SPAN 577/CL 510/ENG 510
Introduction to Literary Theory:
The Ethical Subject
The rise of the individual may be dated from the publication of Jacob 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 to the actor motivations, desires, feelings, in effect, an imagined subjectivity, whether that actor is 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.
ENGL 512: Introductory Reading in Old English - Remley
This is an introductory course which addresses the earliest forms of written texts in the English language (up to c. 1100). Knowledge of Old English adds depth to the study of both prominent and noncanonical literary works (and other texts) from all phases of the Middle Ages and the early modern period. Emphasis is placed on the study of poetry and poetics, popular and marginalized texts, and early narrative theory (including theory of orality and literacy). Concepts introduced in the course will help participants acquire an understanding of many features of modern English, both elegant and idiosyncratic, and will provide skills useful for future study of other languages. The locus of Old English literary culture is fundamental to the study of the history of the English Language and the cultural history of Britain, supporting much recent work in the areas of feminist criticism (and gender studies generally); theories of alterity, the body, voicing, and marginalization; hermeneutic criticism; historicist approaches and postcolonial theory; and theoretical treatments of popular culture. The course is also especially well-suited to many areas of textual studies, including manuscript study and theory of textual criticism and bibliography.
Enlightenment and Revolution in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World
This course will explore the influence of enlightenment thought on the political revolutions that shook the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Atlantic world. Enlightenment thinkers like Jean-Jacques Rousseau and David Hume have been credited with the invention of human rights and with inspiring the American Declaration of Independence and the French Revolution?s ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity. However, the Enlightenment has also been criticized as a form of cultural imperialism that aimed to spread Western European beliefs and values across the globe, and that excluded women, the lower classes, and non-European peoples from its concept of humanity.
By pairing British and American writers, we will examine how revolutionary writers in the Atlantic world not only borrowed from, transformed, or in some cases, rejected, enlightenment thought, but also responded to each other. For instance, Thomas Paine?s Rights of Man and Mary Wollstonecraft?s Vindication of the Rights of Woman argued that the lower classes and women were capable of rational self-government and thus deserving of political rights and liberties. In contrast, Edmund Burke?s Reflections on the Revolution in France and Alexander Hamilton and James Madison?s The Federalist argued for the hierarchical restriction of such rights and liberties, and arguably of the spread of knowledge, in order to preserve social harmony.
Additional pairings, including William Godwin?s Caleb Williams and Charles Brockden Brown?s Wieland, J. Hector St. John de Cr?vecoeur?s Letters from an American Farmer and Helena Maria Williams Letters Written in France, and the poetry of William Wordsworth, Felicia Hemans, Philip Freneau, and Joel Barlow, will enable us to explore the advantages and limitations of using an Atlantic-world rather than nation-specific framework to study eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature. While the majority of the course will focus on Atlantic-world responses to the American and French Revolutions, we will also turn very briefly to the Haitian Revolution of 1791 and the United Irishmen?s Rebellion of 1798. Course requirements will include a presentation, several short responses, and a 10-12 page final paper. No prior knowledge of eighteenth or nineteenth-century literature is required for this course.
English 527. Winter 2011
Gift, Sacrifice and the Rites of Literary Exchange: Coleridge and Wordsworth
The literary relationship between Coleridge and Wordsworth constitutes a unique episode in literary history and has been the object of great fascination among critics and biographers, particularly in recent years. As Thomas McFarland accurately states, Coleridge and Wordsworth “not only pervasively influenced one another; they did so in a way that challenges ordinary methods of assessment.” Indeed, it is hard to bring to mind two other writers whose literary careers changed so dramatically under each other’s influence and who appropriated each other’s identity to such an extent that one critic thinks it plausible to regard their poetry as a single work, constituted by two interdependent voices (Paul Magnuson). The myth that Wordsworth was the great poet of nature, as demonstrated by “Tintern Abbey,” and Coleridge was the great poet of the supernatural, as evinced by “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” obfuscates the fact that prior to meeting Coleridge, Wordsworth’s primary interest was in Gothic supernaturalism and victims of social injustice with no model of the mind’s relationship with nature in sight, whereas Coleridge wrote successful nature poetry. During their collaboration of the Lyrical Ballads, Coleridge began to explore the nightmarish effects of supernaturalism on the psyche, though, ironically enough, just at the time when Wordsworth, under Coleridge’s influence, lost interest in the subject. Such moments of merging and separation are particularly instructive, showing the extent to which Coleridge’s and Wordsworth’s literary careers were shaped by what each took to be the identity of the other, often misconceived through the distorting lens of self-projections.
In this course we shall study the relationship between Coleridge and Wordsworth from the perspective of gift and sacrifice, a richly suggestive model that will shed new light on this remarkably intimate and conflicted friendship and will offer the opportunity of investigating a new theory of literary influence based on the dialectic of contractual exchange.
We will begin with a close examination of Marcel Mauss’s seminal study of the gift and the
response to it by Claude Levi-Strauss, Marshall Sahlins, Pierre Bourdieu, Lewis Hyde, Georg Simmel and Jacques Derrida, followed by an analysis of theories of sacrifice, as proposed by
Henri Hubert and Marcel Mauss, Robertson Smith, Sigmund Freud, Rene Girard and Georges
Bataille. Among other topics we will focus on: the principle of over-reciprocation in the gift,
the incommensurability between originary and return gifts; the erasure of the distinction between donors and receivers in gift exchange, and conversely, between sacrificer, victim, priest and deity in sacrifice; the role of intermediaries in sacrifice and the gift, i.e. the sacrificial victim and the person through whom the gift passes; the recuperative nature of gift and sacrifice; and the function of misrecognition in both economies. In the second half of the course, we will study the successive phases of Coleridge’s literary exchange with Wordsworth, from an early period when they regarded their productions as “one work” in the spirit of gift exchange, to progressive alienation and rivalry.
Requirements: two brief (2-3 pp.) response papers on theories of gift and sacrifice; a final paper on Coleridge and Wordsworth (10 -15 pp.). Texts: The Logic of theGift, ed. Alan D. Schrift; M. Mauss, The Gift, H. Hubert and M. Mauss, Sacrifice: Its Nature and Function; R. Girard, Violence and the Sacred; G. Bataille, Visions of Excess. Selected Writings; Coleridge’s Poetry and Prose; W. Wordsworth, Selected Poetry and The Prelude, 1799, 1805, 1850. Additional articles and excerpts from books will be provided in photocopy.
540A: Four Modernists: D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, and T. S. Eliot
This course uses close readings of works by four important figures in early twentieth-century Britain in order to explore the development of British modernism in the first three decades of the century. It will address several related issues: the conflicted history of modernist canon formation, the significance of personal relationships and literary coteries in literary production, and the influence of psychoanalysis and new sexual theories on writers of this period.
Texts: D. H. Lawrence, Women in Love; Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse; Katherine Mansfield's Selected Stories; T. S. Eliot, Selected Prose, and The Waste Land and Other Poems.
Laura Chrisman, winter graduate course English 556A and C Lit 535
Title: Postcolonial Literary Studies
This class offers an introduction to the field of postcolonial literary studies: its development, aesthetic articulations, theoretical frameworks, major debates, and new directions. Rather than take 'post-colonial' as an unproblematic term, the course addresses the intellectual, aesthetic and material stakes involved in its deployment. We will investigate issues of colonial and imperial domination, decolonization movements, nationalism, neocolonialism, and globalization. We will explore early/mid 20th century theories of anti-colonial resistance, as well as theories associated with the institutional emergence of the field in the 1980s and also consider more recent developments and contestations of the field. Throughout the course the theoretical readings will be accompanied by creative literary readings; students are expected to develop the tools for placing literary and theoretical materials in productive conversation through careful close reading of both.
Language and Gender
This course examines theoretical and linguistic approaches to the study of language, gender and sexuality. We will discuss research on sex-linked patterns of language acquisition, gender differences in communicative and discourse strategies, and the dynamics of gender and power in public discourse. We will also examine the history of feminist and sociolinguistic perceptions of "women's language," "men's language," and "queer language" in speech communities, and consider the ways that scholarly models for approaching gender and language have changed. No previous experience with linguistics is necessary.
Research Paradigms and Methods in Composition
English 569-Winter 2011
This seminar considers core research paradigms in composition studies. We will focus on major epistemologies (what we know and how we have come to know what we know) in the field of composition (and, to a lesser extent, rhetorical studies) and on the relationship among epistemology, research design, and methodology.
Some central research questions in composition studies have included: What is a writer and how do people write in myriad contexts? What do we know about how to teach writing and how do we train the teachers to teach this way? What has our research shown us about writing, writing instruction, transferability of skills, teacher identity, assessment, discourse and power, politics and literacy, global literacies, digital writing, and rhetoric in public life?
This is not, therefore, a “how to” methodology course on research design, data collection, analysis, and reporting, although such concerns will certainly surface. Rather, we will assume that methods represent political commitments and tacit assumptions about what counts as socially valuable knowledge. In other words, research design and methodologies contribute, in and of themselves, to the constitution of knowledge. Yet, in the sciences and social sciences, methodology is often the invisible warrant that justifies the legitimacy of the research study. If the method is sound, so, too, are the findings produced by the method. We will be interrogating such warrants.
I hope that by taking a long and hard look at our research paradigms and methods that we might recover abandoned inquires that have become less shiny, call into question contemporary hegemonic epistemologies, think up new types of questions and methods that might better get at whatever it is that needs to be gotten at, and figure out what inquires are worth exploring in the first place.
Participants will be expected to do ample reading and writing in this course. We will work through and ground our discussions in independent and collaborative research projects that enable us to practice nuts and bolts skills while keeping our theoretical questions in tow.
Texts under consideration, in addition to course pack readings:
Bazerman, Charles, et al. Traditions of Writing Research, 2010.
Johanek, Cindy. Composing Research: A Contextualist Paradigm for Rhetoric and Composition, 2000.
Kirsch, Gesa, and Patricia A. Sullivan, eds. Methods and Methodology in Composition Research, 1992.
McKee, Heidi and Danielle Nicole DeVoss, eds. Digital Writing Research: Technologies, Methodologies and Ethical Issues, 2007.
North, Stephen. The Making of Knowledge in Composition: Portrait of an Emerging Field, 1987.
Smagorinsky, Peter. Research on Composition: Multiple Perspectives on Two Decades of Change, 2005.
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 goal of this course is to provide you with an in-depth understanding of the historical developments in TESOL methodology from the current perspective of a ‘post-method’ era. This is a practical course that will include workshops and other hands-on activities to familiarize you with a variety approaches, philosophies, techniques, and materials. The course will explore recent developments in the field, and help you better analyze learning situations, enhance your professional skills and increase your ability to promote learning. You will learn to develop and adapt instructional materials based on your students’ needs, desires, learning processes, and on institutional environments.
Methodology in Language Teaching: An Anthology of Current Practice, Jack C. Richards & Willy A. Renandya (Eds.), Cambridge,
Additional readings will be available on the course website
This course aims to familiarize students with a variety of research
methods in the fields of applied linguistics and TESOL, examining
epistemologies, strengths, and weaknesses of various approaches.
Students will draw on knowledge generated in the context of the class to
conduct a small piece of original research. In addition, they will read
and critique selected research in second language acquisition and become
more sophisticated “consumers” of research in our field.
ENGLISH 578: MATERIALS DEVELOPMENT
This course provides foundational study of and hand-on experience in developing instructional materials for language teaching. Student projects may range from developing course materials to fully elaborated curricula to textbook manuscripts. Although we expect that most students will be developing materials for ESOL contexts, students may make a case for developing materials in other languages. It is hoped (but not required) that students will have given thought to a project that they find worthwhile and exciting by the time the course begins.
The students will make a personal anthology of twenty poems that they consider especially admirable written by American poets since 1960. The students will write comments on each of these poems with emphasis on their personal taste and critical standards, not the opinions of critics. The students will take turns defending as many of their choices in class as time allows, their classmates sitting as editorial judges.
WESTERN WIND, eds. Nims and Mason, McGraw-Hill, any edition
Textual Studies Program: Seminar in Printed Texts
This is one of the four required core seminars in the graduate Textual Studies Program (others are Oral and Manuscript Texts, Hypertext, and Textual Theory). It gives an introduction to the history of printing as an art and a means of textual transmission, as well as a practical view of hand and machine press printing. The seminar includes introductory surveys of such topics as descriptive and analytical bibliography (we tear some books apart, virtually), the production, transmission, and editing of printed texts, the history of the book, and current textual and editorial theory. Students will get practical experience in the editing of printed texts, and also be able to see up close how a hand press works (it doesn’t mean “press your hand”). Seminar sessions are held in Suzzallo Special Collections in order to provide direct access to examples of early modern print and book history; Sandra Kroupa, the Book Arts and Rare Book Curator, will be joining the seminar to provide instruction and guide workshop sessions in her fields of expertise. Cynthia Wall, the chair of the English Department at the University of Virginia, whose distinguished scholarship ranges from literary editing to critical analysis of the “text” of early modern London urban and social spaces, will visit the seminar in February for informal discussion as well as giving a formal public talk. The seminar professor too will share his possibly frightening inside view of the messy workings of a newly completed three-volume editorial project on Henry Fielding for Oxford Press.
A Workshop on Writing for Academic Publication
"Writing for Academic Publication" is a workshop for graduate students who have a previously-written paper they would like to make into a publishable article. You'll be lengthening (if necessary) and revising your own essay, reading and commenting on each others' work, learning how to write comments in the form of reader's reports for journals, and researching journals appropriate for work written in your field of study. The workshop is open to any graduate student with a paper of sufficient length to become an article-length essay (usually somewhere from 22 to about 30 pages) during the course of the quarter.
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