Fall 2013


ENGL 593/LIT 596

Theories of the Text

5 Credits

Instructor: Jeffrey Knight (English)

Course Meeting Dates and Times:

  • MW 9:30-11:20 AM, MEB (Mechanical Engineering Building) 102

Time Schedule

This course surveys the most important recent thinking about “the text,” construed broadly to mean the object of literary and cultural study from physical bibliography to critical theory. Beginning with late-career calls for a “return to philology” from Paul de Man and Edward Said – the founders of American deconstruction and postcolonial theory respectively – we will look closely at the history of textual criticism and literary interpretation as they diverged in midcentury notions of “copy text” editing and the New Critical “well wrought urn.” We will then move to the epoch-making critiques of this consensus in the “socialized texts” of Jerome McGann and the “material texts” of Roger Chartier, D.F. McKenzie, and Peter Stallybrass. The second half of the course will be given over to perspectives on textual production, reception, and interpretation both canonical (reader-response theory, poststructuralist critiques of authorship, the history of the book) and newly emergent (surface reading, the descriptive turn, queer philology). Readings will include key works by Roland Barthes, Walter Benjamin, Michel de Certeau, Stanley Fish, Michel Foucault, Wolfgang Iser, Julia Kristeva, and Pierre Macherey.

One of the core seminars in the UW’s Textual Studies Program, this course is appropriate for anyone who wishes to gain a focused introduction to literary theory and a working vocabulary in literary studies (intertextuality, paratext, author function, implied reader, etc.), as well as for those in other disciplines who wish to gain a theoretical foundation for work in media studies, information science, editing and publishing, or textual studies (see below).

The seminar will intersect with a 2013-2014 visiting speaker series, “Textual Studies and its Futures,” supported by the Simpson Center for the Humanities.

Jeffrey Todd Knight is Assistant Professor of English and Co-director of the Textual Studies Program. His book, Bound to Read: Compilations, Collections, and the Making of Renaissance Literature, is out this spring from the University of Pennsylvania Press (Material Texts Series).

Textual Studies is campus-wide course of graduate study emphasizing the comparative, interdisciplinary, cross-historical investigation of material texts in manuscript, print, and digital environments. Seminars are open to all graduate students: course credit will count toward the Textual Studies Ph. D. track in all participating departments.


HUM 595A/COM 495

Beyond Talk: Race, Communication, and Community

5 Credits

Instructor: Leilani Nishime (Communication)

Course Meeting Dates and Times:

  • TTh 11:30-1:20 PM, Parrington 213

Time Schedule

Conducted in conjunction with the Wing Luke Museum’s exhibition of mixed race art, “War Baby/Love Child,” and an advanced undergraduate section of the same course, HUM 595A “Beyond Talk: Race, Communication, and Community” provides graduate students an opportunity to experiment with a variety of communication platforms— including podcasting, blog writing, and photo essays—to engage diverse publics on the issue of race. Graduate students enrolled in HUM 595A will complete and supplement the coursework of the undergraduate section (COM 495) by co-designing pedagogical plans with the instructor to mentor undergraduate students, pilot a lesson plan, critically reflect on the discussions of race in and beyond the classroom community, or similar. Both graduate and undergraduate sections of the course will study mixed race identity and scholarship on race communication in order to facilitate and participate in informed conversations. The course will take place in the media lab as well as at community sites. Students should be comfortable with technology and learning new programs, but no prior knowledge of blogging software is required.

HUM 595A enrollment is by permission of instructor. Graduate students wishing to take HUM 595A should write to Professor Leilani Nishime with a brief statement of interest indicating how and why they would like to participate in the course.


HUM 597A

Environmental Humanities

1 Credit (C/NC)

Instructor: Gary Handwerk (English)

Course Meeting Dates and Times:

  • Fri, Oct 11, 10:00 am-12:00 pm, CMU 202
  • Fri, Oct 25, 10:00 am-12:00 pm, CMU 202
  • Thurs, Oct 31, 6:30-8:00 pm, KNE 110 (Lawrence Buell Lecture). Pre-registration required.
  • Fri, Nov 1, 4:30-6:00 pm, CMU 120 (Ursula Heise Lecture)
  • Fri, Nov 8, 10:00 am-12:00 pm, CMU 202
  • + Attendance at minimum of one open session of the Environmental Humanities Conference, Friday November 1 - Saturday, November 2.

This microseminar will introduce participants to the field of environmental humanities through the work by three prominent eco-critics featured at the “Future of the Environmental Humanities” Conference, October 31-November 2. Seminar participants will read from and respond to the work of Lawrence Buell, Ursula Heise, and Greg Garrard, three figures who have helped to define the still-emerging field of ecocriticism. Through readings and conference participation, seminar participants will gain familiarity with the histories, vocabularies, methodologies, and applications of developments in the environmental humanities.

Reading will include portions of major works by Buell (Writing for an Endangered Planet), Heise (Sense of Place and Sense of Planet) and Garrard (Ecocriticism), as well as more recent essays by all three scholars. Attendance at and participation in all three class sessions is required, as well as attendance at the public lectures to be given by Buell and Heise. Participation will include group responsibility for presenting to the class the material of one of the three authors. A final writing assignment will be based upon analysis of the public lectures in relation to these critics’ earlier work.