In this course I’m going to try to give you as strong a grounding in Plato and Aristotle as can possibly be done in one quarter. The popular antithesis between Plato and Aristotle is false; in this course you will learn how Aristotle inherited and refined Plato’s thought, revising it where necessary, but always working forward on the Platonic basis. We will spend roughly the first half of the course on Plato, focusing on four works: Ion, Phaedo, Phaedrus, and Republic, then the second half on Aristotle, focusing on Poetics but bringing in bits from various other works (mainly Physics, Metaphysics, and Nichomachaean Ethics) to provide background for the concepts with which Aristotle works in Poetics.
A distinctive feature of this course is that, in order to avoid the confusions that are introduced by translation, I will teach you the basic Greek vocabulary of Plato and Aristotle’s thought. The concept of techne in particular is badly obscured in English translation. Techne means roughly “art” or “craft,” or, in general, the practical knowledge by which any organized activity, particularly those that produce a made object, is carried on; but, as you will see, techne cannot be adequately translated into English, and a great deal of new insight into the Greek texts is gained when we restore this Greek word to the translations.
Since we are working in the framework of literature departments, we will pay particular attention to the way Plato and Aristotle think about art in general and literature in particular; but, as you will see, this emphasis follows naturally from the fundamental structure of their concepts, within which the notion of techne plays a central role. An amazingly sophisticated structure of concepts is developed by Plato and Aristotle from it: the notions of “essence,” “representation,” “art,” and “knowledge” are all rooted in the concept of techne.
I will ask you to write three papers: one around 3 pages on Plato, due around the end of the third week; a mid-term on Plato of 5-6 pages; and a final on Aristotle due on finals week, also around 5-6 pages.
This course provides a limited introduction to psychoanalysis and its impact on twentieth and twenty-first 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. The opening section of the course will focus on primary works by Sigmund Freud and secondary materials situating Freud in his historical context. The second section will explore early and mid-twentieth century responses to Freud, including possibly work by Joan Riviere, Sándor Ferenczi, Melanie Klein, and Jacques Lacan. The final section will examine a few representative late twentieth and twenty-first psychoanalytic commentators chosen from among the following: Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, Judith Butler, Anne Cheng, Joan Copjec, Ranjana Khanna, Kaja Silverman, Hortense Spillers, Antonio Viego, and Slavoj Zizek. Students will be expected to write one 5 page review of psychoanalytic criticism in their own field and one 12-15 page paper on a relevant debate in psychoanalytic theory and/or a primary text.
Sigmund Freud. The Freud Reader. Ed. Peter Gay. Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, 1995. ISBN-10: 0393314030
Sigmund Freud. Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality. Trans. James Strachey. Basic Books, 2000. ISBN-10: 0465097081
Jacques Lacan. Écrits: The First Complete Edition in English. Trans. Bruce Fink. W. W. Norton, 2007. ISBN-10: 0393329259
Course Reader: A course reader will be required. Materials will either be reserved online or made available at Ave Copy, 4141 University Way NE. Phone: 206/633-1837.
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.
This course does four things: orient the student with an overview of British modernism circa 1900-1930; provide a general background for modernity torqued toward aesthetics; engage some current critical conversations in the field of literary modernism; and allow focus on the work of particular authors.
The class is loosely organized around two heuristic rubrics, minds and matter: we will engage the topoi of embodiment and materiality, with particular attention to the status of mind or mindedness on the one hand and the modernist object on the other. Along the way the student will get a grip on the historical avant-gardes of Vorticism and Imagism—that's history—and some sense of how to do research in periodical studies, arguably one of the major legacies we have from the era—that's methodology and history.
Texts include prose (Conrad's The Secret Agent; Ford's Good Soldier, West's The Return of the Soldier; a story by Woolf), poetry (Loy, Pound, Eliot), essays and manifestos, and perhaps Wyndham Lewis's Tarr if a decent copy is available (there are several issues floating about and only one is worthy at the introductory level, by my lights).
Students will write a 1,000 word book review of a critical monograph published 2010-12; and a 20 page final research paper.
1. Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale (Oxford World Classics; Oxford University Press) ISBN: 0192834770
2. Ezra Pound, Selected Poems (New Directions, ISBN 0-811-201-627)
3. Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion (1927) Ed. Martin Stannard. (2nd edition; Norton Critical Ed.) ISBN-10: 039392792X; ISBN-13: 978-0393927924
4. T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land and Other Writings, ed. Mary Karr Modern Library Classics, ISBN: 0375759344
5. Rebecca West, The Return of the Soldier (1918) Penguin USA (Paper); ISBN: 014118065X
6. Mina Loy, The Lost Lunar Baedeker. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 0-374-52507-2
7. Mina Loy, Stories and Essays of Mina Loy (Dalkey Archive Press) ISBN-10: 1564786307 ISBN-13: 978-1564786302
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 ask such questions as: What are the stakes in differentiating “affect,” from “emotion? How are emotion and affect studies related to recent work in representation and theories of mind? What about the return to “character” as, in Rita Felski’s words, “the puzzle of elucidating our intellectual curiosity about, and emotional attachment to, people who do not exist?” In addition to thinking through emotion, and affect in socio-cultural contexts, we'll consider literary fiction and narrative shape, the production of readerly affect, and the novel as a site for theorizing emotion. For papers, students who are already focused on a text or set of texts in their graduate studies are welcome to continue that work in the theoretical contexts of the course. But new projects are also fine. In addition to a number of contemporary theorists of these rubrics, we’ll read some classic novels, probably by Woolf, Faulkner and Morrison. The course is open to anyone interested in the topic.
From their uncertain seventeenth-century origins on into the twentieth century, the British novel and the British empire developed simultaneously. This course investigates the hypothesis that their development was mutually influential: the British novel was shaped by imperial travel, trade, and discovery; and novels in turn modeled new ways of understanding the world beyond Britain. We will take five novels as case studies: Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko (1689), Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719), Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park (1814), and Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (1847), and E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India (1924). By placing these five novels in conversation with a range of genre theory from Ian Watt’s Rise of the Novel and Nancy Armstrong’s Desire and Domestic Fiction to Fredric Jameson’s The Political Unconscious and Homi Bhabha’s Locations of Culture, we’ll examine how accounts of the novel’s relationship to Britain’s imperial history have been influenced by poststructural, postcolonial, psychoanalytic, and feminist thought. We’ll also consider how the development of two modes of prose fiction—realism and romance—each worked to resolve the political and cultural conflicts generated by Britain’s imperial ventures in different ways. Course requirements will include several short response papers, a presentation, and an 8-12 page final paper.
In the 20th century and now twenty-first, theoretical and critical concepts
of sex and love have often increased our sense of the division between
these. Yet within Western philosophical, literary, and cultural production,
more generally, they have often been inseparable, no more so than through
such concepts of eros and amor. We will address the tendency throughout the
twentieth century and now beyond within multiple theories and criticism to
separate out love and sex as well as the reverse tendency in cultural
production to ignore such distinctions. How a society organizes or
structures its sexual relations, as evidenced in its institutions, its
concepts, its art, and casual interactions, is key to understanding the
society itself. One of the focuses of the course will be to consider the
special claims that poets have made for the relationship between being in
love and writing poetry, focusing on the theoretical reasons for this
synergistic relationship as well as modifications of love writing by
twentieth century poets and some prose writers. An important focus of the
course will be to locate current musical lyrics that convey sexual love,
asking whether this music stays the course or veers away from traditional
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 was all the more amusing, if not disheartening academically, was the degree to which scholars, with all the talk of historicization, were largely unaware of the major figures of the avant-garde, and the incursion of its traditions upon the course of cultural critique, itself indebted to art and literature of the most radical kind. From Derrida or Foucault to ŽiŽek or 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 (once jargonish terms of the curriculum) is harder to come by, not only in the arts but also in theory, after the abatement of deconstruction. 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.
Mary Ann Caws (ed.), Manifesto: A Century of Isms (Univ of Nebraska/Bison)
Michel Sanouillet & Elmer Peterson, The Writings of Marcel Duchamp (Da Capo)
Gertrude Stein, Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein (Vintage)
Ezra Pound, Personae: The Shorter Poems (New Directions)
William Carlos Williams, Imaginations (Norton)
John Cage, Silence (Wesleyan)
Robert Smithson, The Collected Writings (Univ. of California Press)
Lea Vergine, Body Art and Performance: The Body as Language (Skira)
This course is an introduction to and survey of the basics of language analysis beyond the sentence level, covering approaches both to discourse analysis and sociolinguistics. It is also a survey of the various ways in which discourse analysis is theoretically grounded, with a special focus on critical discourse analysis (CDA) in its two major presentations, neo-Marxist and Foucauldian. Students in ENGL 562 will also study the social theorists–Foucault, Bourdieu, Habermas, and Giddens–so that they will be able to ground their work in theory.
Mills, Discourse, 2nd ed. (2004)
Wetherell, et al., Discourse as Data: A Guide for Analysis
Wodak and Meyer, Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis, 2nd ed. (2009)
Schiffrin, Tannen and Hamilton, The Handbook of Discourse Analysis
A good linguistics dictionary
This credit/noncredit course aims to extend student teachers' understanding of the technical, personal, and practical elements involved in effective language teaching by bringing together multiple tools. These include regular classroom practice scaffolded by a master teacher, observations of veteran teachers, journaling, observations of peers, reflective inquiry, self-evaluation, group support in regular seminars, videotaped microteaching, analytical lesson reports, and peer evaluation.
The goal of this course is to provide students 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 learners with a variety approaches, philosophies, techniques, and materials. The course will explore recent developments in the field, and help students to better analyze learning situations, enhance their professional skills, and increase their ability to promote learning. Students will learn to develop and adapt instructional materials based on their students’ needs, desires, learning processes, and on institutional environments.
Jack C. Richards & Willy A. Renandya (Eds.) (2002). Methodolo! gy in Language Teaching: An Anthology of Current Practice. Cambridge. (MLT)
Additional readings will be available on the course website.
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
interaction and second/foreign language acquisition. We will discuss
current theoretical approaches to the study of learner-learner and
learner-native speaker interaction, paying attention to both
interactionist and sociocultural perspectives. 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 replication 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 foreign
FORMS OF POETRY, FORMS OF THOUGHT
This class is predicated on an equivalence suggested in its title. It will be a two-part gift-exchange. Phase One: in the first weeks, I'll try to frame the problem in practical terms and sketch a coherent formal response. The general question What is Poetry? will be replaced with a practical one, along these lines: by what linguistic means may our emotional and rational natures be brought to congruence? No experience with “forms” is presumed. We'll start from scratch, reviewing fundamentals of prosody and metaphorical reasoning, with particular attention to the slippery problem of "tone."
Phase Two: having said as quickly as I can the best of what I think I know, I'll encourage you to scatter for the frontiers and bring back mice and honeycombs for the further delectation of our communal threshold. As necessary, I'll propose hooks or goads. Riddles; Robert Frost and the Sound of Sense; animal communication systems generally; the latest word from the monkey-house; hypnotic suggestion; jokes; quantitative prosody; verbal seduction technique; artificial intelligence; paleoanthropology of music; aphasias vs. aprosodias; PET scanning for verbs; practical magic; Chomsky vs. Darwin and the wrangle over language origins--? You'll think of something. Everyone reports back. We'll have a good time.
Like Poetry, situated in tradition (and probably under the skull, too) halfway between speech and song-- like Piltdown Man, with his orang brain case balanced on a human jaw-- this class should be a chimera. The talking part will be practical: an intensive review of the forms of poetry. The thinking part will attempt to consider those forms with respect to their nature and origins.
Origins? Insofar as the child is the father of the philosopher, we'll read Mother Goose, weather-saws, charms, jokes, riddles, and other naturally inextinguishable subliterary forms. Insofar as the earliest literatures are windows on Bronze and Iron Age origins, we may read scraps of Gilgamesh, Archilochos, Sappho, and a Celtic miscellany. Insofar as poetry is a subdiscipline of biology, we'll note Charles Darwin (on the expression of emotion in animals and humans), and sample several of his followers and clarifiers in the cognitive sciences. That's an incomplete hint at what ought (under the pressure of your own curiosity) to evolve into a widely ranging, intellectually promiscuous array of readings.
Why? By way of another analogy: celestial navigation was traditionally taught "the Navy Way," encumbered or illuminated by a good deal of astronomy, so the student might hope to understand why the abstruse calculations worked. But it was also possible to teach this subject in a simply practical, stepwise way: no sky, just tables and rote arithmetic. Either method gets you there. It strikes me that poetic forms are usually taught in the second way. That's fine: they're efficacious, they have real consequences, whether deployed in service of the Muses, Moloch, or your agitprop masters at Party HQ; you don't need neurobiology to learn certain emotionally and intellectually manipulative technics. I can teach these, and will, quickstep, in the opening weeks of this class. But my preference is for The Navy Way, with (necessarily speculative) attention to how and why these methods might work. Insofar as language seems to be the touchstone and distinguishing attribute of our species, and poets above all others are licensed to use it less like money and more like catnip-- why wouldn't we want to peer closely at the processes of our response? The nature and origins of the linguistic instrument, the nature of the niche which poetry claims within the long ecology of speech, the general nature of emotional response, the possible mechanisms by which emotionally competent methods (linguistic and otherwise) may work in and upon us-- these strike me as inherently interesting lines of inquiry. Though in the psychopomp department they may choose Darwin (over, say, Freud or Marx, who are weary and need a rest), and poach a vocabulary less from literary theory than the cognitive sciences, these questions seem to me absolutely germane to our excitements and practices as poets. I want to participate in this kind of conversation, and learn something new.
This seminar is one the four core courses developed by the campus-wide Textual Studies Program. Course credit will count toward the Textual Studies Ph. D. track in all participating departments and may count toward the Critical Theory concentration in Comparative Literature. This course is open to all graduate students and advanced undergraduates. Students completing this course will develop basic skills of literary scholarship (the use of literary archives; aspects of physical bibliography and the printing and production of books; scholarly editing; manuscript-based textual criticism) which will be of help for other courses.
The goal of this course is to challenge the assumption that textual theory and practice occupy a domain separate from literary theory and criticism, and from other disciplines such as art history, architecture, music or film studies. Confronting this territorial fallacy, the course will show that developments in contemporary theory have influenced, and at times radically altered, the direction of textual studies; and conversely, that textual scholars have often anticipated and conceptualized the speculations of theorists in intellectually provocative ways. The first part of the course will familiarize students with major theories of textual criticism and editorial traditions that address the concepts of authorship and authorial intention; the distinction between document, text, work and the physical book; "ideal" texts and transcendental hermeneutics; the relationship of biographical and sociological contexts to texts, and of creators to producers of literature; and the functions of readerships. It will also document contemporary controversies in textual editing (such as the challenge posed by Jerome McGann to established canons of editing), as well as debates about the editing of particular texts in Renaissance (especially Shakespeare), romantic (especially Keats and Mary Shelley) and modern literature (especially Joyce's Ulysses). Students completing this course will learn to scrutinize the texts they are using and develop awareness of the editorial and cultural ideologies that inform them. Assignments include brief response papers to selected readings and a final essay on one of the following subjects: a particular topic in textual theory; a critical edition reading text (with editorial rationale) of a poem or short story; a review of an exisiting edition and of controversies surrounding it; the textual history, transmission and alteration of a given literary or artistic work.
The second part of the course will explore the relevance of textual theory to the study of art and film adaptations of literary works, focusing on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The course will involve the participation of librarians, visiting faculty, and two distinguished external visitors who will spend a week in Seattle, offering two specialized seminars and a public lecture. They are: Professor Marta Werner, recipient of the distinguished Fredson Bowers prize in textual editing and author of books, electronic archives and editions on Emily Dickinson, Hannah Weiner, Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne; and Michelangelo Zaccarello, Professor of Italian Philology at the University of Verona, recipient of the 2011 Editor’s Prize awarded by the Society of Textual Scholarship and author of numerous books and articles on Dante’s Comedy, early Italian texts, and Renaissance authors such as Torquato Tasso and Luigi Pulci.
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