Spring Quarter 2014 -- Graduate Course Descriptions

529 AVictorian Posthumanism Taylor MW 9:30-11:20


The Victorian age saw a radical unsettling of the idea of “man” that had been developed as a central element of humanism and Enlightenment philosophy. This occurred perhaps most famously in the development of evolutionary theory (both pre- and post-Darwin) that articulated the human as an evolved and evolving organism, with accordant implications for the status of race, gender, class, urbanization, and empire. However, similar changes are also evident in the increasing importance (and power) of machines (the railroad, steamship, etc.), information technology such as the telegraph, phonograph and telephone, changes in print culture and legal structures, and developments across a range of scientific disciplines from geology and physics to epidemiology and statistics. In the process, the Victorian era offers a means to trace the prehistory of contemporary discussions of posthumanism and theoretical developments in related arenas such as animal studies, ecocriticism, disability studies.
In this course, we will trace these intersections and explore their effect on (and borrowing from) the literature of the period by reading works by authors like Charles Dickens, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and George Eliot alongside excerpts from the writings of Victorian scientists and social theorists like Charles Lyell, Robert Chambers, Charles Darwin, Harriet Martineau, Charles Baggage, Ada Lovelace, John Ruskin, Herbert Spencer, and James Clerk Maxwell. We will juxtapose this material with recent writing on posthumanism by theorists such as Bruno Latour, Michel Serres, and N. Katherine Hayles.

 

531 AThe Early American Republic of Letters Shields T Th 1:30-3:20


This introductory survey of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century American literature will explore the roles that print culture played in the consolidation of American identity. While some American writers embraced the disinterested pursuit of knowledge, seeking to create a literary sphere divorced from politics and personality, others aimed to develop a distinctive national literature marked both by its style and its subjects. Both of these projects, although seemingly at odds with each other, involved responding either implicitly or explicitly to works by British writers, which dominated the literary market in the American colonies and early republic. As we read a variety of texts—including autobiographies by Benjamin Franklin, Samson Occom, and Olaudah Equiano, novels by Charles Brockden Brown and Susanna Rowson, and poetry by Philip Freneau and Lydia Sigourney-- we will question how eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century American writers understood the relationships between literary and political representation in their formative nation.

 

533 AIntro to American Modernisms (w/C. Lit 549A) Kaup T Th 3:30-5:20


A graduate survey of (the period of) American literary modernisms (1900 to WW II), with an emphasis on fiction, placing representative works in relation to literary culture and social context. Topics covered include nationalism, migration, race, gender, and the impact of the visual arts on literary modernism, as well as the relation between modernity/ modernization (social, economic, and technological transformation) and modernism (revolution in literary style): what does it mean to say that modernism the emblematic modern style? How productive are established references to modernism as (rhetoric of) rupture? What motivates the persistence of “obsolete” styles (such as realism) during the so-called modernist period? The course will consider concepts such as alternative modernities, represented by the baroque/neobaroque, peripheral modernism, as well as the significance of geopolitical location parallel to history.

Required texts:
Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises (Simon & Schuster)
Djuna Barnes, Nightwood (New Directions)
Gertrude Stein, Three Lives (Dover Thrift)
Nella Larsen, Quicksand (Rutgers UP)
William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (Norton Critical Edition)
Américo Paredes, George Washington Gómez (Arte Público Press)
. . . And a course reader with secondary (including some primary) works by Michael Levenson, Mark Morisson, Walter Benn Michaels, Miles Orvell, Severo Sarduy, Irlemar Chiampi, Martin Puchner, Marjorie Perloff, Werner Sollors, Gertrude Stein, Mina Loy, Sianne Ngai, Ramón Saldívar, Benita Parry.

 

537 AAmerican Fictions of Violence (w/Engl 452) Schloss MW 10:30-12:20


Norbert Elias, a German sociologist of Jewish descent, is best known for his study Über den Prozess der Zivilisation, first published in 1939. Elias describes the civilizing process as a process of pacification and rationalization: Out of the contest of numerous rivalling territorial magnates in the late middle ages, a centralized state emerges in early modern times which commands a monopoly in the legitimate use of violence and taxation. This process of state formation goes hand in hand with a change in behavioral standards (refinement of manners) and feelings: While in the earlier stages of the civilizing process, individuals are prone to vio-lence and cooperate only under threat, in the later stages they learn to manage their passions and become socially minded. In Elias's scheme, the democratic state with its highly devel-oped bureaucratic and legal apparatus pre-empts the need for violence establishing ideal conditions for enlightened self-control and peaceful cooperation.

While Elias's sociology has been frequently used to explore the state formation in Europe, it has rarely been invoked in discussions of the nation-building process of the United States. Elias's model of a progressive pacification and rationalization does not seem to square with the American development. In fact, historians such as Frederick Jackson Turner (frontier thesis) have suggested that American democracy is not the product of a gradual amelioration, but the result of regular disruptions of the civilizing process. Many historians would also argue that in the United States, the institution of state has never acquired the authority and power that it has attained in Europe. There have always been areas of American society where the state has not succeeded in upholding its monopoly of violence (the frontier, the Wild West, the ghetto). The question is whether we should consider these 'spaces of decivilization' in the US as an aberration or whether we should assume that civilization in the US proceeds on the basis of a model different from the one suggested by Elias. It is also striking that American literature and culture has always had a fascination with these spaces of decivilization and the violence and disorder that reign there. In fact, genres such as the western, the gothic, the thriller, and the conspiracy tale provide psychological spaces of decivilization which seem to satisfy deep emotional needs.

In this course we will study works of American literature from both a sociological and an aes-thetic perspective: 1) How do these works portray the civilizing process in America? How is the sphere of the state rendered? How do they motivate the breakdown of civilized forms of behaviour? 2) How do these works represent the "spaces of decivilization"? Why are these spaces so attractive to enlightened, democratic audiences? Our examples will be taken from different periods of American literature. The following works will be studied: "A Narrative of the Captivity … Of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson" (1682); Jean de Crévecoeur, Letters of an Ameri-can Farmer (1782); James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans (1826 ); John Ford (dir.), The Searchers (1956); short stories and essays by Edgar Allan Poe; Quentin Tarantino (dir.), Kill Bill (Part I, 2003); Richard Wright, Native Son (1940); Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club (1996), and Cormac McCarthy, The Road (2006).

 

544 AHispanic Women Writers (w/C. Lit 596 & GWSS 590) Steele MW 11:30-1:20


In addition to examining three general anthologies of short stories from Spain, Latin America, and the Hispanic US, we will read a collection of short stories by Jewish Latin American women authors, a testimonial novel by a former political prisoner in Argentina, and a novel and film by Argentine author/director Lucía Puenzo, who focuses on issues of sexual orientation and identity. Also, we will study recent films by several other women directors from these three regions, in order to map the general contours of feminist narrative discourse in the Spanish-speaking world over the past half century (and, in the case of the films, over the past decade). We will read the texts in English translation (although students who can are welcome to read them in the Spanish original) and will watch the films in Spanish with English subtitles, so no knowledge of Spanish is required. The primary texts will be complemented by several key theoretical and critical essays that will be uploaded to our Catalyst page. Students will direct one class discussion and participate actively in the other discussions. For the final essay they will choose one or two authors for additional research and analysis and will write a final 8-10-page analytical essay, presenting their research to the seminar at the end of the quarter.

Books:

Masoliver Ródenas, Juan Antonio, ed. The Origins of Desire: Modern Spanish Short Stories. New York: Serpent’s Tail, 1993, 208 pp. [buy used on amazon]

Correas de Zapata, Celia, ed. Short Stories by Latin American Women: The Magic and the Real. Modern Library Classics, 2003, 272 pp. 0812967070. $10.72

Agosín, Marjorie, ed. The House of Memory: Stories by Jewish Women Writers of Latin America. The Feminist Press at CUNY, 1999, 272 pp. 1558612092 $15.15

Stejilivich, Nora. A Single, Numberless Death. Trans. Cristina de la Torre. U of Virginia Press, 2002, 176 pp. 0813921317 $17.57

Puenzo, Lucía. The Fish Child. Trans. David William Foster. Texas Tech University Press, 2010, 176 pp. 0896727149 $21.85

González, Ray, ed. Mirrors beneath the Earth: Short Fiction by Chicano Writers. Curbstone Books, 1995, 331 pp. 1880684020 $14.95


Films:

My Life Without Me (Spain, 2003), dir. Isabel Coixet, 106 min.

Even the Rain (Spain, 2010), dir. Iciar Bollain, 103 min.

La ciénaga (Argentina, 2001), dir. Lucrecia Martel, 103 min.

The Good Herbs (Mexico, 2010), dir. María Novaro, 117 min.

Madeinusa (Peru, 2006), dir. Claudia Llosa, 100 min.

Labyrinths of Memory (Mexico, 2007), dir. Guita Schyfter

The Prize (Argentina, 2011), dir. Paula Markovitch, 115 min.

The Fish Child (Argentina, 2009), dir. Lucía Puenzo, 96 min.

Señorita Extraviada / Missing Young Woman (US, 2001), dir. Lourdes Portillo, 103 min.

 

550 ALiterature & Love, East & West (w/C. Lit 570 & Slav 490) Crnkovic MW 12:30-2:20


Inspired by Mikhail Bakhtin’s claim that relations between people cannot be governed by general rules and theories, but only worked out differently in every specific situation with the help of what Bakhtin calls “literary wisdom,” this course looks at the ways in which some well-known novels from both East and West create their own particular literary wisdom regarding the subject of love. Our readings include the following novels, a few of which shall be read only partially: James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room, John Steinbeck’s Tortilla Flat and The Winter of Our Discontent, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Meša Selimovi?’s The Fortress, Yasunari Kawabata’s Beauty and Sadness, Tonu Onnepalu’s Border State and Dubravka Ugreši?’s Steffie Speck in the Jaws of Life. We will look into different “types” of love including the “romantic” one, agape (altruistic love), ludus (playful love), pragma (e.g., the love between a long-standing couple), storge (the love between people who have shared much), and mania (obsession, related to eros). Requirements: readings, participation in class, a term paper.

READING LIST
Crnkovi?—ENGL 550A—SPR 2014

James Baldwin: Giovanni’s Room
John Steinbeck: Tortilla Flat
Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice
Meša Selimovi?: The Fortress
Kazuo Ishiguro: Never Let Me Go
Yasunari Kawabata: Beauty and Sadness
John Steinbeck: The Winter of Our Discontent
Tonu Onnepalu: Border State
Dubravka Ugreši?: Steffie Speck in the Jaws of Life

 

550 BNabokov (w/ RUSS 240/543, ENGL 242, & C Lit 396) Diment MW 12:30-2:20


Vladimir Nabokov: Russian & American Years

Featured texts:

Defense
Despair
Pnin
Lolita

 

555 AFeminist Theory Cherniavsky MW 1:30-3:20


This course is neither a survey of something called “Feminist Theory,” nor does it focus on any one orientation or topos within feminist theory (on a feminist theory, in other words). Rather, it seeks to lay out and explore a problematic: the articulations of theory with politics. To be sure, every practice (political or other) entails a theory (whether explicit or not), just as every theory is irreducibly political. Yet theory and politics are not simply convertible, insofar as politics --- the capacity both to operate within and contest relations of power – depends (for example) on the self-determination of subjects, and their capacity for deliberative action, that theory calls persistently into question. This is not to invoke the old quarrel between post-structuralism and identity knowledges (just when the historically oppressed emerge as the subjects of knowledge within the academy, the argument went, the elite purveyors of post-structuralist theory proclaim the death of the subject) – precisely because antagonists on both sides of that debate were typically interested in managing or resolving the incommensurability of theory and politics. In general, participants in that debate sought either to place theory in service to urgent political projects on the Left, or to insist that we subordinate the scope of political work (and imaginings) to the insights of theory. In this course, I propose to explore the non-identity of theory and politics as necessarily and productively irresolvable. Simply put, theory (in both its structuralist and post-structuralist forms) insists on the splitting of the subject and the limits of our (individual and collective) self-mastery -- on a critical orientation to agency and opposition that politics must ultimately suspend. The course is organized around materials and debates that invite us to approach the articulation of theory with politics as a valuable and ongoing (unfinished) labor in the pursuit of an always receding horizon.

Our reading will be organized into three sections. An initial section on “Economy” will consider some of the key feminist explorations of the material and symbolic economies in which subjects, objects, and abject embodiment are (re)produced. This section will include Gayle Rubin’s “The Traffic in Women,” Laura Mulvey on “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” Julia Kristeva’s Powers of Horror, Judith Butler’s Antigone’s Claim, Hortense Spillers’ “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe.,” selections from Donna Haraway’s Primate Visions, as well as Karen Joy Fowler’s short novel, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. In a second section on “Epistemology,” we will engage a few important meditations on the subjects of feminism and its objects of study, including Nancy Hartsock’s and Chela Sandoval’s differing visions of feminist standpoint, Kimberle Crenshaw’s germinal essay on intersectionality, Robyn Wiegman’s reflection on intersectionality in “Critical Kinship,” Gayatri’s Spivak’s “Can the Subaltern Speak?” alongside her more recent reflections in “The New Subaltern,” Rey Chow’s “The Protestant Ethnic and the Spirit of Capitalism,” selections from Saba Mahmood’s The Politics of Piety, and (and in relation to) Our Sister Killjoy, a novel by Ama Ata Aidoo. A third section, “Pleasure and Danger (or, Complicity),” will explore the implications of the theoretical prospects, practices, and aporias opened in the first two sections with specific reference to the politics of identification and desire in and in the wake of the (so-called) “sex wars.” Materials for this section will likely include Laura Kipnis’s experimental video Ecstasy Unlimited, Liz Grosz’s “Lesbian Fetishsim?,” Kobena’s Mercer’s “Reading Racial Fetishism,” Carla Freccero’s “Notes of a Post-Sex Wars Theorizer,” Gayle Rubin’s “Thinking Sex,” and Octavia’s Butler’s final novel, Fledgling.

 

556 AEthics of Globalization Reddy MW 3:30-5:20

 

556 BRace, Sex & Transgression in Contemporary Black Lit (w/C. Lit 535A) Chude-Sokei T Th 5:30-7:20


English 556B: Race, Sex and Transgression in Contemporary African-American Literatures.

Despite being enshrined and canonized for postures of resistance and its counter-hegemonic poetics and politics, much African-American thought and writing has also functioned to police its own borders, often in the name of racial solidarity. This self-policing has often manifest in a silent but authoritative control over appropriate notions of narrative form, ideological content and, most notably, terms of sexuality, desire and intimacy. In this class we will engage “outlaw” works that emphasize intra-racial tactics of representation and the tensions around appropriate racial representation and cultural/social definition. As such, the class will focus on writers and critics who go as much against the grain of conventional black thought and politics as they engage race, racism, history and culture in largely sexual terms. We will also be working through critics deeply engaged in theorizing sex, race, stereotype and violence.

A word of caution: for those students for whom extreme representations of race, sex and violence could be disturbing, and for whom unconventional political issues and conceptual framing might be hard to take, this course may not be for you.

 

563 AResearch Methods in Language & Rhetoric: Corpus Methodologies Dillon T Th 3:30-5:20


563 A Research Methods in Language & Rhetoric: Corpus Methodologies
George Dillon
Tu-TH 3:30-5:20
MGH 288

Texts:
Tony McEnery and Andrew Hardie, Corpus Linguistics: Method, Theory, and Practice. CUP, 2012.
Anne O'Keefe and Michael McCarthy, The Routledge Handbook of Corpus Linguistics, Routledge, 2010

Over the last decades, interest in Corpus Linguistics has risen sharply as the power of personal computers has burgeoned. It is now possible to build corpora of texts very quickly and to analyze the usage of language in that corpus in a number of sophisticated ways to make patterns apparent that are not otherwise easily seen.

Corpus techniques can also be used to examine usage in various genres/registers including the domains of academic, formal language, or business, news reporting, or fiction of several kinds, or variants by regional or national type. This seminar will concentrate on academic writing (in English) across the disciplines and with emerging national* standards of writing English.

The corpora and tools we will use can all be found on line and are free (including, in the end, corpora you make); one, AntConc, needs to be downloaded and installed on your own computer. You will want to bring your laptop to class every day. No background in statistics is necessary, though it wouild be handy.

Along with the readings and discussion of the concepts and issues they present, there will be a goodly number of exercises to practice using the tools. Seminar paper topics might include very partial and preliminary answers to questions like “how different is EuroEnglish?” or “what are plausible sub-domains of Scientific and Technical writing?” or “what kinds of 'I' are used in different academic disciplines?” (Note that most of these do not require making new corpora.)


*or international, in the case of EuroEnglish.

 

564 ACurrent Rhetorical Theory: Material Rhetorics Rai T Th 11:301:20


If rhetoric is commonly defined as the art of persuasion, then work in material rhetorics urges us to account for how persuasion operates in excess of rationality, communicative aims, symbolic content, and human agency altogether. Focusing on rhetoric’s materiality attunes us to the material conditions and constraints of rhetorical invention; the effects and consequences of rhetoric in the world; the dynamic means and modes that “sustain the production, circulation, and consumption of rhetorical power” (Selzer 9-10); the deep enmeshment of discourse, materiality, and ideology in everyday life; the role materiality plays in shaping dispositions and reproducing particular ways of knowing and doing; the rhetorical qualities of things, objects, matter and built environments; and the rhetorical force of bodies, emotion, and affect.

Some of the questions that we will explore in this seminar include: How might adopting a material approach shift our conception of key concepts in rhetorical studies—such as the rhetorical situation, agent/agency, audience, invention, persuasion, argument, and so on? What methodologies are available and best suited for studying rhetoric’s materiality? How might a focus on materiality help us better persuade, lead, communicate, cooperate, and/or teach?

In this seminar, we will explore rhetoric’s materiality through research on performance, embodiment, built and natural environments, ecologies, networks, multimodality, post-humanism, and objects. Readings will be quite theoretical, but our aim will be to ask how our theories might be grounded, challenged, and studied, as well as used as tools of intervention within classrooms, publics, workplaces, and other everyday contexts.

Some Core Texts Under Consideration:
Kristin Arola and Anne Wysocki, Eds. Composing (Media)=Composing Embodiment (2012)
Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (2010)
Barbara Biesecker and John Lucaites, Eds. Rhetoric, Materiality, and Politics (2009)
David Bleich, The Materiality of Language: Gender, Politics, and the University (2013)
Sharon Crowley and Jack Selzer, Eds. Rhetorical Bodies (1999)
Rebecca Dingo, Networking Arguments: Rhetoric, Transnational Feminism, and Public Policy Writing (2012)
Deb Hawhee, Moving Bodies: Kenneth Burke at the Edges of Language (2012)
Phaedra Pezullo, Toxic Tourism: Rhetorics of Pollution, Travel, and Environmental Justice (2009)
Thomas Rickert, Ambient Rhetoric: The Attunements of Rhetorical Being (2013)

 

568 APolitics of English in Composition Studies Bou Ayash MW 12:30-2:20


Globalization and the accelerating spread of digital media technologies have pushed the issue of language onto the fore of institutional agendas as a central aspect for tackling the change of English as a linguistic medium for education. With the continuing demographic changes among student bodies and the growing numbers of international student enrollments in American institutions of higher education, it is harder now than ever to ignore the professional responsibility of language and writing teachers and scholars to work towards a more responsible understanding of the influence of language difference on composition theory, pedagogy, and program administration.

This graduate seminar will examine the burgeoning scholarship on global English, English as a Lingua Franca, World Englishes, New Literacy Studies, Second Language Writing, and Composition Studies. We will explore possible ways in which this scholarship might be put to effective use, especially in rethinking writing curriculum design and actual classroom practices within larger contexts of institutional language policies and politics. We will discuss some recent critiques of approaches to language in composition instruction and research and theoretical models that contest the underlying monolingual character of U.S. composition based on the tacit English-Only policy in the academy and society at large.

The core issues to be addressed in this seminar include but are not limited to: theories and ideologies of language in the teaching and study of composition; the English monolingual character of U.S. composition teaching and scholarship; theoretical models of cross-language inquiry; the impact of state and national language policies on the teaching and learning of U.S. college writing; the spread of “global” English and the development of World Englishes; and the recent emergence of a translingual paradigm in Composition Studies as well as Applied Linguistics and its implications for the teaching of college composition in the U.S. and elsewhere.


Reading List

Canagarajah, Suresh. Literacy as Translingual Practice: Between Communities and Classrooms. New York: Routledge, 2013. Print.
Horner, Bruce, Min-Zhan Lu, and Paul Kei Matsuda. Cross-Language Relations in Composition. Carbondale: SIUP, 2010. Print. Leung, Constant, and Brian V. Street. English a Changing Medium for Education. Bristol: Multlingual Matters, 2012. Print.
Pennycook, Alastair. Language as a Local Practice. Milton Park, Abingdon: Routledge, 2010. Print.
Prendergast, Catherine. Buying into English: Language and Investment in the New Capitalist World. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 2008. Print.
Rubdy, Rani and Mario Saraceni. English in the World: Global Rules, Global Roles. London: Continuum, 2006. Print. Yildiz, Yasemin. Beyond the Mother Tongue: The Postmonolingual Condition. New York: Fordham University Press, 2012. Print.

 

569 ASociocultural Theory & L2 Development (w/Asian 503) Ohta MW 3:30-5:20

 

570 APracticum in TESOL Sandhu F 10:30-12:20


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 “serv! es 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.

 

576 ATesting & Evaluation of ESOL Harshbarger MW 10:30-12:20

 

578 AColloquium in TESOL: Race, Empire & TESOL Motha T Th 10:30-12:20


Race, Empire, and TESOL

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, evangelism, the supremacy of native speaker identity, and constructions of multiculturalism.

 

584 AAdanced Fiction Workshop Sonenberg MW 11:30-1:20


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

 

585 AAdvanced Poetry Workshop Triplett T 4:00-7:40

 

593 ATextual Studies: Oral Scribal Texts (w/C. Lit 593B) Remley MW 11:30-1:20

 

598 AReading Affect (w/C. Lit 599D) Woodward T 10:30-12:20


Reading Affect

This one-credit course is designed as a short introduction to academic literary studies of affect. It is framed by the question of how we might rethink our practice as scholars of literature to take our scholarship public. Several recently published books by non-academics—Wendy Lesser’s Why I Read: The Serious Pleasures of Books (2014) and Rebecca Mead’s My Life in Middlemarch (2014)—express the many meanings their authors find in and through reading of literature. As scholars of literature we should be contributing to the articulation of the value of what we study. We will meet on five Tuesdays during the Spring Quarter 2014. Reading and ardent discussion is required, as is a two-page paper on a possible project of public literary scholarship.

Over the past twenty-five years research on the emotions has exploded across virtually every discipline—history, anthropology, neurology, philosophy, art history, and literary and cultural studies. Recently several strains of this research have been labeled the “affective turn.” The focus of Reading Affect will be work on affect and the emotions by scholars of literary studies. It is a vibrant area: at the January 2014 convention of the Modern Language Association, held in Chicago, there were over sixty papers devoted to aspects of affect and the emotions—among them, violent sympathies, terror, nostalgia, narrative empathy, and the feeling of blackness.

Schedule

• April 8
Affective Readings
Appraising the divergence between what the lay reader wants and the affective registers of contemporary academic literary criticism. Reading drawn from Rita Felski’s The Uses of Literature (2008) and her essay “Suspicious Minds” (2011).

• April 15
Literary Texts as Sources of Knowledge about the Emotions
Reading narrative literature for knowledge about the emotions. Excerpts from my Statistical Panic: Cultural Politics and Poetics of the Emotions (2009) and Ann Cvetkovich’s Depression (2012).

• April 22
Distinctions
Making distinctions between affect, the emotions, moods, and structures of feeling in terms of the body, the individual, and society, and in terms of temporality. Reading includes Brian Massumi’s “The Autonomy of Affect” (2002) and excerpts from Lauren Berlant’s Cruel Optimism (2011) and Jonathan Flatley’s Affective Mapping (2008).

• April 29
Case Study: Risk as an Affective Category
Exploring the affective dimensions of risk as a mega-keyword in contemporary culture. Readings include Paul Virilio’s The Administration of Fear (2012) and my work-in-progress on frailty, with a focus on Joan Didion’s Blue Nights (2012).

• May 6
Affect, Public Scholarship, and Literary Studies
Inventing ways to take literary criticism public. Readings include Albert Wu and Michelle Kuo’s essay-review of Barbara King’s How Animals Grieve (2013), published in the online journal Public Books (September 9, 2013), http://www.publicbooks.org/nonfiction/animal-feelings

 

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