The seminar will read and discuss a variety of non-Chaucerian Middle English literature. Concentrating on some longer 14th-century works (the works of the Gawain Poet, Piers Plowman A and C), we will also look at some shorter texts of the same types and period: e.g. Winner and Waster, Parliament of the Three Ages, perhaps another Arthurian romance); depending on interest and time, we will also look at a couple of non-cycle dramatic works, like Everyman.
This course provides an introduction to the historical turn in what is being called literary studies’ “post-theoretical moment.” (“Post-theoretical” not because we have dispensed with theory, but because we have internalized its lessons.) Rooted initially in Shakespearean bibliography in the 90s, literary-critical approaches to material texts and objects have flourished over the last decade under many names: book history, new materialism, new textualism, thing theory, queer philology, surface reading. Particularly in scholarship of the English Renaissance, the materiality and historicity of texts have become vital points of reference for some of the most exciting work on gender, sexuality, the environment, and recently, performance. We will survey these developments, taking up canonical texts from the age of Shakespeare as artifacts situated in time. We will focus not only or primarily on meaning, but on the conditions of meaning in the production, circulation, and reception of works. In addition to key secondary readings on materiality and factualism, we will explore three plays (Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, Beaumont’s Knight of the Burning Pestle) and three works of poetry (Spenser’s Shepheardes Calender, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, and Lucrece). The course is designed to be narrow enough to introduce those in early-period fields to the “material text” in Shakespeare’s time but broad enough to engage anyone, from any period or field of literary study, who is interested in the theory and practice of historical work. Assignments will include an informal presentation, a close analysis of a book or document in Special Collections, and a conference-length paper to be delivered at a mock-symposium at the end of the term.
Textbooks: David Scott Kastan, Shakespeare After Theory (Routledge); Edmund Spenser, The Shorter Poems (Penguin); William Shakespeare, The Complete Sonnets and Poems (Oxford); Hamlet: the Texts of 1603 and 1623 (Arden 3); Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus A- and B-Texts (Revels); Francis Beaumont, Knight of the Burning Pestle (Revels); and a course reader available at Ave Copy Center.
In 1843 Thomas Carlyle characterized the boom and bust economy of laissez-faire capitalism—including its stunning production of unparalleled wealth and appalling poverty, of cure-all opiates and shoddy textiles—as “the condition of England” as if the country suffered from a set of medical symptoms which, given the incidence of cholera, typhoid and typhus, is not mere metaphor. In 1845 the novelist and future Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli described the division of rich and poor as “the two nations” living side-by-side in what we would normally think of as one nation. The “two nations,” while occupying more or less the same space, scarcely spoke the same language; they knew nothing of the conditions in which the other passed its days and nights, and they lived in mortal fear of each other. “Fear”, “sympathy” and “mystery” and “misery” enrich the vocabulary of an enormous literature in Britain and on the Continent throughout the “Hungry 40s,” the 1850s and beyond. We will study the fiction, journalism, poetry and visual arts of mid-Victorian England that set out to define (and improve) the “Condition” of that country. We will focus on novels by Charles Dickens (Hard Times (1854) which Dickens dedicated to Carlyle) and Elizabeth Gaskell (North and South, first published just after Hard Times in Dickens’ influential journal, Household Words, in 1855), along with texts that enlarge the context of these novels, including selections from Carlyle, Disraeli, Friedrich Engels (The Condition of the English Working Class in 1844), Karl Marx (Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848)), Henry Mayew’s London Labour and London Poor (1849-51), John Ruskin (Stones of Venice (1851-53) along with the work of more recent historians and critics.
This course traces the historical, philosophical, and political formation of the Transcendentalist movement as it developed in New England intellectual circles from the early 1830s to the early 1850s. We will approach American Transcendentalism by following three interrelated historical trajectories: first, the Transcendentalists’ reception of early Romantic European philosophies and aesthetics, second, theological and philosophical controversies within the Unitarian clergy that informed the Transcendentalists’ writings, and, third, secular reform movements of the 1840s and 1850s (e.g. abolitionism, women’s education, new social community models, proletarianism). We will also spend some time discussing the reception of Transcendentalism in the 20th century, both inside the academy (e.g. Ecocriticism, Deconstruction, Marxism) and outside of it (e.g. the Beats, New Age/Hippie Culture).
Our readings will include European philosophers and cultural critics of the 18th and early 19th century (e.g. Baumgarten, Winckelmann, Kant, Coleridge, Schiller), works by iconic (Transcendentalist) intellectuals of the antebellum period, e.g. Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, and a bunch of writers and political reformers who may perhaps not be as well known, whose works, however, were nonetheless central to the Transcendentalist movement (e.g. Channing, Peabody, Cranch, Parker, Brownson).
Course Requirements: 15-20 pp research paper, a short presentation on a scholarly essay, 3 short position papers.
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, Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises,
Aldous Huxley, Point Counter Point, Virginia Woolf, Between the Acts, and selected poetry by Yeats and Auden.
The Modernist and Postmodernist Long Poem_. This course will survey one of the most amorphous but prestigious genres in twentieth- and twenty-first-century poetry, the "long poem." To teach ourselves how to recognize and analyze "long poems," we will begin by looking at three excerpts from longer works: Christopher Okigbo's _Silences_, Ezra Pound's _Cantos_ I-XVII, and H.D.'s _These Walls Do Not Fall_. Afterwards, we will go on to read a series of other examples: Basil Bunting's _Briggflatts_, Susan Howe's _That This_, Nathaniel Mackey's _Song for the Andoumboulou_, Ron Silliman's _Tjanting_, Gertrude Stein's _Stanzas in Meditation_, and Melvin Tolson's _Libretto for the Republic of Liberia_. Assignments will likely include explication, annotation, commentary, and expository prose (a seminar paper).
This seminar will focus intensively on major works by Immanuel Kant, with particular emphasis on the central role Kant (and Kant studies) have played in the development of modern and contemporary critical theory.
We will start with the recognition that Kant, more than any single figure, gave shape to the idea of the Critique as a particular form and project essential to the idea of “criticism” as a principled and focused intellectual activity. But the seminar will be grounded in what should qualify, by any reasonable standards, as a contemporary revolution in Kant studies.
Starting with the long project by Cambridge University Press of issuing a uniform set of translations of Kant’s work—in the course of which numerous works have been located, re-edited, or redescribed, some for the first time—the scholarly response to Kant has been transformative. The most striking aspect of this revival of interest in Kant is the recognition of his prodigious tenacity and coherence, following problems and topics for decades. In many fields (conspicuously in literary studies), Kant has been read very selectively and partially, such that commonplace views may be based on reading only one text (or only part of that one), without sufficient attention to the shape of Kant’s sustained critical probject. In literary study, that has meant that the study of Kant is most likely to be restricted to “What is Enlightenment” (if one is in a hurry) or the third critique (usually titled in translation as The Critique of Judgment, now more accurately titled in the Cambridge edition, The Critique of the Power of Judgment)—and in that critique, the virtually exclusive focus on the topoi of the Beautiful and the Sublime, with little or no attention either to the first introduction or the Critique of Teleological Judgment.
The seminar will, perhaps too ambitiously, concentrate on reading a substantial portion of Kant’s major works: The Critique of Pure Reason; parts of The Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals and The Critique of Practical Reason; and more intensive work on the whole of The Critique of The Power of Judgment.
Written work will be short explanatory papers (and I do mean short) on problematic passages in the major works. There will be no comprehensive seminar papers: we are, alas, alas, not on a semester system, and my strong preference is to provide a coherent framework and venue for learning to read Kant attentively, so far as that can be accomplished in 10 weeks.
The secondary purpose of the seminar will be to explore some of the most exciting recent scholarly work on Kant, by Thomas Friedman, John Rawls, Karl Ameriks, Manfred Kuehn, John Zamitto, Eckhardt Forster, Dieter Henrich, Sanford Budick, and others. Part of our focus will be on examining how current views on Kant relate, in particular, to main lines in the development of contemporary critical theory, shaped particularly by Hegel, Heidegger, and French theorists from Althusser and Derrida through Foucault and Deleuze—much of which derives from readings of Kant that appear, in light of recent work, to stem from radically incomplete responses to Kant. There will be a substantial portfolio of critical articles and selections from books as a place to begin.
Immanuel Kant: The Critique of Pure Reason; The Critique of the Power of Judgment
Karl Ameriks: The Cambridge Companion to German Idealism
Manfred Kuehn: Immanuel Kant: A Biography
Selections from Reflections on a Spirit Seer. . ., Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, Critique of Practical Reason, Essays by Rawls, Beck, Heinrich, Forster, Allison, and others.
Focus topic: Visual and Multimodal Rhetorics
One can discern four varieties of Visual Studies depending on purpose: tools for the critique of popular culture, especially the fabulations and manipulations of advertising on the one hand and media representations of social and political events on the other. These discourses (and their critiques) all have designs on us. general inquiry into visual semiotics: how images (in the broadest sense) mean, esp. compared to verbal language and in combination with it; designing to improve display of information for pattern recognition and analysis; critique of visuals as art—as pleasing and beautiful in themselves.
We will try to get some grounding in each of these, going more lightly over display of information--a burgeoning field. Multimodal rhetorics are now moving to include not just text and image but sound and movement as well, and there the leading question is how to describe integration and interaction of media within works.
Some shorter analytic projects, entries in a 'response wiki,' and a final paper outlining a position on one of the main issues presented in the course.
Carolyn Handa. Visual Rhetoric in a Digital World. Bedford-St. Martins. 2004. ISBN: 0312409753
David Machin, Introduction to Multimodal Analysis. Hodder Arnold. 2007. ISBN: 0374521344
Questions regarding “knowledge transfer” are increasingly central to Composition Studies, engaging some of the core issues involved in the study and teaching of writing and in the development of writing ability. They also get to the heart of fundamental debates about the place and purpose of first-year composition (FYC) courses; about whether or not (and what kinds of) knowledge and skills developed in FYC and in writing in the disciplines (WID) courses connect to other contexts within and beyond the academy; whether there are generalizable writing skills that traverse contexts or whether writing skills are so situated in ideological and epistemological contexts that they can only be acquired in those contexts. Indeed, questions surrounding the issue of transfer-ability and writing are at the heart of what we study and teach in Composition Studies, yet we are only beginning to understand this complex social and cognitive phenomena and what it involves.
Research on writing transfer has begun to shed some light on the challenges writers face as they traverse disciplinary and professional writing contexts, and while this research has generally ranged from mixed to pessimistic regarding the transfer-ability of writing skills, this has only raised the stakes for the need to articulate what transfers from FYC and how we might re-imagine FYC in light of such research. As Elizabeth Wardle recently put it, we “would be irresponsible not to engage issues of transfer” (66), a charge that follows David Smit’s identification of “transferability” as a primary consideration for writing instruction, in his book The End of Composition Studies.
So how does one study and develop a more robust understanding of such a complex cognitive and social phenomenon, one that involves processes that are so context variable and meta-cognitive? In this seminar, we will be reviewing scholarship on knowledge transfer, reading studies of writing development, examining research on the transfer of writing abilities across contexts, debating the implications of this research on the status and role of first year composition courses, and exploring methodologies and pedagogies for studying and teaching for transfer.
Anne Beaufort, College Writing and Beyond: A New Framework for University Writing Instruction
Rebecca Nowacek, Agents of Integration: Understanding Transfer as a Rhetorical Act
Davit Smit, The End of Composition Studies
Readings on e-reserve
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.
The aim of this course is to introduce students to various research methods used in Applied Linguistics and TESOL. Students will examine the epistemologies of these methods and approaches as well as analyze their strengths and weaknesses. Based on the knowledge generated in the class from the course readings and discussions, students will be required to conduct an original research project. Additionally, they will also read and critique a selection of research studies carried out within the field of second language acquisition so as to become knowledgeable “consumers” of research in this field.
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.
Text: course reader
back to schedule