Hemispheric American studies (aka trans-american studies, inter-american studies, or New World studies) is one specific instance of trans-national American studies, and it examines north-south continuities between the U.S. and Latin America and the Caribbean. Within American studies, the special urgency of Hemispheric American studies today arises from recent immigration patterns and demographics that have tied the U.S. closer to the Americas than ever before. The “hemispheric paradigm” is emerging as a serious rival to the “Atlantic paradigm” that historically has dominated American Studies, as well as hegemonic discourses of American cultural identity. Samuel Huntington's diatribe against Mexicans as unassimilable aliens in his 2004 book Who are We? Challenges to American Identity testifies to the extent to which the demographic “Hispanization” of the U.S. threatens dominant discourses of Anglo American identity. Hemispheric American Studies is nourished by (and intervenes into) two disciplines, American Studies and Latin American Studies. While we will borrow important analyses and works traditionally seen as belonging to Latin American Studies (José Martí; the de-colonial analysis of “Americanity”; Tijuana border culture), our main interest is in exploring how the hemispheric paradigm is changing (the study of) U.S. literature and culture.
We will begin by examining the ambivalence of the term “America” as a signifier for the U.S. nation as well as the entire hemisphere (the Americas), and the historical resentment on the part of Latin Americans of the U.S. appropriation of the term America to refer to itself as a nation. The symbolic erasure of Latin America from Americanness reflected in the English-language usage of the term “America” (albeit not the Spanish-language use of “América”) also epitomizes the powerful ideologies that assign the U.S. and Latin America to ontologically different spaces: the U.S. is considered a “Western” and “first world” nation; Latin America is and isn't viewed as part of so-called “Western Civilization,” and the Third World begins south of the Rio Grande.
By resituating “America” within the Americas, the advent of U.S. Latino literature and visual culture has done much to undo the U.S. appropriation of “America” and the North American master narrative of Anglo civilization and Latin American barbarism. If we re-situate the U.S. within a trans-american optic, the result is: 1) an alternative set of historical landmarks and periodization of 19th American literature in particular, rivaling the canonical division into pre- vs. post-Civil War periods. (1823, 1846-48, 1898 are landmarks of the reversal in U.S.-Latin American relations: the topos of “fraternal nations in chains throwing off the common yoke of European colonialism” was replaced by the U.S. appearance on the hemispheric scene in 1898 as a neocolonial power occupying the place vacated by Europe.) 2) alternative cultural geographies of “Américan” literature (for example, the Mexican-American borderlands from California to Texas; or the circum-Caribbean network of migrations and exchanges between New Orleans-Havana-San Juan-Florida).
Course materials will include literature and visual culture. This course will model representative approaches to the hemispheric paradigm of American Studies, beginning with a survey of the approaches of important recent book-length studies in this area, and followed by case studies of quintessential hemispheric writers, texts, and themes.
Course sections include:
• the Latin American postcolonial critique of Americanity as the cornerstone of colonial Euro-modernity: Aníbal Quijano, Enrique Dussel, Walter Mignolo;
• contemporary undocumented immigration in the U.S. and its hidden cultures: Francisco Goldman; María Helena Viramontes;
• post-1848 narratives of internal colonialism in the Mexican-American borderlands: María Amparo Ruiz de Burton; Américo Paredes;
• hemispheric continuities of the New World Baroque: popular Baroques from colonial folk Baroque cathedrals to Chicano lowriders, folk shrines and contemporary U.S. Latino/a visual art: Amalia Mesa-Bains; Rubén Ortiz Torres; and Cuban American Luis Gispert;
• José Martí, Cuban exile and author of Latino hemispheric Americanism (nuestra América [Our America]);
• hemispheric imaginaries in classic American literature: Melville;
• work from la frontera and the deterritorialization of nation-based identity: Gloria Anzaldúa; Néstor García Canclini and María Novaro on Tijuana
COURSE MATERIALS (literature, film, visual culture)
Francisco Goldman, The Ordinary Seaman (1997)
María Amparo Ruiz de Burton, The Squatter and the Don (1885)
María Novaro, dir. El Jardín del Edén (1994; The Garden of Eden)
Herman Melville, “Benito Cereno”
José Martí, Writings on the Americas
Américo Paredes, The Hammon and the Beans and other Stories
Denise Sandoval, Arte y estilo: The Lowrider Tradition (English-language text)
Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/la frontera: The New Mestiza
Short videos by Rubén Ortiz Torres
A COURSE READER with critical essays by Aníbal Quijano; Edmundo O’Gorman; Ramón Saldívar; Jorge Canizares-Esguerra; Diana Taylor; Tomas Ybarra-Fraustro; Carlos Fuentes; Samuel Huntingdon; Claire Fox; Kirsten Silva Gruesz; Lois Parkinson Zamora, Ramón Gutiérrez; Anna Brickhouse; Gustavo Pérez Firmat.
Assignments: one 10-15 pp. research paper on one trans-american topic, writer, or theory; mock review of a journal article; in-class presentation on one of the readings.
No knowledge of Spanish is necessary.
Goldman, Francisco. The Ordinary Seaman. New York: Grove, 1997. [0-8021-3548-X]
Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton. The Squatter and the Don. Arte Publico P, 1992. [1-55885-055-4]
Melville, Herman; ed Dan McCall. Melville's Short Novels. Norton, 2002. [0-393-97640-6]
Sandoval, Denise. Arte y Estilo: The Lowrider Tradition (available for $8 from Museum gift shop: www.petersen.org). LA: Petersen Automotive Museum, 2000.
Marti, Jose; ed. Deborah Shnookal and Mirta Muniz. Writings on the Americas. New York: Ocean P, 1999. [1-875284-12-5]
Parades, Americo. The Hammon and the Beans and other Stories. Arte Publico P, 1994. [1-55885-107-0]
Anzaldua, Gloria. Borderlands/ La Frontera: The New Mestiza. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Bks, 1987. [1-879960-12-5]
The rise of the individual may be dated from the publication of Burckhardt’s influential study of the Italian Renaissance in 1860. A close reading of Burckhardt’s individual, who would later evolve into the modern “subject,” provides the opening gamut in our own review of contemporary literary theory as an enterprise with distinctly ethical implications. Ethics without subjectivity is, in the modern context, unthinkable. But so is subjectivity without ethics. A brief encounter with Machiavelli is convincing on this point. The moral depravity of Machiavelli’s Prince is only recognizable because we reasonably expect something more from our leaders, a sentiment that Burckhardt clearly shared.
In a purely literary context, the questions are modified somewhat, but the underlying issues are largely the same. Taking as our point of departure the Aristotelian emphasis on “action,” we will explore our interest in knowing “what happens next” in any literary text as a symptom of our engagement with that text as an ethical act. The question of what happens next, by definition, imputes motivations, desires, feelings, in effect, an imagined subjectivity to the actor, whether that actor be a character in a novel, an on-stage personality, or our next-door neighbor. The fluid movement between reality and the imagination in this respect highlights the representational nature of the subject, the fact that a representation of the subject is finally all there is.
To theorize the subject—which, as we shall see, is the essential goal of much of contemporary literary theory—is necessarily to create a paradigm for understanding the limits of the subject’s ability to act. From psychoanalytical theories, to Marxism, Structuralism, and finally post-Structuralism, “theory” has had a powerful influence on our understanding of subjective self-determination, or to put it perhaps more crudely, on our concept of freedom.
Freedom is a precondition of ethical action. Thus, in the same way that theory constrains the subject’s freedom, it also inevitably complicates the idea of ethical action. There is, in this sense, no one ethical subject, but rather a variety of ethical consequences that may be said to arise out of the modern discovery—or invention—of subjectivity. To explore the range of these ethical predicaments will be the main focus of this class.
English 525A Grub Street Lockwood
This is the third in a series of seminars I have been giving on representations of the non-elite in 18th-century Britain, following earlier outings on “Lowlife” and “Crime and Punishment.” This time the subject is the literary low: the hacks and dunces who scribbled for starvation pay in the garrets of Grub Street (a real place in a dodgy part of London as well as a figurative address). We will concentrate on works like Swift’s Tale of a Tub, Pope’s Dunciad, Fielding’s play The Author’s Farce, and Johnson’s memorable depiction of the Grub-Street world in his Life of Savage. Two critical questions undergirding the seminar will be the meaning of literary quality and the making of canonical literary reputation. How do you get to be a despised dunce or an admired writer? Students will get considerable exposure to major literary figures as well as a small army of nobodies, some important themes of the period literary culture, and relevant contemporary critical discourse on this subject. No previous work in the period is needed.
Instructors: Raimonda Modiano and Ricardo de Mambro Santos (Visiting Professor of Art History from the University of Rome, La Sapienza)
18th- and 19th-century England witnessed the unprecedented popularity of the aesthetics of the sublime (in its two primary incarnations, the Longinian and the Burkean sublime), as well as the emergence of the counter-aesthetics of the picturesque which introduced the following important changes in sensibility and cultural practices: 1) an investment in the contemplation of landscape as a complex and meaningful activity requiring expertise in art, especially Dutch and Roman landscape painters; 2) a preference for nature in its rough, varied and intricate forms that led to a change in British garden design from the formal garden to natural-looking extensive gardens that imitated the look of a wild, uncultivated stretch of land; 3) the preference for Gothic over Greco-Roman architecture and for landscape painting over the traditional genres of historical and portrait painting; 4) the paradoxical denial and assertion of the equivalence between landscape and property; and 5) the obsession with ruins and dispossessed people, such as gypsies, beggars and rural workers, who are represented as figures of narcissistic self-sufficiency. In this course we will be especially interested in studying the interaction between the aesthetics of the sublime (with its focus on transcendence, the monumental, the terrifying and the heroic) and the aesthetics of the picturesque (with its preference for aged over young people, and destitutes over heroes). These features of the picturesque are expressive of the fear of monumentality, of violence and of sacrifice in this period of vast political and social upheaval (The French Revolution) and economic change (the agrarian revolution which changed the face of the English countryside). We will explore the political implications of various aesthetic theories, wondering for example, why Richard Payne Knight ends a work advocating the new ethos of the picturesque in landscape gardening with a defense against the charge that his “system of rural embellishment resembles the Democratic tyranny of France.”
Readings for the course include selections from treatises on the picturesque (by William Gilpin, Uvedale Price and Richard Payne Knight) and on the sublime (Longinus, Edmund Burke, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Schiller, and Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel), as well as representative works by British Romantic writers (Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley and William Wordsworth). We will close with an examination of the post-modern sublime, as defined by Slavoj Zizek, Philippe Lacou-Labarthe, Jean-Francois Lyotard and Theodor Adorno.
An important component of the course will be the study (with slide presentations) of Dutch, Italian, German and English landscape paintings of the 17th- through the 19th-century.
The course explores liberal individualism as a leading "Victorian value," and one that remains part of the cultural currency, whether higher or lower in estimation. We begin with selected readings from Adam Smith, with supplemental reports and/or a background lecture on Jeremy Bentham. These allow us to establish the contours of a Capitalist and Utilitarian model of selfhood that validates the free action of self-interest while also theorizing connections to self-reflexivity, moral sentiments, and wide material and social progress. This strain of liberal individualism is most fully represented among our readings by J.S. Mill's "On Liberty." Another strain proceeds from a Romantic model of selfhood and is most fully represented by Thomas Carlyle's Sartor Resartus. Supplementary here are reports and/or a background lecture on Carlyle's sources in German Romantic philosophy. This strain critiques self-interest that equates to selfishness and greed. At the same time it celebrates "voluntary force" of self-creation and connects this, again, to wide material and social progress. The course shifts emphasis away from the conflicts and towards the convergences between these Capitalist/Utilitarian and Romantic strains, considerably refiguring the interpretive ground and reflecting recent scholarship by the Romanticist Philip Connell and my own forthcoming Pleasures of Benthamism: Victorian Literature, Utility, Political Economy. Whatever the mix, liberal individualism is a shaping idea for novels of the period, such as by Anthony Trollope, Charlotte Brontë, and Thomas Hardy. It is also put to the test as the question arises, who counts as an individual?--merely ordinary characters? women? those humble in class? colonial subjects of a Britain of free individuals? (though this can only be touched on due to limits of time to treat the large subject of empire). In his social and literary commentary, Matthew Arnold recommends culture as an antidote to untrammeled "Doing as One Likes," and Oscar Wilde presents a kind of apotheosis and exploding point for Victorian individuals in Art for Art's Sake and advice to "multiply our personalities."
Readings: Sel. from Smith, The Wealth of Nations, and, by report, sel. on the "impartial spectator" from The Theory of Moral Sentiments, both in The Essential Adam Smith; by report (using E-reserves), Bentham, ch. 1-4 of An Introduction to thePrinciples of Morals and Legislation, with class handout for all of "A Table of the Springs of Human Action"; Mill, "On Liberty" with emphasis on the ch. "Of Individuality"; Carlyle, Sartor Resartus, Bk. 1 and the opening and final climactic chs. of Bk. 2; by report (using library reserves) sel. from Johann Gottlieb Fichte, The Vocation of Man; Trollope, The Warden; Brontë, Villette; Hardy, The Mayor of Casterbridge; Arnold, "Doing As one Likes" from Culture and Anarchy, and, by report, "The Study of Poetry (in both cases using E-reserves); Wilde, depending on time, major essay or play: "The Critic as Artist" or The Importance of Being Earnest. Optional: on library reserve and with some copies at the bookstore: Herbert Tucker, ed. A Companion to Victorian Literature and Culture.
Requirements: on-going seminar participation, leading discussion of a main text or report on secondary reading (25%); response paper on a main text (7-8 pp., 25%); seminar paper (may build on the shorter paper if you choose, 12-14 pp., 50 %).
This course provides a limited introduction to psychoanalysis and its impact on twentieth century literary and cultural studies. No ten week course could possibly synthesize the diverse origins and trends attributed to psychoanalytic thought, so we will simply touch on some of the field's basic tenets and key disputes. This course is divided into two parts. The first half of the course focuses on the work of Sigmund Freud, with some discussion of Sándor Ferenczi, Melanie Klein, and Joan Riviere. This section will include selected commentators on Freud, possibly including Judith Butler, Ranjana Khanna, Ruth Leys, and Alys Weinbaum. The second half of the course focuses on the work of Jacques Lacan. This section will include selected commentators on Lacan, possibly including Louis Althusser, Joan Copjec, Kaja Silverman, and Slavoj Zizek. Students will be expected to write one 5 page review of a work of psychoanalytic criticism in their own field and one 12-15 page paper on a relevant debate in psychoanalytic theory.
The Post-World War II European novel
C LIT 570 B (WITH ENGL 550A AND SLAV 490A)
Course Description: The post-World War II European novel. The course will focus on novels whose distinctive quality is their setting in a different, mostly past era. Readings will include most or all of the following texts: John Fowles’ The French
Lieutenant’s Woman, George Orwell’s 1984, Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day, Marguerite Yourcenar’s Memoirs of Hadrian, Meša Selimovic’s Death and the Dervish (one of the very few European novels engaging the Quran on a number of levels), Imre Kertesz’s Kadish for a Child Not Born, Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Bohumil Hrabal’s Too Loud a Solitude, and Danilo Kiš’s The Tomb for Boris Davidovich, a collection of stories which we will look at in a dialogue with the novels of this course. We will examine how and why these novels choose a non-contemporary setting, and what they achieve by invoking the ancient, late pre-modern, Victorian, early twentieth-century, or relatively recent historical periods (such as the World War II or the 1960s), or else by creating a distopian image of future. While the course engages with some major theories of the novel (e.g., by Bakhtin), it will chiefly be centered on an in-depth study of the literary works.
From one perspective, “subjects” and “citizens” mark a distinction between discrete formations of state power: on the one hand, feudal regimes and absolutist monarchies, in which peoples are subject to the sovereign power of the monarch; on the other, modern nation-states (republics or constitutional monarchies) organized on principles of popular sovereignty, in which “the people” attain to political subjectivity in the form of citizenship. At the same time, critical thought stretching from the emergence of the modern nation-state in the late 1700s to its erosion in the present – from Tom Paine to Michael Hardt – reminds us that the citizen as modern political subject is also subject to the power marshalled in his name. In Michael Warner’s apt phrase, the American citizens who devotedly peruse the printed Constitution that secures their sovereignty, encounter themselves, paradoxically, “in the act of consenting to their own coercion.” From this latter vantage, citizenship entails a particular social and political technology of subjection.
My aspiration in this course is twofold: First, to revisit the problematic of popular sovereignty, and (or, in relation to) the institutions, the social formations, and the cultural politics that support it. The keywords in this regard are ISAs (ideological state apparatuses), discipline, hegemony, civil society, publics and counter-publics. Second, to engage the transformations of the contemporary moment, where the nation-state synthesis arguably dissolves, and with it, the substance (if not the spectacle) of popular sovereignty. Critical work on “neoliberalism” often invokes a new kind of political subject under the enduring rubric of “citizen” – a “flexible” citizen (Ong), a “whatever” citizen (Hardt), an “entrepreneurial citizen-subject” (Brown). But is it not always clear that these news forms of “citizenship” constitute a form of political agency (however vexed, or limited), or name a coherent relation of social subjects to government.
In keeping with the scope of the inquiry, course materials will range eclectically from early national to (so-called) “post-national” or contemporary contexts. Our readings will encompass political theory and public discourse on citizenship, alongside literary iterations of this political subject, with particular emphasis on the way that literary practices both reproduce and interrogate the norms of intelligible political subjectivity. The course addresses 19th and 20th century Americanists most directly, as our primary materials and the scope of our discussions will be U.S. -centered. However our critical and conceptual focus should be useful for thinking citizenship and its limits in other national contexts, and I welcome students who might want to persue comparative work.
The syllabus remains under construction. Critical materials will likely be culled from the work of Michael Warner, Priscilla Wald, C.B. MacPherson, Ian Haney-Lopez, Lauren Berlant, Wendy Brown, David Harvey, Michael Hardt, Aihwa Ong, as well as Locke, Marx, Gramsci, and Foucault. Primary texts might include Common Sense, Notes on the State of Virginia, The Seneca Falls Declaration of Women’s Rights, Fredrick Douglass, The Heroic Slave, Herman Melville, The Confidence Man, Frances Harper, Iola Leroy, Jessica Hagedorn, Dogeaters, Paul Beatty, White Boy Shuffle. Prospective students are welcome to contact me in December for a more detailed schedule of readings.
Some of the most challenging literary productions and theoretical debates on racial identity, oppression and resistance have been generated by the experience of black South Africa. And yet these practices are frequently overlooked by the US academic industries of critical race and postcolonial studies, that engage primarily with the experience of the US and of South Asia, respectively. This course aims to broaden understanding of colonialism and contemporary neocolonialism, as well as expanding student knowledge of an important particular literary archive and national history. We start with the period of the 1940s, when apartheid emerged as an official state expression of racist domination, and end in the post-apartheid era of the 21st century. Students will engage in careful contextualization, and careful close reading of literary texts. The central conceptual concern of the course is the relationship between race and space. We will consider the ways in which this relationship has been theorized by a range of anti-colonial, postcolonial and South African thinkers, and explore what kind of critical conversation our literary archive develops with this thought. No prior familiarity with South African writing will be assumed, though preparatory background reading is recommended. Primary literary texts will include works by Peter Abrahams, Zakes Mda, Phaswane Mpe, Lauretta Ngcobo, Miriam Tlali and Zoe Wicomb. Critical-political and theoretical texts may include works by Neville Alexander, Steve Biko, Frantz Fanon, Njabulo Ndebele and Sarah Nuttall, among others.
This course is an introduction to some of the major approaches to studying oral and written texts. We will examine and practice various analytic perspectives, including conversation analysis, critical discourse analysis, pragmatics/speech act theory, and interactional sociolinguistics. We will apply these approaches to a variety of texts; possibilities include the mass media, "naturally occurring" conversation, classroom interaction, policy documents, and other texts of special interest to seminar members. I expect students from a range of disciplinary perspectives. What unites us will not be the questions we ask so much as where and how we look to answer them: in discourse and its analysis. Our goals are threefold: 1. to acquaint students with approaches to and research in discourse analysis; 2. to provide a forum for evaluating this work; 3. to provide students opportunities to engage discourse analytic methods in relation to those texts/sites of consequence to them.
Reaching back to the classical period, rhetoric (the strategic use of language to get things done and the study of these uses) has been closely tied to the civic—that is, to questions about the constitution of the “public,” the relationship between the public and the state, how arguments become legitimated and gather force in the public sphere, and how citizenship is defined and enacted. The driving impetus of this course is to consider how and why one might study rhetoric and rhetorical force in contemporary political theory and in public culture. What does it means to analyze texts, discourses, social phenomenon, and material practices from a rhetorical perspective? What exactly is a rhetorical lens, anyway, and what is the value of thinking rhetorically?
This course will begin by offering some grounding in basic rhetorical concepts and rhetorical theory (glossing the history of rhetoric and focusing on contemporary rhetorical theory). We will train our rhetorical lenses on political theories about democracy, public formations, and citizenship, and we will trace and ground the force of democratic rhetoric in myriad material sites, including affordable housing policy, shifts in welfare policy, global politics, and so on. Why is it that democratic rhetorics (and their attendant topoi) can be persuasive in so many different, and diametrically opposed, social projects—and, in some cases, without referencing any content whatsoever? What are the material vehicles (institutional, discursive, visual, and so on) that enliven such rhetorics? How and to what end do democratic rhetorics dovetail with other logics, such as neoliberalism?
Finally, we will pay explicit attention to your own writing and teaching practice as professional activities that are central to your development as scholars, theoreticians, and rhetoricians. The questions of how to write and how to teach rhetoric more effectively, therefore, will be integrated into the fabric of the curriculum.
Texts under consideration:
Renato Barilli, Rhetoric
Wendy Brown, “Democracy and Bad Dreams” and “Neoliberalism and the End of Liberal Democracy”
Sharon Crowley, Toward a Civil Discourse: Rhetoric and Fundamentalism
Barbara Cruikshank, The Will to Empower: Democratic Citizens and Other Subjects.
Richard Epstein, Skepticism and Freedom: A Modern Case for Classical Liberalism
Michel Foucault, “Governmentality”
Henry A. Giroux and Susan Searls Giroux, Take Back Higher Education: Race, Youth, and the
Crisis of Democracy in the Post-Civil Rights Era
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
Gerald Hauser, Vernacular Voices: The Rhetoric of Publics and Public Spheres
Bruce McComiskey, Gorgias and the New Sophistic Rhetoric
Michael Meyer, Rhetoric, Language, and Reason
John Louis Lucaites, Celeste Michelle Condit, and Sally Caudill, eds. Contemporary Rhetorical Theory: A Reader
The story of English tells of the dramatic changes to the English language over the past 1200 years – from an inconsequential west Germanic dialect to an international language spoken by nearly 400 million people. This journey carried the language from Old English, the language of the Anglo-Saxons – nearly unrecognizeable to 21st-century speakers of English – to the many varieties of English in the 21st century world. The journey is a literary one, documenting the changes in the language of texts. It is historical, presenting harrowing narratives of conquest and subjection, wars and treaties. But most of all, it is a story of people – kings and peasants, dictionary writers and illiterate apprentices, pilgrims and immigrants, CEOs and surfers – the individuals whose communicative needs shaped the changing English tongue.
We will study the stages in the development of English (Old English, Middle English, Early Modern English and present-day English) to consider changes in the sound and construction of the language. The goal of this course is to create proficiency in the phonological, syntactic, morphological, sociolinguistic and pragmatic evolution of English. No previous experience with language or linguistics is necessary, only enthusiasm for English in all its forms.
English 570 is a credit/no credit course in which students sharpen their understanding of the technical, interpersonal, and practical elements involved in effective ESOL teaching. The course involves regular observations of ESOL classes, daily language teaching, weekly observation of other language classrooms, microteaching, seminar discussion, and written projects. No required texts. This Practicum is only open to MAT(ESOL) students; the Fall Practicum is only open to TAs.
The purpose of this course is to provide you with knowledge and experience in ESOL teaching methods and an understanding of the theoretical principles behind them. This is a practical course that will include workshops and other hands-on activities to familiarize you with a variety of materials, activities and techniques. The class will help you better analyze learning situations, enhance your professional skills and increase your ability to promote learning. You will learn to develop lessons based on an understanding of the students’ backgrounds, needs and learning processes.
ENGL578A/SPAN 590 - SPECIAL TOPICS SEMINAR
CLASSROOM INTERACTION AND SECOND/FOREIGN LANGUAGE ACQUISITION
TTh, 3:30-5:00, Winter 2009
Communicative language teaching approaches emphasize the importance of group work and oral interaction in the foreign language classroom. In this course we will explore the relationship between this form of interaction and second/foreign language acquisition.
We will discuss current theoretical approaches to studying learner-learner interaction, with a special emphasis on the sociocultural perspective. We will also examine the empirical research conducted from these approaches, its main findings and their pedagogical implications. As part of the activities for the course, students will design and carry out a small-scale classroom-based study.
The course focuses on second/foreign language learning and teaching, regardless of the language in question. It is therefore open to students interested in applied linguistics, TESOL or Spanish foreign language teaching. The language of instruction will be English.
Required text: course pack
Graduate prose workshop, fiction and creative nonfiction, for students in the MFA program
Graduate Poetry Workshop: focus on works submitted by MFA students, with both required and optional writing prompts featured. We’ll pay particular attention to various issues of craft, such as voice, diction, syntax, lineation, image, metaphor, etc., with a view toward revision and creative process. In several classes, we’ll devote some time to discussion of the work of contemporary and traditional practitioners of the art. Final portfolios due at the end of term.
The graduate version of Writers on Writing has a dual character, involving
both artistic and pedagogical dimensions. On one hand, it ensures a
primary intellectual encounter with (almost) the entire CW faculty, as
well as personal acquaintance with a slate of younger, up-and-coming
Seattle writers. In this aspect, we'll meet together to review and
discuss at an advanced level the ideas and assignments which comprise
the general curriculum. On the other hand, the class may be considered a
collaborative teaching apprenticeship, involving individual mentoring
responsibilities and an explicit responsibility to help shape and
sharpen the tenor of the discussion sections. In this aspect, we'll
maintain an ongoing conversation about the teaching/learning process as
it evolves through the term. This is a work in progress: your chance to
participate in the invention of--not just a new class--but a new kind of
class. Students will be expected to attend all TTh sessions of the undergraduate class, described below.
ENGLISH 285: WRITERS ON WRITING [5 credits VLPA]
For the first time in a large-format class, the collective UW Creative
Writing faculty, along with other visiting artists, will remember in
public why they do what they do. On ten sequential Tuesdays, they will
speak in depth about what interests them most, including the ways and
means of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and the joys and vagaries of
inspiration, education, artistic practice, and the writing life.
Thursdays will constellate a literary reading series. Discussion
sections will be scheduled in between.
Serious curiosity is the only requirement for admission. Students will
be expected to attend all talks, do the assigned reading, respond to
problems and exercises posed by the lecturers, and participate
vigorously in the ongoing conversation. By the end, they will have had a
disciplined brush with literate passion, practiced imaginative methods
at the point of the pencil, learned something about books from people
who write them, and gained a practical sense of the artist's way of
knowing the world.
Conceived as a perpetual work-in-progress, according professors full
freedom in designing their respective contributions, the course will
find its coherence in the conversation we leap to make of it. Sample
topics: What Is It? or, Ars Poetica; Forms of Poetry, Forms of Thought;
Mythos-Minded Thinking: From Proverbs to Parables, Stories as Metaphors
in Motion; Odd Autobiography; Reading the New; Literary Collage &
Blurring Boundaries; The Writing Life; The Revision Process; Closing Words.
No required text. Readings will be posted online or handed out in
class. Grading based equally on reading (by quiz and
conversation), writing (solutions to assigned prompts), and
participation (attendance and discussion).
Repeat: this course is intended to bring infectious literate passion
within earshot of as many people as possible at the University of
Washington. No formal prerequisites. Everyone is invited.
English 593a/Comp Lit 596c/ Humanities 5221
One of the four required core-courses in the Graduate Textual Studies Program,
this seminar offers an introduction to bibliographical resources for the study of
printing as an art and as a means of textual transmission; a practical view of hand
and machine press printing; introductory surveys of analytic and descriptive bibliography;
of the history of the book and book production; of current textual theories; and practical
experience in editing printed texts. Some of the sessions in this seminar will be taught
by guest faculty.
There was a messianic strain in the avant-garde that thought it would build the future upon “the ruins of time.” The paradox of the seminar title suggests that time remains the spoiler by some indelible habit of keeping track of itself and calling that history, while the avant-garde, in defiance of tradition, eventually became part of it, with traditions of its own. We shall be studying these traditions as a form of consciousness, along with the major strategies of the avant-garde, as they emerged in early modernism and still appear, not only in our most experimental forms, but in the trickle-down economy of the aesthetic, as conventions in poetry, fiction. drama, as well as the visual arts, the media, fashion, and popular culture.
Meanwhile, it’s been rather amusing, and chastening too, to see ideas, highly theorized or absorbed into cultural studies, which are attributable to what is now the classical avant-garde: Futurism, Dada, Surrealism, Constructivism —or to later variants, like Situationism, now being canonized too. And while it would seem to be oxymoronic to speak of traditions of the avant-garde, what’s all the more amusing, if not disheartening academically, is the degree to which scholars, with all the talk of historicization, are largely unaware of the major figures of the avant-garde, and the incursion of its traditions upon the course of cultural critique, as if deconstruction or queer theory, deployed upon art or literature, were not themselves indebted to art and literature, of the most radical kind, or were invented only yesterday, after the dissidence of the 1960s.
From Derrida and Lacan or Foucault and Benjamin to Irigary, ŽiŽek, Butler, there has always been a discourse with these traditions, if not destroying art to redeem art, with stressed-out or equivocal feelings about the aesthetic, as in Alain Badiou’s relatively recent Handbook of Inaesthetics. The seminar will, then, be reflecting upon certain habits of mind that came out of the manifestos and practices of the avant-garde, which has always been faced with the prospect that once it becomes a habit, it is no longer very avant, but ideologically predictable, inflected as it may be today by race, class, gender, ethnicity. We will in the process be reading some of the originary documents and studying the disruptive or scandalous forms that are, with modulations, still very much with us, though real disruption or subversion is harder to come by, not only in the arts but also in theory, at a time when disruption or subversion (those jargonish terms of the curriculum) seems to have become the norm. Some of the readings may nevertheless take us with residual provocation or unpurged energy from the traditions, including the conceptualism of Duchamp (ground zero of “non-art”), into the more fractious genres of modernism—as in Gertrude Stein or BLAST, or poets making it NEW—into visual/sound poetry, John Cage, the now-mythic earthworks (and theory) of Robert Smithson, and deviant kinds of performance, including body art.
Narratives of Affect/Affective Narratives: Recent Work on Emotion. Affect and Trauma
After years of scholarship in twentieth-century studies featuring the "waning of affect" (in Jameson's famous phrase about postmodernism), study of affect, emotion, trauma, and "feelings" in modern and contemporary literary and cultural texts is now, again, a topic of theoretical and critical attention, with a growing number of conferences, fellowships, books, and journal articles devoted to it. This course will read essays from (mostly) contemporary writers in our discipline with an eye toward seeing what the current debates and contexts are. We’ll take up the work of such writers as Kathleen Woodward, Lauren Berlant, Jeffrey Santa Ana, Eve Sedgwick, David Eng, Sianne Ngai, Ruth Leys, Michael Hardt, Sara Ahmed and others. We’ll ask such questions as: What is the relation of affect to postmodernism? What are the controversies in trauma studies? What are the stakes in differentiating “affect,” from “emotion?” What is affective labor? What about recent attention to “public feeling”? In addition to thinking through emotion, affect and trauma in socio-cultural contexts, we’ll also consider Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Chang-rae Lee’s A Gesture Life, and one or two other novels to see what they have to say about representations of these topics.
Since emotions have histories, and since various nations, classes, ethnicities, cultures, genders, and sexualities produce different affective narratives, students will be free to select a specific emotion/affect/site/visual or verbal text on which to write, and to situate this writing in a historical moment and particular culture of their choice.
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