In the “Letter to His Father,” Kafka writes, “My writing is all about you.” But what does it mean when he adds, “Yet it did take its course in the direction determined by me”? A story by Wallace Stevens confirms that the aesthetic contitutively involves this greedy warp in the path of desiring attention. In “The Revelation” a young man takes a photograph of his sweetheart to be framed. A few days later collects the package, and opening it finds instead a framed photograph of himself. The history of reflection upon the aesthetic is that of the conditions of this reflexivity, the interaction between a dependency, a disappointment and a self-satisfaction, that of the agencies of the sequence that result in the movement from one position to the other. The feature that dominates the period from Kant to the present is the elimination of an intimidating violence from the shifting process, the becoming indistinguishable of the one moment from the other, the denarrativization of reasons for desirability and dismissability.
Rousseau, Letter to D’Alembert on Spectacles
Kant, The Critique of Judgment
Schiller, “Naïve and Sentimental Poetry”
Hegel, excerpts from the Aesthetics
Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy
Eichenbaum Schlovsky, and Bakhtine--exerpts
Tolstoy, What is Art?
Freud, “On Transience”
Freud, On Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious
Adorno, Aesthetic Theory
"Theories of Violence"
As the final installment of the Literary Criticism and Theory sequence, this course will understand the late period of theory (post-WWII to the present) as a phase of "self-assessment" and "critical interrogations." Postwar European theory can be understood as a form of witnessing of the failure of "Europe" globally. Decolonization everywhere European empires settled, European aesthetic and political theory "witnessed" the failure of the Enlightenment through ruminations on so-called "internal" genocide: the "shoah" or "Holocaust." This course then will be a survey of the late theories of aesthetics, sociality and violence. Europe as the double name of globalization and social violence will be the focus. Our case will be the United States. And aesthetics will occupy us as a question of "assessment."
Closure in Chaucer (and Beyond)
The idea of ‘closure’ attracts attention from those interested in both formal and psychological analyses of literary (and other) works of human art. Some of the satisfactions of finishing a book (or a piece of music) derive from our sense of its completeness, whether it seems to fulfill its author’s and readers’ expectations and provide a convincing ‘sense of an ending.’ Some readers enjoy works that are firmly concluded; others prefer works that are open-ended, which invite readers to imagine multiple possibilities for the characters and narratives.
In the case of Geoffrey Chaucer’s works, the matter is complicated by the historical fact that some of his works have come down to us in what seems to be incomplete form, the result (arguably at least) of problems with the scribal ‘publication’ and transmission of his texts. Others of his works, however, which don’t appear to be fragmentary, play with layered or polyphonic endings. This may suggest that some of his ‘incomplete’ texts may in fact have been intended by him to be so.
In this seminar, we will begin with a classic book on literary closure (Kermode’s 1967 Sense of an Ending) and then turn our attention to some examples in Chaucer’s earlier works: e.g., Book of the Duchess, House of Fame, Troilus. After that, we’ll look at some of the Canterbury Tales.
Students will be required to provide weekly response papers discussing our readings, to produce (and revise) a couple of longer papers, and lead a seminar session discussing closure in a work of interest to them (one of Chaucer’s or someone else’s).
NOTE: Since much of our reading will be in Middle English, successful completion of ENGL 321 (Chaucer), or permission of the Instructor, will be a prerequisite for enrollment in the seminar.
Kermode, Frank . The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction. New Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN: 0-19-513612-8
Geoffrey Chaucer. Dream Visions and Other Poems. Ed. Kathryn L. Lynch. New York: Norton, 2007. ISBN-10: 0-393-92588-9
Geoffrey Chaucer. The Canterbury Tales: Fifteen Tales and the General Prologue. Ed. V. A. Kolve and Glending Olson. Second Edition. New York: Norton, 2005. ISBN 0-393-92587-0
Geoffrey Chaucer. Troilus and Criseyde. Ed.Stephen A. Barney. New York: Norton, 2006. ISBN 0-393-92755-5
Recommended texts (choose at least one):
McGerr, Rosemarie P. Chaucer's Open Books: Resistance to Closure in Medieval Discourse. University Press of Florida, 1998 ISBN: 0-8130-1860-9
Sklute, Larry. Virtue of Necessity: Inconclusiveness and Narrative Form in Chaucer's Poetry. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1985. ISBN: 0-8142-0404-X
Raybin, David, and Linda Tarte Holley, ed. Closure in the Canterbury Tales: The Role of the Parson's Tale. Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 2005. ISBN: 1-58044-012-6
Kermode, Frank. The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction. Oxford Univ. Press, 2000. [0-19-513612-8]
Chaucer, Geoffrey. Dream Visions & Other Poems. Ed. Kathryn L. Lynch. Norton, 2007. [ 0-393-92588]
Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales: Fifteen Tales & General Prologue Ed. V.A. Kolve & Glending Olson 2nd ed. Norton, 2005. [0-393-92587-0]
Chaucer, Geoffrey. Troilus & Criseyde Ed. Stephen A. Barney. Norton, 2006. [0-393-92755-5]
The Victorian age represents the final stage of what a growing number of scholars have come to call "middle modernity": the eighteenth and nineteenth century period that gives birth to mass literacy, ideas of human rights (including women's rights and children's rights), industrialization, imperialism, secularization. This course explores the literary culture of Victorian era in conjunction with this emerging modernity, paying special attention to literature that deals explicitly or implicitly with these themes, but also showing how this tendency shapes many of our received notions about the meaning of literature itself. One may expect readings from Matthew Arnold, Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning, Mona Caird, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, John Stuart Mill, John Ruskin, Mary Seacole, Alfred Tennyson, and Oscar Wilde.
Theories of Everyday America in the Nineteenth-Century. This course is intended to do a couple of (hopefully related) things. First, it will serve as an introduction to theories of the Everyday. (I hope the capitalization of the word gives it an appropriately allegorical aura.) While the term “everyday life” might seem self-evident, its significance can best be summed up in Maurice Blanchot’s phrase, “the everyday escapes.” The seemingly ungraspable experience of everydayness has come to stand in for those aspects of urban modernity by which we organize our daily practices of production and consumption. We shop, go to work, make dinner, go to a movie, all as if in some form of ether. Yet, the everyday conceptually organizes our world in its accepted and repetitive forms: the separation of production from consumption, the division of modern life into work and leisure, and the emergence of panoptical surveillance as the prevailing form of power. The purpose of this course is, first of all, to provide some overview to the range of theoretical approaches to everyday life. Second, the course will offer different ways to think about the Everyday within the specific parameters of (mostly) nineteenth-century American culture. There is indeed a history to the everyday in America, a history I hope to begin to explore by presenting several literary and cultural texts from the 19th and early 20th centuries. In particular, I want to start with the “day before everyday,” that is, those historical moments of founding and settling, in which we discover the invention of the everyday. Then I want to consider the post-bellum development of the Everyday as a new and important aspect of fiction. We will consider Caroline Kirkland’s A New Home in relation to Thoreau’s Walden, Louisa May Alcott’s Work in relation to Whitman’s poetry, Elizabeth Keckley’s Behind the Scenes, and Frank Norris’s McTeague in relation to Abraham Cahan’s Yekl. Among the theorists we’ll read are Henri Lefebvre, Michel de Certeau, Susan Willis, Bill Brown, and Arjun Appadurai.
English 540A: “Civilization and Its Discontents”: BritishModernism and Cultural Crisis
Freud remarks at the end of Civilization and Its Discontents that the “fateful question for the human species seems to me to be whether and to what extent their cultural development will succeed in mastering the disturbance in their communal life by the human instinct of aggression and self-destruction.” Using this theme as the framework for our discussion, the seminar will consider how such modernist texts as The Waste Land, Mrs. Dalloway, Women in Love, and Point Counter Point respond to the prevalent sense during and following the Great War that civilization was in a state of crisis. The growth of psychoanalysis during this period --as an explanatory tool for both individual and social malaise-- will be one focus of our attention. Others might be contemporary politics, anthropology, science,and popular culture, depending on interests of members of the seminar.
Texts: Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents; T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land and Other Poems, D.H. Lawrence, Women in Love, Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, Aldous Huxley, Point Counter Point, David Bradshaw (ed.) A Concise Companion to Modernism
Freud, Sigmund. Civilization & Its Discontents.
Eliot, T.S. The Waste Land & Other Poems.
Lawrence, D.H. Women In Love.
Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway.
Huxley, Aldous. Point Counter Point.
Bradshaw, David (ed.). A Concise Companion to modernism.
English 569A: Qualitative Research Methodologies
This course will provide an introduction to qualitative research theories and methodological approaches. Course projects will ask students to both discuss theoretical concepts and to go out into the field and apply them. In addition to covering more general qualitative methods, there will be an emphasis on how rhetorical studies benefits from and contributes to qualitative work (thus, we will overview basic rhetorical theory and consider how rhetorical criticism and qualitative methods might work in tandem). Finally, this course will provide service-learning opportunities for students to collaborate with community partners to create qualitative research projects that contribute to the partner’s work and provide students with concrete research experience. I’m open to working out alternatives for students who are already in the midst of their own qualitative projects.
In a nutshell, this course aims to:
•familiarize students with core theories and approaches for conducting qualitative research
•provide concrete, field experiences for students to practice conducting qualitative research
•introduce students to the various steps and issues involved in conducting qualitative research, including research design, IRB human research protocols, fieldwork, research etiquette and ethics, and data/content analysis.
•engage students in conversations about the strengths and limitations of qualitative research
Legal discourse has been disparaged for at least a thousand years, but we live with it now, more so than in the past, entangled as it is in many of our daily activities. Every time we sign a charge slip, register for classes, engage in a rental agreement, file a health insurance claim, or marry and divorce, we enter the world of legal discourse. The casual reading of legal documents, say, the rules of state residency, does not exempt us from those rules. This course will be a close look at legal language and discourse in a variety of settings. We’ll address some of the theoretical issues—a set of readings from Foucault, including Discipline and Punish and Society Must Be Defended and then turn to analysis of various documents. We’ll look at contracts, confessions, trial transcripts, family law pleadings, ICE (formerly INS) forms, appellate decisions, warning labels, literature that engages legal issues, legislative language and film about legal contexts. We will also take a brief look at language and linguistics in forensic contexts and language policy. Every two weeks or so, we will examine some particular type of document using legal discourse as practice for the final seminar paper.
Tiersma, Peter. Legal Language
Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish
Selections from Society Must Be Defended (in readings packet)
Cotterill, Janet. Language in the Legal Process
Solan, Larry and Peter Tiersma. Speaking of Crime: The Language of Criminal Justice\
Shuy, Roger. Selections from Fighting over Words: Language and Civil Law Cases (in readings
Crane, Gregg. Selections from Race, Citizenship and Law in American Literature
(in readings packet)
Spolsky, Bernard. Selections from Language Policy (in readings packet)
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.
This course aims to familiarize students with representative research
methods in the fields of applied linguistics and TESOL, examining
epistemologies, strengths, and weaknesses of various approaches. Students
will read and critique selected research in second language acquisition. In
addition they will draw on knowledge generated in the context of the class
to conduct a small piece of original research.
This course is an overview of language testing with an emphasis on teacher-prepared classroom tests. The major goals of the course are:
1. to provide students practice in developing, analyzing, and refining tests.
2. to introduce students to key concepts and major debates in language testing
3. to provide students some experience with commercially available assessment tools.
4. to familiarize students with basic test statistics so that they can test their own tests and understand the claims made about commercially available exams.
The goal of this course is to provide students with an advanced education in the history and evolution of lyric poetry in English, from its Old English origins up to the extraordinary variety of contemporary poetic practices. We will study the formal principles which have traditionally distinguished poetry from prose (meter, rhyme, stanza and form), poetic conventions such as courtly love and Romantic nature worship, and poetic genres such as the epic, the pastoral elegy and the greater Romantic lyric, and we will study how these forms, conventions and genres have changed from one historical period to another. In order to fully understand these changes we will study several of the important texts, written by poets, philosophers and critics, which have provided the theoretical foundations for each period’s dominant poetics, and we will examine how aesthetic judgments have been and are made about individual poets and poetic schools and styles. Students will learn how to read a poem closely, how to place a poem in its proper context, and how to appreciate and take pleasure in the rich complexities of this vibrant art.
APPROACHES TO TEXTUAL RESEARCH: WHAT CAN WE DO WITH TEXTS? In
posing the question, what can we do with texts, this course inquires into
diverse ways research into texts might occur when texts are understood as
produced through interactive exchanges with their audience(s) or reader(s).
We consider relationships between rather different groups and texts, whether
Oprah's Book Club, social action groups, or avant garde reading collectives.
The seminar will engage how texts configure their interactions with their
audience(s) and how some texts attempt to alter basic forms of consumption
or reading. Seminar members will have the opportunity of interacting with
Beverly Dahlen and her project, A Reading, and Joe Milutis's "New Jersey As
an Impossible Object," among other changing weekly investigations. For a
final project, students can elect to create their own text in relationship
to a chosen audience; to interact with selected communities through specific
texts, documenting this interaction; or to write a research paper on one of
the seminar subjects.
Jeanne Heuving's cross genre Incapacity (Chiasmus Press) won a 2004 Book of
the Year Award from Small Press Traffic, and her book of experimental poetry
Transducer (Chax Press) is just out. She has published multiple critical
pieces on avant garde and innovative writers, including the book Omissions
Are Not Accidents: Gender in the Art of Marianne Moore and is currently
finishing work on a book-length manuscript, The Transmutation of Love in
Twentieth Century Poetry. She is a member of the Subtext Collective, on the
editorial advisory board of HOW2, and is a professor in the
Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences program at the University of Washington,
Bothell and an adjunct professor in the graduate program in English and in
Women Studies at UW, Seattle. She is the recipient of grants from the
Fulbright Foundation, NEH, and UW Simpson Humanities Center. In 2003, she
was the H.D. Fellow at the Beinecke Library at Yale University.
This graduate prose workshop is a place to generate new work, take risks, and question yourself and others about your writing. As you do so, you should be developing a good sense of your own passions, obsessions, and fears as writers. In order to achieve these goals, you will generate at least 40 pages of prose, use the Critical Response Process to comment on each other’s writing, experiment with creative responses to each other’s writing, and study prose style through grammar exercises and readings of published prose.
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.
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