This graduate seminar has been designed in parallel with a large undergraduate lecture course, C LIT 362 / English 314. The point bears mention principally because the subject of the seminar came first: the intellectual, professional, and institutional problem of “modernism.” At the beginning of the seminar, we will spend some time addressing the problem of the literary curriculum—particularly, the undergraduate curriculum—as if affects directly and materially the possibility of actually making viable professional careers in the teaching of the liberal arts. Accordingly, one of the issues to which we will give attention is precisely the design of new undergraduate courses.
In singling out the problem of modernism, the underlying problem is how we can conceptualize—and organize—the teaching of literature and culture. In this respect, the questions of what we teach and why, and how we organize our studies (and to what effect) cannot be separated from the current circumstances of professional study in language and literature departments, ranging from devastated budgets, the loss of an audience for professional publications, to the (so far) relentless process of corporatizing of higher education.
With respect to the latter issues, this seminar will be a serious effort not to remain in denial, as if all of our problems can be traced to the wickedness of Capital and the stinginess of the State. What have we done right? What have we neglected to do? What opportunities exist to reinvent the enterprise of literary education?
While these practical matters are notoriously anxiety producing, they also overlap precisely with the intellectual challenges of re-conceptualizing Modernism.
The major premise for this course is that we recognize “modernism” by its function—and that function is precisely to call into question the prevailing commonplaces of any particular time. Thus, Chaucer is essentially modern when he calls into question antecedent authors and texts—such as Boccaccio, Ovid, or The Romance of the Rose—in exactly the same way as Milton is modern when he challenges conventional understandings of the Bible.
It follows that we should be able to find “modernism” in any time, but more to the point, its initial characteristic will be a focused return to a primary question: what is the function of writing? Why does it matter? What should it accomplish?
Further it follows that any “modern” literary work will tend to alienate, confuse, and piss off most of its potential audience. It is not what they have been prepared to expect.
But finally, it provides not a form of historicism—as when we think of literary history as cutting off slices of a salami, measured by the calendar—but a primary, and almost always problematic encounter with the profoundly functional historicity of imaginative work.
For the seminar, each of you will be asked to select a single author or work, to examine what makes it “modern” in this sense. The assigned texts will include theoretical and critical essays, philosophical works, and literary instances across about 500 years—from the late middle ages to the present. In this respect, we will be aiming to sample a history of modernism that explicitly exchanges conventional historicism for the historicity of radical literary engagement.
At the end of the quarter, we will have an in-class conference with each of you presenting a short paper on the text or author you have chosen, to be followed by the end of finals week, by a longer paper. My common practice is to print all of the final papers for distribution to the entire class, which puts a very high premium on getting the essays completed on time.
Texts will include books listed below (available at University Bookstore), as well as a course reader that will be available at Professional Copy and Print at the beginning of the quarter.
Shakespeare: The Tempest (Pelican) ISBN 0140714855
Immanuel Kant: Critique of the Power of Judgment (Cambridge) ISBN 0521348927
T. S. Eliot: Complete Poems 1909-1962) (Harcourt) ISBN 0151189781
Ezra Pound: ABC of Reading (New Directions) ISBN 0811218937
William Carlos Williams: Collected Poems, I & II ISBN 0811211878, 0811211886
Virginia Woolf: The Waves (Mariner Press) ISBN 0156949601
Robert Musil: The Man Without Qualities (Vintage) (v I: 0679767878; v 2: 0679768025)
Jorge Luis Borges: Labyrinths (New Directions) ISBN 0811216993
John Rawls: on Kant’s Deductions
Jean Jacques Rousseau: Testament of the Savoyard Priest, from Emile
Dieter Henrich: selection from Aesthetic Judgment and the Moral Picture of the World
Sanford Budick: Selection from Kant and Milton
John Milton: Areopagitica
Walt Whitman: Democratic Vistas
Franz Kafka: “Metamorphoses” and “In the Penal Colony”
Poetry by Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, Paul Valery, Rainer Maria Rilke, Wallace Stevens, Czeslaw Milosz
This course will survey post-WWII continental philosophy as well as western social and cultural theory. In particular we will focus on post-structuralist genealogies of western political modernity. Touching on Kant, Hegel, Marx and Freud, we will investigate the pervasive European narrative of modernity as the progressive overcoming of private and arbitrary violence within social life. We will then focus the majority of the quarter on various post-structuralist interrogations of this narrative and its near total capture of western social, cultural, and political epistemologies. Thinkers include: Derrida, Lacan, Agamben, Butler, Spivak, Eagleton, Benjamin and the Frankfurt School.
This seminar is designed as a rigorous introduction to contemporary critical theorists whose practices are in conversation with Marx, Nietzsche and Freud. The latter introduce methodologies and problematics (eh., history, economy, power, and subject formation) that we will continue to grapple with in responding to such figures as: Balibar, Benjamin, Brown, Butler, Chakrabarty, Derrida, Foucault, Hartman, Lowe, and Mbembi. Four questions will direct our reading of every text. First, and fundamentally, what is the question or question-set that the theorist proposes to answer and what method does s/he employ to do so? This question and methodology determine what is thinkable and so drive the argument. (A recurring question for these theorists is how has history been manifested: in the human sciences, literature, theory, and other practices; in “facts on the ground” which these discourses work to promote, modify or contest; and in the formation of human subjects and social relations. A related question is, what kind of critique is best suited to transforming the historical conditions in which we live.) Second, what is the writer’s argument, how persuasive is it and why? (In evaluating the argument consider not only the assembled evidence but also significant omissions.) Third, what are the argument’s stakes? For instance, what other critical practices or insights does it enable or inhibit? How might you put this argument and/or methodology to use in your own work, why and with what modifications? Four, what other discourses (theories, institutions, social practices, etc.) does this critique engage and on what terms? (While this question provides a point of entry into all of the texts we will examine, I propose to pay particular attention to the ways in which contemporary theorists supplement, revise, and/or contest their predecessors—and for what reasons.)
Active and informed participation in seminar discussions, short critiques of assigned texts, a final paper, and these purchases are required: Freud, Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality; Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe and a course packet.
Proud of its wandering, "uprooted, anonymous, unattached to any house or
country," as Derrida says, Deconstruction. has been given an opportunity
to settle down, however tattered it might now be in its repose. But has
pride in homelessness--the strength of the rigor of its strategy of
dis-enclosure--proven finally to be at once its liability, the basis of
its historical discredit, and this even within the community of
Deconstruction itself? (Jean-Luc Nancy seemed to think so!)
We cannot avoid internal exegesis in this class, or the temptations to
describe relations of Deconstruction with its intimates: with
phenomenology, Sartrean existentialism, with the object relations school
of psychoanalysis, with Bataille, Levinas and the Frankfurt School, with
victim focus (animal rights, disability studies etc.). But particular
emphasis will be placed here upon the epochal aspect of the movement, the
variability of the performance of it in the variety of its national
contexts--its contrasting American and French lives in which its signature
defense of irreducible eccentricity is contrastively interactive with
greater and lesser degrees of blindnesses, from the theological to the
Derrida, Of Grammatology
Derrida, The Truth in Painting
Nancy, Dis-enclosure: The Deconstruction of Christianity
Nancy, Noli Me Tangere: On the Raising of the Body
Meets with C LIT 510 and ENGL 510
Graduate students only
NINETEENTH-CENTURY TRANSATLANTIC POETRY AND POETICS
Poetry in the nineteenth century enjoyed a popularity and a breadth of readership unimaginable today. The most successful poets, moreover, enjoyed very large readerships outside of their home countries (e.g. Longfellow in Britain, Tennyson and the Brownings in America, Poe in France). This course will discuss mid-nineteenth-century British and American poetry in the context of transatlantic exchanges. Among other topics, we will address the politics of sentimental poetics, the connections between poetry and nationalism, the material conditions that enabled transatlantic literary exchanges (printing presses, transatlantic steamship voyages, new technologies for communicating), the ongoing importance of human and animal rights in the nineteenth century (especially in relation to American slavery), and evolving theories (often understood in national contexts) of poetic form. And, naturally, the class will discuss poetry: some of the most influential poetry and poetic theory written in the nineteenth century.
Reading Chinatown: A Literary Stroll Through 1970’s San Francisco Chinatown
This is a simple course. You read. We discuss what you read. No theory (or not much). Archival knowledge. What are we going to read? We’re concentrating on literature that takes place in the early 1970’s and is set in San Francisco’s Chinatown during the rise of the Asian American movement: Karen Yamashita’s I Hotel, Fae Myenne Ng’s Bone and Steer Toward Rock, Jeffery Paul Chan’s Eat Everything Before You Die, Frank Chin’s Chickencoop Chinaman and The Year of the Dragon, and Jeffrey Partridge’s Beyond Literary Chinatown. In addition to these literary works, we will be screening three documentaries and two films: Curtis Choy’s The Fall of the I Hotel, The San Francisco State Strike, Bill Moyers’ Becoming American: The Chinese Experience, Chan is Missing, and The Year of the Dragon. Whenever possible we will be able to have video conferences with most, if not all of the authors. Karen Yamashita will be in Seattle during Spring Quarter to discuss her novel with this class. And, at the end, to find closure, maybe we’ll all go to Chinatown and have dinner.
This course will explore both the influential historiography of the South Asian Subaltern Studies Group and the related scholarship on subalternity across a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary arenas – American studies, in particular, but also, women’s studies, Latin American studies, media studies, and Anthropology – that is either explicitly or implicitly in dialogue with the work of the group. I intend for our reading and conversations in the course to engage both Americanists and students in other fields with interests in subaltern cultures, practices, histories.
Subaltern Studies emerges in the 1980s as a collaborative project in South Asian historiography. The group’s founding members are Marxist historians working (primarily) on peasant insurgencies under the Raj, who confront the problem of a historical record in which the peasants never appear as the subjects of insurgency. So they find themselves trying to un-write sanctioned histories (colonial and nationalist), in order to think the contours of subaltern subjectivity. In so doing, they realize that their project is not fully amenable to the terms of a Marxist analytic because – the problem boils down to this – the colonial subaltern cannot be thought within the framework of capitalist class relations, except as a pre-political subject, which is precisely the position to which official historiography consigns her. Although the writing of the group is uneven in its citation of post-structuralist theory, Gayatri Spivak is surely right when she argues in 1988 that the !
group derives from post-structuralist thought a theory and a practice of supplementation that displaces a singular narrative of capital and its historical subjects, so as to follow the trace of subaltern subjectivity. Subaltern studies, then, is about the non-elite; about communities without access to the means of cultural mediation (print and other technologies); about epistemological violence and the responsibility of the investigator to what goes missing from the archive; and about the limits of the political (what counts as political agency).
Our aim in this course will be three-fold: First, to work through some of the defining scholarship of Subaltern Studies in the 1980s; second, to trace some of the subsequent shifts, re-orientations, and other developments in group members’ work, as they respond, among other things, to the changing organization of capital and the changing position of subalterns within new regimes of accumulation; and third, to sample from the voluminous corpus of subaltern-focused work in American studies and other arenas of left-oriented scholarship in the U.S. academy, in order to ask how (and to what effect) the issues and methods of Subaltern Studies are extended, elaborated, elided, or rethought.
Reading for the course will most probably include the work of Ranajit Guha, Partha Chatterjee, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Gyan Prakash, Sumit Sarkar, Gayatri Spivak, Wahneema Lubiano, Lisa Lowe, Mike Davis, Hortense Spillers, Walter Mignolo, John Beverley, Aihwa Ong, Saba Mahmood, Ella Shohat, and Robert Stam. I am still thinking about a couple of literary texts, films, or videos that might serve as touchstones for the critical conversation. Written work for the course will include a number of short responses, a research presentation, and an option either to revise an already-drafted essay in this context of this class, or to write (from scratch) a final 10-12 page essay.
The central question of this course will be the relation between postmodernity, defined as large changes at the social, political and economic levels that challenge aspects of modernity, and postmodernism, as the cultural level: how do these large changes register in literature? The focus will be on literary texts that are explicitly in dialogue with accounts or ideologies of postmodernity and which raise the question of what kind of critical distance or relative autonomy there is, anymore, between historical or socioeconomic context and cultural text (a problem Charles Altieri has raised). We will do some readings that address the relation between postmodernity and postmodernism directly (possibly Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer [as context], Fredric Jameson, David Harvey, Donna Haraway, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Paul Gilroy) and some more historical readings on late capitalism or post-industrial society (Daniel Bell, Ernst Mandel) that track the emergence of these terms and their transformation into a discourse on network societies (Manuel Castells, Nick Dyer-Witheford, Yochai Benkler). The literary examples will primarily be drawn from science fiction, and texts will be selected from this list: Bruce Sterling, Distraction; Charles Stross, Accelerando or Halting State; Cory Doctorow, Makers or For the Win; Samuel Delany, Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand; Octavia Butler, Dawn; George Saunders, Civilwarland in Bad Decline; Pat Cadigan, Tea from an Empty Cup; Laura Mixon, Proxies; Raphael Carter, The Fortunate Fall; Dexter Palmer, The Dream of Perpetual Motion.
There will be some shorter writing assignment and probably some class presentations, but the main assignment for the course will be one final essay.
Course Description: English 559A/440C, Comp Lit 596D, Environment 450G (Spring 2011)
Re-Imagining Nature: The Environmental Humanities in the 21st Century (C.E.)
Prof. Gary Handwerk
This course is designed as an introduction to the environmental humanities, focusing on ecocriticism as a approach, but also dealing with works from environmental history, ethics, economics, epidemiology, climatology and other areas. Ecocriticism grows in part out of a longstanding critical interest in the topic of nature and its representation in literary texts; it differs in adopting a more contemporary sense of the ecological relation between human beings and the environments they inhabit. We will be surveying some of the critical literature in this field, beginning with selections from two collections of essays that attempt to define the field (The Ecocriticism Reader and Uncommon Ground), then looking at several topical areas (economics, religion, evolution, ecology, toxicity and climate), both through the lens of critical analyses and “literary” sorts of texts: Robinson Crusoe, On the Origin of Species, A Sand County Almanac, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and Arctic Dreams. Coursework will include individual papers on the primary texts, as well as a pair of group research projects (one small, one larger).
Comp Lit 596/English 559 (Spring 2011) Book List
William Cronon, Uncommon Ground (W. W. Norton: 1996)
Cheryll Glotfelty & Harold Fromm, The Ecocriticism Reader (U of Georgia)
Ramachandra Guha, Environmentalism: A Global History (Longman)
John McPhee, Encounters with the Archdruid (Farrar, Strauss, Giroux)
Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (Broadview, 2010)
Philip Appleman, ed., Darwin (Norton: 2001); 3rd edition
Aldo Leopold, Sand County Almanac (Ballantine: 1970)
Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams (Vintage: 2001)
The seminar will present corpus analysis as a set of techniques for analyzing discourses in a number of areas such as green and refugee discourses, Freshman writing and other types of academic writing. It will combine some corpus theory with a strong hands-on grounding in the use of corpus tools to collect and interpret relative frequencies of words and phrases, KWIC concordance displays, collocations, keywords, and ngram lists (these will all be explained). We will cover downloading and tagging texts from the web. Students should bring a laptop to class; we will download some free software and corpora. Final projects can be designed around projects students have already identified or around one of the issues that will arise in the course.
Texts: Paul Baker. Using Corpora in Discourse Analysis. Continuum: 2006.
Michael Hoey, Michaela Mahlberg, Michael Stubbs and Wolfgang Teubert, Text, Discourse and Corpora: Theory and Analysis. Continuum, 2007.
The goal of this credit/noncredit course is to broaden student teachers’ understanding of the technical, personal, and practical elements involved in effective language teaching. This will be accomplished through 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. While a solid theoretical foundation is essential for effective teaching practice, many elements of teaching practice become evident only through the actual experience of teaching. Donald Schön, in his book Educating the Reflective Practitioner, describes reflection-in-action, the kind of thinking that allows us to respond to unexpected situations and “serves to reshape what we are doing while we are doing it” (p. 26) as an essential component of professional competence. The central goal of this class is to support your development as a reflective practitioner as you reflect-in-action. You will be afforded ample opportunities to develop your own style and philosophy of language teaching and to refine your vision of yourself as a teacher.
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.
This course will introduce students to major themes situated at the
intersection of race, empire, and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of
Other Languages), through an investigation of the works of established
scholars and contemporary theorists in applied linguistics and TESOL.
Using race and empire as our primary analytics, we will interrogate the
ways in which the teaching of English overlaps with racial formations,
colonization, globalization, language minority rights, representations
of English as a lingua franca, the supremacy of native speaker identity,
and constructions of multiculturalism.
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.
Course Reader (marked as CR)
Norton Anthology of Poetry, 5th edition, New York, Norton (marked as NA)
M.H. Abrams, A Glossary of Literary Terms, 10th edition, Harcourt, Brace
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, and study prose style through grammar exercises and readings of published prose.
Text: course reader
An intensive poetry workshop for MFA poetry students. Xeroxes of published poems will be provided by the professor for the purposes of class discussion, often with a view toward a specific craft or thematic issue revealed by student poems submitted for that particular day, or revealed as necessary for the group overall. Special attention will be paid to the art of revision and the discoveries of poetic structure. Work may include but is not limited to: an ongoing reading and writing log, the production of 5-8 “finished” poems, with drafts of more. Students can expect to have their own work critiqued by the group every 2-3 weeks, and to critique the work of others every week.
Digitizing the Humanities
In *From Gutenberg to Google*, Peter Shillingsburg has reflected on the current condition of electronic editing and 'knowledge sites' in the humanities. This seminar will take those reflections as a foundation for our examination of issues related to designing, developing, and sustaining digital editions and their contextual, or ancillary, materials.
Professor Shillingsburg will be joining the seminar in mid-May, and we will be also hosting other scholars, visiting from a number of UW departments and elsewhere.
The goal of the seminar will be to examine the variety of 'knowledge sites' and electronic editions that currently exist and to think critically about the design and development of others in the future. For all of these, concerns with sustainability--both intellectual and economic--will be given practical prominence.
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