Courses: Fall 2012
Comp Lit 520, Methods and Issues in Cinema and Media Studies
SLN 116900, T/Th, 2:30-5:20, Jennifer Bean
This course is designed to give graduate students a basic grounding in the theory, history and criticism of cinema and media studies, and introduce them to central debates, topics, and methods in the field. The central objectives of the course include familiarizing class participants with the: *theories most germane to film and media critics since the early 20th century *methods and problems of textual analysis and interpretation of films *representative cannon of films and related media texts from an array of national industries, avant-garde movements, and historical periods *historical and cultural paradigms as they relate to film and media studies (mass culture/modernity/postmodernity/postcoloniality, etc.)
In order to achieve these goals, this seminar meets twice a week. Monday sessions will be devoted primarily to discussion of theoretical, methodological and historical readings. The Wednesday sessions will be devoted primarily to screening the “feature” film(s) of the week, although the screening session will often begin with micro-pedagogical sessions designed to foster techniques for assessing and teaching film’s many formal and stylistic registers: editing, cinematography, sound, mise-en-scene, etc. In the latter part of the course, we will ask how these formal and stylistic registers have transformed in a contemporary era dominated by electronic and digital media forms of production and exhibition. Throughout the quarter, your reading materials will mention films or media products that we do not have the opportunity to watch together. I encourage you to view as many of these titles on your own as time allows, so as to engage more specifically with the theories under discussion, and to broaden your knowledge of film and media history more generally.
Since another of our overarching goals is to encourage a professional relationship to the field of cinema and media studies, the quarter will end (week 10) with a "course conference" in which each member will present a 20 minute presentation of their research to that point. Presentations will be organized into respective panels, and q&a will follow each respective panel. Participants will then revise and slightly expand their conference paper for the final seminar paper, due at the end of finals week.
Comparative Literature 535 A, Postcolonial Literatures and Theory
SLN 20323, MW, 1:30-3:20, Laura Chrisman
This class offers an introduction to the field of postcolonial literary studies: its development, aesthetic articulations, theoretical frameworks, major debates, and new directions. Rather than take 'post-colonial' as an unproblematic term, the course addresses the intellectual, aesthetic and material stakes involved in its deployment. We will investigate issues of colonial and imperial domination, decolonization movements, nationalism, neocolonialism, and globalization. We will explore early/mid 20th century theories of anti-colonial resistance, as well as theories associated with the institutional emergence of the field in the 1980s and also consider more recent developments and contestations of the field. Throughout the course the theoretical readings will be accompanied by creative literary readings; students are expected to develop the tools for placing literary and theoretical materials in productive conversation through careful close reading of both.
Graduate Dance Composition
SLN 20931, M/W 2:30 - 4:30, Jurg Koch
Offered as part of the MFA curriculum in the dance program the focus of dance 530 is on collaboration between different art forms and practitioners. The course is open to graduate students from other art programs including but not limited to: Drama, music, DXArts, 3D4M and creative writing. In this interdisciplinary course the focus is on process and exploration rather than production. A variety of collaborative projects promote exploration and development of ideas from the conceptual stage to working models. Through changing artistic partnerships, topics and processes the aim is to develop experience, generate material and find a common language to communicate ideas and reflect on outcomes.
Dance 545, Contemporary Dance History
SLN 12727, T/Th, 8:30-10:20 Jennifer Salk
The development of social and performance-based dance from the beginning of the Twentieth Century to the present with particular emphasis on major international stylistic trends, cultural influences, and principal artists and their work.
The course will include class discussions, group and solo assignments and presentations, lectures, video viewing, and studio explorations. The studio explorations will create an experiential lens into the creative processes of some of the major choreographers of the last and present century.
Class assignments and grading: Oral presentations, class discussions, readings, concert attendance and reviews, research paper, documentary viewings and two exams including one take-home. Short, in-class writing assignments, participation in studio component.
AMERICAN POPULAR ENTERTAINMENT AND CULTURE: 1830s to the 1930s
SLN 12838, M/W, 2:30-4:50 Tom Postlewait
This seminar will consider the development of popular entertainment in the United States from the 1830s to the 1930s. According to most historians and critics, this is the period in which 19th-century American entertainment--popular, romantic, sentimental, and quintessentially melodramatic--gave way to 20th-century theatre in the modernist mode. Also, as Lawrence Levine and others have argued, the era witnessed the division, decade by decade, of popular and elite cultures into two opposing camps of “lowbrow” and “highbrow” tastes. But there are many problems with these dialectical and evolutionary narratives, including the fact that many aspects of popular or lowbrow entertainment were as sophisticated and complex as the supposed highbrow culture. And many great artists participated in both the popular and elite arts. Also, popular entertainment was not displaced by modernism. If anything, popular entertainment became even more pervasive and influential in American culture during the early decades of the twentieth century. Revues, burlesque shows, vaudeville, musicals, comedies, and melodramas dominated Broadway. And with the arrival of the new technologies of film, radio and television, popular entertainment spread throughout the nation during the twentieth century. Moreover, the history and significance of popular entertainment in this era cannot—or should not—be separated from the social and economic transformations for workers, women, and minorities. This era featured the changing status of women and their place in American life. From the suffrage movement to the visual displays of women on stage and screen (e.g., Ziegfeld Follies, striptease), the ideas and images of women became complex, often contradictory conditions of modern life. This era is also the turning point when African American theatre and music played a major role in the transformation of the American performing arts. For various reasons, then, popular entertainment not only displayed the definitive aspects of modern American society but also contributed to the transformations of that society.
In order to take the measure of these developments we will investigate the careers of several major people who contributed to the making of the American entertainment industry, from P. T. Barnum to Flo Ziegfeld. A parade of popular entertainers, playwrights, and producers from the era entices us: Barnum, General Tom Thumb, Jumbo, Dion Boucicault, Sol Smith, Lotta Crabtree, Adah Isaacs Menken, George L. Fox, Joseph Jefferson, Buffalo Bill and the Wild West Show, Annie Oakley, Dan Rice, Denman Thompson, Kiralfy brothers, Harrigan & Hart, Fred Thompson and Coney Island, George Abbott, Clara Morris, Maude Adams, Charles Frohman, David Belasco, George M. Cohan, Weber and Fields, Tony Pastor, Will Marion Cook & Paul Laurence Dunbar, Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, the Shubert brothers and their theatrical empire, Jacob Adler, Lillian Russell, David Belasco, Mrs. Leslie Carter, Charles Frohman, Irene and Vernon Castle, Clyde Fitch, Rin Tin Tin, Harry Houdini, Booth Tarkington, Moss Hart, Flo Ziegfeld, Fanny Brice, Will Rogers, Eddie Cantor, W. C. Fields, Joseph Urban, Bert Williams, George Walker, Ethel Waters, Marie Dressler, Sophie Tucker, Elsie Janis, D. W. Griffith, Lillian Gish, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Al Jolson, Rudy Vallee, Mae West, the Marx Bros., Busby Berkeley, Irving Berlin, J. Kern and O. Hammerstein II, Rogers and Hart, Rogers and Hammerstein, Ira and George Gershwin, Fred Astaire, Amos ‘n’ Andy, and Gypsy Rose Lee. We will read several autobiographies and biographies, and we will examine some of the cultural histories of American popular entertainment from the 1830s to 1930s. These works will immerse us in the era. Out of these readings each student will develop a research project on a key individual, group, event, company, theatre, movement, issue, or idea. The range of possible topics is close to infinite.
Reading the Long 18th Century
T/Th, 2:30-4:50 Odai Johnson
This seminar is designed to introduce the theatre scholar to the practice of local reading through the detailed exploration of one period loosely referred to as the Long Eighteenth Century. It embraces a sweep of English and Anglophone print and performance culture from the Restoration to the close of the 18th century, emanating from London as the cultural center and spreading out across the transatlantic web of empire. We consider how performance (in its broadest sense) functioned in forging citizenship, making British bodies, London manners, and empire-building across this geography: from the Anglophone provincial circuit, including Dublin, Edinburgh, the Caribbean and colonial America, to India. The course offers a working introduction to the practice of situating theatre and performance within a precise, complex social and political landscape of the period and how this landscape was represented in--and occasionally shaped by--the playhouse. Using primary resources of the period, an overview of the historiography and iconography, representative plays, biographies, contemporary criticism and seminal scholarship, we will explore the tense/dense relationship between the theatre and the culture at large.
English 506, Modern and Contemporary Critical Theory
SLN 13630, T/Th, 1:30-3:20, Eva Cherniavsky
Engages ongoing critical conversations that inform English studies, including: language, textual production, disciplinarity, the university, capital, nation formation, postcolonialism, the environment, race, gender, class, and sexuality. The historical focus is contemporary, with attention to foundational modern theorists.
English 569, Topics in Language and Rhetoric
SLN 13647, M/W, 1:30-3:20, Gail Stygall
The topic of this class is Language, Gender and Sexuality. We will examine the history of work in this field, from its origins in an opposed female/male system, to its expansion into multiple groups, and the close with recent linguistic work on sexuality. There will be several short papers on readings and then a final seminar paper.
English 593, Textual Criticism
SLN 13663, M/W, 11:30-1:20, Brian Reed
This seminar is one the four core courses developed by the Textual Studies Program. Course credit will count toward the Textual Studies Ph. D. track in Comparative Literature and may count toward the Critical Theory concentration.
This class will examine the intersection between new media studies and textual theory. Its first part will be retrospective: we will examine the rise and fall of “hypertext” as a key concept in new media theory. Why was it such a buzz word, and why does it now sound “so 1990s”? Next, we will consider the phenomenological turn in recent discussions of new media, and we will inquire into the challenges to textual theory presented (1) by hybrid visual-verbal genres such as computer games, digital video, and e-poetry and (2) by the contemporary “convergence culture” in which everything from fan fiction to cosplay to “transmediation” has newly destabilized the boundaries of “the text.” Finally, we will take a practical turn. Searchable archival databases have clearly been a godsend for literary scholarship (though, it must be admitted, text-encoding protocols and meta-data do continue to present profound problems). What other kinds of projects have been successful? Where and how have digital environments proved congenial to literature, and to the study of literature?
We will be reading such critics as Espen Aarseth, Joseph Grigely, Mark Hansen, Katherine Hayles, Henry Jenkins, George Landow, Jerome McGann, and Marie-Laure Ryan. Along the way, we will also be reading examples of “electronic literature” such as Stuart Moulthrop’s hypertext fiction Victory Garden and Stephanie Strickland’s mixed print and online e-poem V: WaveSon.nets/Losing L’una. Finally, we will be viewing selections of at least one anime.
Germanics 421, Dramatic Turns: 18th-century German Theatre
SLN 14692, T/Th, 1:30-2:50, Ellwood Wiggins
The Enlightenment in Germany demonstratively kicked the Hanswurst (a raunchy, impromptu clown who actively engaged with the audience) off the stage, and ushered in an attempt to mold a 'cultured' nation by means of the theatre. Despite many extreme differences, one thing all the successive 18th-century German literary movements--from sentimentalism and Sturm und Drang to Weimar Classicism and the early romantics--have in common is a desire to wrest control from the actor and put it in the hands of the playwright. In this course, we will explore the resounding successes (and instructive failures) of this dramatic turn in theatrical practice. We will conduct close readings (and imaginative stagings) of plays by Lessing, Goethe, Lenz, Schiller, and Kleist. We will also consider the plays in their historical and cultural contexts, and study contemporary theoretical essays on the function of drama.
GWSS 564, Queer Desires
SLN 14756, T/Th, 1:30-3:20, Amanda Swarr
This class explores desire and the politics of sexuality as gendered, raced, classed, and transnational processes. Intimacies and globalization, normality and abnormality, and power and relationships as sites of inquiry into the constitution of "queerness." Students interrogate queer and sexuality studies using varied media - films, activist writing, scholarly articles.
Humanities 596, Writing the Image
SLN 15151, M, 5:45-10:00pm, Joseph Milutis
Writing through the Image will explore the various ways in which visual culture has intersected with textual production, with an emphasis on cross-media literary works. Areas of inquiry will include the politics of the caption, digital image aggregators, aesthetics and practice of multimedia authoring, the ontology of the photograph, image vitalism, psychoanalysis and the image, surrealism and photography, conceptual writing, metadata and archives, the video essay, online publishing environments, cross-genre literary experimentation, text and experimental film.
We will start with applicable work that theorizes the image, specifically in relation to text, and then move on to discuss literary work that has incorporated the image. While we will mostly be focusing on how writing reaches out to, incorporates, or mimics the world of the image and/or acclimates itself to digital environments, the inquiries are also open to ways in which image culture and the art world incorporate the world of text, or where the interaction encourages indistinction between these realms.
Students will be invited to either produce an original multimedia essay response to the course, or do a typical scholarly paper. While most of the class time will be dedicated to discussion and presentations, there may be some time set aside for basic multimedia skills and skill sharing; pending time and interest, practicums on applicable multimedia skills and introduction to resources will be made available. NOTE: CLASS WILL MEET FROM 6pm-10.
Humanities 597B, Transnationalism, Visuality, and Identity,
A microseminar with Shu-mei Shih
SLN 22093, various dates (see flyer for details)
How do bounded notions of national, ethnic, racial, and class identity function amid constant flows of capital, cultural products, and populations? What new formations have appeared within these transnational contexts? What new methodologies and concepts do these contexts demand of those engaged in the study of languages, literature, film, and history, to name only a few of the disciplines affected? This microseminar, organized to frame the UW visit of Katz Lecturer Shu-mei Shih (Asian Languages, Cultures, Comparative Literature, and Asian American Studies, University of California Los Angeles), will explore these critical questions by examining her three most recent books.
SCAND 581, August Strindberg
SLN 19331, T/Th, 1:30-3:20, Ann-Charlotte Gavel Adams
Seminar on Swedish dramatist, novelist, scientist, and painter August Strindberg (1849-1912), on of Europe' s most influential artists, and on of the most important innovators of modern drama.
SCAND 590, The Baltic "Singing Revolution"
SLN 19333, M/W , 12:30-1:20, Guntis Smidchens
This course explores the history of singing traditions in the Baltic. We aim to reconstruct a historical and cultural context for the “Singing Revolution,” the nonviolent movement for the independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, 1988-1991. Students will learn about the history of singing traditions in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania; learn about 150 songs that shaped the Baltic national cultures; write three short essays about the relation between songs and politics.