ways as providing the origins of what we call today: modernity. The rise of print culture; the cordoning off of literary from other kinds of knowledge; the divisions of labor; the notion of civil society—and its inverse twin—"savagery"; are inventions of a particular time and place that both haunt and inform what it means to go on being modern. This course will examine the history of Enlightenment modernity and its legacies (what was; what's left of it?), and do so, to the degree possible, from the vantage point of any number perspectives that modernity has tended to keep in whatever periphery. These peripheral perspectives will revolve around issues to do with the agency of writing, memory, national difference, civility, and most of all, eighteenth-century popular contention. Rather than looking for idealized forms of postmodern community, we'll try to find within in the Enlightenment—specifically, from within the genre of the novel—those forms of collective belonging that modernity has tended to occult. Readings will include current scholarship on the Enlightenment, as well as contemporary eighteenth-century material ranging across literary and philosophical archives.


English Renaissance Drama and Culture: A Survey
9532 ENG 581
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05 | I. Murakami

When Ben Jonson memorialized Shakespeare, he praised him not as a lone “colossus” who “doth bestride the narrow world” eclipsing all other writers, but as the “Soul of the age.” The difference bears consideration: it asks us to evaluate Shakespeare in context, not only with the vertiginous historical changes that fostered the ascent of commercial theater, nor even with the extraordinary output of playwrights whose names once outshone Shakespeare’s, but in relation to the wealth of dramatic forms that influenced any writer who grew up in an age that took the theatrum munditopos (“all the world’s a stage”) in earnest. Consequently, this class includes no more than one Shakespeare play. The rest of the time will be spent sampling representatives from the plethora of influential dramatic forms of the period: from moral drama to revenge tragedy; civic entertainment to royal entry; elite masque to folk play; and city comedy to romantic tragicomedy. We shall read professional stage poets like Marlowe and Middleton next to writers like Norton and Preston who took time out from more respectable “vocations” to dabble with the “toys” of dramatic form. The historical and critical secondary readings scheduled to accompany each dramatic text will encourage us to think about problems of genre, theatricality, publicity, and drama’s function in relation to the cultural transformations affecting all who partook in the heady collaboration that was early modern dramatic performance. Course requirements include: collaborative compilation of an annotated bibliography; a substantial presentation on your final paper topic; a term paper; and a take-home final exam.


African American Literature
9533 ENG 581
Monday | 7:15-10:05 | D. Smith

Recent scholarship has struggled to delineate the dominant political, aesthetic and thematic trends in African American literary production of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The dramatic proliferation of the literature in recent decades and the diversity of the literature’s forms and functions, has made it difficult for scholars to establish frameworks capable of accounting for the swath of cultural production that was once contained by the sturdy rubric of “African American literature”. With prominent critics proclaiming that the category is now obsolete and many others trying to understand the contemporary moment by appealing to backward-looking, prefixed formulations—like “post-soul” or “post-civil rights”—there is an urgent need to develop a critical discourse that addresses recent African American literature in terms that are relevant to the historical moment in which it is produced. In this seminar we will search for a grammar that might live up to the various analytical demands presented by African American literature of the past three to four decades. This search we will make its way through a series of novels, both “high” and “low brow”, and examine recent scholarship in literary studies, sociology and political economy. Our readings will provide the framework for a seminar discourse that is interested in the thick relation between African American literature and a contemporary socio-economic regime that is characterized by disembedded markets, the dissipation of the welfare state, the rise of the penal state, a dualizing of the class structure, and an incessant appeal to the trope of individual responsibility. How have African American writers responded to this “neoliberal” era? How have critics responded to African American writing of the neoliberal era? These will be primary questions as we study the fiction of Toni Morrison, Colson Whitehead, Sapphire, Iceberg Slim, Percival Everett, Trey Ellis and Teri Woods, and the critical work of Kenneth Warren, Adolph Reed, Loic Wacquant and others.


Current Trends in Rhetorical Theory and Research:Research Methods in Rhetoric and Composition
9530 ENG 621
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | L. Wilder

This course will provide a “hands-on” introduction to an array of research methodologies in rhetoric and composition for studying “real world” reading and writing practices. Our focus will be on empirical methods such as interview, observation, experiment/intervention, survey, and process tracing (think aloud protocol). To the extent that time is available we will dip our toes into the waters of archival research, discourse analysis, and emerging digital research tools. For each method we examine we will read and discuss several published articles that exemplify the method and conduct a trial, collaborative attempt at using the method. In this way we will learn about the assumptions, practicalities, benefits, and limitations of each method. Understanding these research methods is important not only for those who anticipate employing them in their own research but also for those who want to be able to read and critique this literature and perhaps apply its findings in the writing classroom.


Eccentric Enlightenment: Literature, Science, and the Trivial in Atlantic Modernity
9531 ENG 680
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05PM | J. Lilley

Before eccentricity could become a certain quality that some humans possess—and before the eccentric would start to name a particular kind of person—astronomers first had to establish the laws of regular celestial motion.To be eccentric is to orbit erratically without a singular, static center or, more correctly, to wander with a peripheral style of motion whose center is always moving and forever absent from the equations of the everyday.This course begins by returning to the C16th and C17th in order to explore the ways in which early Enlightenment science began to register the orbit of the eccentric.In addition to readings in mathematics, geometry, and astronomy, we will also explore how the topography of the eccentric helped to provide relief for new, biopolitical modes of sovereignty and citizenship tied to logics of exception and exclusion.As we move into the C18th and the early C19th, we turn our attention to the literature of the emerging British and U.S. nations and to the new scientific disciplines of Atlantic modernity—as well as to ever-popular and eccentric pseudo-sciences such as phrenology, mesmerism, and galvanism.Rather than take for granted the seamless relay between the center and its periphery, this course assumes a frivolous and whimsical aspect in order to ask the following questions:What happens to our view of literary and political history if the orbit of the eccentric, rather than the exception of the extrinsic, is opposed to the colonizing and civilizing work of the nation-state?In what ways do economies of the erratic, the trivial, and the unique offer alternative value structures and important counter-histories to the rise of commodity exchange and the fetish of the antique in Atlantic modernity? Readings to include: Sterne, Poe, Bacon, Hobbes, Hogg, Poe, Kepler, Walpole, Smollett, Melville.


The William Carlos Williams Era
8152 ENG 681
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | E. Keenaghan

This seminar will consist primarily of an intensive study of the literary career of the American modernist doctor and poet Williams Carlos Williams (1883-1963) in relation to his changing historical context. Key modernists often have been credited with founding a literary and critical “era.” There’s been Hugh Kenner’s famous proclamation of an “[Ezra]Pound Era,” which Marjorie Perloff, who advocates avant-garde constructivism, defended against the rise of deconstructive and formalist readings intimating the emergence of a possible “[Wallace] Stevens Era.” More recently, there have been Ruth Jenning’s Marxist account of modernism as the “[Louis] Zukofsky Era” and Aidan Wasley’s socially conscious reading of formalist modernism that identifies American postwar poetry as belonging to the “Age of [W.H.] Auden.” My claim that U.S. poetry from circa 1916 to 1975 constitutes a “William Carlos Williams Era” is a little facetious ... but just a little.

Best known as a poet, WCW also wrote prolifically in a variety of other genres—drama, short fiction, novels and romans à clef, autobiography and memoirs, literary and poetics essays, “philosophical” cultural essays—and he even produced many translations of both poetry and fiction. So, although our primary focus will be on his extensive body of poetry, we also will be making forays along the way into samplings of his other work. His entire oeuvre might be (and often has been) read as an attempt to found an American literary tradition that better reflects “an American language,” employing an American idiom in order to found a new national (or even hemispheric) aesthetic tradition rather than a continuation of English or continental European traditions. Our examination of WCW’s work will continue to purse that critical line of thought, but we will also be considering a fact most critics know full well and acknowledge but do not explore in great depth: namely, WCW is also one of the most influential figures on American postwar and cold war poetry. (There are a few exceptions to that rule, such as the late Sherman Paul, a few essays by critics such as Aldon Lynn Nielsen, and book length studies by John Lowney and Paul Cappucci). Through his own Autobiography, WCW had introduced Charles Olson’s concept of projective verse to a spectrum of poets across the nation by reproducing large sections of the recently published essay, largely unknown to have hit the water outside New York City. WCW’s own late career concept of the poem as “a field of action” and his career-long concern with measure shaped the poetics of not just individual younger poets but of the New American Poetry, generally. Anyone working in epic or serial forms in the 1950s contended with the recent publication of installments of Patersonas much as Pound’s already canonized Cantos. While critics and scholars largely ignored Williams’ work in the 1950s and 1960s, academically regarded poets like Robert Lowell cited him as a formative influence. Whether one considers the colloquialism of the New York School and the Beats, or the paramount significance of measure and action and field poetics to the Black Mountain School, or the significance of personality (rather than Eliotic impersonality) to the Confessional poets and the personal politics of New Left and its related poetries, WCW’s influence is inescapable—and deserving more than a generalized, unelaborated statement or cursory nod.

The first two-thirds of the semester will be dedicated to an extensive, in-depth study of a selection from WCW’s enormous body of work, read in its historical context and in relation to small samplings from some of his poetic and even philosophical contemporaries. Class members’ annotated bibliographies and 15-to 20-minute presentations over the course of the semester will introduce those primary texts in light of the history of literary criticism about his work. Our seminar sessions will strive to use our close readings of WCW’s ideas, read through and against his own poetics statements, to come to a fuller understanding of concepts and tropes key to his evolving poetic project. The best way to more deeply understand a writer’s vision is to explore works-in-draft, unpublished correspondence and notebooks, abandoned projects, and ephemera (from grocery lists and scribbled notes to diaries and marginalia in books he was reading)—materials not ever likely to be published. So, if there is significant interest (i.e., at least four persons), I will try to arrange an optional group visit for four to five days during Spring Break to one of the two drivable archives holding the bulk of WCW’s papers: the University at Buffalo (SUNY)’s Poetry Collection or Yale University’s Beinecke Library. (Note that students have to cover their own lodging and food expenses; but carpools might defray travel costs.)

Our initial study focusing on WCW will set the stage for the last third of the semester, when we shall appraise his influence on the New American Poetry. We will consider his work in light of five writers (one per week), who explicitly claimed him as a foremost influence: British émigré then Black Mountain Review poet then political activist Denise Levertov; New York Beat then Black Arts poet and black nationalist LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka; gay New York School poet and MoMA assistant curator Frank O’Hara; Boston Beat and Black Mountain student then Gay Liberation and “proto-trans” activist John Wieners; and, finally, the unclassifiable Joanne Kyger whose decades-long career has ranged from Beat and San Francisco Renaissance to other experimental lyric leanings. Each poet not only saw WCW as aesthetically influential but also as influential for developing a more socially, even politically, engaged poetry.

Requirements: Seminar participation and discussion; weekly Blackboard Discussion Board posts; annotated bibliography (5-8 sources) and 15-to 20-minute presentation on criticism about assigned WCW texts; a seminar paper (20-30 pages) developed in stages (proposal, annotated bibliography, redrafted proposal, with 1-2 conferences on your progress); and brief final presentation in the last class session (length TBD) on your research. The seminar paper should address either: (1) an original, innovative reading of a work by WCW; or (2) an original reading of the well-documented influence of WCW on a poet from the 1930s until today (including, but not limited to: Levertov, O’Hara, Baraka, Wieners, Kyger, Lorine Niedecker, Louis Zukofsky, Charles Reznikoff, Robert Lowell, Robert Duncan, Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, Cid Corman, Allen Ginsberg, Lew Welch, Gary Snyder, Harold Norse, Stephen Jonas, Nathaniel Mackey, Lyn Hejinian, Rae Armantrout, Ron Silliman). NOTE: Only creative writing doctoral students can propose a hybrid creative/critical project in lieu of a seminar paper.

The textbook list will be sent to all enrolled students in early January so that they might order their books online; but it also can be emailed earlier upon request. I recommend that before the semester begins registered students read a good biography of WCW: either Paul Mariani, William Carlos Williams: A New World Naked (the best and most established bio, now out-of-print but easy to find cheap) or Herbert Leibowitz, “Something Urgent I Have to Say to You”: The Life and Works of William Carlos Williams (the most recent bio, as read through WCW’s work).


Technologies of the Book, Pre-to Postmodern
8172 ENG 685
Wednesday | 7:15-10:05PM | H. Scheck

As we become increasingly immersed in the digital age, it may seem absurd to think of the book as a technological advance. And yet, the development of textual representation in the European west from scroll to codex to early printed books and pamphlets radically changed the way individuals and groups treated knowledge—from formation to dissemination to valuation, which affected individuals personally as well as socially and politically. On the personal level, the changing technology of the book affected not only one’s relationship to knowledge, but cognition itself. On the social level, technology, treatment, and reception of the book helped to determine lines of access to knowledge as well as its parameters. This course will not attempt to produce an evolution of literature and literacy; nor will it pursue sociological inquiry into literacy, reading, and cognition. Instead, this course will trace developments in the material forms and functions of textual representation in the pre-and early modern age to consider abstract perceptions as well as physical experiences of literacy and their implications for constructing and construing class, gender, ethnicity, and nationality. In addition, the course will explore processes of reading, writing, and book production to reveal cognitive and aesthetic shifts in the intellectual culture of the ancient, medieval, and early modern West. Toward the end of the seminar, we will consider what that multilayered history may reveal about current aesthetic and cognitive shifts produced by new technologies through attention to our own shifting reading, writing, and publishing practices as well as our habits and abilities of cognition. Readings will range from the pragmatic aspects of book production to historiographical accounts to more theoretical inquiries into cognition, materiality, and the forms and effects of textual representation, including pieces by J.J. Cohen, Derrida, de Certeau, and Deleuze and Guattari. Our understanding of the book as a material object will be enhanced by at least one workshop on book production and, possibly, a field trip to examine actual medieval and/or early modern manuscripts and printed books. Assignments will include weekly short papers, active and regular contribution to the development and vitality of our collective inquiry, and analysis of a manuscript or early printed book that will resulting a substantial seminar paper. Inquiries welcome: hscheck@albany.edu.


America Since 1990: Discourses of Identity and Justice Under Late Modern Governmentality
5078 ENG 720
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | P. Chu

The narrator in Maxine Hong Kingston’s Tripmaster Monkey says of 1960s anti-Vietnam activism: “The world was splitting up. Tolstoy had noted the surprising gaiety of war. During his time, picnickers and fighters took to the same field. We’d gotten more schizzy. The dying was on the Asian side of the planet while the playing—the love-ins and the be-ins—were on the other, American side.” In the late modern moment, even amidst the globalization of everything, the same kinds of “schizzy” divisions still prevail and have even intensified, as in the distribution of wealth. We who have the constant input of information to be “picnickers,” spectators through digital means of the (other) places where “the dying” is happening, have so far failed to articulate viable bases for claims to justice, remedy and protection for those of the dying areas. In this course we will begin with some orienting narratives of the legacies of modernity (Buck-Morss, Foucault, Charles T. Mills; Benedict Anderson; Pateman) and then into accounts of the end of the era of citizenship (including Mae Ngai; Rey Chow; Rajini Srikanth; Wendy Brown; Judith Butler; Nikil Pal Singh; the school of legal Critical Race Theory). We will explore the way this political and cultural failure of citizenship manifests mostly (but not exclusively) through texts which had been assumed to work as one of the front lines of social justice: American ethno-racial novels. Authors may include: Charles Johnson, Jessica Hagedorn, Han Ong, Don Delillo, Mohsin Hamid, Karen Tei Yamashita, Bill Cheng, Colson Whitehead, Kiese Laymon, Susan Choi).


Teaching Writing and Literature
1958 ENG 770
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | S. North

In this course, we will explore the connections between our ongoing discussion of a fairly broad question—i.e., What is the purpose of teaching English in higher education today, and how are people going about it?—with the narrower form it tends to take in our own lives: What am I supposed to do when I teach Eng ###? We will read a range of commentators on both questions, but the term’s major writing assignments will entail creating syllabus for two of the courses (one in literature and culture, the other in writing) you will likely teach during your time at UAlbany.


Spring 2014 Course Concentration Distribution

Literature, Modernity, and the Contemporary
ENG581: The Enlightenment and its Peripheries: Community, Popular Contention, and the Novel
ENG581: English Renaissance Drama and Culture: A Survey
ENG581: African American Literature
ENG680: Eccentric Enlightenment: Literature, Science, and the Trivial in Atlantic Modernity
ENG681: The William Carlos Williams Era


Writing Practices
ENG516: Fiction Workshop
ENG621: Current Trends in Rhetorical Theory and Research: Research Methods in Rhetoric and Composition


Cultural, Transcultural, and Global Studies
ENG560: Postcolonial Theory
ENG581: African American Literature
ENG720: The Ethnic Novel


Theoretical Constructs
ENG560: Postcolonial Theory
ENG680: The Eccentric Enlightenment
ENG720: The Ethnic Novel

Summer / Fall 2013

Summer 2013 Courses | Four Week 1 (May 28 - June 21, 2013)

Modernist Women Writers
1889 ENG581
MTWTHF | 3:20-5:40PM | Online | P. Chu

This course offered online through the Blackboard Learning System. The primary texts for this coursewill be shorter works of British and American women modernists; we will read these stories and novellas in their sociopolitical contexts. We will, therefore, read literary criticism and history as well as fiction and essays. Authors may include Katherine Mansfield, Rebecca West, Virginia Woolf, Sara Jeannette Duncan, May Sinclair, Nella Larsen, Kay Boyle. The modernist period, roughly 1900-1945, was a time during which people experienced urbanization, the rise of fascism, world war, the development of opencultural configurations outside the bourgeois family, empire and its decline, progressive social movements such as those for suffrage and worker’s rights and the rise of the modern social sciences (psychoanalysis, eugenics, anthropology). Conflictingreactions to these experiences of modernity manifest, many argue, in the writing of the period as the experimental literature called “modernist.” Women writers had complicated relationships to the new artistic circles even as this period marks a time when women’s writing increased markedly and women had more access than ever before to publishing venues, collaboration with other artists, and lifestyles that allowed for creative work. Reading for this course will be quite heavy and the four-week length of the course does not allow for any incompletes or late work (including postings to the discussion and the completion of quizzes/exams/essays) for any reason. Students will be expected to participate in online discussion frequently.
 

Summer 2013 Courses | Six Week 3 (July 9 - August 17, 2013)

Seminar: Topics in Contemporary Literary Theory
1488 ENG681
MW | 6:00-9:30PM | H. Elam

A study of relations between literature and criticism, this course will focus on five or six major literary texts (from different centuries and in different genres--novel, poetry, drama, nonfiction), accompanied by a critical essay on each. The critical essays are chosen not because they deploy any particular theoretical model but because they were in their time (and are) an important reading of a particular text. Possible pairings: Homer (Odyssey) and Erich Auerbach; Molière (Don Juan), and Shoshana Felman; Mozart’s Don Giovanni; Kafka (Metamorphosis) and Walter Benjamin; Ponge: On the Nature of Things. Requirements: Midterm, final, two papers.


Fall 2013 Courses

Textual Practices I
1929 ENG500
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | H. Elam

This course will focus on a few major writers and the critical debates that have hovered around them and that have shaped some of the contexts of literary study. Readings will move across genres and disciplines, structured as a conversation between literary and critical texts, and will comprise writers such as Dickinson, Beckett, Wordsworth, Nietzsche, de Man, Kafka. Requirements: Two short papers leading to term paper, weekly responses to readings, and class presentations.


Fiction Workshop
1930 ENG516
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | E. Schwarzschild

Permission of Instructor required. Please submit a sample of your fiction writing with a brief cover letter about yourself and your writing to Prof. Schwarzschild (eschwarzschild@albany.edu). Any student who is an undergraduate or who is a graduate student from a department other than English should e-mail the Director of Graduate Studies <bbenjamin@albany.edu> to inquire about workshop eligibility requirements(please include yourstudent ID#in this e-mail).

In this course, each student will be expected to complete and revise two or three pieces of fiction (short stories, short-shorts, or novel excerpts) during the semester, to be submitted for workshop discussion. Most of each class period will be devoted to this workshop discussion (for which prepared written comments will be expected). Time will also be spent studying and discussing isolated aspects of effective writing, such as description, dialogue, character depiction, openings, endings, vocabulary and syntax. There will be various texts for reading, as well as occasional in-class writing exercises and supplemental brief assignments.


Staging Empire
7504 ENG580
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | L. Cable

The British Empire stretched across three centuries, and at its height it governed one quarter of the world’s population and land mass. Although the legal relationships between ruler and ruled were written up in various constitutions, the contradiction between cherished British notions of themselves as freedom-loving people and the actual practices whereby they curtailed the liberties of others led to significant ambivalence about the meaning of such power. This ambivalence is reflected in plays performed from the late 16th through 20th centuries. We will explore a selection of these plays through questions such as: How do specific plays reflect the cultural and political conditions that sustain empire? Do playwrights intervene in public debate over empire in order to influence it, or do they merely dramatizewhat they perceive? How does a given play indicate what its English audience feared, aspired to, gained, or lost from empire? To what extent were public perceptions about empire shaped by race, class, gender or partisan politics? How did ideas about empire affect popular notions of English identity? What evidence did plays provide for audiences to think through the moral, ethical, and social as well as economic consequences of imperial dominion? To what extent did stage plays treat empire as altering the course of human civilization? Although a substantial number of our readings come from the English Augustan era (1660-1714), which consciously drew on classical Roman models of philosophy, politics, art, and literature, we will also sample the broad historical sweep of British empire drama, from the work of Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare to twentieth century playwrights Harley Granville Barker and Brian Friel. In addition to reading and discussion, there will be a sequence of short papers and oral reports on historical context, oral presentation of an annotated bibliography, and a final research paper.


Cross-Examination: Law and Literature in Nineteenth-Century England
9288 ENG581
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | R. Craig

This course will examine the substantial presence of law, lawyers, and legal issues in Victorian fiction. In addition to considering why questions pertaining to law and justice so often find their way into the novel, we will focus on key civil and criminal topics (such asinheritance, marriage, and contracts, in the first case, and evidence, testimony, and legal proceedings, in the second) as they relate to overarching concerns such as the nature of justice, the role and limit of law, and legal ethics in general. Students are encouraged to pursue related topics in Victorian culture and society, such as policing and punishing, the public and private spheres, language and libel, or gender and sexuality, among others. Novelists likely to be included are Dickens, Gaskell, Eliot, Trollope, Meredith, and Collins.

We will also read the work of seminal figures in the contemporary law and literature movement.Among the legal theorists and critics that we will discuss are Peter Brooks, Rosemary Coombe, Ronald Dworkin, Standley Fish, Richard Posner, Brook Thomas, Richard Weisberg, and James Boyd White.
 

Antebellum American Literature (Reading Course)
9290 ENG 581
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05PM | J. Greiman

Principally an intensive survey of U.S. literary production from the 1820s to the 1860s, this course will also take up the very idea of the “antebellum” as one of its key questions and problems. On the one hand, the notion of the antebellum risks the hermeneutic fallacy of backshadowing (to borrow Michael André Bernstein’s term) by reading the literature of this period, not only in terms of the post-Revolutionary, the Early National, the Jacksonian, etc., but also through the lens of a catastrophe that had not yet occurred. On the other hand, the Civil War years indeed effected fundamental changes to the material conditions and grounding concepts of the nation that make such descriptors as ‘antebellum’ and ‘postbellum’ far from arbitrary. Moving more or less chronologically, we will examine the period through four such grounding concepts –space, time, matter, and war –each of which have also generated a good deal of recent scholarship in 19th-century American literary studies. More precisely, we will consider the instability of “space” in an emergent empire through the frontier novels of James Fennimore Cooper and Lydia Maria Child. We will consider the problem of “time” through Emerson’s charge that his age is “retrospective,” as well as through the temporal experimentation of the American romance, as practiced by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe. In taking up the seemingly general category of “matter,” we will examine the ways in which this period also witnessed very specific transformations in the meaning of persons, property, and life through writing by Harriet Jacobs,Frederick Douglass, Henry David Thoreau, and Herman Melville. Finally, we will end the course with “war,” taking it both as a frame to interpret the nation’s violent constitution in slavery and genocidal expansion and as the historical event that closes the period.

This course is designed for students who intend to teach American literature, and / or those who are preparing for an MA exam or thesis, or developing doctoral exam lists and dissertation topics, in this field. Readings may include work by: Alexis de Tocqueville, J.F. Cooper, L.M. Child, R.W. Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Henry David Thoreau, N. Hawthorne, E.A. Poe, F. Douglass, H. Jacobs, Harriet Beecher Stowe, H. Melville, John Rollins Ridge, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson. We will also read selections of recent criticism, available in an online course reader. Students will write two papers –one principally on a question in the scholarship of this period, and one principally on the primary material of the course. For our first course meeting, everyone will read the final chapter of volume one of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America: “A Few Remarks on the Present-Day State and Probable Future of the Three Races which Live in the Territory of the United States” (I will email a pdf to all enrolled students over the summer). Finally, for those who would like to take advantage of the summer to dig into some of the lengthier work on the syllabus, we will certainly read the following: James Fennimore Cooper, The Pioneers (1823); Lydia Maria Child, Hobomok (1824); Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nature” (1836); Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861).


Feminist Rhetoric(s)
9291 ENG 621
Wednesday | 7:15-10:05PM | T. Carey

Thiscourse examines feminist rhetorics as a theoretical and practical enterprise within U.S. and global contexts. Our inquiry is situated within two overlapping contexts: the work of women of color (ie. African American, Native American, Chicana/Latina, Asian American) to disrupt monolithic notions of feminism and the field of Feminist Rhetorics’ complex three-decade long interdisciplinary recovery and inclusion project of reclaiming and foregrounding women’s voices within the Western rhetorical tradition. We will read a combination of primary and secondary book-length and shorter texts, guided in our inquiry by such questions as: What are feminist rhetoric(s)? How has/do women of color feminisms influence and complicate this tradition? Does the recovery of women’s voices mean we have recovered feminist rhetoric? What is the relationship of feminist rhetoric(s) to feminist theories and women’s activism within social movements? How does one do a feminist rhetorical analysis and what methods and methodologies inform this work? And, how can feminist rhetoric(s) inform writing and reading pedagogies? Texts under consideration include: Ritchie and Ronald’s Available Means: An Anthology of Women’s Rhetorics; Royster and Kirsch’s Feminist Rhetorical Practices: New Horizons for Rhetoric, Composition, and Literacy Studies; Buchanan and Ryan’s Walking and Talking Feminist Rhetorics: Landmark Essays and Controversies; Anzaldua’s Borderlands/ La Frontera: The New Mestiza; Royster’s Traces of a Stream: Literacy as Social Change Among African American Women; Jung’s Revisionary Rhetoric; Feminist Pedagogy and Multigenre Texts;and Gwendolyn Pough’s Check it While I Wreck It: Black Womanhood, Hip-Hop Culture, and the Public Sphere. Tentative course assignments include weekly reading response papers, class-discussion leading activities, a seminar paper prospectus/bibliography,and a longer seminar paper.


Esthetics and Emotion; or, Literature and the History of Subjectivity
8386 ENG641
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | C. Shepherdson

The recent history of literary theory could be seen as a turn away from New Criticism, which was thought to detach literature from its social and political context in the name of an idealized “esthetic” domain of art, and from later post-structuralist thought (particularly deconstruction), insofar as the so-called “linguistic turn” seemed to reduce everything to language and the “free play of the signifier,” thereby detaching art (once again) from its social and political context. Movements in literary theory with very diverse aims –including feminist theory, the New Historicism, Marxism, and the general development of cultural studies –had the great advantage of restoring the political and social dimension of art.

In the process, however, the peculiarity of esthetic experience has been effaced or ignored. “Cultural theory” (as it is called –rather than “literary theory”) has tended to neglect the borders that separate esthetic experience from other forms of experience shaped by the domains of religious, legal, political, medical discourse, and other broadly “social” forms of life. Arguments about the "social construction of subjectivity" too often neglect the distinctive character of esthetic experience, absorbing it into the "social," "cultural," or "political" domain, as if there were no difference between the literary work and the medical, religious, political and other discourses that surround the work of art. And yet, the work of art cannot simply be situated in its place and time like other historical objects, as a “sign” (or symptom) of the times, as if it were one historical artifact among others (a sewer system, a technological invention, etc). The work of art does not belong to time in the same way as other “historical” objects, but has a distinctive historicity which authors as diverseas Jauss, Foucault, and Adorno attemped to elaborate. This point also bears on the role of esthetic experience in the history of subjectivity: the work of art does not testify to the prior existence of a “social” form of subjectivity that exists independently and outside the work of art (as though art could only repeat or “document” the categories of class, gender, and other normative forms of “social” identity that predate the work of art); rather, esthetic experience brings into being new possibilities of subjective life that often contradict or disrupt the historical forms of subjectivity that surround the work of art.

This course will explore the distinct affective and institutional formation of subjectivity that belongs to esthetic experience, focusing in particular on the problem of “emotion.” It will explore the particular ways in which “emotion” is conceptually configured within the horizon of esthetic experience, moving through three case studies, linked to three historical moments and three affective pairs: (1) “pity and fear” in Greek tragedy, in the context of emerging democracy; (2) “fear and “respect” (or “awe”) in Kant’s account of the sublime at the end of the Enlightenment, and in the poetry of Wordsworth; and (3) “fear and anxiety” in the work of Freud and Heidegger, at the threshold of contemporary thought (including the literature of the “uncanny”). This trajectory focuses mainly on the transformation of “fear” within what one might call the unique discursive and institutional horizonof “esthetic feeling,” but we may also consider the rather different trajectory of “pity” that runs from Aristotle to Adam Smith and other Enlightenment thinkers, including arguments about the “sentimental” novel, and esthetic interventions in the theory of “moral sentiment.” The aim of the course is to explore how literature and esthetic experience contribute to (and intervene in) contemporary accounts of the “politics of affect.”

The course will be philosophical and theoretical. Students will be encouraged to develop a particular research topic related to their own interests, but relevant to the course. Students will produce a final research paper, based on an annotated bibliography that will be developed individually in conversation with me.


Decolonizing Marxisms: James, Padmore, Fanon
9293 ENG660
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05PM | B. Benjamin

This course will examine the profound, if vexed, influence of Marxism on intellectuals involved in the decolonizing movements of the mid-Twentieth Century. We will analyze writings from a group of thinkers who understand themselves to be working fundamentally within a Marxist tradition, but who nevertheless seek to revise and extend Marxist thought to more explicitly account for the social dynamics of colonialism and decolonization. We will begin by reading some of Marx’s on work on colonialism and nationalism, as well as a few selected early-twentieth-century Marxist critiques of imperialism. The majority of the course, however, will be devoted to an in-depthinvestigation of three towering thinkers from the Caribbean: C.L.R. James, George Padmore, and Frantz Fanon. In different ways James and Fanon have each come to assume a celebrated place among the intellectual forefathers of cultural studies and postcolonial studies. Padmore’s work has been less influential for various reasons (including his Marxism). This oversight would likely be unimaginable to James at least, who is profoundly influenced by the former’s corpus of work. This class, at least, will ensure that Padmore’s sophisticated analysis of race, class, and imperialism gets its due. We should have time to read all of Fanon’s published and translated writings in their entirety. James and Padmore were each more prolific than Fanon, so we will read representative, but substantial, selections from each. If time allows, we may take up writings from other decolonizing Marxist thinkers such as Claudia Jones, José Carlos Mariáeigui, Mao Zedong, Che Guevarra, Amilcar Cabral, or Samir Amin. Additionally,we may supplement the primary readings with Marxist interventions into postcolonial literary studies. Among other things, the course will pay careful attention to the problems of uneven geographical development, imperialism, the relation between race and class, national cultures, and transnational movements. Throughout, we will assess the place of James, Padmore, and Fanon within Marxism; further we will assess their place, and the place of Marxism, within postcolonial and cultural studies.


Faulkner and the Anthropocene
5183 ENG681
Wednesday | 7:15-10:05AM | T. Cohen

This seminar will be devoted to select close readings of William Faulkner’s work—in particular, focusing on the representation of race, writing, and “American” history. In doing so, we will examine alternative interpretive frameworks which the 21st century discloses.
 

Thomas Hardy and D.H. Lawrence
9834 ENG 681
Thursday | 4:15-7:05AM | J. Berman

We will focus on two great late nineteenth-and early twentieth-century British novelists: Thomas Hardy and D.H. Lawrence. The reading will include Hardy's The Return of the Native, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, and Jude the Obscure, and Lawrence's Sons and Lovers, Women in Love, and Lady Chatterley's Lover. We will emphasize psychoanalytic and feminist interpretations. Requirements: There will be two major essays, each 15 pages long, several reader-response diaries, and a class presentation.


The Calvinist Inheritance in American Culture, 1620-1865
9914 ENG 681
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | R. Bosco

Readings for the seminar will be drawn from a variety of forms (poetry, fiction, and non-fiction prose [including autobiography, history, and homiletics]) as our discussion progresses through two of the several periods into which American literary and intellectual history are traditionally divided: Colonial (roughly 1620 to 1770) and Early National and Romantic (roughly 1770 to 1865) American Life and Letters. Some of the writers featured in the seminar will already be known to participants (Bradstreet, Edwards, Franklin, Emerson, and Hawthorne, for example), while others (Puritan historians William Bradford and John Winthrop and poets Michael Wiggles worth and Edward Taylor, Transcendentalist Margaret Fuller, and the early realist Rebecca Harding Davis, for example) may be less familiar.

Requirements for all participants include completion of a substantial body of reading and active participation in the life of the seminar, the preparation and delivery of one brief in-class presentation based on an assigned topic, and attendance at seminar meetings. An important methodological interest of the seminar in which all participants will engage is the development of an archive devoted to a writer, or a movement, genre, or topic located within this broad period-span, or a theory relating to some portion of the period and its historical relevance for later American experience. Additionally, all participants will prepare and present to the seminar a MLA-styled “working” paper on a topic relevant to the content of the seminar.


The Literary and its Others
5618 ENG710
Monday | 7:15-10:05PM | K. Kuiken

This course is an advanced doctoral-level survey of recent developments in literary and critical theory. It focuses specifically on the question of how to think through the relationship between the “literary” and the “theory” that would attempt to account for it. We will ask how “literature” and “textuality” came to be defined in relationship to each other within different theoretical traditions, as well as what role these terms play in the treatment of the philosophical and political problems these traditions address. The course will start in the early 19th century, beginning with the emergence of philosophical aesthetics as a discourse on art more generally. We will then turn to late 19th and 20th century attempts to develop modes of analysis specific to the literary text. At stake will be such questions as whether or not emergent art forms such as photography and film begin to erode the specificity of the “literary,” or whether certain strains within literary theory still provide a powerful resource for advancing contemporary theoretical debates. We will then turn to recent debates on the relationship between aesthetic form and politics, as well as recent attempt to carry forward the challenge of literary theory into other domains not usually associated with literature. Authors studied will include Agamben, Barthes, Derrida, Deleuze, Hegel, Kant, Lukacs, Ranciere and others.


Biopolitics, Early and Late
5903 ENG720
Thursday | 7:15-10:05PM | R. Barney

This course will study the field of biopolitics by focusing particularly on how the work by Michel Foucault, Giorgo Agamben, Roberto Esposito, Hannah Arendt, Jacques Derrida, and others has been crucially based on particular interpretations of early modern political and philosophical authors such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, and Adam Smith. Since many recent analysts like Foucault consider the birth of biopolitics during the 17th and 18th centuries to have been a central part of the emergence of western modernity, we will read several early works they rely on with a careful eye toward how those works support or complicate specific constructions of concepts such as the Enlightenment, the modern, subjectivity, and political sovereignty. Along the way, we will consider how during the 18th century, new scientific discoveries about human physiology, as well as innovative formulations of human perception or socialization, produced new understandings of “life” and its potential for political control, revolution, or reform.

Because the convergence of “life” and politics was by no means ready-made during the early modern period, we will explore how medical, literary, and political texts played a role in representing or actively forging the bio-political liaison from the 18th to the 19th century in Britain. Examples of that process will include the poetry of Anne Finch, George Cheyne’s popular medical publications, Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year, Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, and Mary Shelley’s The Last Man. In tracking a broad historical arc from those “early” examples to “late” ones, we will also consider 20th-and 21st-century literary and cinematic transformations of biopolitcal themes, such as in Colson Whitehead’s hit zombie novel, Zone One, Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion, and Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead.

This course is restricted to doctoral students. Exceptions may be made for M.A. students with strong analytic and writing skills. In order to enroll, M.A. or non-degree students will need permission from the instructor <rbarney@albany.edu> and the Graduate Director <bbenjamin@albany.edu>.


Practicum in Teaching Writing and Literature
7099 ENG 771
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | L. Brown

Using a workshop approach, this course will address practical issues of teaching. Students will mine their simultaneous experience teaching an undergraduate course to identify pedagogical problems and review options for solving such problems. We will also considering the implications of pragmatic choices in developing a statement of teaching philosophy. Students will be challenged to attempt new and unfamiliar techniques in their classrooms to increase confidence and effectiveness. The course will encourage a spirit of experimentation, open-minded reflectiveness and active engagement of undergraduate students. Professional issues such as evaluation of teaching, classroom observation, and creation of documentation for personnel reviews, student evaluation, grading, and commenting on student work exemplify topics that may be discussed in the course.


Summer / Fall 2013 Course Concentration Distribution

Literature, Modernity, and the Contemporary
ENG 580—Staging Empire
ENG 581—The Practice & Theory Of The Avant-Garde (Reading Course)
ENG 581—Cross-Examination: Law and Literature in Nineteenth-Century England
ENG 581—Antebellum American Literature (Reading Course)
ENG 681—Seminar: Faulkner and the Anthropocene ENG 681—Seminar: Thomas Hardy and D.H. Lawrence
ENG 681—The Calvinist Inheritance in American Culture, 1620-1865


Writing Practices
ENG 516—Fiction Workshop
ENG 621—Feminist Rhetoric(s)


Cultural,Transcultural, and Global Studies
ENG 580—Staging Empire
ENG 621—Feminist Rhetoric(s)
ENG 660—Decolonizing Marxisms: James, Padmore, Fanon


Theoretical Constructs
ENG 641—Esthetics and Emotion; or, Literature and the History of Subjectivity
ENG 660—Decolonizing Marxisms: James, Padmore, Fanon
ENG 681—Seminar: Faulkner and the Anthropocene

Spring 2013

Spring 2013 Courses

Textual Practices 1
8586 ENG 500
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | R. Barney

This course introduces students to a range of theoretical issues, interpretive strategies, and transdiciplinary interchanges that have transformed the study of English.


Workshop in Fiction
2013 ENG 516
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | L. Tillman

For the graduate fiction workshop, students are expected to have already been developing, thinking about, and working on fiction. Poets who are interested in writing fiction are also welcome to apply. During the workshop, each student will present pieces to the group, three or four times (depending upon our number). Each student is expected to be a full participant in the discussion and commentary on colleagues' fictions, stories, and consequent questions about issues in writing. We may do additional readings, stories and theory, to augment our discussions. This is a Permission by Instructor course. Those interested in applying should email 5 -7 pages of their writing to: Tillwhen@aol.com. In addition, students must also indicate previous writing courses; major or area of specific interest in graduate school, and reasons for wanting to take this workshop.


Dramatic Writing Workshop
9370 ENG 518
Thursday | 7:15-10:05PM | C. Yalkut

This is a workshop that introduces students to the techniques of dramatic writing. Each student functions primarily as a dramatist, but also as audience and actor. Students give onstage readings of and discuss each other's work, revise scenes and, for the final project, finish a one-act play. During the semester, students will also read plays independently and attend at least one live stage performance.


Shakespeare: Sources and Offshoots (Reading Course)
7994 ENG 580
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | M. Rozett

Nearly all of Shakespeare’s plays were inspired by previous texts, and within a few decades after they were first performed, they began inspiring offshoots of various kinds: sequels, adaptations, revisions, parodies, and radical, often ideologically-inflected appropriations. This course will examine six plays and their sources and offshoots: A Comedy of Errors, Richard III, Hamlet, Othello, Antony and Cleopatra, and The Tempest. We will consider the ways in which changing conceptions of history, character, gender, and other culturalas sumptions have contributed to the shaping and reshaping of a story and the language and genres or forms in which that story is constructed. Readings will range from the Romans (Plautus, Plutarch) to twentieth-century fiction (The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey, Gertrude and Claudius by John Updike) and plays (All for Love by John Dryden, Desdemona: A Play about a Handkerchief by Paula Vogel, A Tempest by Aime Cesaire). Requirements include short response papers, a presentation, and a seminar paper.


Later American Literature (Reading Course)
6168 ENG 581
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | P. Chu

This course will focus on works of American fiction that emerged from both the realist/naturalist and the modernist movements of American literature between the1880s and the 1950s. The first purpose of the course is to give foundational exposure to a broad range of major literary works of the period, with attention to their various aesthetic and political contexts: U.S. empire, Reconstruction and legal segregation, urbanization, the two World Wars, the advent of universal suffrage, major changes in immigration law, the Depression, the establishment of railroads and corporations, the increasing ubiquity of television, radio and film, and the beginning of the ColdWar. Additionally, for each work we will read and discuss significant recent literary critical approaches with the aim of allowing students to familiarize themselves with current work and approaches appropriate to the field and to begin formulating their own methodologies. Assignments and discussion will directly address the issue of acquiring competency in a literary field from the ground up and scholarly expectations for journal publication of literary criticism. This course would be a useful foundation for students who wish to teach American literature or who are considering an oral exam, an MA essay or specialized research in a smaller segment of this field. Reading is heavy: one primary text plus the equivalent of 3 scholarly journal articles per week,and at least one assignment that will involve developing a substantive annotated bibliography or writing a “state of the field” narrative based on one major academic journal or set of critical arguments, so please plan accordingly. Students will be expected to do a full set of readings prior to the first meeting. Authors may include: Howells, Veblen, Chesnutt, James, Wharton, Burroughs, Gilman, DuBois, Cather, Wells, Gilman, Faulkner, Ellison, Murayama, Himes.


Fitzgerald & Hemingway
9371 ENG 582
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | 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 several reader-response diaries.


The History of English Studies
9372 ENG 583
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | L. Wilder

This seminar sketches the history of English Studies in the U.S., but with necessary reference to educational and scholarly trends emerging from Europe, particularly Germany and Great Britain, such as belletrism and philology. We will examine the creation of “literature” as a category of texts separate from others and deemed worthy of specialized, disciplined study, an examination that will extend from ancient Greek understandings of the categories of “rhetoric” and “poetics” to modern copyright laws. And we will trace the status of writing instruction in higher education. We will end the semester with discussion of the current status of English Studies and the broader humanities in higher education. Theories of disciplinarity will inform our examination of the rise of English departments and their organization. Our primary course texts will be a number of the recent histories and genealogies of English Studies and the bedfellows who reside together under this label: literary studies, rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Students will be required to compose a response paper that imagines the future of English Studies, a book review, and a seminar paper suitable for presentation at an academic conference.


Contemporary Authors
9373 ENG 681
Wednesday | 7:15-10:05PM | E. Schwarzschild

This is a seminar that examines contemporary writers and it will be structured in conjunction with the New York State Writers Institute Spring2013 Visiting Writers Series. We will study at least eight major writers, whose works range from fiction and nonfiction to poetry, playwriting and screenwriting. One principal work for each writer will be taken up in the context of the writer's complete work, the writer's biography, and the contemporary literary situation. Students will be expected to reflect both critically and creatively on each writer's work. Since the Visiting Writers Series often has sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays, students will be encouraged whenever possible to be available for the relevant 4:15 p.m. craft talks and 8:00 p.m. readings by the Visiting Writers themselves. The seminar will also occasionally reflect upon the undergraduate English 350 course, a course that takes up some of the same material in survey fashion. That connection will provide an opportunity to examine pedagogy as a part of the critical exploration of the writers studied.

The actual list of authors will be announced as the Visiting Writers Series schedule is confirmed, sometime over the winter break. Updates can be found on the New York State Writers Institute website (www.albany.edu/writers-inst). Recent Visiting Writers have included such authors as Marie Howe, Junot Díaz, Denis Johnson, J.M. Coetzee, Paul Auster, and Joy Harjo.

Students will be expected to write one long critical paper as well as one creative project with a critical introduction. Class sessions will be in seminar/workshop format, and students will be expected to make in-class presentations.


Mystery and Detective Fiction: Popular Literature (and Why It Lasts)
9374 ENG 681
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | S. North

This course will consider the relationship between a selected set of authors working in mystery and detective fiction and those critics who, especially over the past 30 years, have tried to make cultural and/or literary sense of this impressively durable and prolific form of popular literature. Authors will likely include Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Anna Katherine Green, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Dorothy Roberts Rinehart, Walter Mosley and Sara Paretsky. Critical texts will include both broader background readings (e.g., Walter Benjamin, Tsvetan Todorov); and more recent, specialized work such as Maureen Reddy’s Traces, Codes and Clues: Reading Race in Crime Fiction; Catherine Ross Nickerson’s The Web of Iniquity: Early Detective Fiction by American Women; John Irwin’s Unless the Threat of Death is Behind Them; and Sean McCann’s Gumshoe America. Assignments will include regular short writings, a class presentation, and an extended final project.


Selected Anglophone Caribbean Literature and Criticism
9397 ENG 685
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05PM | G. Griffith

Before there was post-colonial literature there was Commonwealth literature, and the literature of the Commonwealth during the British colonial period comprised the literature of the metropolitan center and the literature of the various satellite outposts that made up the colonized world. These colonized folk who were, in Frantz Fanon’s words, the ‘wretched of the earth,’ produced literature that was simultaneously within and without an established British literary tradition, literature that sustained a simultaneous filial and patricidal relationship to the cultural traditions of the colonial center. This graduate course will explore some of the cultural, political, and other tensions and contradictions that characterized this period of literary and critical production by examining selected anglophone Caribbean criticism and literature from the 1930s through the 1960s.

The development of literature and criticism in the anglophone Caribbean coincided with the aftermath of widespread civil disturbances in the region during the late 1930s, the subsequent recommendations of the Moyne Commission that included the establishment of the University of the West Indies, and the tireless work of first Una Marson, and then Henry Swanzy in establishing and consolidating the BBC ‘Caribbean Voices’ literary radio program. This literary radio program played an important role in shaping much of the early writing coming out of the Anglophone Caribbean. Paying attention to the history of the development of literature and criticism in this region of the Americas, with particular emphasis on the BBC ‘Caribbean Voices’ program, we will examine, inter alia, literary post-coloniality in anglophone Caribbean letters.


Textual Studies II: Queer Poetry/Politics
5579 ENG 720
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | E. Keenaghan

What does it mean for poetry to be “political,” at all, much less part of a “queer” politics? Is it appropriate to read texts authored in the United States by LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) writers prior to the 1969 Stonewall riots, Gay Liberation, and subsequent sexual and trans/gender activisms as “political”? How about texts authored prior to the founding in the Mattachine Society, ONE, and the Daughters of Bilitis, the first American homophile organizations from the 1950s? Can a text only engage in “queer politics” if it is authored by an LGBT-identified writer? Such questions have been bandied about by queer studies and queer theory for over two decades...though rarely in relation to poetry. This course will explore the relationship between sexual and gender minority and poetry, a genre often overlooked by queer studies and queer theory (that tend to favor cultural studies and narrative forms). Rather than policing boundaries (of “appropriateness,” “qualification,” etc.), we will explore how some modernist “queer” poetry antedating the homophile and liberation moments contributed to a decades-long cultural project of building recognizable communities, while paradoxically also unsettling both minoritarian identities.

Without pretending to be comprehensive, we will study works from a wide historical period: 1914 (the year marking the start of the Great War and the publication of Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons) to 1975 (the Fall of Saigon and the post-Stonewall years). Thus, these writers and works set the stage—often unwittingly—for political movements and politicized consciousnesses to come. To establish working definitions of key terms contemporary queer studies and queer theory has inherited from the liberation era (“gay,” “queer,” “politics,” “community”), we will begin with a three-week study of agitprop, manifestoes, and oral histories related to homophile and Stonewall-era activisms. We will examine activist organizations’ investment in establishing minority identities and their simultaneous, counterintuitive “queer” deconstruction of fixed identifications. In these initial weeks, the political and historical readings will be complemented with poetry selections by activists (GLF and Lavender Menace co-founder Martha Shelley) and activist poets (Dianne DiPrima, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Judy Grahn, Pat Parker), as well as anthologies like Gay Sunshine’s Angels of the Lyre that mostly contained “experimental” gay (male) poets, some associated with the movement (such as Allen Ginsberg) and others not (such as Robert Duncan and Ronald Johnson).

With a working vocabulary about “queerness” and “minority politics,” we will then look at key poetic projects from the previous half-century that set the stage for an awareness of sexual minority identification and community while also challenging those identifications’ stability, even viability. Nine weeks of the semester will be devoted to major poets whose work brought gender and sexuality, desire and eroticism, to the fore. Most—but not all—of these writers were gay-or lesbian-or trans-identified; yet, all were “queer.” These poets are likely to include: Gertrude Stein; Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, read alongside Djuna Barnes; Langston Hughes, read alongside Richard Bruce Nugent; Hart Crane; Parker Tyler, read alongside “poetic” collagist filmmakers Kenneth Anger and Jack Smith; José Garcia Villa, read alongside Marianne Moore; Muriel Rukeyser; Frank O’Hara; Allen Ginsberg, read alongside Paul Goodman.

The final two weeks will be devoted to Robert Duncan, who offers a bridge between modernism and the liberation moment. Duncan was regarded as a model for gay politics and gay poetry since his early essay “The Homosexual in Society” (1944), the first published essay in the U.S. about homosexuality, (anarchist) politics (before the homophile movement)...and, not so incidentally, poetry. We will examine that text alongside early poetry from the 1940s through the mid-1950s. Our semester will culminate with Duncan’s writings on the brink of the liberation moment, his queerly political (and politically queer) Vietnam-era volume Bending the Bow (1968) and selections from The H.D. Book, on war, politics, modernism, gender, and sexuality.

Suggested reading before the semester: Michael Bronski, A Queer History of the United States or Vicki Eaklor’s Queer America: A People’s GLBT History of the United States. Readings for the first week of class: One or two essays on the homophile movement, and a few poems (by Jack Spicer and others), will be available on Blackboard 2 weeks before class. The finalized list of required texts will be emailed to all registered students a few weeks before classes begin.

Note: This seminar is designed to deepen studies of modernist and postwar/cold war American poetries, history, and politics. As such, it will be useful for anyone working in twentieth-century literature (regardless of subfield specialization) or anyone working in gender/sexuality studies (regardless of literary period). With the instructor’s permission, this course is open to MA students and interested graduate students from other programs and departments working in gender and/or sexuality studies and/or political philosophy. Interested MA English students, as well as MA and PhD students from other programs should contact me for information and to arrange for permission to register: ekeenaghan@albany.edu

M.A. and PhD Requirements: Class attendance and participation; brief weekly discussion board posts on Blackboard (350-500 words); abstract and annotated bibliography related to some aspect of gender and sexuality and poetic culture c.1914-1975 (10-15 sources), due late March; researched seminar paper (20-30 pages), based on abstract and bibliography.


Teaching Writing and Literature
2029 ENG 770
Monday | 7:15-10:05PM | H. Scheck

Required of all doctoral students in their first year of study. This course examines current issues in the teaching of writing and literature, with attention to how teachers think students learn, and the institutional context within which teaching and learning occur. Particular attention will be given to how issues of gender, race and class affect teaching theory and practice.


Spring 2013 Course Concentration Distribution

Literature, Modernity, and the Contemporary
ENG580: Shakespear: sources and Offshoots (Reading)
ENG581: Later American Literature (Reading)
ENG582: Fitzgerald and Hemingway
ENG681: Contemporary Authors
ENG681: Popular Fictions
ENG685: Selected Anglophone Caribbean Literature and Criticism


Writing Practices
ENG516: Fiction Workshop
ENG518: Dramatic Writing Workshop
ENG583: History of English Studies
ENG681: Contemporary Authors


Cultural, Transcultural, and Global Studies
ENG681: Popular fictions
ENG685: Selected Anglophone Caribbean Literature and criticism
ENG720: Queer Poetry/Politics


Theoretical Constructs
ENG720: The History of Rhetoric

Summer / Fall 2012

Summer 2012 Courses | Four Week 1 (May 29 - June 22, 2011)

20th Century American Poetry
2745 ENG 581
MTWTHF | 3:20-5:40PM | P. Stasi

In this course we will read a range of American poets. Our class will begin in the 19th century with Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, generally considered to be the founders of competing strands of American poetry. We will then spend the rest of our course in the 20th century, paying careful attention to how different poets understand their craft, their relationship to the literary past and the nation they are taken to represent. How can writing embody and even shape elements of the national character? What, if anything, is specifically American about these writers?


Summer 2012 Courses | Six Week 1 (May 29 - July 6, 2012)

Seminar: Texts/Authors and Their Critics
1824 ENG 681
MTTH | 6:00-8:30PM | H. Elam

A study of relations between literature and criticism, this course will focus on five or six major literary texts (from different centuries and in different genres--novel, poetry, drama, nonfiction), accompanied by a critical essay on each. The criticales says are chosen not because they deploy any particular theoretical model but because they were in their time (and are) an important reading of a particular text. Possible pairings: Homer (Odyssey) and Erich Auerbach; Molière (Don Juan) and Shoshana Felman; Kafka (Metamorphosis) and Walter Benjamin; Browning: two dramatic monologues; Ponge: On the Nature of Things. Requirements: Two papers, weekly reading responses, student presentations.


Fall 2012 Courses

Textual Practices I
1948 ENG 500
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | C. Shepherdson

This is a survey course in contemporary literary and cultural theory designed for new graduate students. It covers a range of figures and intellectual movements in twentieth-century literary theory and philosophy. Unlike many introductory surveys, this course does not rely on secondary handbooks, which are unreliable and which do not teach students to read the primary texts for themselves, and develop what Kant called “freedom from tutelage.” We will read only primary texts, and students will develop an ability to read these often difficult and technical works, and to assess and articulate the arguments made by major thinkers in this field. We will read work in structuralism (Saussure, Lévi-Strauss, Benveniste and others), anthropology (Whorf, Geertz, Girard), reception theory (Jauss and Iser), the Frankfurt School (Horkheimer and Adorno), psychoanalysis (Lacan and Kristeva), and others figures including Michel Foucault and Hayden White. Students will write a series of short papers dealing with approximately six of these writers.


Workshop in Poetry
9350 ENG 515
Wednesday | 7:15-10:05PM | T. Noel

From Whitman to the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, poetry has often served as a means of cultural commentary and intervention. This workshop/seminar will approach the writing of poetry from a perspective of cultural complexity. Although our focus will be on discussion of students' work, we will also read some critical and creative texts that explore the cultural coordinates of poetry from a variety of lenses (e.g. race, gender, class, sexuality, disability, transnationalism, globalization, the environment,). Engaging with Damon and Livingston's Poetry and Cultural Studies: A Reader, and with books by individual poets, we will consider some debates in contemporary poetics, exploring questions of form as well as socio-aesthetic contexts and implications. Assignments will include workshop presentations and, at semester's end, a creative dossier with a critical introduction and/or poetics statement.


Fiction Workshop
1949 ENG 516
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | L. Davis

Permission of Instructor required. Please submit a sample of your fiction writing, along with a generous cover letter about yourself and your interest in fiction, to Prof. Davis (cote@albany.edu). Any student who is an undergraduate or who is a graduate student from a department other than English should e-mail the Director of Graduate Studies (bret@albany.edu) with student ID# to inquire about workshop eligibility requirements.

In this course, each student will be expected to complete two to three pieces of fiction (short stories, short-shorts, or novel excerpts) during the semester, to be submitted for workshop discussion. Most of each class period will be devoted to this workshop discussion (for which prepared written comments will be expected), but time will also be spent studying and discussing isolated aspects of effective writing,such as description, dialogue, character depiction, exposition, openings, endings, vocabulary, and syntax.In support of this,there will be some short texts for assigned reading, as well as occasional in-class writing exercises and supplemental brief assignments. One or two books will also be assigned to be read over the semester.


The Transatlantic Origins of the Gothic Novel (Reading Course)
7997 ENG 580
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05PM | J. Lilley

Onboth sides of the Atlantic, the Gothic continues to enjoy a privileged position in literary studies. The ghosts, ruins, and supernatural mysteries that haunt its pages proved successful and lucrative literary formulas when they were first published, and these same specters now enjoy a rich critical afterlife in the hands of scholars interested in, for example, the rise of the novel, the politics of the emerging British and U.S. nations, the development of modern forms of time and historicity, and the establishment of racial difference in an age of colonial expansion. In this class, we will take a broad snapshot of this literary genre, focus sing on its early development in England and then tracing its movement across the Atlantic to the United States, where it would become the genre of choice for the new nation’s first professional authors. Because this is a “Reading” course, we will be spending most of our time with the novels themselves. Nevertheless, we will also read representative examples of current scholarship on the genre, providing us with the kind of breadth necessary to situate the Gothic in both historical and critical perspective. Students will be asked to prepare bibliographies and conduct guided research projects. Authors to include: Horace Walpole, Ann Radcliffe, Monk Lewis, William Godwin, Charlotte Turner Smith, Jane Austen, Charles Brockden Brown, Washington Irving, James Kirke Paulding, John Neal, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Montgomery Bird, and Herman Melville.


The Practice & Theory Of The Avant-Garde (Reading Course)
4769 ENG 581
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | P. Joris

This course examines and confronts contemporary texts theorizing the concept of “the avant-garde” (via essays by Peter Bürger, Jean-François Lyotard, Marjorie Perloff, OctavioPaz, Charles Bernstein & others) with the actual work of the core practitioners of the international avant-garde movements from the Symbolists —Mallarmé, specifically —via the Negritude poets to the post-modern movements. We will study selected poems & creative works, as well as manifestos, reflections, & descriptions of compo-sitional processes, etc. as proposed by 20C avant-garde artists & movements (Italian & Russian Futurism, Gertrude Stein, Dada & Surrealism, Ezra Pound & H.D., Aimé Césaire & Léopold Senghor, John Cage & Charles Olson, the Tel Quel group, the Arab "Shi'ir" movement, among others.)


John Milton
7816 ENG 582
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | L. Cable

“Why Milton?” That intentionally provocative query was not new to Milton criticism even in 1988, when British scholar Catherine Belsey made a point of voicing it. Milton's disconcerting blend of classical literary discipline and Puritan revolutionary ideology has sparked critical controversy for more than three and a half centuries, not least because the interrogation works both ways: underlying assumptions make every new generation of critics vulnerable to Milton's iconoclastic thinking. By reading most of his poetry and some of his prose through the lens of 17th century controversies that shape his artistic mission, we will gain an intimate sense of Milton as a radical thinker who confronts the most powerful religious and political forces of his time. In the process, we will also learn about contemporary critical activity that followed Christopher Hill's Marxist interventions into seventeenth century English political history, and Stanley Fish's interventions via affective stylistics into precisely the difficulties previous Milton critics preferred to avoid. Exploring as well psychoanalytic, feminist, and new-historicist readings, we will discover why current Milton criticism finds articulate debate, rather than consensus or resolution, to more truly reflect Milton’s artistic and intellectual character. Previous experience with Milton's poetry and prose (e.g., Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, Samson Agonistes, Areopagitica) is very helpful but not required. Selections from less familiar prose will also be assigned (e.g., Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, Treatise of Civil Power, Ready and Easy Way to Establish a Free Commonwealth). Requirements include (but are not limited to): • Weekly Short Essays (approximately 1 page each); • Oral Report with Annotated Bibliography; • Term Paper (approximately 25 pages) based on the oral report and bibliography.


Dickens
8353 ENG 582
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | R. Craig

A study of the major works of Charles Dickens. In addition to analyzing the language, narrative techniques, fictional forms, and thematic preoccupations that enable one to identify a Dickens novel, we will try to understand the “Dickens phenomenon,” which arose during his lifetime and which continues to this day—as witnessed by the numerous celebrations of the two-hundredth anniversary of his birth.


Poetics and Politics: Cultural Production of the Black Arts Era
7818 ENG 615
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | D. Smith

This seminar will examine the efflorescence of African American cultural production of the late 1960s and early 1970s. By reading literature and criticism of the so-called "Black Arts era" seminar participants will begin to understand the powerful and diverse critique of mainstream American politics and aesthetics that black artists produced during the Civil Rights/Black Power period. We will chart the emergence of a militant intellectual ethos that gave rise to a poetics that was expressly and unabashedly political. But we will also engage the work of black writers who felt that the temper of the new aesthetic was compromisingly vulgar and propagandistic. Our readings of a wide range of Black Arts era poetry and criticism will be supplemented by evaluations of the period by scholars writing in recent decades. Taken together, these texts will illuminate an important period of American literary history, even as they lay bare transhistorical concerns that animate the intersection of aesthetics and politics.


Reading Capital
9351 ENG 641
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05PM | B. Benjamin

Marx’s Capital stands as one of the foundational texts of modern critical theory. Some acknowledge openly the debts owed to Marx’s seminal analysis of capitalism and his philosophical contributions to historical materialism; others consider the obligations odious. Between Marx’s critics and Marxist critics, Capital casts a long shadow.

Never more relevant than today, at this moment of global economic crisis following thirty years of “free market” triumphalism, Capital Volume I (in its entirety) will serve as the primary text for this course. In contrast to broad ranging, book-a-week grad seminars (my own previous seminars included), this course will assume a slower, more meticulous pace; we will devote the majority of the semester to a careful, critical reading of this difficult but rich text. To supplement our primary reading of Marx we will examine several more recent the orizations of Capital’s legacy from distinct, though overlapping disciplinary perspectives: Frederic Jameson’s Representing Capital: A Reading of Volume One, Kevin Anderon’s Marx at the Margins, John Bellamy Foster’s Marx’s Ecology, and, time permitting, Raymond Williams’ Marxism and Literature or Louis Althusser’s For Marx.

Interdisciplinary by nature,this seminar is open to graduate students from other departments as well as those from English. Contact Bret Benjamin <bbenjamin@albany.edu> for additional information.


The Politics of Literary Reputation
5372 ENG 681
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | R. Bosco

Justifying his highly selective appropriation and interpretation of historical fact to suit his artistic purposes when writing The Crucible, the American playwright Arthur Miller remarked, “One finds I suppose what one seeks.” Miller’s comment is one individual’s acknowledgment of how the intellectual, imaginative, and aesthetic predispositions of creative writers and readers exert a substantial influence on their disposition toward historical materials, and it is as instructive for biographical and critical writing and theories of textual editing as it is for fiction, poetry, and drama that nominally locate their sources in history. It is especially instructive in accounting for the variety of ways in which biographers, critics, and literary editors have treated the respective lives, thought, and writings of Americans Anne Bradstreet, Edward Taylor, Benjamin Franklin, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson. Put another way, the thesis of this seminar is that, regardless of the theory informing their practice, no biographer, critic, or textual editor ever “objectively” or “disinterestedly” approaches the subject of his or her research; it is a thesis admirably demonstrated by the enormous range of revisionist biographical and critical studies on each of these writers produced over the last twenty years as well as by print and online arguments presently advanced concerning the “authority” and “accessibility” of ongoing and recent editions of the public and private (personal) writings of Taylor, Emerson, and Thoreau.

Each of these writers enjoys reasonably sound canonical status today, and so the purpose of this course is to examine the ways in which biographers, critics, and textual editors have contributed to that status. Here, Bradstreet and Taylor, Emerson and Thoreau, and Whitman and Dickinson will be purposely treated together in order to promote comparative and contrastive discussion of their primary works and the construction and evolution of their respective reputations; by contrast, Franklin and Hawthorne will stand alone. Discussions about personal or cultural needs that all these writers and their work were found to fill will dominate the course. Readings will be equally divided among primary texts and biographical, critical, and textual studies.

Requirements include two brief in-class presentations and by the end of the semester a substantial “working paper” together with an in-class presentation on a topic related to the explicit thesis of the seminar. So that each person will be reading primary sources for class from the same text, The Norton Anthology of American Literature, ed. Nina Baym et al, 8th edition, vol. 1 (A, B), (New York: W.W. Norton, 2011), will be the one required text for the course. Students who already know the identity of the author (or authors) on whom they will devote their major research may wish to obtain one of the collections listed below of that author’s writings; although no collection has been listed for Franklinor Thoreau, volumes on each in the Library of America or Norton Critical Editions series should suffice.


Walter Benjamin and the Destruction of “Modernism”
8355 ENG 685
Wednesday | 7:15-10:05PM | T. Cohen

Walter Benjamin’s elusive and iconic essays in aesthetic politics have served as backdrop and provocation used by a succession of critical and theoretical “(post) modernisms.” Yet his aim was to destroy the partitions between aesthetics and politics, technology and memory formations, the image and writing (graphics), “allegory” or cinema and political interventions which accompany various modernisms of recent stripes. These have alternately fueled and eluded various 20th century critical projects (Marxian, deconstructive, Judaicist, “modernist aesthetics,” the thinking of technics, translation), and more recently the thinking of 21st century ecocatastrophe and climate change (Zizek, Taussig, Latour). This seminar will engage select writings to trace currents ofthought he accessed (Nietzsche, Heidegger, Freud, Adorno) and a succession of deployments by late 20th century theory (Jameson, de Man, Derrida) together with more recent the thought on technics, alternate temporalities, and “shock” (Bernard Stiegler, Naomi Klein, Agamben, Sam Weber). The seminar will retest the sense of Benjamin’s “materialistic historiography” and his rethinking of “image.” In doing so, we will ask what critical tasks extends (or do not) into 21st century or post-global problematics associated, today, with the emergence to view of an “anthropocene” era which subsumes 20th century historicisms, culturalisms, political definitions and other forms of “materiality” unaccounted for by 20th century models. Seminar participants will be make presentations involving the assignments on a rotating basis. We will routinely complement our readings of theory with interpretive explorations of representative texts and media.

 

Textual Studies I
5839 ENG 710
Thursday | 7:15-10:05PM | P. Stasi

This course introduces some of the central debates and key concepts that have helped shape the field of English Studies. We will begin our story in the 19th century, reading texts by Marx, Freud and Nietzsche that, in various ways, have set the parameters for 20th and 21st century intellectual inquiry. We will then track a series of intellectual genealogies from these figures (reading Althusser, Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, Lukacs, Fanon among others) with an eye towards some of the most pressing and relevant areas of contemporary critical debate: biopolitics, postcolonial/globalization studies, the (no-longer) New (but still entirely dominant) Historicism and the revival of affect and aesthetic theory.


Textual Studies II
6160 ENG 720
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | H. Elam

The tension between remembering and forgetting, understood in the poetic, philosophical, and psychoanalytic discourses of our time, acquires specific intensities in texts by Nietzsche, Wordsworth, Freud. This course will be moored in Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals, Freud’s Negation, and [passages from] Wordsworth’s Prelude. Other readings--Molière, Kafka, Dickinson, Proust--might be threaded through this focus. Two short papers leading to a term paper, weekly responses to readings, seminar presentations.


Practical Teaching Writing & Literature
7498 ENG 771
Monday | 7:15-10:05PM | K. Kuiken

Building on the work you’ve done in AENG 770, this course will focus on the practices of teaching, with the aim of supporting participants as they lead their own undergraduate English classes. We will discuss and develop strategies for handling a variety of challenges that might arise in the course of teaching: from instructing specific skills, to developing assignments and evaluating student work. Topics may also include a focus on specific challenges such as the role of gender and politics in the classroom, to the uses of instructional technologies. We will also engage in comparisons of methods for evaluating and commenting on student work, and work on developing a statement of teaching philosophy. This course is designed for you to reflect upon the work you are already engaged in for the classes you are teaching, and to produce constructive discussions about that work with your colleagues.


Summer / Fall 2012 Course Concentration Distribution

Literature, Modernity, and the Contemporary
ENG 580—The Transatlantic Origins of the Gothic Novel
ENG 581—Avant Garde
ENG 581—The Practice & Theory Of The Avant-Garde
ENG 582—John Milton
ENG 582—Dickens
ENG 615—Poetics and Literacy
ENG 681—The Politics of Literary Reputation
ENG 685—Walter Benjamin and the Destruction of “Modernism”


Writing Practices
ENG 515—Workshop in Poetry
ENG 516—Fiction Workshop
ENG 581—The Practice & Theory Of The Avant-Garde


Cultural, Transcultural, and Global Studies
ENG 615—Poetics and Literacy
ENG 641—Reading Capital


Theoretical Constructs
ENG 641—Reading Capital
ENG 685—Walter Benjamin and the Destruction of “Modernism”
ENG 581—The Practice & Theory Of The Avant-Garde

Spring 2012

Spring 2012 Courses

Textual Practices I
9483 ENG 500
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | I. Murakami

This course introduces students to a range of theoretical issues, interpretive strategies, and transdiciplinary interchanges that have transformed the study of English. This is a required course for English MA students, and the Department recommends that the class be taken early in a student's M.A. coursework as preparation for future graduate study.


Workshop in Fiction
2034 ENG 516
Wednesday | 7:15-10:05PM | E. Schwarzschild

Permission of Instructor required. Please submit a sample of your fiction writing with a brief cover letter about yourself and your writing to Prof. Schwarzschild (eschwarzschild@albany.edu). Any student who is an undergraduate or who is a graduate student from a department other than English should e-mail the Director of Graduate Studies <bret@albany.edu> with student ID# to inquire about workshop eligibility requirements.

In this course, each student will be expected to complete and revise two or three pieces of fiction (short stories, short-shorts, or novel excerpts) during the semester, to be submitted for workshop discussion. Most of each class period will be devoted to this workshop discussion (for which prepared written comments will be expected). Time will also be spent studying and discussing isolated aspects of effective writing, such as description, dialogue, character depiction, openings, endings, vocabulary and syntax. There will be some short texts for assigned reading, as well as occasional in-class writing exercises and supplemental brief assignments. One book may be assigned to be read in full.


Dramatic Writing Workshop
8543 ENG 517
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | C. Yalkut

This is a workshop that introduces students to the techniques of dramatic writing. Each student functions primarily as a dramatist, but also as audience and actor. Students give onstage readings of and discuss each other's work, revise scenes and, for the final project, finish a one-act play. During the semester, students will also read plays independently and attend at least one live stage performance.


The History of Rhetoric (Reading Course)
9484 ENG 522
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | L. Wilder

This course will provide a survey of rhetorical theory, a “zoom”overview of excerpts of texts on the teaching and practice of rhetoric from the Ancient Greek Sophists to The New Rhetoricians of the 1960s with studies of Medieval, Renaissance, Enlightenment, Belletrist, and Nineteenth Century rhetorical theories. This dizzying breadth is intended to support the goal of our "reading" courses: "the acquisition of foundational knowledge that would serve as the basis for more specialized study [of rhetoric] in the future." Additionally, those with interests in the teaching of writing or in specialized literary study in a period covered may find the course useful. We will use Bizzel & Herzberg’s anthology, The Rhetorical Tradition.


Old English
9485 ENG 555
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | H. Scheck

The literature and language of early England (up to about 1100 C.E.) has inspired poets, novelists, and scholars, including Milton, Tolkien, and Pound, and continues to excite the modern imagination. A film adaptation of the Old English epic, Beowulf, appears every two or three years, it seems, and Benjamin Bag by performed his artful recitation of the poem to a full house at Lincoln Center and continues to attract audiences in Europe, England, and America. Indeed, poets from Henry Wads worth Longfellow to Seamus Heaney seemed to view translation of Beowulf as a measure of poetic achievement. The legacy of Anglo-Saxon England has political significance as well. Henry VIII hearkened back to Anglo-Saxon letters to prove that the Church of England had always been independent of the Church of Rome. Thomas Jefferson was an avid Anglo-Saxonist and even proposed as a design for the national seal the first Anglo-Saxon leaders, Hengist and Horsa. Old English language, literature, and culture offer much, therefore, to writers and scholars seeking greater historical and linguistic depth.


Slavery and Revolution in Antebellum America: Frederick Douglass and Margaret Fuller
8722 ENG 580
Monday | 7:15-10:05PM | B. Arsic

Even though the title of the class suggests a broader approach, our discussions will be focused on two antebellum authors: Frederick Douglass and Margaret Fuller. Such a connection is pertinent not only because Fuller wrote about Douglass, but for more fundamental reasons. For both Fuller’s and Douglass’s work focuses on the question of how slavery or the incarceration of persons affects personhood, and how the law is applied to enact such practices of enslavement.We will discuss the strange relation that the law developed with enslavement in order to perpetuate it, by concentrating on Douglass’s understanding of personhood and the politics of the plantation (and the ways it negates will and dignity). We will also analyze Douglass’s political speeches and see what kind of political strategies they propose as resistance to enslavement, which we will compare with John Brown's urge to violently resist it. The question of violence will lead us to Fuller’s political writings on revolution. We will thus discuss Fuller’s New York Daily Tribune Dispatches from revolutionary Paris and Rome of 1848, reflecting on the relationship between violence and freedom, violence and justice or violence and dignity. In that context we will investigate Fuller’s thinking on dignity and how the political or revolutionary generation of personhood cancels or enhances it. Specifically we will look into her writings on the “Asylum for Discharged Female Convicts” and situate her thinking about personhood and self-identity within the more general context of the question of the revolution and the unconditional right to life. In addition to primary readings focused on Frederick Douglass and Margaret Fuller, a series of philosophical texts on revolution and violence, and U.S. Supreme Court rulings, secondary readings will include: Hannah Arendt (“On Violence;” “On Revolution;” “The Origins of Totalitarianism” (selections)), Rebecca Comay (“Mourning Sickness, Hegel and the French Revolution”), Colin Dayan (“The Law is a White Dog”), John T. Noonan, Jr. (“Persons and Masks of the Law”), Georges Sorel (“Reflections on Violence”).


Models of History in Literary Criticism: History and Technology after 1830
9487 ENG 580
Thursday | 7:15-10:05PM | D. Byrd

The first decades of the Nineteenth Century have rarely been considered a time of profound historical threshold crossings. The period between the 1830s and the 1930s, however, was a time of one of the most complex and explosive events in economic, theoretical, and literary-artistic history—an event so large that it barely revealed its technical principles in a century and that continues revealing its startling consequences at a dizzying pace into the present century. Change is so rapid and deep that it is impossible to think of stable historical periods that can be adequately characterized.

The radical newness of the emerging theory and technology will be addressed. Attention will be given to familiar texts by figures such as Hegel, Marx, Foucault, Derrida, and unfamiliar texts by LaGrange, Galois, Frege, Russell, Piaget, and Elinor Ostrom (the first female Nobel Prize-winner in Economics, 2009). The literary and artistic figures that will be read may include Poe, Melville, Pound, H.D., Williams, Olson, Robert Smithson, Madeline Gins and Arakawa, and the Spurse Research and Design Collective. Much material will be covered, with perhaps committees of the class being responsible for reading and reporting on different texts, in an attempt to comprehend a radically different view of history that may be more useful in understanding Occupy Wall Street than the Revolutions of the Nineteenth Century.


Studies in a Literary Period: Enlightenment and its Peripheries (Reading Course)
6420 ENG 581
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05PM | M. Hill

The eighteenth century in is marked in a variety of ways as providing the origins of what we call today: modernity. The rise of print culture, the division between "literary" and other forms of knowledge, the notion of civil society, and its inverse twin, the "savage," are all features of the Enlightenment that continue to haunt and inform what it means to be modern. This course will examine the history of the Enlightenment (what is; or what was it?), and do so, to the degree possible, from the vantage point of any number perspectives that modernity either leaves out, claims to supercede, or otherwise seeks to integrate. These perspectives will revolve around issues to do with the agency of writing, public memory, racial and national difference, civility, and insurrectionary war. Readings will include twentieth-and twenty-first century assessments of the period, as well as material ranging across the literary and philosophical archives of the Enlightenment.


Writing For and To Other Arts
9486 ENG 600
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | L. Tillman

This seminar will devote itself to examining issues in contemporary art and writing through closely reading a variety of texts by artist/practicioners--e.g., Robert Smithson, Trinh Min Ha;Yvonne Rainer --and critics --e.g., Leo Steinberg; Amy Taubin; Walter Benjamin; Susan Sontag--and poets and prose writers --e.g., Antonin Artaud; Gertrude Stein; Lydia Davis; Lynne Tillman; David Levi Strauss. We will discuss the problem of employing one language to describe another; and we will study the relationship between contemporary visual art and writing, with an emphasis on acquainting ourselves with contemporary art practices.


Critical Methods: Testing the Limits Transculturality, Globalization, Hybridity, and Cultural Theory
7726 ENG 641
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | T. Ebert

We begin with a question: “Why do the English, the Americans, and the Germans speak of globalization and not (as the French do) mondialisation?” (Derrida, Paper Machine). Derrida is interested in the “notion of ‘world’ [monde]” which is “neither the earth nor the universe nor the cosmos” and argues that we are asked to “swallow a lot of things” with the word globalization: “homogenization, market unification, the permeability of frontiers, the speed and power of transnational communication...” His critique is, as one reader puts it, of the “seeming neutrality, universality, and inevitability” of globalization. We will read his concept of “mondialisation” through two essays by Fredric Jameson: “Globalization as a Philosophical Issue” and “Globalization and Political Strategy” (Valences of the Dialectic), and analyze its own Eurotendencies. Derrida and Jameson, from two contesting perspectives, open up an analytical space for a more precise understanding of the complexities, self-difference and class contradictions of globalization and how these are the horizon of transculturality and hybridity—what Marwan M. Kraidy calls the “cultural logic of globalization.”

Throughclose readings of diverse texts (canonical literature, videos, cybertexts, films, and oral narratives), we will ask whether globalization is essentially a culturalization of social life in which the material (economic) and power (political) exchanges are displaced by the symbolic (values, desires, preferences): “A structure of flows, a de-centered set of economies of signs in space” that undermine the political (“nation-state”) and reshape economic practices through aesthetics and aesthetic production. Or is globalization economic? Does it raise the standard of living for all people, or legitimate the transfer of wealth from one part of the world to another? What is the role of the Bretton Woods regime–IMF, the World Bank, GATT/WTO—in shaping the contemporary global economic order? Is globalization a complex political process leading to what Hardt and Negri call a post-national “empire”—the home of a stateless, decentered capitalism? What are the relations of globalization with (tele-)technology, the internet, spectrality and “artifactualityand actuvirtuality” (Derrida, Echographies of Televison) and the “Network society” (ManuelCastells, The Rise of the Network Society)?

There will be no conventional examinations. Students are required to actively participate in seminar discussions every week; write one analytical paper (8-10 pages); present a seminar report on specific theoretical problems, and write a theory paper (18-20 pages).They will also have the opportunity to participate in the theory conference at the end of the semester.


Esthetics and Emotion: A Genealogy
5746 ENG 720
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | C. Shepherdson

This course explores the particular ways in which “emotion” is conceptually configured within the horizon of esthetic experience. Various developments in literary and cultural theory, from the “linguistic turn” of the 1960s to more recent developments such as “New Historicism,” have tended to place art and esthetic experience within the broader context of “culture,” stressing the social and political aspects of art. The “linguistic turn” allowed literary and cultural theory to move beyond the literary work to the “signifier” (and thus language in general), and to read the “cultural text.” Structuralism and post-structuralism have generated a fruitful extension of critical attention to focus on a wide range of cultural objects and practices, beyond the traditional domain of “esthetics.” As a result, however, traditional humanistic concepts linked to “esthetic experience” –such as imagination, disinterestedness, the beautiful, and so on –have been criticized, or suspected of turning art into a secular substitute for religion, as the historical, social and political dimension of art has been explored. Appeals to “esthetics” are thought to involve a “depoliticizing” of art. One outcome of these developments is that the peculiar status of esthetic experience has been effaced or ignored: “cultural theory” (as it is called) has tended to neglect the borders that separate esthetic experience from other forms of experience shaped by the domains of religious, legal, political and other broadly “social” forms of life.

This course will explore the specificity of esthetic experience by focusing in particular on the question of “emotion.” The recent surge of interest in “affect” (political, religious, etc.) has done little to clarify the specificity of esthetic experience, or indeed the institutional and discursive specificity of art. The course will focus on three historical moments, as case studies of this issue, each of which is tied to a particular pair of emotions: “pity and fear” in the context of Greek tragedy; “fear” and “respect” in the Kantian analysis of the sublime; “fear” and “anxiety” in Heidegger and Freud. In each case, esthetic experience is tied to larger social horizons, but at the same time retains a privilege or specificity that we will explore. Major readings will include Aristotle, Kant, Heidegger and Freud.

Students will select a particular emotion, and elaborate a research project that ties this emotion to a particular esthetic horizon (“pity” in the sentimental novel, “grief” in the elegiac tradition of mourning, anxiety in the arts of the uncanny, “fear” in the Gothic novel, the “sublime” in the Romantic poetry, and so on).


Teaching Writing and Literature
2050 ENG 770
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | P. Chu

In this course we will address questions of teaching literature, criticism and theory in an English department using a set of canonical texts. We will read a small number of writings on teaching generally but this will not be a course in pedagogical theory. Students will finish this course with a set of lesson plans for our texts, writing assignments in versions for different kinds of courses and students, and a set of syllabus.


Special Topics in Literary Theory: Deconstruction from Start to Finish(ish)
9606 LLC 610
Wednesday | 7:15-10:05PM | D. Wills

The course will examine “deconstruction” as word, concept and strategy through some of the earliest to latest works by Derrida, arguing that it is to be understood neither as method, trend or theory. Though the class will not be organized, strictly speaking, as an introduction to the topic, it will be based on the principle that one can enter those works at any point and find one’s way through the network of ideas that go to make up deconstruction: for example, along the threads that lead from “trace” to “autoimmunity,” from “differance” tourgency, or from “writing” to the archive. Similarly, we will try to understand how Derrida’searlier, supposedly “textual” emphasis translates into his explicit ethical and political discussions of the rogue state, the animal, or the death penalty. Texts and lectures will be in English. French students will read the texts, and do their work in French. Students who wish to enroll in this course should contact the professor directly <dwills@albany.edu> for permission numbers."


Spring 2012 Course Concentration Distribution

Literature, Modernity, and the Contemporary
ENG555: Old English
ENG580: Slavery and Revolution in Antebellum America: Frederick Douglass and Margaret
ENG580: History and Technology after 1830
ENG581: Studies in a Literary Period:Hill Enlightenment and its Peripheries 600 Writing For and To Other Arts


Writing Practices
ENG516: Workshop in Fiction
ENG517: Dramatic Writing Workshop
ENG522: The History of Rhetoric
ENG600: Writing For and To Other Arts


Cultural, Transcultural, and Global Studies
ENG580: History and Technology after 1830
ENG641: Transculturality, Globalization, Hybridity, and Cultural Theory


Theoretical Constructs
ENG555: Old English
ENG580: Slavery and Revolution in Antebellum America: Frederick Douglass and Margaret
ENG580: History and Technology after 1830
ENG641: Transculturality, Globalization, Hybridity, and Cultural Theory
ENG610: Deconstruction fromStart to Finish(ish)

Summer / Fall 2011

Summer 2011 Courses | Six Week 1 (May 23 - July 1, 2011)

Authors and their Critics
1756 ENG 681
MW | 6:00-9:30PM | H. Elam

A study of relations between literature and criticism, this course will focus on five or six major literary texts (from different centuries and in different genres--novel, poetry, drama, nonfiction), accompanied by a critical essay on each.The critical essays are chosen not because they deploy any particular theoretical model but because they were in their time (and are) an important reading of a particular text. Possible pairings: Homer (Odyssey) and Erich Auerbach; Molière (Don Juan) and Shoshana Felman; Kafka (Metamorphosis) and Walter Benjamin; Wordsworth (one or two poems) and Paul de Man; Browning (two poems); and Grenier‘s The Difficulty of Being a Dog. This last does not have an accompanying essay; it really is about dogs, some famous in literature, and embeds its own critical reflection. There will also be a showing (DVD) of a Mozart opera—Don Giovanni—to go with Molière‘s Don Juan. Critical texts will be on reserve as well as in a Reader available at Mary Jane Books. Requirements: one short essay, one final paper, absolutely faithful attendance and class participation.


Summer 2011 Courses | Six Week 3 (July 5 - August 12)

Baseball Literature
2575 ENG 585
TTH | 6:00-9:30PM | R. Craig

This baseball madness,‖ as George Bernard Shaw described the American national pastime, is the subject of a course with a dual objective. First, the class introduces students to the long tradition of writing about baseball in America and considers the role of baseball in American life and culture. Second, the course concentrates on fiction in order to analyze the narrative modes and genres illustrating the development of the American novel during this time. The course will begin with forms of romance (e.g., Malamud, Roth), consider the tradition of realism and naturalism in the novel (e.g., Lardner, Harris), and conclude with experiments in metafiction and magic realism (e.g. Coover, Kinsella). Related questions of literary mode (comedy, satire) or genre (short story, detective fiction, film) will be introduced throughout the session.


Fall 2011 Courses

Textual Practices I
1981 ENG 500
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | L. Cable
(Open Only to English MA Students) - Permission of Department is Required

This course is designed to introduce students to the broad range of theoretical issues and interpretive strategies that historically have shaped, and continue to reshape, the multiform discipline of English literary studies. Our objective will be to understand contemporary critical practices by tracing their historical, political, and cultural roots alongside the intellectual cross-currents that energize them. In a series of seminar-style investigations of critical issues and theoretical approaches (e.g., Formalism,Structuralism & Deconstruction, Reader-Response Theory, Psychoanalytic Theory, Marxist Criticism, New Historicism & Cultural Studies, Feminist Criticism, Gender Studies & Queer Theory, Postcolonialism & Ethnic Studies, Postmodernism), we will inquire into the intellectual experiences and logical assumptions that have led to particular ways of thinking about literary art. Requirements include: weekly one-page oral and written reports on the relation of selected readings to a specific issue or analytical approach; class presentation of a prospectus with annotated bibliography for the anticipated term paper; a final paper.


Workshop in Fiction
1982 ENG 516
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | L. Davis

In this course, each student will be expected to complete two to threepieces offiction (short stories, short-shorts, or novel excerpts) during the semester, to be submitted for workshop discussion. Most of each class period will be devoted to this workshop discussion(for which prepared written comments will be expected), but time will also be spent studying and discussing isolated aspects of effective writing, such as description, dialogue, character epiction, openings, endings, vocabulary and syntax.In support of this,there will be some short texts for assigned reading, as well as occasional in-class writing exercises and supplemental brief assignments. One book may be assigned to be read in full.

Permission of Instructor required. Please submit a sample of your fiction writing with a brief cover letter about yourself and your writing to Prof. Davis (cote@albany.edu).Any student who is an undergraduate or who is a graduate student from a department other than English should e-mail the Director of Graduate Studies <bret@albany.edu>with student ID#to inquire about workshop eligibility requirements.


Sublimations: Aesthetics, Medicine, and Politics in 18th-Century Britain
8754 ENG 580
Wednesday | 7:15-10:05PM | R. Barney

This course will track the emergence of modern aesthetics as the convergence of biological, literary, critical, and political discourses related to the topic of the sublime during the so-called long 18thcentury in Britain. While drawing on the vocabulary of early modern empiricism, which stressed that all knowledge came from individual experience, as well as on traditional views of the sublime‘s power to shock and elevate those who experienced its often mysterious power, we will stress the sublime as a process of radical transformation rather than, as in earlier perspectives, as an elusive object of rational understanding. Radical transformation, in fact, will prove a common theme in terms of physiological trauma and response, psychological impairment and recovery, spiritual distress and edification, and, finally, dramatic sociopolitical change, especially in the dynamics of revolution, one of the hallmarks of Enlightenment history both in the Americas and Europe. For the medical component of the sublime‘s effects, we will consider the period‘s innovative views of processes such as nervous reaction, the eye‘s response to trauma, and the viscera‘s constitution of emotional sensitivity. While also reading recent theoretical treatments of biology‘s relation to modern politics (for instance, in discussions by Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, and Ed Cohen), we will study examples of the period‘s poetry, fiction, expository prose, and literary criticism in work such as Aphra Behn‘s Oroonoko, Anne Finch‘s poems, Joseph Addison‘s and Edmund Burke‘s essays on sublimity, Burke‘s equally famous response to the French Revolution in his Reflections, Mary Wollstonecraft‘s post-Revolutionary views on aesthetics and political reform in her Letters, and Mary Shelley‘s Frankenstein.


Romance, Race, and the Aesthetics of Ruin in Atlantic Modernity
4936 ENG 581
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05PM | J. Lilley

This course explores the ways in which various modes of romance--sentimental, gothic, historical, and frontier--work to both reinforce and resist emerging discourses of racial and national difference.In particular, we will examine aesthetic regimes shared between politics and literature that undergird modern forms of sovereignty and community.Authors to include: Henry Mackenzie, Thomas Jefferson, Charles Brockden Brown, Robert Montgomery Bird, Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville.Other readings from: Locke, Esposito, Lacoue-Labarthe, Rancière, Bataille, Nancy, Simondon, Benjamin.


Victorian and Edwardian Fiction (Reading Course)
9119 ENG 581
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | R. Craig

This course concentrates on British fiction from about 1875 to 1914. Through the a series of paired works, we will explore questions relating to the novel and society; literary language and the theory of fiction; genre and popular literature; colonial rhetoric and post-colonial theory--all as they were considered in, or might be applied to, fiction of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Possible pairings include: Carroll and James, Conrad and Wells, Meredith and Ford, Huxley and Forster, Stevenson and Kipling.


Shakespeare, Marlowe, and the Challenges of Biographical Speculation (Reading Course)
8480 ENG 582
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | M. Rozett

This course has two linked objectives: to read Shakespeare's and Marlowe's plays against one another with an eye to influences, echoes, and the development of dramatic strategies from the late 1580s to 1600; and to investigate the ways in which scholars have attempted to reconstruct the lives of Shakespeare and Marlowe from the fragments of evidence and imaginative speculation that have surrounded these two dramatists for four centuries.Readings will include Doctor Faustus, Tamberlaine, The Jewi of Malta, Edward II by Marlowe, and Hamlet, Henry V, The Merchant of Venice, and Richard II by Shakespeare. Also, parts of The Reckoning by Charles Nicholl, Will in the World by Stephen Greenblatt,Contested Will and 1599 by James Shapiro,The Genius of Shakespeare by Jonathan Bate, Shakespeare's Wife by Germaine Greer, and other recent critical biographies.


James Joyce
9245 ENG 582
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | P. Stasi

This course will be an examination of the major works of James Joyce. We will begin by reading some of Joyce‘s predecessors and contemporaries (Yeats, Synge, Ibsen). Then we will tackle Dubliners, Portrait and Joyce‘s Critical Writings before spending the bulk of the course on Ulysses. In addition we will read selections from the enormous body of secondary literature that has arisen around his work, identifying various trends in contemporary Joyce scholarship.


Poetics and Literary Practice: American Modernist Poetry (as Humanist Experiment) (Reading Course)
8482 ENG 615
Wednesday | 7:15-10:05PM | E. Keenaghan

This course will provide a solid introduction to an array of major (and some ―minor‖) figures in experimentalist poetry and poetics from a past literary moment: modernism. It is common enough now to define ―modernism‖ as American literature‘s interwar period inclusive of the First and Second World Wars (circa 1914-1945). Modernist art often is also thought to be especially concerned with innovative or experimental literary styles. For over a century, though, determining which writers deserve inclusion in the category of ―modernist‖ has been a fraught, often elitist, exercise intent on patrolling the standards of ―true‖ aesthetic experimentalism.

Recommended for students intending to teach or research twentieth-century American literature, intending to teach or research in the fields of modern and/or contemporary poetry studies, or are active in creative poetry and poetics.

Requirements for MA students:frequent class participation, weekly Blackboard posts (300-500 words), midterm essay (10-12 pages), researched final paper (12-15 pages) or original poetry project plus researched poetics statement (12-15 pages total). Requirements for PhD students:frequent class participation, weekly Blackboard posts (300-500 words), researched class leader presentation (20 minutes); researched seminar paper (20-25 pages) or substantial original poetry project plus researched poetics essay (20-25 pages total).


Imperialism in the Age of Decolonization (Seminar Course)
9246 ENG 680
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05PM | B. Benjamin

This seminar takes up the counter intuitive formulation of imperialism in the age of decolonization. How could the two co-exist simultaneously? After all, mid-century decolonizing movements in Asia,Africa, and the Caribbean put paid to the European ―empires‖ of the late-Nineteenth and early-Twentieth Centuries, promising to usher in new economic and geopolitical alignments. However as many of the thinkers of the time understood, and as hindsight has made all the more clear, the apparent end of empire both gave rise to a set of new imperial formations, and enabled the continuation of older imperial forms in new guise.

This seminar, then, attempts to develop a theory of imperialism sufficiently robust to account for the radical pluralism of post-WWII anti-imperial and/or decolonizing movements, as well as the economic and geopolitical relations established during this period of global transition. As such we will spend roughly half of the semester reading the critical tradition of (mainly Marxist, though also Liberal) theories of imperialism by authors such as Marx, Hobson, Lenin, Hilferding, Luxembourg, Bukharin, Arendt, and Amin. (If time allows, we may also read some contemporary work on imperialism by Harvey and Callinicos.) The other half of the semester will be spent examining the rich body of literary, autobiographical, historical. political and theoretical writing by anti-colonial and anti-imperial thinkers of the decolonizing era. Among the texts and figures we may examine will be the Indian national debates between Gandhi and Ambedkar; the documents of the 1955 Afro-Asian Conference in Bandung Indonesia; African activists and intellectuals including Nkrumah, Nyerere, Cabral, Senghor, Ekpo, Ransome-Kuti, Memi; Caribbean figures including James, Césaire, Fanon, and Rodney, among others. We will ask whether the analytical category imperialismcan provide a meaningful frame for understanding this transitionary post-war period; simultaneously wewill ask what, if anything, the mid-century anti-colonial thinkers can illuminate about the nature of imperialism, both in their day and in our own.


Black Cultural Trauma: Representations in Theory, Literature & Performance (Seminar Course)
5580 ENG 681
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | L. Thompson

This course will consider how writers and scholars of African American studies narrate existential questions about black subjectivity in light of past and current racial traumas. The class will begin by exploring recent scholarship that places the African American experience within the emergent field of trauma studies. This course will also take up post-traumatic representations of black experiences in African American literature by examining the strategies that novelists, playwrights and poets deploy in their representation of significant historic traumas—specific tragedies, brutalities, horrors, such as slavery, lynching, rape, and riots—as well as the repetitive soul crushing quotidian slights and injuries from social, workplace and housing discrimination. Situated at the intersection of theatre, performance studies, literature, trauma studies and African American history, this course asks participants to examine how literary and theatrical interventions present the notions of black subjectivity in light of destabilizing traumatic moments. We will conclude by pondering the role that theatre, literature and other arts play in representing cultural or collective traumatic memory during an era increasingly labeledas ―post-racial.‖


Love and Loss(Seminar Course)
9247 ENG 685
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | J. Berman

In this course we will focus on how writers use language to convey love and loss and the ways in which they seek consolation and hope through religion, nature, art, deeds, memory–or through the act of writing itself. We will explore different kinds of love--love of God, family or friends, romantic partner, or self; we will also explore different kinds of loss--loss of religious faith, family or friends, romantic partner, health, or self-respect. We will read several books written on love and loss, including spousal loss and end-of-life memoirs. We will also discuss grief theory, the nature of bereavement, posttraumatic growth, resiliency, death education, and transformative learning. There will be two fifteen-page essays, the first one about the theme of love and loss in literature, the second one about your own experience with love and loss. There will also be a weekly diary and a class presentation. Please note that this will be an emotionally charged course and will require empathy from everyone in the class. How can a course on love and loss not be intense?


Textual Studies I: Survey
6076 ENG 710
Monday | 7:15-10:05PM | T. Cohen

The seminar will examine, through a select series of interpretive and critical threads, how the concept of ―textual practices‖ arises in its 20th century critical genealogies and how it translates into 21st century concerns. Specifically, we will combine a select re-reading of critical treatments with a series of case studies in interpretation (literary, imagist texts) to trace how recent preoccupations with human otherness, social justice, and empire mutate before the rhetorics of eco-catastrophe, telecratic regimes, and eco-technics.


Textual Studies II -Citizens, Sovereigns & Slaves
6429 ENG 720 
Thursday | 7:15-10:05PM | J. Greiman

In its most general terms, this course will examine the relationship of democracy and violence through a series of questions that motivated a large body of work in both political and literary theory in the first decade of the twenty-first century. In what ways is the singular, death-dealing power that is usually associated with sovereign right both inimical and essential to democracy? How fully does the figure of the citizen –both subject and object of political power –imbibe the structures of sovereignty? Finally, given the historical coincidence of the era of democratic revolutions with the rise of biological racism, to what extent does what Michel Foucault terms ̳race war‘ become internal to the democracies that took shape around the turn of the nineteenth century? The first half of the course will involve an intensive study of key twentieth-century theorists on the problems of democracy, sovereignty, citizenship, and violence, with particular attention given to the work of Hannah Arendt. In the second half of the course, we will historicize these questions through a select archive of early and antebellum U.S. writing to examine the emergence and relationship of the citizens, sovereigns, and slaves of the title. The course will also be structured so that our readings and discussions dovetail with Etienne Balibar‘s planned visit to UAlbany in October and the accompanying symposium and graduate seminar he is scheduled to hold. Authors in the first half of the course will likely include: Carl Schmitt, Hannah Arendt, Emanuel Levinas, Michel Foucault, andEtienne Balibar. Authors in the second half of the course will likely include: Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Charles Brockden Brown, Alexis de Tocqueville, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, and Herman Melville. Additionally, we will likely read recent critical and theoretical work by: Paul Downes, Ed White, Jonathan Elmer, Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, and others. To get our conversation started, for our first class meeting, I ask that everyone read Balibar‘s 2009 essay in differences, ―Violence and Civility: On the Limits of Political Anthropology.‖ (I will email this to everyone enrolled in the class over the summer.)


Practicum in Teaching Writing and Literature
7968 ENG 771
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | L. Brown

Using a workshop approach, this course will address practical issues of teaching. Students will mine their simultaneous experience teaching an undergraduate course to identify problems, review options for solving such problems while also considering the implications of pragmatic choices in continuing to develop the statement of teaching philosophy begun in ENG 770. Students will be challenged to attempt new and unfamiliar techniques in their classrooms to increase confidence and effectiveness. The course will encourage a spirit of experimentation, open minded reflectiveness, and active engagement of undergraduate students. Professional issues such as evaluation of teaching, classroom observation, and creation of documentation for personnel reviews, student evaluation, grading, commenting on student work, classroom technology exemplify topics that may be discussed in the course.


Poetry Workshop Offered by Writing Fellow Rebecca Wolff
ENG 815
Wednesday | 6:00-8:30PM | R. Wolf
(8 sessions -10/5, 10/12, 10/19, 10/26,11/2, 11/9, 11/16 & 11/30 )

New York State Writers Institute Writing Fellow Rebecca Wolff will conduct an intermediate to advanced poetry workshop during the Fall 2011 semester. The workshop will give students opportunities to develop and revise poems; emphasis will be on taking each poem on its own terms, and some work will be done to determine those terms. This work will include presentation to and discussion with the group of influences and interests vis à vis poetic lineage.

The workshop is scheduled for eight evenings from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The class will take place on the University at Albany‘s uptown campus. The workshop is limited to ten writers and is open to UAlbany English graduate students as well as members of the general community.For UAlbany graduate students the course may be taken as AENG 815 for graduate credit (0-2 credits).Admission is based on the submission of writing samples. To be considered, please email Suzanne Lance at Slance@uamail.albany.edufor guidelines for submitting manuscripts to the Writers Institute.

Rebecca Wolff is the author of three books of poems: Manderley (U. of Illinois Press, 2001), which was selected by Robert Pinsky for the National Poetry Series; Figment (W. W. Norton, 2004), which received the 2003 Barnard Women Poets Prize; and The King (Norton, 2009). Eavan Boland described Wolff‘s poetry as having ―a vivacity and edge that give it immediate presence.‖ Publishers Weeklypraised Figment for work that ―"projects a vivid wit,‖ and ―scenes and fragments [that] are urban, knowing, always alert to irony . . .‖ "


Summer / Fall 2011 Course Concentration Distribution

Literature, Modernity, and the Contemporary
ENG 580: Sublimations: Aesthetics, Medicine, and Politics in 18th-Century Britain
ENG 581: Romance, Race, and the Aesthetics of Ruin in Atlantic Modernity
ENG 581: Victorian and Edwardian Fiction
ENG 582: Shakespeare, Marlowe, and the Challenges of Biographical Speculation
ENG 582: James Joyce
ENG 615: Poetics and Literary Practice: American Modernist Poetry (as Humanist Experiment)
ENG 681: Black Cultural Trauma: Representations in Theory, Literature & Performance


Writing Practices

ENG 516: Workshop in Fiction
ENG 685: Love and Loss


Cultural, Transcultural, and Global Studies
ENG 582: James Joyce
ENG 680: Imperialism in the Age of Decolonization


Theoretical Constructs
ENG 580: Sublimations: Aesthetics, Medicine, and Politics in 18th-Century Britain
ENG 581: Romance, Race, and the Aesthetics of Ruin in Atlantic Modernity
ENG 681: Black Cultural Trauma: Representations in Theory, Literature & Performance

Spring 2011

Spring 2011 Courses

Workshop in Fiction
2013 ENG 516
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | L. Tillman

For the graduate fiction workshop, students are expected to have already been developing, thinking about, and working on fiction. Poets who are interested in writing fiction are also welcome to apply. During the workshop, each student will present pieces to the group, three or four times (depending upon our number). Each student is expected to be a full participant in the discussion and commentary on colleagues' fictions, stories, and consequent questions about issues in writing. We may do additional readings, stories and theory, to augment our discussions. This is a Permission by Instructor course. Those interested in applying should email 5 -7 pages of their writing to: Tillwhen@aol.com. In addition, students must also indicate previous writing courses; major or area of specific interest in graduate school, and reasons for wanting to take this workshop.


Dramatic Writing Workshop
9370 ENG 518
Thursday | 7:15-10:05PM | C. Yalkut

This is a workshop that introduces students to the techniques of dramatic writing. Each student functions primarily as a dramatist, but also as audience and actor. Students give onstage readings of and discuss each other's work, revise scenes and, for the final project, finish a one-act play. During the semester, students will also read plays independently and attend at least one live stage performance.


Scandal of Excess: Aesthetics and Economics in Early Modernity
9492 ENG 580
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | I. Murakami

This course will examine the problem of excess during early modern England’s fitful transition from feudalism to capitalism. We tend to think of excess today in terms of discrete realms that correspond to disciplines like economics, medicine, ethics, design and psychology, but no such distinctions existed in the medieval mortal philosophy inherited by early moderns. Yet, England’s sudden wealth put pressure on traditional ways of thinking, and en gendered new habits in commerce and consumption. Associated with this new material excess, even an excess of personal gifts (strength, wit, ambition, etc.) could create friction between exceptional individuals and their communities, confounding all order—the distinctions of familial status, religion, gender, and occupation—that guided social relations. Both clergy and satirists proposed self-restraint as the antidote to all excess until it became apparent that virtuous parsimony—the precondition to our postmodern minimalist aesthetic—way yet another, alienating form of immoderation. Examining textual and visual works from the late fifteenth to the early seventeenth-century, we will discuss why the scandal of excess became a focal point for new, emerging concepts of the private and public, individual and collective selves. A variety of theoretical and historical scholarship will guide our efforts to understand ways in which early modern writers articulated questions prescient of those that continue to gnaw at us today: where do we draw the line between “mine” and “thine” (our labor? our family? the threshold of our house?)? What counts as surplus and to whom does it belong? How much does the concept of ‘privacy” protect even that apparently ultimate boundary between “inside” and “outside”—the body?

Active participation, frequent position papers, an annotated bibliography, a seminar research paper completed in stages, and an end of term symposium in which you will present your research, are expected.


“Romanticism/ Critique of Enlightenment” (Reading)
6730 ENG 581
Wednesday | 7:15-10:05PM | K. Kuiken

The terms “Romanticism” and “Enlightenment” are often used to describe conflicting views of the world, the former allegedly privileging subjectivity over objectivity, emotion and imagination over reason etc. Contrary to this view, this course will explore the idea that Romanticism can be understood as the first attempt at a “critique” of Enlightenment, thereby constituting a mutation internal to the Enlightenment rather than an opposition to it. In the fraught political context of the French Revolution, the collapse of the Napoleonic Empire, and the repressive European order that followed, Romanticism emerged as both inheritor and progenitor of the Enlightenment project. In view of this historical context, we will explore the ways that Romantic poets and thinkers sought to redefine and radicalize certain philosophical strains within the Enlightenment in order to rethink and rework the relation between art and politics, subjectivity and language, universalism and its others. The course will focus on close readings of key writers of the Romantic canon such as Blake, Godwin, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Hölderlin, Schlegel, Shelley, and Keats in order to juxtapose their literary production with its philosophical background in Enlightenment thinkers such as Rousseau, Kant and others. Topics will include antinomianism, the role of reason in politics, the relation between affect, myth and the construction of community, and the critique and development of the autonomous subject. The course will conclude by contextualizing Romanticism in terms of the role(s) it plays in contemporary debates about what it means to be “post-Enlightenment.” If Adorno and Horkheimer have identified a “Dialectic of Enlightenment” (whereby the emancipation from myth becomes its own mythology), the course will ask whether we are currently in the midst of a “Dialectic of Romanticism?” More specifically, in what ways does post-Enlightenment Romanticism continue to inform our own sense of modernity/ post-modernity? Assignments will include weekly short responses, a presentation, and a final seminar paper.
 

Later American Literature (Reading)
8358 ENG 581
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | P. Chu

This course will focus on works of American fiction that emerged from both the realist/naturalist and the modernist movements of American literature between the 1880s and the 1950s. The first purpose of the course is to give foundational exposure to a broad range of major literary works of the period, with attention to their various aesthetic and political contexts: U.S. empire, Reconstruction and legal segregation, urbanization, the two World Wars, the advent of universal suffrage, major changes in immigration law, the Depression, the establishment of railroads and corporations, the increasing ubiquity of television, radio and film, and the beginning of the Cold War. Alongside each work we will read and discuss significant recent literary critical approaches with the aim of allowing students to familiarize themselves with approaches appropriate to the field and to begin formulating their own methodologies. Assignments and discussion will directly address the issue of acquiring competency in a literary field from the ground up and scholarly expectations for journal publication of literary criticism. This course would be a useful foundation for students who wish to teach American literature or who are considering an oral exam, an MA essay or specialized research in a smaller segment of this field. Reading is heavy: one primary text plus the equivalent of 3 scholarly journal articles per week, and at least one assignment that will involve developing a substantive annotated bibliography OR writing a “state of the field” narrative based on one major academic journal or set of critical arguments. Please plan accordingly. Students will be expected to do a full set of readings prior to the first meeting and the syllabus will be available before winter break. Authors may include: Howells, Veblen, Chesnutt, James, Wharton, Burroughs, Gilman, DuBois, Cather, Wells, Gilman, Faulkner, Ellison, Murayama, Himes.


Poetics and Literary Practice - A “double-reading:” Reading Heidegger through the Poets he Read
9492 ENG 615
Wednesday | 7:15-10:05 | P. Joris

In a "double-reading" of poetry & theory, this course will revisit the traditionally posited aporia between poetry & thinking - between Dichter & Denker. Starting with a close rereading of Martin Heidegger's major texts on language & poetry, we will address at one level theoretical questions at the core of contemporary poetics by exploring the two major ways in which Heidegger's philosophy of language has been taken: the hermeneutics of Gadamer and Szondi on the one hand, & the meditation on "other"ness by Blanchot & Derrida, on the other. Given that the question arises as that of the aporia between creative and discursive modes of thought, the proposal then becomes (thus the "double-reading") to reverse the traditional direction by reading the theorists through the poets they read — or forget to read, as the case may be — from Parmenides to Celan via Hölderlin, Trakl & Rilke, as well a selected company of contemporary American poets -- Olson, Duncan, Kelly & others.


Literary Theory of the Americas
8357 ENG 641
Monday | 7:15-10:05PM | B. Arsic

The class will look at recent work – the past forty years – in the space of the Americas as a means to revise and rewrite ideas of identity, colonialism and spaces of exclusion. The poets and writers we will be analyzing brought about a shift in thinking, moving from an emphasis on subjectivities to relations, from territories to the instability of water (ocean, seas), from the written to the dreamed, from the industrial to the natural, from history to geography, from genealogy to geology, from identity to mixing, from homogeneity to assemblage, from identity to impersonality, from beginning to middle, from philosophy to poetics, from the enclosed to the open. The open –formulated differently from its versions in German Romanticism from Rilke to Heidegger – is thus going to be our guiding issue. How does this openness operate? In subverting identities, how can it still be political? In abandoning issues of territory can it still be geo-political? In what way does it change our thinking of the political and in what way does this changed sense of the political affect our understanding of what life is? In addition to selected natural histories of the Caribbean, selections from Melville’s poetry and prose, Quentin Miellassoux’s After Finitude, and writing by Deleuze and Guattari, readings will include: Edouard Glissant (Caribbean Discourse, Poetics of Relation, Faulkner, Mississippi); Derek Walcott (What the Twilight Says, Conversations with Derek Walcott, Collected Poems 1898-1984), Antonio Benítez-Rojo (The Repeating Island), Manuel De Landa (A Thousand years of Nonlinear History), René Depestre (An Inteview with Aimé Césaire), Joan Dayan (Haiti, History, Gods).


Reading Bodies: Studies in Performance
9493 ENG 641
Thursday | 7:15-10:05PM | T. Noel

Recently, the body has become a key discursive and imaginative space throughout the humanities and social sciences. Yet even as theories of “the body” have become ubiquitous, the term itself remains frustratingly vague (whose body?). For those of us working in literary studies, the body also presents a methodological problem: we are trained to read texts, but how do we “read” bodies?

This course seeks to map a variety of body-centric cultural studies.Additionally, it will explore the implications of this turn towards the body for the future of literary studies. The course will be divided into three distinct yet overlapping units. The first part will offer an introduction to performance studies, an emerging, interdisciplinary, and sometimes contested field that draws from such sources as theater studies, anthropology, queer theory, and philosophy of language. In the second part, we will examine ongoing debates on embodiment in a variety of fields (from poetics to disability studies). Lastly, we will read the work of some contemporary scholars who engage with performance as both archive and theoretical frame, in an effort to allow for various projects of revisionism.

Our entry point for the course will be Henry Bial, ed., The Performance Studies Reader (2nd. ed.). Later readings will include works by Tobin Siebers, Carrie Noland, Fred Moten, and José Esteban Muñoz. We will also examine and respond to works by a variety of performers in various media, and we will host at least one guest performer. Assignments will include in-class presentations and a research paper. Students will be encouraged to familiarize themselves with a variety of non-print archives.


Cultural Theory—A-Z-B (Unfolding, Innovation, Repetition, Reversal, and Transformation)
6732 ENG 642
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | T. Ebert

Throughout the semester the course will engage the problematic of “cultural critique” and ask whether it has become an impossible task because, as Frederic Jameson and others argue, there is no longer (if there ever was) any space left from which to critique culture? Has the critical distance that enabled critique vanished in a mediatic capitalism in which everything is said to be cultural (Jameson) or is such a view itself a critique of culture? This, of course, leads to questions about the relation between critique and norm that in turn opens up other issues: is cultural critique an “interpretation” of the complexities of representation and their spectrality—“The future belongs to ghosts, modern image technology, cinema, telecommunications...are only increasing the power of ghosts” (Derrida)—or is it an “explanation” of cultural conditions in order to change them? And, of course there is the (inevitable?) question: is “interpretation” already an “explanation”? Are all “explanations” “interpretations”?

A section of the course is put aside for analysis of the relation of class and (global)culture in the context of the cultural theories of autonomia and (post)operaismo and their arguments about culture and cognitive capitalism. We will analyze such texts as Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi’s The Soul at Work (and some of his discussions on “Cognitariat and Semiokapital” and “The Factory of Unhappiness”); Maurizio Lazzarato, “Immaterial Labor”; Paolo Virno’s concepts of “Exodus” and “General Intellect” (including sections from his A Grammar of the Multitude: For an Analysis of Contemporary Forms of Life); autonomiafeminism such as Silvia Federici’s critique of accumulation (in her Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation and writings on Africa), as well as examining the place of culture theory in the “autonomous university.” In this section, we will also read the extension of this work into a cultural economy of video games in Dyer-Witheford and de Peuter’s Games of Empire: Global Capitalism and Video Games.

There will be no conventional examinations. Students are required to actively participate in seminar discussions every week; write one short paper (8-10 pages); present a seminar report on specific theoretical problems, and write a long theory paper (18 -20 pages for participants in the “theory conference” and 25 pages for non-participants).


Survey of Psychoanalytic Theory
9494 ENG 642 
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | C. Shepherdson

This course is an introduction to contemporary psychoanalytic theory. The course will focus mainly on Freud and Lacan, but with some additional excursions into other psychoanalytic theorists who have been important to the intersections linking psychoanalysis with areas such as feminist theory, gender studies, political theory, philosophy, and film theory.

Students will be asked to choose a particular area of research, and to produce an annotated bibliography on the chosen topic, as well as a final paper based on this research. The aim of these assignments, and of the course in general, is to give students a basic introduction to contemporary psychoanalytic theory, and to allow each student to develop their own scholarly interests as much as possible, within the framework of the course.


Anglophone Caribbean Literature and Criticism
5272 ENG 685
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | G. Griffiths

Before there was post-colonial literature there was commonwealth literature, and the literature of the commonwealth during the British colonial period was made up of the literature of the metropolitan center and the literatures of the various colonial outposts that comprised the British colonial world. These colonized British subjects, who were, in Frantz Fanon’s words, the ‘wretched of the earth,’ produced literatures that were simultaneously within and without an established literary tradition, literatures that sustained a simultaneously filial and patricidal relationship to the cultural and ideological idioms of the British colonial center.

This course will explore some of the cultural and ideological tensions and contradictions that characterized this period of literary and critical production in the Anglophone Caribbean by examining selected works of prose fiction and criticism from the 1930s through the 1980s. Inter alia, we will observe that the development of literature and criticism in the Anglophone Caribbean coincided with the aftermath of widespread civil disturbances in the region during the late 1930s, the subsequent recommendations of the Moyne Commission that included the establishment of the University of the West Indies, and the tireless work of first, Una Marson, and then Henry Swanzy to establish and consolidate the BBC ‘Caribbean Voices’ literary radio program. In paying careful attention to the history of the development of literature and criticism in this region of the Americas, we will discover that the insightful critique that would come to be called ‘post-colonial’ already inhered in the perspectives and the writing that evolved out of the region and that coincided with the philosophical, social, and political agitation for decolonization and nationalism in the Anglophone Caribbean region. Selected texts might include work from among the following list of writers: Claude McKay, C.L.R. James, George Lamming, Jean Rhys, Derek Walcott, Sylvia Wynter, V.S. Naipaul, Henry Swanzy, Una Marson, Kenneth Ramchand, Kamau Brathwaite, et al.


Literary Studies and the Analytics of War
5937 ENG 720
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05 | M. Hill

This course will provide a historical approach to the discipline of literary studies and the significance—-socially, philosophically, and literally—-of war. While not designed for specialists in eighteenth-century studies, we will focus in part on what Jürgen Habermas calls the "blissful" idea of a peaceful communicative sphere known around 1740 as civil society. Between the period of the seventeenth-century Diggers and the bourgeois transformations leading to the French Revolution, war and peace were re-oriented in line with the ideals of representative government. Not incidentally, literature as a formal category of writing and the work of literary judgment acquired rejuvenated social applications. What where those applications? And if civil society is becoming displaced by intra-national forms of planetary violence in the twenty-first century, whither literary studies today? This course will consider war as an organizational tool in several capacities: in the way war informs social agency, disciplinary division; how war underwrites the experience of time, and by extension, historical writing.

Likely texts will include works by: Agamben, Althusser, Kant, Hobbes, Hume, Smith, Spinoza, as well as an array of eighteenth-century novels and literary criticism from the period. A more detailed reading list is available by writing: <mikehill@albany.edu?>


Teaching Writing and Literature
2090 ENG 770
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | 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.

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.


Spring 2011 Course Concentration Distribution

Literature, Modernity, and the Contemporary
ENG580: Scandal of Excess: Aesthetics and Economics in Early Modernity
ENG581: “Romanticism/ Critique of Enlightenment”
ENG581: Later American Literature
ENG615: Poetics and Literary Practice - A “double-reading:” Reading Heidegger through the Poets he Read
ENG641: Literary Theory of the Americas
ENG641: Reading Bodies: Studies in Performance
ENG685: Special Topics - Anglophone Caribbean Literature and Criticism


Writing Practices
ENG516: Workshop in Fiction
ENG517: Dramatic Workshop
ENG615: Poetics and Literary Practice - A “double-reading:” Reading Heidegger through the Poets he Read
ENG641: Reading Bodies: Studies in Performance


Cultural, Transcultural, and Global Studies
ENG580: Scandal of Excess: Aesthetics and Economics in Early Modernity
ENG641: Reading Bodies: Studies in Performance
ENG642: Cultural Theory—A-Z-B (Unfolding, Innovation, Repetition, Reversal, and Transformation)
ENG685: Anglophone Caribbean Literature and Criticism


Theoretical Constructs
ENG615: Poetics and Literary Practice - A “double-reading:” Reading Heidegger through the Poets he Read
ENG641: Literary Theory of the Americas
ENG641: Reading Bodies: Studies in Performance
ENG642: Cultural Theory—A-Z-B (Unfolding, Innovation, Repetition, Reversal, and Transformation)
ENG642: Survey of Psychoanalytic Theory

Summer / Fall 2010

Summer 2010 Courses | Four Week 2 (June 21 - July 16)

The Beats, Black Mountain, and Cold War America
2944 ENG 581
MTWTHF | 3:20-5:40PM | E. Keenaghan

Following World War II, the American mainstream between 1950 and 1975 was characterized by a socially, politically, and culturally conservative climate. As suburbia and consumerism expanded, conformity was on the rise. As a result, many were increasingly intolerant of political, racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual differences. Much American poetry challenged that Cold War culture. This class will focus on to two such groups of poets, who often were in dialogue with one another: the ―hip‖ and ―countercultural Beats and the ―postmodern‖ poets associated with Black Mountain College and Black Mountain Review. We will examine how Beat and Black Mountain poets offered exciting, revolutionary visions of a new national and global future. Invoking jazz and blues, race relations, sex, drugs, death and apocalypse, unconventional gender, challenges to the State (war, censorship), experimental language, communism and anarchism, they imagined new forms of community based on love, freedom, and historical consciousness.

Requirements: Class attendance and participation; additional critical readings about the texts and authors; discussion board posts about the reading three times a week (350-500 words); one 15-20 minute presentation on the assigned author and her context; a researched final paper due by August 1 (20-25 pages).


Summer 2010 Courses | Six Week 1 (May 24 - July 2, 2010)

Authors and their critics
2982 ENG 681
MW | 6:00-9:30PM | H. Elam

A study of the close relation between a critical and a literary text by focusing on six major works of literature (different genres--novel, poetry, drama, nonfiction) and six major critical essays, one on each of the texts read.The critical essays are not chosen because they deploy any particular theoretical model. Rather, they are chosen because they were in their time (and are) an important reading of that particular text. Possible pairings: Homer (Odyssey) and Erich Auerbach; Kafka (Metamorphosis, etc) and Walter Benjamin; Wordsworth (one or two poems) and Geoffrey Hartman, Paul de Man; Keats ( ̳Ode on a Grecian Urn‖) and Earl Wasserman et al; Molière (Don Juan) and Shoshana Felman; Blanchot (Awaiting Oblivion) and Ann Smock. Critical texts will be on reserve as well as on a packet. For undergraduates: One take-home midterm, one short essay, one final paper. For graduate students: one presentation, one short essay, one term paper.


Fall 2010 Courses

Textual Practices I
3002 ENG 500
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | H. Elam

This course explores some of the debates that have shaped the context of literary study and will deal with literary texts around which such debates consistently hover. Readings will move across genres and disciplines, structured as a conversation between literary and critical texts, and will comprise writers such as Dickinson, Beckett, Wordsworth, Nietzsche, de Man, Kafka. Requirements: Two short papers leading to term paper, weekly responses to readings, and class presentations.


Workshop in Fiction
3004 ENG 516
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM |  L. Davis

In this course, each student will be expected to complete three pieces of fiction (short stories, short-shorts, or novel excerpts) during the semester, to be submitted for workshop discussion. Most of each class period will be devoted to this workshop discussion(for which prepared written comments will be expected), but time will also be spent studying and discussing isolated aspects of effective writing, such as description, dialogue, character depiction, openings, and endings. In support of this, there will be some short texts for assigned reading, as well as occasional in-class writing exercises and supplemental brief assignments. One book may be assigned to be read in full.

Permission of Instructor required. Please submit a sample of your fiction writing to Prof. Davis (cote@albany.edu).Any student who is an undergraduate or who is a graduate student from a department other than English should e-mail the Director of Graduate Studies <bret@albany.edu>with student ID#to inquire about workshop eligibility requirements.


Old English
17204 ENG 555
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05 | H. Scheck

The literature and language of early England (up to about 1100 C.E.) has inspired poets, novelists, and scholars, including Milton, Tolkien, and Pound, and continues to excite the modern imagination. A film adaptation of the Old English epic, Beowulf, appears every two or three years, it seems, and Benjamin Bagby performed his artful recitation of the poem to a full house at Lincoln Center and continues to attract audiences in Europe, England, and America. Indeed, poets from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to Seamus Heaney seemed to view translation of Beowulfas a measure of poetic achievement. The legacy of Anglo-Saxon England has political significance as well. Henry VIII hearkened back to Anglo-Saxon letters to prove that the Church of England had always been independent of the Church of Rome. Thomas Jefferson was an avid Anglo-Saxonist and even proposed as a design for the national seal the first Anglo-Saxon leaders, Hengist and Horsa. Old English language, literature, and culture offer much, therefore, to writers and scholars seeking greater historical and linguistic depth.

This course will help students to develop the skills necessary to read poetry and prose of early England in their original form. Rather than dwelling on the development of the language and philological minutiae, we will move quickly to the literature in its cultural context. In addition to learning to read Old English, students will consider some of the intellectual and social issues facing the Anglo-Saxons, as well as the uses to which Old English and Anglo-Saxon studies has been put in later centuries, especially in England and the United States.

No experience with Old English or language learning is necessary: though it looks very different from the current form of English, Old English is merely an early form of our language and it won‘t take long to achieve reading competence. The course text will be Peter S. Baker‘s Introduction to Old English (Second Edition; ISBN: 978-1-4051-5272-3). Secondary readings will enrich our understanding of the texts and culture of the Anglo-Saxons and help us to think critically about their legacy.


Staging Empire
15106 ENG 580
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | L. Cable

The British Empire stretched across three centuries, and at its height it governed one quarter of the world‘s population and land mass.Although the legal relationships between ruler and ruled were written up in various constitutions, the contradiction between cherished British notions of themselves as freedom-loving people and the actual practices whereby they curtailed the liberties of others led to significant ambivalence about the meaning of such power.This ambivalence is reflected in plays performed from the late 16th through 20th centuries.We will explore a selection of these plays through questions such as:How do specific plays reflect the cultural and political conditions that sustain empire? Do playwrights intervene in public debate over empire in order to influence it, or do they merely dramatize what they perceive?How does a given play indicate what its English audience feared, aspired to, gained, or lost from empire?To what extent were public perceptions about empire shaped by race, class, gender or partisan politics?How did ideas about empire affect popular notions of English identity?What evidence did plays provide for audiences to think through the moral, ethical, and social as well as economic consequences of imperial dominion?To what extent did stage plays treat empire as altering the course of human civilization?Although a substantial number of our readings come from the English Augustan era (1660-1714), which consciously drew on classical Roman models of philosophy, politics, art, and literature, we will also sample the broad historical sweep of British empire drama, from the work of Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare to twentieth century playwrights Harley Granville Barker and Brian Friel.In addition to reading and discussion, there will be a sequence of short papers and oral reports on historical context, oral presentation of an annotated bibliography, and a final research paper.


Modernism (Reading Course)
9090 ENG 581
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | K. Bell

This course was recently added to our fall offerings, and a specific course description will be published shortly. The course will survey a range of modernist literature with attention to questions of race. As a "reading course" a breadth of coverage will be prioritized over a specific topic of inquiry.


Faulkner’s Post Literature—―"I don’t hate the south"
17207 ENG 582
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | T. Cohen

This seminar involves a selective reading of Faulkner in light of 21st century horizons that require us to reassess the canonical interpretations linked to regionalism (―the South‖), racial trauma, and modernist premises. In doing so, we examine where these referential investments give way to post-humanist premises that, all along, had been turned against these forms of reception. Beginning with selections from Sanctuary and As I Lay Dying, the seminar will turn to Go Down, Moses as a key or cipher text in which the era of the ―Book‖ itself appears marked, exceeded, and performatively closed. Participants will have the opportunity to engage Faulkner in depth while reviewing the critical strategies by which historical and modernist reading premises are exceeded today.


Organicism Reconsidered: Whitehead and Olson
17210 ENG 615
Thursday | 7:15-10:05PM | D. Byrd

Beginning with Plato the philosophy of organism has been the recurrent form of theoretical retrenchment. With the publication of Isabelle Stengers‘ Thinking with Whitehead, it is time to reassess the tradition of organicism again.

This course will focus on a close reading of Alfred North Whitehead‘s Process and Reality, Charles Olson‘s Maximus Poems, and related texts. Following Whitehead and Olson, the reading will be undertaken against the background of nineteenth-century organicist theory and romantic literature, most importantly Coleridge, Wordsworth, Shelley, and Melville. Some attention will be given to contemporary organicist theorists. It should be a useful course for writers who are interested in the practical uses of theory in the production of literary form and for anyone preparing to do further research in nineteenth and twentieth century literature and culture. With the recurrence of Whitehead, it may now be possible to make the turn the culture failed in the 1930s.

Although it will be possible to complete the course successfully reading only the required texts, students might find the course more rewarding with prior knowledge of Plato‘s Timaeus, Whitehead‘s Science and the Modern World, Melville‘s Moby Dick, and Olson‘s Call Me Ishmael and other essays on Melville(in Additional Prose). These might be read over the summer. Students with a special interest in American literature should perhaps also review Emerson‘s ―Nature,‖ Whitman‘s poetry and prefaces. Whitehead and Olson offer a powerful alternative context for the understanding of the past two centuries of literature, and the course will allow some adjustment for a variety of interests for students who are planning major research projects on relevant topics.


Keyworks of Transnational Cultural Studies (Reading Course)
12356 ENG 642
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05PM | B. Benjamin

This course will serve as an introduction to some of the key debates, methods, and thinkers inthe field of transnational cultural studies. The class will devote attention to the contemporary historical moment, delving into various analyses of globalization. Looking backwards from the present, however, we will trace a longstanding intellectual engagement with global cultural study that moves from Marx through Gramsci and Lenin, to mid-century anti-colonial thinkers, to the scholarship of British Cultural Studies, and the diasporic intellectual tradition of postcolonial studies. As with any surveycourse, our investigation will necessarily sacrifice depth for breadth at moments. Even then, there are countless ―keyworks‖ that time will not permit us to examine. The reading selections include landmark works, as well as less frequently cited scholarship from major intellectuals working in this arena. Though the topics are broad, coherent threads will emerge in our focus on the Global South and the legacies of imperialism, as well as in our investigation of the Marxist intellectual tradition and the derivations, extensions, and revisions to radical thought that structure many of the key debates about the study of culture in a global context. While the class is intended as an introduction to seminal texts that constitute ―required reading‖ for students working on projects related to postcolonial or cultural studies, we will move beyond a ―greatest hits‖ model; the readings and our collective research should provide the opportunity for critical reflection on the challenges and possibilities of intellectual work in transnational cultural studies as a means to analyze, critique, and intervene in the living present. Readings will likely include texts from among the following authors: Karl Marx, Antonio Gramsci, V.I. Lenin, C.L.R. James, Frantz Fanon, Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall, Edward Said, Janice Radway, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Paul Guilroy, Pierre Bourdieu. Frederic Jameson, Michael Denning, Maria Mies, J.K. Gibson Graham, Neil Larsen, Roberto Schwarz, Aiwa Ong, Lisa Lowe, among others.


Animal and Technological Forms of Life
17211 ENG 642
Wednesday | 7:15-10:05PM | D. Wills

Study of recent theoretical work that questions the status of the human in relation to the animal and to technology. We will read works by Serres, Agamben and Derrida, as well as by Haraway and others, which problematize distinctions between the human and the animal, as well as between the human and the machine, both from humanist and non-humanist perspectives. Students will be encouraged to analyze literary examples (e.g. Coetzee) in the context of philosophical and theoretical readings and to examine the stakes of such work for the discipline.
 

Popular Fictions
10442 ENG 681
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | S. North

This course will consider the relationship between a selected set of authors working in mystery and detective fiction and those critics who, especially over the past 30 years, have tried to make cultural and/or literary sense of this impressively durable and prolific form. Authors will likely include Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Anna Katherine Green, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Dorothy Roberts Rinehart, Walter Mosley and Sara Paretsky. Critical texts will include both broader background readings (e.g., Walter Benjamin, Tsvetan Todorov); and more recent, specialized work such as Maureen Reddy‘s Traces, Codes and Clues: Reading Race in Crime Fiction; Catherine Ross Nickerson‘s The Web of Iniquity: Early Detective Fiction by American Women; John Irwin‘s Unless the Threat of Death is Behind Them; and Sean McCann‘s Gumshoe America. Assignments will include regular short writings, a class presentation, and an extended final project.


Contemporary Authors
17212 ENG 681
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | E. Schwarzschild

This is a course that examines contemporary writers and it will be structured in conjunction with the NewYork State Writers Institute Fall 2009 Visiting Writers Series. We will study at least eight major writers, whose works range from fiction and nonfiction to poetry, playwriting and screenwriting. One principal work for each writer will be taken up in the context of the writer's complete work, the writer's biography, and the contemporary literary situation. Students will be expected to reflect both critically and creatively on each writer's work. Since the Visiting Writers Series often has sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays, students will be encouraged whenever possible to be available for the relevant 4:15 p.m. craft talks and 8:00 p.m. readings by the Visiting Writers themselves. The course will also stand in parallel to the undergraduate English 350 course, a course that takes up some of the same material in survey fashion. That parallel will provide an opportunity to examine pedagogy as a part of the critical exploration of the writers studied.

The actual list of authors will be announced as the Visiting Writers Series schedule is confirmed, sometime over the summer. Updates can be found on the New York State Writers Institute website (www.albany.edu/writers-inst). Recent Visiting Writers have included such authors as Francine Prose, Russell Banks, Don DeLillo, Lorrie Moore, Richard Russo, Walter Mosley, and Jayne Anne Phillips.

Students will be expected to write one long critical paper as well as one creative project with a critical introduction. Class sessions will be in seminar/workshop format, and students will be expected to make in-class presentations.


Textual Studies I
11542 ENG 710
Monday | 7:15-10:05PM | J. Greiman

This course will broadly survey key theoretical concepts and critical problems in 20th-and 21st-century literary and critical theory, which have helped to shape the field of English Studies. While surveying the work of thinkers from a wide range of movements and perspectives, we will focus on the various ways in which these writers think the literary and the political together. We will read against chronology, to a large extent, instead tracing a path through clusters of concepts, such as ideology and aesthetics; différance and citationality; subjection and alterity; plurality and exception. The list of authors will likely include: Althusser, Eagleton, Jameson, Zizek, Derrida, DeMan, Kamuf, Arendt, Fanon, Foucault, Butler, and Agamben. To open our conversation about the theories and practices of English Studies in the 21st century, at our first meeting we will discuss a recent special issue of the journal, Representations (issue 108, Winter 2009), ―The Way We Read Now,‖ edited by Sharon Marcus and Stephen Best. (You can order this issue directly from the UC Press website (http://caliber.ucpress.net/toc/rep/108/1).


Biopolitics and Mediation, Early and Late
12358 ENG 720
Thursday | 7:15-10:05PM | R. Barney

This course will study the relatively recent field called biopolitics by focusing particularly on how the work by Michel Foucault, Giorgo Agamben, Roberto Esposito, Hannah Arendt, Jacques Derrida, and others has been crucially based on particular interpretations of early modern political and philosophical authors such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, and Adam Smith. Since many recent analysts like Foucault consider the birth of biopolitics during the 17th and 18th centuries to have been a central part of the emergence of western modernity, we will read several early works they rely on with a careful eye toward how those works support or complicate specific constructions of concepts such as the Enlightenment, the modern, subjectivity, or political sovereignty. Along the way, we will consider how during the 18th century, new scientific discoveries about human physiology, as well as innovative formulations of human perception or socialization, produced new understandings of ―life‖ and its potential for political control, revolution, or reform.

Because the convergence of ―life‖ and politics was by no means ready-made during the early modern period, we will also explore the prospects of critically intervening in the current discussion of biopolitics by tracking the usefulness of another theoretical concept that has received considerable attention of late—mediation. As considered by analysts including Jay Bolder, Richard Grusin, Lisa Gitelman, and Mary Poovey, mediation constitutes a broad spectrum of activity that can include conceptually bridging abstract differences, pragmatically allying otherwise disparate socio-political entities, or technologically linking—as ―the media‖—distinct parties in the act of communication. Drawing on a new book by William Warner and Clifford Siskin that argues that mediation is the Enlightenment concept par excellence, we will consider various ways that the combination of biology and politics often required—and may still require today—a third term, such as statistical calculation, anthropological speculation, and aesthetic formulation.

Especially given that last item—aesthetics—we will consider several literary texts and one or two films in order to examine what role they might play in representing or actively forging the liaison between biology and politics. Examples of that process will include: Ann Radcliffe‘s response to the French Revolution in her gothic novel The Italian; Mary Shelley‘s critique of Romantic politics in Frankenstein; and, more recently, the politics of zombification in films such as Shaun of the Deador 28 Days Later.


Practicum in Teaching Writing & Literature
16360 ENG 771
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | L. Wilder
(Prerequisite: ENG 770. Open only to English Ph.D. students)

Building on ENG 770 Teaching Writing and Literature, this course is intended to supplement and support participants‘ experience of concurrently teaching an undergraduate English course at the University at Albany for the first time. To promote the development of reflective teaching practices open to inquiry and experimentation, course activities will include: discussion of problems posed by classroom dynamics, investigation of available campus resources and disciplinary publications related to teaching, regular reflective contributions to a teaching log, classroom observations, comparison of methods for evaluating and commenting on student work, exploration of computer-assisted classroom tools, and development of a statement of teaching philosophy.


Summer / Fall 2010 Course Concentration Distribution

Literature, Modernity, and the Contemporary
ENG 555—Old English
ENG 580—Staging Empire
ENG 581—Modernism (Reading Course)
ENG 582—Faulkner‘s Post Literature
ENG 615—Organicism Reconsidered
ENG 681—Contemporary Authors
ENG 720—Biopolitics and Mediation, Early and Late


Writing Practices
ENG 516—Workshop in Fiction
ENG 615—Organicism Reconsidered
ENG 681—Contemporary Authors


Cultural, Transcultural, and Global Studies
ENG 642—Keyworks in Transnational Cultural Studies
ENG 681—Popular Fictions


Theoretical Constructs
ENG 642—Keyworks in Transnational Cultural Studies
ENG 642—Animal and Technological Forms of Life
ENG 582—Faulkner‘s Post Literature
ENG 720—Biopolitics and Mediation, Early and Late

Spring 2010

Spring 2010 Courses

Textual Practices I
10198 ENG 500
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | R. Craig

This course focuses on three aspects of its title: writing, interpreting, and teaching literary texts. As graduate students in an English Studies program, you are probably most centrally concerned with ways of reading, and this issue will be the primary focus of the course. Nevertheless we will also consider questions of authorship, the relationship of creative and critical writing, and pedagogy. These issues will be explored in a series of readings focused on Matthew Arnold, Oscar Wilde, and T. S. Eliot. The final section of the course will test our theories and practices on Mary Shelley‘s Frankenstein and its seemingly innumerable progeny, hideous and otherwise.


Workshop in Poetry
10542 ENG 515
Wednesday | 7:15-10:05PM | P. Joris

Beyond Rimbaud, "I" is manyothers. 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 –but also as ―this compost‖ of recycled past forms and information. While focusing on discussing students' work, the workshop will therefore also involve readings in the more experimental contemporary writings and in the most current theoretical speculation about poetics. Alain Badiou‘s The Centurywill give us the necessary historical/philosophical analysis of the past hundred years to proceed & try to think the cusp of the new century, while Jed Rasula‘s Syncopationsand Lynn Hejinian‘s The Language of Inquirywill serve as practical vademecums to explore the American poetic imagination. We will read a range of contemporary poetries –via vol. II of Poems for the Millennium& books by individual poets as specific engagements with a open-ended and nomadic poetics.


Workshop in Fiction
3268 ENG 516
Tuesday | 4:15 -7:05PM | L. Tillman

This is an intensive writing workshop for students with some degree of experience in writing fiction. Students are expected to have already been developing, thinking about, and working on fiction. Poets who are interested in writing fiction are also welcome to apply. During the workshop, each student will present stories to the group, three or four times in the semester (depending upon our number). Each student is expected to be a full and active participant in discussion and in written commentaries on colleagues' work. We will attempt to discuss all the consequent issues in writing that arise from the stories, as well as questions about narrative time, order, word choice, structure,etc. This is a permission by instructor only course. Anyone interested in applying should email5-8 pages of their writing to: Tillwhen@aol.com.In addition, please indicate previous writing courses; major or area of specific interest in graduate school; and reasons for wanting to take this workshop.


American Romantics (Reading Course)
13694 ENG 581
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | R. Bosco

During the last academic year, the English department formalized a set of approaches to be followed in sections of graduate courses designated as ―Reading Courses.‖ This class on the American Romantics, which has been designated a reading course, is especially designed for those persons who would profit from a broad introductory survey to writers such as Emerson, Hawthorne, Poe, Thoreau, Fuller, Douglass, Melville, Whitman, and Dickinson, which will emphasize readings in the primary works associated with these writers and draw attention to scholarly and critical approaches to those works and their authors as found in secondary scholarship, including theoretical studies. Here, the emphasis will be on breadth and students‘ acquisition of foundational knowledge that will serve as the basis for their more specialized study in the American Romantics in the future; thus, although many will have already developed and refined certain research skills, each student will be asked to formulate a specific research subject early in the semester, prepare an annotated bibliography of primary and secondary sources appropriate to that subject by mid-semester, and present before the class their findings in a formal research paper at the end of the semester.

For the sake of everyone‘s access to a uniform edition of primary works, I have ordered and strongly suggest everyone use the Norton Anthology of American Literature, volumes A and B (package 1), seventh edition, ed. Nina Baym et al (New York: W.W. Norton Co., 2007); ISBN 978-0-393-92993-5.Otherwise, all other readings, including in the voluminous secondary literature that has been produced on most American Romantics, will be accessible in the University Library‘s print holdings, viaelectronic resources such as JSTOR, Project Muse, and the Making of America series (Cornell), or through the Library‘s very efficient interlibrary loan office.


Studies in a Literary Period: The Enlightenment and its Peripheries
17048 ENG 581
Wednesday | 7:15-10:05PM | M. Hill

The eighteenth century in is marked in a variety of ways as providing the origins of what we call today "modernity."The rise of print culture, the division between "literary" and other forms of knowledge, the notion of civil society, and its inverse twin, the "savage," are all features of the Enlightenment that continue to haunt and inform contemporary debates within English studies.This course will examine the history of the Enlightenment (what is; or what was it?), and do so--to the degree possible--from the vantage point of any number perspectives that modernity either inadvertently leaves out, claims to supersede, or otherwise seeks to integrate.These perspectives will revolve around issues to do with the agency of writing, public memory, as well as racial and national difference.Readings will include twentieth-and twenty-first century assessments of the period (e.g. Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt's new book on the "commonwealth"; Nancy Armstrong's latest work on the history of the novel, Ian Hacking on the emergence of probability theory), as well material ranging across historical and literary archives of the eighteenth century (e.g. Adam Ferguson on civil society; Immanuel Kant's anthropology; Henry Mackenzie's novel on the "new men of feeling.") A more developed reading list will be available on request from <mikehill@albany.edu>.

Note:This course will not repeat the reading list offered in previous versions of ENG 581 offered in Spring 2008 and 2009.


Shakespeare, Marlowe, and the Challenges of Biographical Speculation
14864 ENG 582
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | M. Rozett

This course has two linked objectives: to read Shakespeare's and Marlowe's plays against one another with an eye to influences, echoes, and the development of dramatic strategies from the late 1580s to 1600; and to investigate the ways in whichscholars have attempted to reconstruct the lives of Shakespeare and Marlowe from the fragments of evidence and imaginative speculation that have surrounded these two dramatists for four centuries.Readings will include Doctor Faustus, Tamberlaine, The Jew of Malta, Edward II by Marlowe, and Hamlet, Henry V, The Merchant of Venice,and Richard II by Shakespeare.Also, The Reckoning by Charles Nicholl, Will in the World by Stephen Greenblatt, 1599 by James Shapiro, parts of The Genius of Shakespeare by Jonathan Bate, Shakespeare's Wife by Germaine Greer, and other recent critical biographies.


Seminar: Constructivist Poetics
13698 ENG 615
Thursday | 7:15-10:05PM | T. Noel

This course explores the possibilities and problematics of a poetics of the Americas through the study of four vanguardist ―moments‖ in hemispheric poetry between 1915 and 1960: Anglo-American modernism, the Spanish American vanguardias, French (Afro) Caribbean Négritude, and Brazilian concretismo. Reading key figures from each of these ―moments‖ (with special attention devoted to William Carlos Williams, César Vallejo, Aimé Césaire, and Haroldo de Campos), we will consider how their works link the development of constructivist poetics (of the kind promulgated by the European avant-gardes) with the development of national and transnational (e.g. hemispheric, indigenous, Caribbean) imaginaries. Following Barrett Watten‘s The Constructivist Moment: From Material Text to Cultural Politics (2003) and Gonzalo Aguilar‘s Poesía concretabrasileña: las vanguardias enla encrucijada modernista(2003), we will seek out a critical language that bridges formalist and culturalist approaches to innovative poetry and poetics. We will also examine some pre-20th-century poetries (e.g. Inca Garcilaso, Gregório de Matos, Sor Juana, Martí, Sousândrade), including indigenous poetries, in an attempt to establish some interpretive contexts. Lastly, we will engage with some recent efforts to theorize a ―poetics of the Americas‖ by Charles Bernstein, Ernesto Livon-Grossman, Dennis Tedlock, Roland Greene, and others.


Seminar: Critical Methods: A Life
17047 ENG 641
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05PM | B. Arsic

The class will explore certain vitalist philosophies of the twentieth century and the urgent questions they raise in contemporary political, juridical, ethical and epistemological contexts. We find ourselves in a world whose politics is shaped by practices of neglect and abandonment of bodies; whose jurisprudence corroborates capital punishment; whose ethics leaves the door open for the enslavement and incarceration of persons; whose epistemology so disconcertingly transforms notions of self that certain persons are presumed to be incapable of experiencing pain and torture; and whose existential conditionsare structured by a violence that is infused with a whole variety of religious fundamentalisms.

All of the preceding issues appear to have produced a renewed interest in the question of life, both in philosophy and literature (what is life; can it be identified with personhood; is there something like ―bare life;‖ is the revival of philosophical interest in Christianity contradicted by the renewed interest in revolutionary subjectivity; etc.). Working with texts that come from different genres (law, theology, philosophy, anthropology, neuroscience), and span more than a hundred years, we will try to address some of these issues, while all the time being haunted by the question of how a literary scholar is to address literary texts and at the same time stay at tuned to political disfigurations of life. The burden of this class will rest on close readings of texts by: Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou, Georges Bataille, Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Nancy, Catherine Malabou, and Henry Michel.


Seminar: Cultural Theory and (Global) Culture Industry
13700 ENG 642
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | T. Ebert

This course is a contribution to the theory of the ―culture industry‖ in the time of globalization and in the digital age, when culture, itself, is being re-understood (e.g. as bioculture) and the idea of the ―human‖ (the subject of culture) is rewritten as the (post)human in multiple discourses—from new ―animal studies‖ to technological shifts that are displacing ―Homo sapiens‖ with ―Robo sapiens.‖ The course will expand the classical ―culture industry‖ critique, which is said to be wholly negative, to make it more alert to the contradictory moments of desire and its displacement in cultural texts and to trace hope and repression. It is only by paying attention to contradictions (even in Hollywood films) as signs of larger class antagonisms that one is able to see culture as a scene of contestations and understand a society‘s dreams and nightmares (Kellner, Jameson).

We will read some of the texts of the Frankfurt School, focusing on the writings of Adorno, Benjamin, and Marcuse, and examine various critiques of the ―culture industry,‖ especially its reputed elitism: ―socialist radicals who had no sympathy for the taste of the common people.‖ The response from Adorno is that the bourgeois is tolerant but his love for people as they are arises from his hatred of what they could be. However, can ―authentic art,‖ as Walter Benjamin has said, be sharply separated from mass culture (―The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction‖)?

There will be no conventional examinations. Students are required to actively participate in seminar discussions every week; write one short paper (6-8 pages); present a seminar report on specific theoretical problems, and write a long theory paper (18 -20 pages for participants in the ―theory conference‖ and 25 pages for non-participants).


Seminar: Politics in Poetry
10000 ENG 685
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | E. Keenaghan

The relationship between politics and American poetry, especially experimental poetry, is particularly fraught. To what extent is poetry, a form invested in communicating truths but often purposefully avoiding their direct disclosure, able to help realize radical political ends? To what extent do the poets themselves feel that their artcan actually contribute to such programs? What does their work suggest to us about the nature of ―political poetry‖ in their own eras? How does poetic literature from past moments speak to us now, when the political issues, and even some of the questions,have substantially changed? We will focus our investigation of these and related questions by studying twentieth-century American poetry‘s relationship to interwar-era ―anarchist‖ and postwar and cold war ―third force‖ politics. Many poets between 1914 and 1975 were deeply invested in realizing radical change in their American milieu, and advocated forms of collective consciousness that challenged capitalism and liberalism, while still fostering a spirit of strong individualism. Deeply skeptical of the Communist and Socialist Parties and the theoretical science of historical materialism, they were somewhat at odds with the American Old Left. Later, many radical poets were disillusioned by revelations about the Stalinist Soviet Union, the dawning of the atomic age, and the cold war disintegration of the American Old Left. With the emergence and transformation of the New Left in the late 1950s through the 1970s, these writers found new audiences and encountered new challenges in formulating modes of poetic resistance that allowed for both group consciousness and individual independence. We will focus on the poetry and poetics of eight figures: Lola Ridge, John Wheelwright, e.e. cummings, Kenneth Patchen, Muriel Rukeyser, George Oppen, Robert Duncan, and Allen Ginsberg. Our literary readings will be accompanied by selections from political philosophy, the poet‘s essays on poetics and society, political and literary history, and literary criticism.

Requirements for MA students: Attendance and participation; Mid-Term Paper (8-10 pages, close reading of an assigned poem in dialogue with assigned secondary materials); Final Paper (10-15 pages, limited research, textual analysis of a text by an assigned poet).

Requirements for PhD students: Attendance and participation; Presentation/Seminar Leader for one session; Seminar Paper (20-30 pages, researched analysis of one poet/text). NOTE: Doctoral students‘ seminar papers are not limited to the assigned poets. Although they will be required to write about ―poetry‖ (however defined), they can extend the course‘s theoretical and literary questions to better align with their own research interests and prospective fields. For instance, they can research related poetry from other periods or nations (such as Walt Whitman‘s orPercy Bysshe Shelley‘s ―anarchism‖), other twentieth-century American ―political‖ poets with interesting relationships to the Old or New Left (such as Harlem Renaissance and after, Black Arts, radical feminist, Gay Liberation, Beat, Nuyorican, la Raza), or more contemporary American poetries (such as LANGUAGE/―New Sentence,‖ New Lyric, queer, postcolonial, new anarchist/new social movement) involved with a ―post-New Left‖ politics.


Figures of the Phantom Limb: Irony, Dislocation and the Force of Submerged Language
11462 ENG 720
Monday | 7:15-10:05PM | K. Bell

This course explores certain currents in critical thought and aesthetic textuality and film, forming a disjunctive conversation in which ideas originating in German Romanticism--which later develop into flashpoints of 20th-century literary theory--are brought into contact with constellations of Afro-diasporic thought and cultural production that had been shaping themselves all the while, in ways either discarded by or invisible to the Western traditions that established to themselves what it meant for discourse to be "critical."


Teaching Writing and Literature
3300 ENG 770
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | J. Berman

We will explore a wide variety of pedagogical issues, including how to tell the difference between a good and bad teacher, how to become a good teacher, how to motivate students to do their best, how to make a difference in your students‘ lives, and how to encourage students to make a difference in your life. We‘ll also be discussing the nitty-gritty of teaching,such as creating a reading list, encouraging class attendance, grading students, commenting on student essays, maintaining a strong teacher-student relationship, using reader-response diaries, choosing paper topics, discouraging plagiarism, developing a relationship between teaching and scholarship, writing references, and avoiding burn-out. I‘ll be placing special emphasis on the pedagogy of self-disclosure. There will be ten three-page essays (typed, double-spaced) and the creation of two syllabi, one for an undergraduate literature course, the other for an undergraduate expository or creative writing course. The reading list will include one of my own books, Empathic Teaching, along with several articles contained in course packets.


Spring 2010 Course Concentration Distribution

Literature, Modernity, and the Contemporary
ENG581: American Romantics
ENG581: The Enlightenment and its Peripheries
ENG582: Shakespeare, Marlow...
ENG585: Appalachian Writers/Appalachian Studies
ENG615: Constructivist Poetics
ENG685: Politics in Poetry


Writing Practices
ENG515: Workshop in Poetry
ENG516: Workshop in Fiction
ENG615: Constructivist Poetics


Cultural, Transcultural, and Global Studies
ENG515: Workshop in Poetry
ENG585: Appalachian Writers/Appalachian Studies
ENG615: Constructivist Poetics
ENG642: Cultural Theory and the (Global) Culture Industry


Theoretical Constructs
ENG581: The Enlightenment and its Peripheries
ENG641: Critial Methods: A Life
ENG642: Cultural Theory and the (Global) Culture Industry
ENG685: Politics in Poetry

Summer / Fall 2009

Summer 2009 Courses | Six Week 1 (May 26 – July 3, 2009)

Mystical Traditions-Special topic: Practices of Mourning in Antebellum America
3786 ENG 585
MTTH | 6:00-8:30PM | B. Arsic

The course will focus on the ways antebellum Americans experienced death. We will be interested in changes in conceptions of privacy and domesticity, the public sphere and religiosity that contrived new ways of accepting and mourning death. Philosophically, we will want to know more about new theories of mourning proposed by such authors as Henry David Thoreau or Walt Whitman, and the ways in which they affected personhood. Culturally, we will be looking at the phenomenon of the Rural Cemetery Movement,and will want to explore the relation between landscape architecture, architecture of new cemeteries, and communal ways of mourning. We will look into scientific and ontological theories of vitalism formulated in that period and the ways they reshaped ideas of personal identity. Politically, we will be asking questions about the “collective deaths” of Native Americans and the ways in which the Indian removals affected the national identity of antebellum Americans. We will work with a variety of texts, from lyric poetry,philosophy, essays and scientific discourses, to travelogues, obituaries and opinions of the Supreme Court.


Summer 2009 Courses | Six Week 2 (June 22 – July 31, 2009)

Baseball Literature
3785 ENG 585
MTWTHF | 3:30-4:50PM | R. Craig

This baseball madness,” as George Bernard Shaw described the American national pastime, is the subject of a course with a dual objective. First, the class introduces students to the long tradition of writing about baseball in America and considers the role of baseball in American life and culture.Second, the course concentrates on fiction in order to analyze the narrative modes and genres illustrating the development of the American novel during this time. The course will begin with forms of romance(e.g., Malamud, Roth), consider the tradition of realism and naturalism in the novel (e.g., Lardner,Harris), and conclude with experiments in metafiction and magic realism (e.g. Coover, Kinsella). Related questions of literary mode (comedy, satire) or genre (short story, detective fiction, film) will be introduced throughout the session.


Summer 2009 Courses | Six Week 3 (July 6 – August 14, 2009)

Authors and their Critics
3831 ENG 681
MW | 6:00-9:30PM | H. Elam

A study of the close relation between a critical and a literary text by focusing on six major works of literature (different genres--novel, poetry, drama, nonfiction) and six major critical essays, one on each of the texts read. The critical essays are not chosen because they deploy any particular theoretical model.Rather, they are chosen because they were in their time (and are) an important reading of that particular text. Possible pairings: Homer (Odyssey) and Erich Auerbach; Molière (Don Juan) and Shoshana Felman;Kafka (Metamorphosis, etc) and Walter Benjamin; Wordsworth (one or two poems) and Geoffrey Hartman,Paul de Man; Blanchot (Awaiting Oblivion) and Ann Smock. Critical texts will be on reserve as well a son a packet. For undergraduates: one short essay, one final paper. For graduate students: one presentation, one short essay, one term paper.

 

Summer 2009 Courses | Four Week 3 (July 20 – August 14, 2009)

The Age of Freud
3784 ENG 581
MTWTH | 6:00-8:40PM | J. Berman

This summer we will focus on the "Age of Freud" and the relationship between history and hysteria. We will begin by reading one of Freud's most famous case studies, Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria, better known as the story of Dora. We will then discuss how pre Freudian and post Freudianwriters reflected and challenged cultural assumptions of sanity and madness. Psychoanalytic and feminist interpretations of literature will be emphasized. The reading list includes Kate Chopin's The Awakening, Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar, Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, D. M. Thomas's The White Hotel,and Jeffrey Berman’s Surviving Literary Suicide. Requirements for undergraduates: one ten-page essay,a weekly reader-response diary, and a final exam; requirements for graduate students: one fifteen-page essay, a weekly reader-response diary, a final exam, and a class presentation.


Fall 2009 Courses

Textual Practices I - Expansions, Transformations & Disruptions in Literary Studies
18578 ENG 500
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | L. Thompson
(Open Only to English MA Students)

This graduate seminar will introduce participants to the various methods and approaches to reading and researching literary, filmic and theatrical texts that have expanded, transformed and disrupted the study and teaching of English. We will explore a range of topics such as cultural studies, feminism, race studies,queer studies, and performance theory. This course will also take up what Barbara Johnson calls “the consequences of theory” and apply what we have gleaned from examining theoretical texts to selected fictional and dramatic works.


Workshop in Fiction
18580 ENG 516
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | L. Davis

In this course, each student will be expected to complete three pieces of fiction (short stories, short-shorts,or novel excerpts) during the semester, to be submitted for workshop discussion. Most of each class period will be devoted to this workshop discussion, but time will also be spent in class working on isolated aspects of effective writing, such as description, dialog, portrayal of character, openings, and endings. In support of this, there will some short texts for assigned reading, as well as occasional in-class writing exercises and supplemental brief assignments. At least one book will be read in toto: The Mother Tongue:English and How It Got That Way, by Bill Bryson.


Workshop in Dramatic Writing
26626 ENG 517
Wednesday | 7:15-10:05PM | C. Yalkut

This is a workshop that introduces students to the techniques of dramatic writing. Each student functionsprimarily as a dramatist, but also as audience and actor. Students give onstage readings of and discuss eachother's work, revise scenes and, for the final project, finish a one-act play.


History of Literary – Romantic Ideology/Aesthetic Ideology
32342 ENG 541
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | K. Kuiken

This course explores the history of the connection between aesthetics and ideology, focusing on the question of the many ways these terms (or fields) intersect, and the ethical and political questions that emerge out of this intersection. How do the histories and theories of aesthetics and ideology meet, and what is their relationship to the formation of modern subjectivity? Beginning with the emergence of aesthetics as a “science” in the 18th century, the course begins by considering the relations that philosophers such as Kant and Schiller establish between aesthetic judgment and ethico-political questions. We will then turn to close readings of key texts of the Romantic period by Blake, Wordsworth and others in order to as certain whether Romanticism, which has recently been understood as a synonym for “aesthetic ideology”, provides resources for rethinking the relationship between art and ideology. Is it a paradigm case for the aestheticization of politics, or does it challenge the connection between art, subjectivization, and the production of the state? The course will conclude by considering the role that Romanticism has played in modern conceptions of ideology as “false consciousness,” and in contemporary debates on the relation between politics and aesthetics.

Beyond those already mentioned, authors will include Schlegel, Hölderlin, Coleridge, Shelley, Keats,Marx, Althusser, Adorno, de Man, Derrida, Lyotard, Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy, Ranciere, Benjamin, andLukacs. Assignments will include a presentation, and a final seminar paper.


Eccentricities: Literature and the Unique in Atlantic Modernity
26630 ENG 580
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | J. Lilley

This course adopts an intentionally whimsical attitude toward the literature and the politics of the emerging British and U.S. nations. Rather than take for granted traditional oppositions between imperial centers and their colonial peripheries—and in order to complicate models of sovereignty and community rooted in adialectic of inclusion and exception—we will instead take seriously the place of the eccentric and the frivolous in Atlantic modernity. What happens to our view of literary and political history if the orbit of the eccentric, rather than the exception of the extrinsic, is opposed to the colonizing and civilizing work of the nation-state? In what ways do economies of the erratic, the trivial, and the unique offer alternative value structures and important counter-histories to the rise of commodity exchange and the fetish of the antique?

In addition to readings in early modern and contemporary political theory, our primary authors will include:Sterne, Walpole, Ossian, Hogg, Hobbes, Irving, Poe, Thoreau, and Melville.


Fictive Salvations in the 17th Century Now
25104 ENG 581
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | L. Cable

In an era renowned for new world exploration, technological advances and new individualism, early modern optimism also had a dark side: deep anxiety over the ethical import of the ever-expanding human enterprise. Rapid change in political and economic spheres rendered social structures and cultural institutions newly insecure, while religious conflicts and scientific discoveries continued to upset received ideas of cosmic order. Writers seeking to restore a credible sense of moral purpose to human activity used fictive modes of allegory, epic and romance to carry out philosophical inquiry into existential problems and their potential solutions.

In this course we will read major humanist works of fictive salvation from the late 16th and 17th century in the context of critical perspectives on, and reading of, a contemporary literary masterpiece–one directly inspired by these early modern classics, yet written for children. We begin by reading Philip Pullman’s contemporary classic for young people His Dark Materials, the trilogy of fantasy adventure novels comprised of The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. At the same time, we study critical perspectives on Pullman that provide useful leads to understanding fictive salvation as an artistic concept. We then shift our historical attention to Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, followed by John Milton’s Paradise Lost– the source of title and primary inspiration for Pullman’s trilogy. From Paradise Lost we move on to other early modern works of fictive salvation, both religious and secular:John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, Margaret Cavendish’s The Blazing World, and writings by Thomas Traherne and William Blake. We conclude with an inquiry into modern philosophical conundrums that lead a writer like Pullman iconoclastically to demolish solutions proffered by his forebears so as to recast the problems themselves. Throughout the course, we test the proposition that fictive salvation seeks to save humanity from itself by transforming human consciousness.


20th Century U.S. Poetry
322343 ENG 581
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05PM | D. Byrd

In 1967, Jacques Derrida declared: “Perhaps something has occurred in the history of the concept of structure that could be called an ‘event,’ if this loaded word did not entail a meaning which it is precisely the function of structural—structuralist—thought to reduce or to suspect. But let me use the term ‘event’anyway, employing it with caution and as if in quotation marks.” The course will propose that in the last half of the twentieth century there was also an Event! The formal organization knowledge and communication fundamentally changed. Much of the class discussion will focus on issues having to do with digital culture and will revolve around an unpublished text by the instructor. Although there is little literature that fully or radiantly manifests this Event, students in the class will be divided into three groups to exam three sites, defined by certain literary texts, where it is partially manifest. These sites will center around, though not be limited to: 1) Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, and Arakawa and Gins; 2) Thomas Pynchon, Don De Lillo, Robert Smithson; 3) John Cage, Jackson Mac Low, Alan Kaprow, and the Living Theater. These focus groups will occasionally meet with the instructor and as groups report to the class as a whole.


Seminar: Critical Methods: Reading Capital
32344 ENG 641
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05PM | B. Benjamin

Marx’s Capital stands as one of the foundational texts of modern critical theory. Some acknowledge openly the debts owed to Marx’s seminal analysis of capitalism; others, often as critical of Marx’s followers as of Marx himself, consider the obligation odious. Between Marx’s critics and Marxist critics,Capital casts a long shadow.

Never more relevant than today, at this moment of global economic crisis following thirty years of “free market” triumphalism, Capital Volume I (in its entirety) will serve as the primary text for this course. In contrast to broad ranging, book-a-week grad seminars (my own included), this course will assume a slower,more meticulous pace; we will devote the majority of the semester to a careful, critical reading of this difficult but rich text.

To supplement our primary reading of Marx we will likely examine several contemporary the orizations of Capital’s legacy, including Louis Althusser’s Reading Capital, Raymond Williams’ Marxism and Literature, and David Harvey’s The Limits of Capital.


Seminar: Nietzsche, Ecopolemics, and the Contemporary Rhetoric of the "Post-Human"
28884 ENG 642
Wednesday | 7:15-10:05PM | T. Cohen

If 20th century criticism peaked around questions of identity politics and social justice, and has landed us today in a recirculation of legacies often attached to one or another theoretical master, does the 21st century-the era of non-anthropic "climate change"-stand to reconfigure entirely current definitions of"humanism," the political, and reading?

One can imagine critical models to emerge in coming decades that may bear little resemblance to theinherited pieties and legacy-chasing that preoccupy us today. As the world in the era of climate change mutates beyond the sociological models of representation, identity, and social "justice" that preoccupied past decades, a re-orientation of critical horizons toward the non-anthropomorphic arrives without acredible model of representation. This seminar will begin a selective reading of critical responses to the emerging contemporary disintegration of humanist premises. We will review the Nietzschean legacy in 20th century criticism then begin a speculation on what import it has before the emergent era of climate change, economic implosion, and the rethinking of "life," politics, technics, mnemonics, and terror. While parallel traditions of materialism will be invoked, the intent is to probe the limits, and relapses, of current transitional models before evolving impasses.

Participants will be expected to make short presentations and choose a final paper topic drawing on, but not restricted to, the course's readings.


Contemporary American Literature
26638 ENG 681
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | E. Schwarzschild

This is a course that examines contemporary writers and it will be structured in conjunction with the New York State Writers Institute Fall 2009 Visiting Writers Series. We will study at least eight major writers,whose works range from fiction and nonfiction to poetry, play writing and screenwriting. One principal work for each writer will be taken up in the context of the writer's corpus, the writer's biography, and the contemporary literary situation. Students will be expected to reflect both critically and creatively on each writer's work. Since the Visiting Writers Series often has sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays, students will be encouraged whenever possible to be available for the relevant 4:15 p.m. craft talks and 8:00 p.m.readings by the Visiting Writers themselves. The course will also stand in parallel to the undergraduate English 350 course, a course that takes up some of the same material in survey fashion. That parallel will provide an opportunity to examine pedagogy as a part of the critical exploration of the writers studied.

The actual list of authors will be announced as the Visiting Writers Series schedule is confirmed, some time over the summer. Updates can be found on the New York State Writers Institute website(www.albany.edu/writers-inst). Recent Visiting Writers have included such authors as Jayne Anne Phillips,Anne Enright, Andre Dubus III, Valerie Martin, Jim Shepard, Major Jackson, and Dexter Filkins. Students will be expected to write one long, and one short critical paper as well as one creative project with a critical introduction. Class sessions will be in seminar/workshop format, and students will be expected to make in-class presentations.


Anglophone Caribbean Literature and Criticism
18582 ENG 685
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | G. Griffith

Before there was postcolonial literature there was commonwealth literature, and the literature of the commonwealth during the British colonial period was made up of the literature of the metropolitan center and the literature of the various satellite outposts that comprised the colonized world. These colonized folk who were, in Frantz Fanon’s words, the ‘wretched of the earth’ produced a literature that was simultaneously within and without an established literary tradition, a literature that simultaneously sustained a filial and patricidal relationship to the cultural traditions of the colonial center. This graduate course will explore some of the political and cultural tensions and contradictions that characterized this period by examining selected Anglophone Caribbean literature and criticism from the 1940s through the 1960s. The development of literature and criticism in the Anglophone Caribbean coincided with the aftermath of widespread civil disturbances in the region during the late 1930s, the subsequent recommendations of the Moyne Commission that included the establishment of the University of the WestIndies, and the tireless work of first, Una Marson and then, Henry Swanzy who established and consolidated the BBC ‘Caribbean Voices’ literary radio program. Paying attention to the history of the development of literature and criticism in this region of the Americas, we will recognize that the insight fulcritique that would come to be called ‘postcolonial’ already inhered in the perspective and the writing that evolved out of the region and that coincided with the social and political agitation for national independence. Course material will include relevant readings in literary and social history, as well as Caribbean criticism and prose fiction written in English.


Textual Studies I
27842 ENG 710
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | C. Shepherdson

This course is an advanced doctoral-level survey of recent developments in literary and cultural theory. The course will make a particular effort to highlight the often-neglected problem of literary discourse in the broader horizon of culture. We will begin with some basic touchstone texts from structuralism,phenomenology (likely authors include Saussure, Lèvi-Strauss, Gadamer, Vattimo), then turn to some historical issues underlying reception theory (Jauss and Iser). We will then read Foucault ("What is anAuthor?" and The Order of Things) and some more recent writers who have engaged the problem of the relation between esthetics, history, community and communicability (possibly including Kant, Rancière,Nancy, Agamben).


Textual Studies II - Marxist Aesthetic Theory
28886 ENG 720
Thursday | 7:15-10:05PM | P. Stasi

This course will approach the relationship of textual object to world through the rich history of Marxist Aesthetic theory. We will begin, as we must, with Kant, whose Critique of Judgment lays out the basic parameters of our modern “autonomous” aesthetic, before reading sections of Hegel’s Lectures on Aesthetics to understand the initial dialectical response to Kant’s project. After that we will turn to Marxism proper, spending time with Marx, Lukacs, the Frankfurt School (Benjamin, Adorno) and Jameson. Time permitting we might also consider cultural studies as an outgrowth of the Birmingham School’s take on Marxism as well as some texts of contemporary “post-Marxist” theory (Ranciere, Zizek).


Practicum in Teaching Writing & Literature
7026 ENG 77
Monday | 7:15-10:05PM | J. Greiman

This class will build on the work you have done in AENG 770, with an emphasis on supporting participants’ experiences teaching undergraduate English courses. We will focus on a variety of classroom practices and challenges, from teaching specific strategies of reading and writing, to developing paper topics, to work shopping and grading student work. We will develop our curriculum from the course around your syllabus and spend time work shopping and grading samples of your students’ writing. Course participants should email their syllabus to me prior to the first day of classes.


Summer 2009 Course Concentration Distribution

Literature, Modernity, and the Contemporary
ENG585: Mystical Traditions-Special topic: Practices of Mourning in Antebellum America
ENG585: Baseball Literature
ENG681: Authors and their Critics
ENG581: The Age of Freud
 

Fall 2009 Course Concentration Distribution

Literature, Modernity, and the Contemporary
ENG541: History of Literary – Romantic Ideology/Aesthetic Ideology
ENG580: Eccentricities: Literature and the Unique in Atlantic Modernity
ENG581: Fictive Salvations in the 17th Century Now
ENG581: 20th Century U.S. Poetry
ENG681: Contemporary American Literature
ENG685: Anglophone Caribbean Literature and Criticism


Writing Practices
ENG516: Workshop in Fiction
ENG517: Workshop in Dramatic Writing
ENG771: Practicum in Teaching Writing & Literature


Cultural, Transcultural, and Global Studies
ENG580: Eccentricities: Literature and the Unique in Atlantic Modernity
ENG641: Critical Methods: Reading Capital
ENG642: Anglophone Caribbean Literature and Criticism


Theoretical Constructs
ENG541: History of Literary – Romantic Ideology/Aesthetic Ideology
ENG641: Critical Methods: Reading Capital
ENG642: Nietzsche, Ecopolemics, and the Contemporary Rhetoric of the "Post-Human"
ENG710: Textual Studies I
ENG720: Textual Studies II - Marxist Aesthetic Theory

Spring 2009

Spring 2009 Courses

Textual Practices I: Reading American Poetry through Writing, the Unconscious, and Power
6139 ENG 500
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | E. Keenaghan
(Open Only to English MA Students) - Permission of Department is required

Three conceptual ―optics‖ –writing, the unconscious, and power—will organize our reading of key theoretic essays. Each optic roughly corresponds to, and so will help you become conversant with, a major critical approach: deconstruction,psychoanalytic criticism, and historical materialism/cultural studies, respectively. Using optics rather than recognized ―schools‖ of criticism will also let us examine where those critical approaches originated, how they evolve as responses to thinkers in other ―schools,‖ and where they overlap. Since many literary authors can be said to be generally concerned with issues of writing, unconscious, and power, these three ―optics‖ also supply ready made thematic connections between the theoretic and literary texts. Possible theory: Nietzsche, Sapir, Saussure, Lévi-Strauss, Blanchot, Heidegger, Ransom, Derrida, de Man, Nancy, Racière, Marx, Gramsci, Sartre, Adorno, Benjamin, Freud, Lacan, Althusser, Fromm, Marcuse, R. Williams, Eagleton, Foucault, Kristeva,Butler, Irigaray, Cixous, Cavarero, Jameson, Barthes, Deleuze and Guattari, Lyotard , Fanon, Spivak, Bhabha, Gates, B. Johnson. We will work with 5-7 major American poets, any of whom you may write on for your final paper. Possible Poetry: Whitman, Pound, Stevens, Williams, H.D., Zukofsky, Rukeyser, Reznikoff, Bishop, Oppen, Spicer, Duncan, Blaser, Olson, O‘Hara, Ginsberg, Jones/Baraka, Bernstein, Hejinian, R. Waldrop, Mackey, Mullen, Palmer. Requirements: (1) Attendance and participation; (2) Assessment Paper (2-3 pages) of a critical essay‘s limits; (3) group presentation on critical approaches to a poet; (4) Critical Paper (6-8 pages) using 2 critical essays from the group presentation; (5) Final Research Paper (12-15 pages, staged). Before the first class, students should read French Theoryby François Cusset (Minnesota, 2008).


Workshop in Poetry
6343 ENG 515
Wednesday | 7:15-10:05PM | T. Noel

How can poetry signify linguistic and political difference? This workshop/seminar will explore the promise and problematics of nonmonolingual poetics. We will seek out expressive terrain between the monolingualism of the nation state and an idealized bilingualism that assumes a free and easy commensurability. We will experiment with ―translingual‖ writing and reading practices.Any interested in applying should email a 7-10 page sample of creative and/or critical writing to Tomas Urayoan Noel [tunoel@albany.edu].

While focusing on discussion of students‘ work, the workshop will also involve readings from the work of poets engaged in various modes of nonmonolingual writing (and especially of Latin/o American poets such as William Carlos Williams, Alurista,Victor Hernández Cruz, Miguel Algarin, Bernice Zamora, Juan Felipe Herrera, Francisco X. Alarcón Edwin Torres, Rodrigo Toscano, Heriberto Yépez, Adrian Castro, Josefina Báez, Mónica de la Torre, and Tomás Riley). Since our approach to translangage is critical-creative, we will also examine theoretical writings by the likes of Haroldo de Campos, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Emily Apter, Doris Sommer, and Julia Kristeva. (There is no language requirement for this course.)


Workshop in Fiction
2166 ENG 516
Tuesday | 4:15 -7:05PM | L. Tillman

This is an intensive writing workshop for students with some degree of experience in writing fiction. Students are expected to have already been developing, thinking about, and working on fiction. Poets, similarly experienced in writing poetry, who are interested in writing fiction, are also welcome to apply. During the workshop, each student will present three or four stories to the group (depending upon our number), for engaged discussion. Each student is expected to be a full participant in the commentary on colleagues‘ fictions, stories, and consequent questions about issues in fiction. This is a permission by instructor course. Any interested in applying should email 7-10 pages of their writing to: Tillwhen@aol.com. In addition, indicate previous writing courses; major or area of specific interest in graduate school; reasons for wanting to take this workshop.


Fitzgerald & Hemingway
5475 ENG 580
MONDAY | 4:15-7:05PM | 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 Stores, 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 several reader-response diaries.


Back to the Eighteenth-Century: What was/What is the Enlightenment?.
9071 ENG 581
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | M. Hill

This course explores key themes associated with a period self-described in the eighteenth century as the ―Enlightenment.‖ The period considered will range from the lapsing of the Licensing Act in late seventeenth-century England, through the reading revolutions of the politically turbulent eighteenth century, particularly, as the discipline of ―English Literature‖ originated in the Scottish Universities. Through close reading of eighteenth-century fiction and non-fiction prose, poetry, various critical and archival materials, as well as contemporary theory on the Enlightenment and after, topics of discussion will include: the relation between literature and civil society, the modern divisions of knowledge we now call ―disciplines,‖ the new legal and aesthetic emphases placed upon authorship and subjectivity, the rise of ―rights,‖ the new middle class, and the division of ―races‖ in the context of imperial rule.

Throughout the course, we will attempt to turn our historical investigations toward questions of how literary expression and democratic citizenship are playing out given current media, political, and economic changes that evidently serve counter-points to Enlightenment ideals.

Reading for this course will include historical and contemporary writing that did not appear in the Spring 2008 ENG 720, ―Enlightenment and the Analytics of War.‖ An extended list of texts is available on request.


Special Topics: Appalachian Writers/Appalachian Studies
9073 ENG 585
WEDNESDAY | 4:15 -7:05PM | M. Pryse

The premise of this course emerges from the convergence of culture, language, geography, modernization, representation, and environmentalism in shaping the contrast between the outsider‘s view of Appalachia and attempts by Appalachian writers and activists themselves to define their heritage, claim their identity, and explore the social and economic tensions that the region brings into relief. Although the majority of readings for the course will focus on fiction from the 1880s to the 1980s, about a third will explore interdisciplinary constructions of Appalachia, with an emphasis on the role coal mining has played in the economy and political structure of the region. Students will have free rein to explore the cultural study of Appalachia in at least one of two out-of-class papers. Documentary film and some attention to Bluegrass music will supplement discussion of literary and non-fiction texts. Class discussion and group work will organize the course format and students should anticipate a final exam as well as out-of-class writing. AENG 585 is cross-listed with Women‘s Studies.

The reading list for the course will likely include the following novels: Mary Lee Settle, Charley Bland(1989); Mary Noailles Murfree, In the Tennessee Mountains(short stories, 1884); Murfree, In the ̳Stranger People‘s‘ Country(1891); Grace MacGowan Cooke, The Power and the Glory(1909); Chuck Kinder, Snakehunter(1973); Cormac McCarthy, Childof God(1973); and Lee Smith, Oral History(1983). In addition, the course will include journalist Michael Schnayerson‘s Coal River(2008), and likely include excerpts/segments from Mari-Lynn Evans, Holly George-Warren, and Robert Santelli, eds., The Appalachians: America‘s First and Last Frontier(2004) and Elizabeth S. D. Engelhardt, Beyond Hill and Hollow: Original Readings in Appalachian Women‘s Studies(2005).


Poetics and Literary Practice
9074 ENG 615
Monday | 7:15-10:05PM | H. Elam

Two eras in British poetry –Romantic and Victorian –have been marked off as distinct, and the divide has spilled over into 20th century poetry, with designations of modernist, high romantic, and so on. This course will focus on readings of major poems in both traditions and follow their inclinations into later poetry. Readings from Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley, Tennyson, Browning, Yeats, and others. Short responses per week, short mid paper, term paper, and seminar presentations.
 

Seminar: Current Trends in Critical Theory –Class and Cultural Theory
9075 ENG 642
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | T. Ebert

Class is the decisive condition of social life: it shapes people's birth, healthcare, education, eating, love, labor, aging, and death. Yet, as an explanation of cultural and social relations, it has more or less disappeared from contemporary theory whichnow represents society as an assemblage of cultural singularities and flows of fugitive meanings. The reasons vary for this fading of class in theory. Derrida, for instance, declares ―any sentence in which 'social class' appeared was a problematic sentence for me,‖ and he meditates that perhaps class belongs to ―another time‖ since our time is for him marked by links of ―affinity‖ without a ―common belonging to a class.‖ Antonio Negri regards Derrida's theory in general to be outdated and ―exhausted‖—―a prisoner of the ontology he critiques.‖ Negri reads ―class‖ as an analytics of the ―multitude‖ and argues for a new ―post-deconstructive‖ cultural theory because capitalism itself has outdone deconstruction in the pursuit of de-totalization, difference and hybridity. The course will examine these and other arguments about class as lifestyle, status, income, taste, biopolitics.... It will also explore the theory of class as a relation of owning—not just owning commodities but owning the labor of the other because labor ―possesses the peculiar property of being a source of value‖ (Marx, Capital). The relations of class, subjectivity, otherness, and difference will be studied along with class‘s relation to ideology and its place in cultural theory. The broad context of discussion is a social environment in which, as one theorist notes, ―the class structure is being rigidified and polarized, when the hypermobility of capital gives the transnational bourgeoisie an unprecedented capacity for domination‖ and ―the social safety nets set up in the course of a century of labor struggles‖ are being dismantled and ―forms of poverty reminiscent of the nineteenth century resurge and spread,‖ and ―where one would need an unflinching historical and materialist analysis‖ instead of―a soft culturalism.‖What is the relation of class critique and literary and cultural theory now? Students will write two papers, give one seminar report and have the option of participating in a theory conference.


Seminar: Texts/Authors: Medieval Women Writers
9076 ENG 681
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | H.Scheck

Female experience and potential in the Middle Ages was shaped by various cultural forces that limited women‘s creative, social, spiritual, and political activity. And yet, women writers did flourish throughout the Middle Ages. This course surveys women‘s contributions to the rich literary traditions of the western Middle Ages, from early to late (ca. 750-1500 CE), and explores the ways in which women worked in, through, and against the limitations imposed by masculinist social structures. Situating their work within the various cultural milieux in which medieval women wrote, we will grapple with notions of authority, authorship, and canonicity in relation to class, gender, power, sexuality, and spirituality. Drawing on current critical, historical, and theoretical work, we will consider prominent women writers and their motivations (political, social, spiritual, etc.); reception of their work by contemporaries as well as by modern audiences; and issues of selection and preservation of texts to further our understanding of women‘s roles in cultural production as patrons, readers, and writers. We will also trace the ways in which women negotiate male-dominated discourses and genres, alternately promoting and challenging perceptions of womanly weakness (intellectual, spiritual, and physical), appropriating and revising historical and literary traditions, and advancing literary devices of their own. Primary texts will be read mostly in translation from Latin, French, Anglo-Norman, Italian, and Spanish, though we will also read some texts in their original early English form. Assignments will include an oral presentation, weekly short essays, and a final seminar paper.


Early American Spirituality
6025 ENG 685
Thursday | 7:15-10:05PM | B. Arsić

In contrast to the inherited image of the ―American self‖ as self-reliant, willful, insular and liberal, which served as a background to a number of interpretations of American exceptionalism and colonialism, we will explore the vein of American spirituality that advocated selflessness, involuntariness, disorientation and weakness as the premise for contriving personal identity. Epistemologically speaking, our question will concern those strategies of evacuation of the self that, by leading to ―emptiness,‖ served, for authors we will discuss, as the necessary condition for ―feeling alive.‖ Cognitively,we will want to know what kind of personal identity –if any –can be posited upon such an evacuation of the self. Ethically, we will ask how the depersonalized self can still claim to be a responsible subject mobilized in the service of revolutionary politics. Politically, how susceptibility toward the supernatural and even the mystical could lead to a passionate involvement against slavery. The cultural background to our discussions will be provided by texts as diverse as Margaret Cavendish‘s empirical philosophy, the long discourses of the Buddha, Benjamin Rush and the early ages of American psychiatry, as well as opinions of the United States Supreme Court from the first half of the 19th century. Our main arguments, however, will emerge from close readings of texts by Mary Rowlandson, Anne Bradstreet, John Cotton, Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Paine, Emily Dickinson and Henry David Thoreau.


The History of English Studies, 1880-Present
9077 ENG 700
Monday| 7:15-10:05PM | S. North

This course will consider the disciplinary/professional enterprise traditionally called English—and more recently English Studies—as that enterprise has operated in the U.S., where it has been funded primarily in and through universities and colleges. Topics will include the emergence of and relationships among its various specializations (e.g., English and American literature, creative writing, linguistics, rhetoric and composition); the role of professional organizations (Modern Language Association, Conference on College Composition and Communication, Associated Writing Programs) and scholarly/professional journals; and its modes of self-perpetuation (e.g., graduate education, professionalization). Readings will be drawn from such histories of and/or commentaries on the enterprise as Robert Scholes‘s The Rise and Fall of English Studies, Sharon Crowley‘s Composition in the University, James Sosnoski‘s Token Professionals and Master Criticsand Gerald Graff‘s Professing Literature, but students can also expect to do research on specific journals,organizations and/or programs.


Theory & Practice of Literary Translation
7096 ENG 720
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05PM | P. Joris
(Permission of the instructor is required)

Through a close reading of major texts on & of translation, this seminar addresses both theoretical & practical questions raised by the activity of writer-as-translator & translator-as-writer. An investigation of the ideological and socio-economic strictures of the translator's task and place will help refocus the central question of author-ity. Students will be expected to be simultaneously involved with writing & with translation work from a language of their choice into English. This seminar will attempt to invert the traditional relationship of original text & translated copy & reinscribe the activity of translation as the core process of the act of writing.
 

Teaching Writing and Literature
2182 ENG 770
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | P. Chu

In this course we will address questions of teaching literature, criticism and theory in an English department using a set of canonical texts. We will read a small number of writings on teaching generally but this will not be a course in pedagogical theory. Students will finish this course with a set of lesson plans for our texts, writing assignments in versions for different kinds of courses and students, and a set of syllabus.


Spring 2019 Course Concentration Distribution

Literature, Modernity, and the Contemporary
ENG580: Fitzgerald and Hemingway
ENG581: Back to the Eighteenth-Century
ENG585: Appalachian Writers/Appalachian Studies
ENG615: Poetics and Literary Practice
ENG681: Medieval Women Writers


Writing Practices
ENG515: Workshop in Poetry
ENG516: Workshop in Fiction
ENG700: The History of English Studies
ENG720: Theory & Practice of Literary Translation


Cultural, Transcultural, and Global Studies
ENG515: Workshop in Poetry
ENG642: Current Trends in Critical Theory
ENG720: Theories& Practices of Literary Translation


Theoretical Constructs
ENG615: Poetics and Literary Practice
ENG642: Current Trends in Critical Theory
ENG720: Theories& Practices of Literary Translation

Summer / Fall 2008

Summer 2008 Courses | Six Week 1 (May 27 – July 3, 2008)

Texts/Authors and Their Critics
2398 ENG 681
MW | 6:00-9:30PM | H. Elam

A study of the close relation between a critical and a literary text by focusing on six major works of literature (different genres--novel, poetry, drama, nonfiction) and six major critical essays, one on each of the texts read. The critical essays are not chosen because they deploy any particular theoretical model. Rather, they are chosen because they were in their time (and are) an important reading of that particular text. Possible pairings: Homer (Odyssey) and Erich Auerbach; Kafka (Metamorphosis, etc.) and Walter Benjamin; Wordsworth (one or two poems) and Geoffrey Hartman, Paul de Man; Keats (‘Ode on a Grecian Urn”) and Earl Wasserman et al; Molière (Don Juan) and Shoshana Felman; Blanchot (Awaiting Oblivion) and Ann Smock. Critical texts will be on reserve as well as in a packet. For undergraduates: One take-home midterm, one short essay, one final paper. For graduate students: one presentation, one short essay, one term paper.


Summer 2008 Courses | Four Week 3 (July 7 – August 15, 2008)

Studies in an Author: Ernest Hemingway
2397 ENG 582
MTWTH | 6:00-8:40PM | J. Berman

We will read the major short stories and novels of Ernest Hemingway, including In Our Time, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, and For Whom the Bell Tolls. Psychoanalytic and feminist interpretations will be emphasized. Undergraduates will write one ten-page essay, several reader-response diaries, and a final exam. Graduate students will write one fifteen-page essay, several reader-response diaries, a final exam, and give a class presentation.


Summer 2008 Courses | Six Week 3 (July 7 - August 15, 2008)

Models of History in Literature
2399 ENG 580
MW | 6:00-9:30PM | H. Elam

A study of three writers (Kafka, Beckett, Dante) whose strangeness raises questions about "modernity"--modernity understood not in terms of chronologies but as a persistently attempted break with the past. These writers provoke questions about how history is to be understood, what would chronologies have to do with it, why the effort to articulate the present and how that articulation works. Literary and critical readings will be interwoven. For undergraduates, one take-home midterm, short paper, final paper. For graduate students, one presentation, one short essay, one term paper.


Fall 2008 Courses

Textual Practices I
2087 ENG 500
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | G. Griffith
(Open Only to English MA Students) Permission of Department is Required

In this graduate seminar, we will examine some of the significant ways, within what we have come to think of as the Western literary tradition, that texts have been constituted and interpreted. We will take a roughly historical and genealogical approach as we consider, inter alia, the differences between literary criticism and literary theory, and between theory and praxis. Beginning with Plato's less than welcoming attitude to the poet in the Republic, we will read our way through a literary and material history of representation, conflict, conquest, resistance and liberation to arrive at our own learned conclusions about textual practices and textual praxes. The "anchor" texts in the course will be Charles Bressler's Literary Criticism: An Introduction to Theory and Practice, and Terry Eagleton's Literary Theory: An Introduction. When we have gained our critical "sea legs," we will weigh anchor and set our hermeneutic sights on four or five selected literary and cultural texts.


Workshop in Fiction
2088 ENG 516
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05PM | E. Schwarzschild
(Permission of Instructor is Required – Submit Writing Sample to Professor Schwarzschild (5-10 pages of fiction, Humanities 339)

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 bring to bear on the criticism of student work a discussion of writings by pertinent authors.


Workshop in Dramatic Writing
6329 ENG 517
Thursday | 7:15-10:05PM | C. Yalkut

This is a workshop that introduces students to the techniques of dramatic writing. Each student functions primarily as a dramatist, but also as audience and actor. Students give onstage readings of and discuss each other’s work, revise scenes and, for the final project, finish a one-act play. During the semester, students will also read plays independently and attend at least one live stage performance.


Models of History: Bio-Cultures, Literature, & the Sublime in Early Modern Britain (SEMINAR)
6332 ENG 580
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | R. Barney

This course will explore the intimate, often unpredictable, relation between new philosophical and scientific knowledge about human physiology and the emergence of modern concepts of “literature” and the sublime from 1680 until 1820 in Britain. We will begin with the philosophical empiricism of John Locke, which formed the basis of the 18th century’s understanding that all human knowledge was based on sensual experience, before turning to consider how specific medical theories regarding perception (via sight), feeling (via “gut” reaction), or sensitivity (via the nervous system) produced a framework in which to interpret literary texts, as well as to evaluate the response of readers to the emerging category of Literature (with a capital L) as distinct from other kinds of writing. Since what qualified as Literature was also measured by to what degree it was sublime, we will explore this new aesthetic idea, especially its definition in terms of an audience’s paradoxical experience of mental and physical trauma, as well as moral and spiritual edification. While the sublime was often characterized as an elevated, even ethereal, phenomenon, the term “bio-culture” captures the composite way in which the period gradually came to use medical knowledge to examine literary genius and readers’ responses, just as it also conjectured on how being exposed to artistic objects produced physical reactions with far-reaching implications for both individual sensibility and social organization.

On the one hand, this course will provide students an intensive study of literary and philosophical texts from the 18th and 19th centuries that focus on the issues of literariness, cognition, and socio-politics. On the other, it will offer a broader historical and theoretical perspective on ways to approach human embodiment, ideology, and what has come in the wake of so-called “body studies.” Our literary texts will include poetry by authors such as Alexander Pope, James Thomson, Thomas Gray, and Anne Finch on the topics of melancholy, sublime experience, and extreme emotion, as well as novels by Eliza Haywood, Laurence Sterne, and Ann Radcliffe—with a particular eye to the excesses of gothic fiction by the end of the century. Along the way, we will consider a number of theoretical and historical accounts of the emerging “modern” relation between the medical profession and culture, including those by Michel Foucault, Roy Porter, Aris Sarafianos, Steven Bruhm, and Jessica Riskin.


Archives of Transatlantic Revolution and Empire, 1750-1850
6333 ENG 580
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | J. Greiman

This course will examine the literary production of the transatlantic world in the era of democratic revolutions and Atlantic expansion. Looking closely at four revolutionary moments – American independence, the French Revolution, the Haitian Revolution, and the revolutions of 1848 – we will read across national literary traditions to develop something like an archive of transatlantic empire. We will consider how expansionism and revolution are conjoined in a variety of writings from this period, from Rousseau’s “Essay on the Origins of Language” to Tyler’s Algerine Captive and Melville’s Moby Dick. In this, we will explore the residual imperialism in both theories of democracy and early democratic republics, looking explicitly at how sovereignty is both preserved and reinvented in this period. On the one hand, this course will be an intense reading course for students building lists in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literatures and cultural, transcultural & global studies. On the other hand, it will offer a case study in theories of sovereignty and its reinterpretation by democratic republics. To that end, our readings will include work by Carl Schmitt, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Giorgio Agamben, and Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri. Masters students will be expected to write two papers (10-15 pages); doctoral students will be expected to write a seminar paper (25-30 pages) and present to the class.


Modernist Poetics
9029 ENG 580
Thursday | 7:15-10:05PM | P. Stasi

This course will consist of an intensive examination of the poetry and prose of four modernist writers: T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens and Marianne Moore. Our attempt will be to understand the theoretical underpinnings of modernism’s aesthetic revolution and to situate this revolution within its historical context. In addition, we will read some of the varied critical responses to this project and consider the lineages of literary and critical thinking that emerge from our primary texts. Requirements will include a class presentation, a 20-25 research paper and occasional short writing assignments.


Victorian Literature: Is There a Victorian Novel?
5509 ENG 581
Wednesday | 7:15-10:05PM | R. Craig

A study of the development of British fiction in the nineteenth century. The class will be organized around Victorian debates concerning the nature and purpose of the novel. A wide range of texts will be included, encompassing both major and minor figures, canonical and non-canonical works.

Interested students are encouraged to contact the instructor (rcraig@albany.edu) prior to May 2008 with suggestions and recommendations for course content.


Literary Theory: Theory Reading Literature
7829 ENG 642
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05PM | D. Wills

Study of a selection of theoretical works by French writers of the post-structuralist period, with special emphasis on approaches to the literary text. We will investigate the priority of something called theory vis-à-vis reading and literature by treating the former as a necessary and unavoidable process. That means presuming that there is necessarily theory when it comes to reading/literature; that there is no reading, no literature without theories of reading and literature; only more or less explicit, more or less presupposed theoretical choices. The course will be taught in English, but wherever possible, reading of texts in the original languages will be encouraged. Works by Blanchot, Barthes, Deleuze, Derrida, Levinas, Nancy, Cixous.


Culture and Imperialisms
9030 ENG 680
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM |B. Benjamin

What is the place of culture under imperialism? This course will trace the often-intertwined intellectual genealogies of culture and imperialism. Recent scholarship by David Harvey, Neil Smith, V.G. Kiernan, and Randy Martin, among others, has examined the “New Imperialism,” analyzing U.S. military interventionism overlaid atop a neo-liberal economic regime of global capitalist production and accumulation. Meanwhile, a coherent body of research has examined the new cultures of globalization, exploring the modes of expression, identification and social formation that emerge in response to changing dynamics between and among individuals, communities, states, and the world capitalist system. (Possible authors include Frederic Jameson, John Tomlinson, George Yudice, Néstor Garcia Canclini, Roberto Schwarz, Franco Moretti, Inderpal Grewal, Boaventura de Sousa Santos, and Geeta Patel). This seminar seeks, then, to engage with the critical interventions in the emerging work on the “new” imperialism and the cultures of globalization. Part of this process entails contextualizing these arguments within longer historical and intellectual frameworks. To understand the place of culture in our present imperial moment, we will examine the long tradition of liberal, and particularly Marxist, critiques of imperialism from authors such as Hobson, Lenin, Hilferding, Luxembourg, Bukharin, Frank, Amin, and Wallerstein. We will also examine the emergence of “culture” as a modern critical category, looking at recent arguments from Michael Denning, Terry Eagleton, Susan Hegemon, and others about the “cultural turn,” as well as the writings of mid-century anti-imperial cultural theorists such as Frantz Fanon, Walter Rodney, C.L.R. James, Kwame Nkrumah, and Amilcar Cabral. The course will include several contemporary literary and filmic examples to help us raise pertinent questions about the problem of political art and the horizons of cultural critique. These will include texts from authors variously situated at sites of revolt against the current neo-liberal order: Mahasweta Devi, José Saramago, J.M. Cotzee, Jeremy Cronin, Eduardo Galeano, Abderrahmanne Sissako, Bong Joon-ho and others.


The Politics of Literary Reputation: Texts, Authors, and Their Critics (Seminar)
6336 ENG 681
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | R. Bosco

Justifying his highly selective interpretation and appropriation 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 is merely one individual’s acknowledgment of how the intellectual, imaginative, and aesthetic predispositions of creative writers and readers exert a substantial influence on their disposition toward historical materials, but it is as instructive for biographical and critical writing and theories of, as well as practices in, literary textual editing as it is for fiction, poetry, and drama that nominally locate their sources in history. It is especially instructive in accounting for the variety of ways in which biographers, critics, and literary textual editors have treated the respective lives, thought, and writings of Americans Anne Bradstreet and Edward Taylor, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, and Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost. Put another way, the thesis of this seminar is that, regardless of the theory informing their practice, no biographer, critic, or textual editor ever “objectively” or “disinterestedly” approaches the subject of his or her research; it is a thesis admirably demonstrated by the enormous range of revisionist biographical and critical studies on each of these writers produced over the last twenty years as well as by in-print and on-line arguments presently advanced concerning the “authority” and “accessibility” of ongoing and recent editions of the public and private (personal) writings of Taylor, Emerson, and Frost.

Each of these writers enjoys reasonably sound canonical status today, and so the purpose of this course is to examine the ways in which biographers, critics, and textual editors have contributed to that status. Here, Bradstreet and Taylor, Emerson and Thoreau, and Dickinson and Frost have been purposely linked together in order to promote comparative and contrastive discussion of their primary works and the construction and evolution of their respective reputations. Discussions about personal or cultural needs that all these writers and their work were found to fill will dominate the course. Readings will be equally divided among primary texts and biographical, critical, and textual studies.

Requirements include two brief in-class presentations and by the end of the semester a substantial “working paper” and an in-class presentation on a topic related to the explicit thesis of the seminar. Justifying his highly selective


Theorizing Blackness
2089 ENG 685
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | L. Thompson

In The Souls of Black Folk (1903), W.E.B. DuBois observes that, “the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line—the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men.” This seminar will explore one side of that color line. African American intellectuals from DuBois to Patricia J. Williams have theorized the concept of blackness. During the semester we will contemplate how blackness is celebrated, defined, performed, interrogated and problematized. By examining such topics as racial authenticity, intersectionality, essentialism and the role of theory in race studies we will assess the stakes involved for scholars of African American studies in excavating the varied meanings and representations of blackness. Since the status of African Americans in the academy (and in the U.S. more broadly) remains a contested issue, the course will also discuss the current trends and debates within black studies such as those concerning canonization, trans-nationalism, institutionalization, and the standing of gender and queer studies within the discipline. Authors under consideration include: Kimberlé Crenshaw, Ralph Ellison, Frantz Fanon, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Stuart Hall, Evelyn Hammonds, Robin D. G. Kelley, Kobena Mercer, Toni Morrison, Adrian Piper, George S. Schuyler, Valerie Smith, Hortense Spillers and August Wilson. While there are no prerequisites, participants should have some knowledge of African American history and literature. Students are encouraged to purchase TheNorton Anthology of African American Literature and the Oxford Companion to African American Literature as resources for use during the term, and in future research and teaching.


Textual Studies I: Survey
7026 ENG 710
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | J. Lilley

This course introduces some of the central debates and the key concepts that have helped to shape the field of English Studies. By exercising our close reading skills, we will look for important areas of overlap and influence among scholars from an array of different disciplines—philosophy, literature, economics, linguistics, psychology, political science, and sociology, to take just a few examples—paying particular attention to the ways in which they reconfigure the concept of literature and the practice of "literary theory" in the 20th century. We will divide the readings into five three-week segments, each focused on a specific area of interest or overlap: 1) ideas of linguistic, economic and aesthetic value (Saussure, Marx, Agamben); 2) ideology, registration, and exchange (Althusser, Simmel, Balibar, Derrida, Žižek); 3) reason, technicity, and the human (Weber, Horkheimer, Jünger, Stiegler, Deleuze); 4) history and the event (Foucault, de Certeau, Rancière, Badiou); and 5) forms of community/states of exception (Arendt, Benjamin, Schmitt, Agamben, Nancy, Esposito).


Textual Studies II: Ethics & Emotion
7830 ENG 720
Monday | 7:15-10:05PM | C. Shepherdson
(This course is open to all Doctoral students, and MA Students with permission of MA Advisor)

A close reading of the Critique of Judgment will occupy at least the first 8-10 weeks, with subsequent readings from Derrida, Lyotard, Lacan, Gasche and others who have returned to the problems of the beautiful and the sublime, the problem of disinterestedness, the question of esthetic pleasure, the relation between ethics and esthetics, and the status of the “subject” in esthetic experience. An annotated bibliography will be required, in which students will develop their own specific genealogies of post-Kantian thought, as preparation for a class presentation and a final research paper.


Practicum in English Studies: Teaching Writing and Literature
2094 ENG 771
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | M. Rozett
(Prerequisite: ENG 770. Open only to English Ph.D. students)

English 771 is a continuation of English 770, with a focus on the practical aspects of teaching the English Department’s 100- and 200- level literature and writing courses. Our subject matter will include the courses you will be teaching during the Fall 08 semester and the ones you are assigned for the following Spring 09 semester, with plenty of attention to what we can expect undergraduates to know already and to be able to accomplish in a semester. I will visit each of your classes and encourage you to observe one another teach, and you will be welcome to visit my undergraduate class. We will be using the MLA’s “Approaches to Teaching” volumes for a four-part writing project and presentation (a complete list is available on the MLA website). We will also hold workshops on syllabus design, testing strategies, paper-grading, student conferences, and other topics. You will be encouraged to attend ITLAL and Initiatives in Teaching events and learn more about the resources available to undergraduates on the Albany campus.


Summer 2008 Course Concentration Distribution

Literature, Modernity, and the Contemporary
ENG580: Models of History in Literature
ENG582: Studies in an Author: Ernest Hemingway
ENG681: Authors and Their Critics


Fall 2008 Course Concentration Distribution

Literature, Modernity, and the Contemporary
ENG580: Bio-Cultures, Literature, & the Sublime in Early Modern Britain (Seminar)
ENG580: Modernist
ENG580: Transatlantic Revolution & Empire
ENG581: There a Victorian Novel? 
ENG642: Theory Reading Literature (x LLC 610/FRE 614) 
ENG680: Culture and Imperialisms
ENG681: Politics of Literary


Writing Practices
ENG516: Fiction Workshop
ENG517: Dramatic Writing
ENG580: Modernist Poetics 
 

Cultural, Transcultural, and Global Studies
ENG580: Bio-Cultures, Literature, & the Sublime in Early Modern Britain (Seminar)
ENG580: Literature & Transatlantic Revolution
ENG680: Culture and Imperialisms
ENG685: Theorizing Blackness


Theoretical Constructs
ENG642: Theory Reading Literature (x LLC 610/FRE 614) 
ENG685: Theorizing Blackness
ENG720: Ethics & Emotion

Spring 2008

Spring 2008 Courses

Textual Practices I
6420 ENG 500
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | H.Scheck

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

Introduces students to a range of theoretical issues, interpretive strategies, and transdisciplinary interchanges that have transformed the study and teaching of English.


Workshop In Poetry
6666 ENG 515
Wednesday | 4:15 -7:05PM | P. Joris
(Permission of Instructor is Required –Submit Writing Sample to Prof. Joris)

Beyond Rimbaud, "I" is many others. This workshop/seminar will explore ways in which to make —andthink about —a poetry that takes into account the manifold of languages, locations and selves each one of us is constantly becoming.We will approach the poem as ongoing and open-ended chart –but also as “this compost” of recycled past forms and information.

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. Deleuze-Guattari's A Thousand Plateaus will be prime for such a re-thinking, re-visioning and re-tooling of poetic practice, and Jed Rasula’s This Compost will serve as practical vademecum to explore the American poetic imagination. We will read a range of contemporary poetries–via vol. II of Poems for the Millennium and a number of books by individual poets as specific engagements with a open-ended and nomadic poetics.


Workshop in Narrative and Short Story: Voice(s) and Point(s) of View (4)
2194 ENG 516
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | L. Tillman
(Permission of Instructor is required –Submit Writing Sample to Professor Tillman (5-8 pages of fiction) at Tillwhen@aol.com)

Intensive practice in fiction for advanced writers. Emphasis on developing fictional techniques, or craft,and styles. We will consider how voice(s) in fiction represent difference, as well as the complexity of point of view, through characters and other fictive devices. Students' writing is discussed and criticized thought fully by all participants in the workshop. May be repeated for credit. Experience in writing fiction is essential. S/U grading. Prerequisite: Consent of Professor Tillman. Please submit 5 to 8 pages of your fiction to her at: Tillwhen@aol.com


Composition Theory: Development, Higher Education and Writing
7683 ENG 521
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | S. North

This course will focus on the concept of development as it is deployed in the context of higher education, with particular attention to the development of writing abilities. We will begin with a review of three key publications inthe broader field: William Perry’s Forms of Ethical and Intellectual Development in the College Years (1970); Carol Gilligan’s In a Different Voice (1982); and Nancy Belenky et al.’s Women’s Ways of Knowing(1986). With these (and attendant materials) as a basis, we will turn to the growing body of research on the development of writing abilities in the college years, including (among other publications) Richard Has well’s Gaining Ground in College Writing; Ann Herrington and Marcia Curtis’ Persons in Process; and Lee Ann Carroll’s Rehearsing New Roles: How College Students Develop as Writers.


Biopolitical Thought
8707 ENG 542
Monday | 4:15-7:05PM | P. Chu

Since Foucault's work in the late 1970s, we have come to appreciate the ways in which a concern for life itself has entered into the modern workings of power.We will explore this turn to life as the basis of power (including the power gained by racial and gender categorizations) by beginning with excerpts from earlier the orizations we now understand as founding texts of “modernity” (for example, excerpts from Darwin, Marx, and/or Weber). We will proceed to look at Foucault's interventions and at how these ideas have played out in recent scholarship with attention to the role of the state and the social and life sciences, including the idea of the animal, in theoretical/historical work by Giorgio Agamben, Ann Stoler, Wendy Brown, Donna Haraway, Rey Chow and others. We will parallel our readings of these theoretical texts with literary ones.


Models of History: The New Historical Fiction
5679 ENG 580
Tuesday | 4:15-7:05PM | M. Rozett

Serious, extensively researched historical fiction has become a widely recognized genre during the past couple of decades.This course will examine several examples of the New Historical Fiction, novels that construct the past in innovative and sometimes revisionist ways through experiments with voice, narrative strategies, and world building.The novels we read as a group and others you will seek out on your own will reflect changing assumptions about what constitutes “history” or “the past.”I have chosen to focus on novels that deal with European history from the fifteenth century to the early twentieth, but students with other interests may choose any historical period or event for independent research. Readings will include:Morality Play by Barry Unsworth, Nothing Like the Sun by Anthony Burgess, Restoration by Rose Tremain, Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks, The Dress Lodgerby Sheri Holman, Arthur and George by Julian Barnes, and A Very Long Engagement by Sebastien Japrisot. You will also be reading sections of my book, Constructing a World: Shakespeare’s England and the New Historical Fiction.Assignments consist of a 5-8 pp. paper on assigned topics, a 15-18 pp. seminar paper on a novel of your own choice, a short class presentation on the history behind one of the novels, and other forms of class participation.


Critical Methods: Modernism and Pragmatism: Reimagining Democracy, the Subject, the Nation, and the World
7686 ENG 641
Monday | 7:15-10:05PM | E. Keenaghan

This course will concentrate on the historical and theoretic coincidence of pragmatism and modernism.The first unit will study pragmatism and its major authors, spanning from c. 1880 through c. 1950: Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, John Dewey, George Herbert Mead, Alain Locke.Alongside these figures, we will read other thinkers who were not officially associated with the movement but who did make formidable contributions to a growing contemporary discourse about cultural relativism, pluralism, and cosmopolitan nationalism: W.E.B. DuBois, Randolph Bourne, Lewis Mumford, Waldo Frank, Horace Kallen.The second unit will put that theoretic discourse into conversation with interwar modernism (c.1914-1945).We will devote several weeks each to authors often tied to pragmatism (Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens), and several weeks each to two other figures who are not usually read in such a way (such as William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, Charles Reznikoff, Hart Crane, Langston Hughes, Sterling Brown).We will read various poetic works and the authors' own prose about poetics, as well as excerpts from intellectual histories, cultural studies, and literary criticisms.Where do modernists' and pragmatists' interests intersect?Where do they separate?How do these echoes affect their respective visions of the nation and its citizen-subjects in their own moment?Why are those echoes significant to consider now?

All students must read the following for the first class meeting: Charles Sanders Peirce, "The Fixation of Belief," "The Scientific Attitude and Fallibilism," "Abduction and Induction," "The Essentials of Pragmatism," "Pragmatism in Retrospect: A Last Formulation," "Critical Common-sensism," and "Perceptual Judgments." (all essays are available inPhilosophical Writings of Peirce, ed. Justus Buchler, Dover).

Requirements for M.A. students: Frequent participation in seminar-style discussions, one midterm paper (based on a topic question, 6-8 pages), one researched final paper (of the individual students' own design, about a primary poetic text assigned in class, 10-15 pages).Requirements for PhD students: Frequent participation in seminar-style discussions, one presentation on the material assigned for that class meeting, one researched seminar paper (20-30 pages).Although the goal of this course is to provide a grounded period study in related philosophy and literary fields, doctoral students are strongly encouraged to use their seminar papers to put pragmatism or modernism into relation with their critical, theoretical, or literary research interests.(Such as: pragmatism's relation to the "ethical turn" in post-structuralism; Romantic lyric in relationship to modernist lyric; how ideas about "democracy" are translated in the direct or indirect conversations between U.S. modernist writers and writers from the global South; nineteenth-century American writers and their relationship to, or influence on, later pragmatists; contemporary or later racialized and ethnic poets' rethinking of pluralism; the process poetics of contemporary American poetry; using pragmatist thought to revaluate postcolonial theory or cosmopolitan/cosmopolitical theory.)


Renaissance Scandal of Excess
8768 ENG 680
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05PM | I. Murakami

This course will examine the problem of excess during early modern England’s fitful transition from feudalism to capitalism. We tend to think of excess today in terms of discrete realms that correspond to disciplines like economics, medicine, ethics, and sociology, but no such distinctions were recognized in the medieval moral philosophy inherited by early moderns. England’s sudden wealth, tied to new habits in commerce and consumption, challenged traditional ways of thinking about order (class, religion, and civil stability). Associated with this new material excess, even an excess of personal gifts (strength, wit, ambition, etc.) could create friction between exceptional individuals and their communities. Clergy and satirists alike proposed self-restraint as the antidote toal excess until it became apparent that virtuous parsimony--the precondition to our postmodern minimalist aesthetic--was yet another, alienating form of immoderation. Looking at textual and visual works from the late fifteenth to the early seventeenth-century, we will discuss why the scandal of excess became a focal point for new, emerging concepts of the private and public self. A variety of theoretical and historical scholarship will guide our efforts to understand ways in which early modern writers articulated questions prescient of those that continue to gnaw at us: where do we draw the line between mine and thine (our labor? our family? the threshold of our house?)?What counts as surplus and to whom does it belong? How much does the concept of ‘privacy” protect even that apparently ultimate boundary between “inside” and “outside”--the body?

Active participation, position papers, an annotated bibliography, a research paper, and an end of term symposium in which you will present an oral version of your research, are expected.


Special Topics: The Pragmatics of Loving and Grieving in Early American Literature
6548 ENG 685
Thursday | 7:15-10:05PM | B. Arsic

In this class we will explore how feelings of love and grief affected certain American selves. We will examine how colonial subjects experienced death, war, sexuality and hunger and, most specifically, how feelings defied rational thinking, preventing minds from working toward a conclusion, producing bodies that feel "indeterminately." We will also look at how some 19th century authors reshaped that tradition, experiencing the world differently. Because religious affection was transmitted through the feelings, we will be most interested in experiences of religious ecstasy and supernatural. We will want to know how minds were transported by desire, bodies devastated by thought, and the sacred transformed by the profane. Readings will include texts by John Cotton, Increase Mather, Mary Rowlandson, Jonathan Edwards, Emerson, Thoreau and William James.


Special Topics: Critical Derangements: Materialist Experiments in American Prose
8769 ENG 685
Tuesday | 7:15-10:05PM | K. Bell

This course investigates a few philosophical and political implications of linguistic and performative innovations in 20th and 21st century American literature. Not only does the modernist departure in style from realist imperatives regulating the structure and experience of the novel insist upon an endless de-centering and multiplying of given presumptions concerning questions of meaning, value and “identity”—it opens conceptual questions about the experience of “everyday life” and its simultaneously necessary and impossible relations to effective practices of politics and history. Such urgent transfigurations in literary expressivity register not only in terms of sexuality and racialization, as are discussed now with frequency—but also in terms of ecology, technology and education. Our discussions of literature and film—from such artists as Djuna Barnes, Jean Toomer, Nathanael West, Orson Welles, Ishmael Reed, Kathy Acker, Stan Brakhage Frank Chin, Leslie Silko, Robert Downey Sr., Claudia Rankine and Nathaniel Mackey—will make heavy use of advances and questions in modern philosophy and critical cultural theory, as posed by thinkers from across the world. These include not only such writers as Theodor Adorno, Maurice Blanchot, and Jacques Derrida, but Frantz Fanon, Edouard Glissant, Louis Althusser, Wilson Harris, Jacques Ranciere, Georges Didi-Hubermann, Guy Debord and Raoul Vaneigem, among others.


Textual Studies II: Literary Studies and the Analytics of War
7687 ENG 720
Wednesday | 4:15-7:05PM | M. Hill

This course will provide a historical approach to the discipline of literary studies and the significance—socially, philosophically, and literally—of war.While not designed for specialists in eighteenth-century studies, we will focus in part on what Jürgen Habermas calls the "blissful" idea of a peaceful communicative sphere known around 1740 as civil society. Between the period of the seventeenth-century Diggers and the bourgeois transformations leading to the French Revolution, war and peace were re-oriented in line with the ideals of representative government.Not incidentally, literature as a formal category of writing and the work of literary judgment acquired rejuvenated social applications.What where those applications?And if warfare has become ubiquitous in the twenty-first century, whither literary studies today?This course will consider war as an organizational tool in its several capacities—in the way war informs social agency, disciplinary division, and how war underwrites the history of historical comparison itself.

Selections will draw from contemporary and eighteenth-century writing of different kinds.Such may include:Addison, Althusser, Crichton (Michael), de Landa, Ferguson (Adam), Fielding (Sarah), Foucault, Habermas, Kames, Kant, Hobbes, Mackenzie, Petraeus (U.S. Counterinsurgency Field Manual), Scott, Smith (Adam), Stiegler.


Teaching Writing and Literature
2211 ENG 770
Thursday | 4:15-7:05PM | J. Barlow

This course will address pedagogical theories and practices and the connections between them. We will draw on a wide range of short readings by such prominent thinkers and writers as Paolo Freire, bell hooks, Peter Elbow and William Zinsser. Our own experiences as students and teachers will figure prominently in our discussions of everything from the goals of higher education to the effect of classroom design on learning.In looking at the pedagogies of literary and cultural studies, rhetoric and composition as well as creative writing, we will pay particular attention to recent research and on-going debates about the merits of different methodologies.We will also address how pedagogical strategies can be adapted for different types and levels of courses and students in diverse institutional settings (community colleges, research universities, etc.).

Members of the class will work individually and collaboratively to identify the most useful current resources and to develop course syllabus.