Autumn Quarter 2004 — Graduate Course Descriptions

507 History of Literary Criticism & Theory I (w/CLit 507) Halmi MW 1:30-3:20

This is the first in a series of courses on the history of literary criticism and theory in the West. It will examine ancient Greek poetics, aesthetics, and hermeneutics by means of intensive reading in and about texts by Plato, Aristotle, and Porphyry (in English translation). Further information will appear on the course web page:
This course fulfills requirements for the PhD program in theory and criticism.

510 Recent and Contemporary Critical Theory (w/Clit 510) Cummings TTh 11:30-1:20

Designed as a genealogy of contemporary critical theory, this seminar looks back to modernity: to Nietzsche on the genealogical method, to Marx on capital and to formative structuralist practices--most notably Freud's speculations on sexuality and Althusser's materialist reading of ideology. Derrida and Foucault exemplify the poststructuralist turn. The practices with which these theorists are identified inform contemporary critiques of capital, (trans)nationalism, race, sexuality, gender, and class. A short list of critics we're likely to read includes: Balibar, Bhabha, Butler, Edelman, Lowe, Probyn, Spillers, and Zizek. Informed class discussion and annotated bibliography are required.

510 BContemporary Literary Theory Gilbert-Santamaria TTh 3:30-5:20

In examining the far ranging perspectives that typically fall under the rubric of literary theory, this course will take as its focus the implicit and explicit assumptions that underlie much of such theoretical discourse. The first seven weeks of the course will examine four theoretical traditions in some detail, paying special attention to the interpretive priorities that these theories set in motion. The theoretical paradigms that we will examine are: new criticism/reader response theory, psychoanalysis—both Freudian and Lacanian, “new” (versus “old”) historicism. In each case, we will examine the ways in which a given theoretical discipline already posits a particular understanding of how literature is to be read and interpreted. In particular, we will be asking what each of these theories explicitly and implicitly articulates as the “important” work of literary criticism. By the same token, we will be also concerned to consider what each of these theories may be said to neglect, overlook, or merely take for granted. Finally, in the last three weeks of the course, we will turn our attention to the question of historical periodicity, that is, to the question of how historical labels like “classical antiquity,” “renaissance,” “romanticism,” etc. come to inform our understanding of the specific circumstances—both historical and theoretical—of literary production. In this segment of the course, we will focus on one particularly slippery historical label, namely, the Baroque, both as it refers to a particular historical period—of special importance in the Spanish context—and as it has been used to describe a particular understanding of aesthetic form, as in the notion of “baroque style.”

This course will be taught in English and is open to students from Romance Languages, English, and Comparative Literature.

512 Introductory Reading in Old English Remley MW 8:30-10:20
528 Victorian/Early 20th Century Literature and India Blake MW 11:30-1:20

In the 19th C. India as distant colonial resource moved into closer imaginative proximity and significance for England and its literature as Anglo-India—and this continued through the decades of the 20th C. before Indian Independence. Cultural exchanges multiplied over their material base in economics. Readings will be drawn from: selected essays by J.S. Mill on India, Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford, Rudyard Kipling’s “The Man Who Would Be King,” Kim, and selected stories and poems, Rabindranath Tagore’s The Home and the World, E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India, and (time allowing) R.K. Narayan’s Mr. Sampath, The Printer of Malgudi. We will trace developments through stages: 1) Political economy and the liberal agenda to the Indian Mutiny of 1857; 2) After the Mutiny—the Great Game and Afghanistan; 3) Partition of Bengal, Boycott, Indian Nationalism at the turn of the century; 4) Pre-Independence of 1947. Readings will be set in historical context; in context of secondary literary selections covered by report; and in context of postcolonial theory and criticism. Film versions of narratives by Kipling, Tagore, and Forster enter the framework of the course. Requirements: initiation of discussion of a primary text; report on materials not read by all; on-going seminar contribution; 12-15pp. seminar paper.

532 19th Century American Literature Abrams MW 3:30-5:20


An exploration of the powers--and limits--of various cultural mechanisms seeking to impart integrity and focus to a sprawling US society during the nineteenth century. A study of US art and culture in general–of maps, Currier and Ives prints, and other cultural artifacts through the lens of which national wholeness and identity are imagined–as well of major theorists and critics of the nation-building process such as Homi K. Bhabha and Sacvan Bercovitch. To what degree does a US national imaginary become persuasive and credible against a backdrop that includes increasingly globalized, trans-national space, racial and class division, Indian removal, immigration, and civil war? What sort of cultural work do national myths, symbols of unity, and rhetorics fusing American society with utopian aspiration and divine providential will perform–or fail to perform–throughout this period? Readings that throw the question of national identity into relief against a troubled backdrop will include “Chief Seattle’s Speech,” Whittier’s Snowbound, Margaret Fuller on her encounter with native tribal peoples of the upper American Midwest, Whitman’s poetry and prose, Moby-Dick, selected fiction and sketches by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, selected writings by Frederick Douglass, Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk, fiction by Rebecca Harding Davis, Kate Chopin, and Stephen Crane, and, finally, a close reading of Henry James’s The American Scene, which from its turn-of-the-century vantage point will help both to sum up and to sharpen our discussion of the problematics of the US national imaginary.

551 Studies in Poetry Reed MW 11:30-1:20

U.S. Poetry 1890-1940. Accounts of U.S. poetry between Whitman's death and World War II have tended to be dominated by close, extended analysis of a handful of canonical modernist writers. Although we will be reading the likes of Crane, Eliot, H.D., Hughes, Moore, Pound, and Williams in this course, the emphasis will be more broadly historical and thematic, in
order better to introduce students to poetry in an era when the nature, purpose, value, and interpretation of the art form was profoundly contested. Some topics will tilt toward the formal--vers libre, Whitman's long line, parataxis, montage, nonnormative syntax--while others will tend toward the social--warfare, sentimentalism, Francophilia, chinoiserie, propaganda, technological innovation, "renaissances," engineer-idolatry. Be prepared to read verse high- and lowbrow, turgid as well as glorious.
Along the way, we will be grappling with recent, radical remappings of the period by such scholars as Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Alan Filreis, Cary Nelson, Michael North, and Marjorie Perloff.

552 Extremities of Drama: Revolution, Terror, Apocalypse Blau MW 3:30-5:20

“In the destructive element,immerse. . . .” There were times during the 20th century when Joseph Conrad’s mandate of modernity, its apocalyptic imperative for the artist, seemed more than realized by the sinkhole of history, its atrocities, devastations, and ubiquitous terror. As for the utopian dream of revolution, its recurring scenario—dramaturgically worked out in the 18th century: proclamations of human rights disenchanted by the Reign of Terror—it is still competing with catastrophe, or the prospect of it, past the millennium. If the calamity of 9/11 never happened, in a worldwide scourge of computer bugs, there remains an ominous repertoire of looming disaster: nuclear threats, chemical warfare, rogue states or renegade powers, the remote labyrinths of immanent terrorism, and as prayers go up through whatever gods in the ozone layer, the liability of global warming on this imperiled earth. Amidst the virulent latencies of the global economy it sometimes seems as if we live, if not by blanking out, by selective inattention, as with the spread of AIDS through parts of the world where gratuitous slaughter also continues, as often as not with a deployment of terror in the name of revolution.

Yet somehow the dream continues, and as a counterpoint to apocalyptic thinking the “real” revolution awaits its next incarnation. And it is precisely this counterpoint we shall be studying in the seminar, from perhaps the most brilliant drama ever written on the illusion of revolution, Georg Büchner’s Danton’s Death, through certain redemptive or lurid fantasies of the living end, as in Strindberg’s Dream Play or Beckett’s Endgame, with its paragons of the living dead who, with a curious exhilaration in despair, bear it out repetitively to the (never) ending doom, to Heiner Müller’s The Task, where—as the revolutionary debate is posed in existential and theatrical terms—it is the Angel of Despair who declares: “I am the knife with which the dead man cracks open his coffin.”

Not sure yet, exactly, what the actual list will be, but as with Ibsen’s When We Dead Awaken or Yeats’ The Resurrection, we shall be reading throughout at the extremities of drama, including plays from the once-incendiary, now-classical avant-garde (expressionism, futurism, dada), as well as material from contemporary British and American drama—and maybe, too, spinoff from the drama in body and performance art.

559 Living in Place: Literature and the Environment (w/CLit 596A) Handwerk TTh 1:30-3:20

This course is designed as an introduction to the field of ecocriticism, the area of literary studies that examines the relation between literary texts and environmental issues. 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—reading a number of essays that attempt to define the field, as well as longer studies by Jonathan Bate and Lawrence Buell—and examining a number of primary texts to consider how ecocriticism might work in practice: literary texts by such figures as Daniel Defoe, Jean Jacques Rousseau, William Wordsworth, William Faulkner and Leslie Marmon Silko, along with several autobiographical works with an environmental focus (Rachel Carson, Terry Tempest Williams and Devra Davis). Required work includes weekly response papers and a long final essay.

567 AApproaches to Teaching Composition Guerra TTh 3:30-5:20

This seminar serves as both an introduction to the field of rhetoric and composition as well as a continuation of the orientation for new Teaching Assistants. The course begins with an overview of the field and then turns to readings and discussions that explore some of the theories and practices that guide the teaching of writing. In the process of examining the “best practices” that guide the study and teaching of writing, we will make every effort to help you understand the “why” behind the “what we do” and “how we do it” when we teach writing. To this end, we will ask you to participate in a couple of workshops in class and to undertake a series of shorter assignments that will give you an opportunity to reflect and build on the work you are doing as a teacher. By the end of the course, we will ask you to submit a final teaching portfolio in which you revisit the work you have done in the course, reflecting on its cumulative effect, and begin to develop a teaching philosophy which will guide you and which you can build on over the course of your tenure as a teacher and scholar, both with us here in the English Department and in the rest of your career. (Restricted to English department Teaching Assistants.)

567 BApproaches to Teaching Composition Bawarshi TTh 3:30-5:20

See description for 567A.

569 Ethnography of Literacy and Orality Guerra TTh 11:30-1:20

The Ethnography of Literacy and Orality

The purpose of this course is to explore the ways in which ethnography has been used to study and problematize our notions of literacy and orality. After we review several articles describing the key issues that have led to the reconceptualization of the relationship between literacy and orality as autonomous, continuous, and dialectical entities, we will engage in an extended discussion of their reformulation by The New Literacy Studies Group as situated practices. We will conclude this segment of the course with James Collins and Richard K. Blott’s incisive critique of these theoretical models in Literacy and Literacies (2003). During the second half of the quarter, we will examine several articles that describe the methodology used in and the theory that informs current ethnographic research. In this context, we will read Ellen Cushman’s The Struggle and the Tools (1998) and Ralph Cintron’s Angels’ Town (1997), two recent ethnographic studies that investigate the rhetorics of oral and written language use among African Americans and Mexican immigrants, respectively. In addition to keeping a research journal and writing a midterm essay, each student will develop a final paper based on a pilot study that examines some aspect of spoken and/or written discourse in an area of personal interest.


570 Practicum in TESOL Silberstein F 10:30-12:20

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 or assistance, weekly observation of other language classrooms, microteaching, and seminar discussion. No required texts. Only open to MAT(ESOL) students.

571 Theory & Practice Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Kanno TTh 1:30-3:20

This course is an introduction to theory, research, and practical aspects of teaching English as a second language. The course provides an overview of major issues in second language acquisition and classroom practice, as well as related topics in linguistics, psychology, sociology, and education. Topics include: the relationship between first and second language acquisition; age as a factor in language learning; contrastive analysis, error analysis, and performance analysis; sociolinguistics and discourse analysis in SLA; affective variables; language policy; needs analysis and syllabus development; and current theories of second language acquisition.

This course is required for students enrolled in the MATESOL Program.

581 Creative Writer as Critical Reader: Ambiguity and Poetic Form Fanning M 3:30-7:10p

Impossible word, "ambiguity," but it points to the "room to puzzle" that makes a text worth considering more than once. Mostly we'll be reading (and rereading) poems by Alice Fulton, Russell Edson, Thomas Lux, Les Murray, and others, but we may also consider some visual art, prose passages, even social interactions. After all, understanding ambiguities is both an aesthetic and a practical matter. I hope that lends a little heat to our investigations. Several short response papers, one long final paper.

584 Advanced Fiction Workshop Wong TTh 1:30-3:20
585 Advanced Poetry Workshop Bierds TTh 11:30-1:20

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