Announcement of Classes: Fall 2019


Graduate Courses

Graduate students from other departments and exceptionally well-prepared undergraduates are welcome in English graduate courses (except for English 200 and 375) insofar as limitations of class size allow. Graduate courses are usually limited to 15 students; courses numbered 250 are usually limited to 10.

When demand for a graduate course exceeds the maximum enrollment limit, the instructor will determine priorities for enrollment and inform students of his/her decisions at the second class meeting. Prior enrollment does not guarantee a place in a graduate course that turns out to be oversubscribed on the first day of class; fortunately, this situation does not arise very often.


Problems in the Study of Literature

English 200

Section: 1
Instructor: Goldstein, Amanda Jo
Time: MW 10:30-12
Location: 305 Wheeler


Other Readings and Media

Materials to be provided via the course website.

Description

Approaches to literary study, including textual analysis, scholarly methodology and bibliography, critical theory and practice.

Enrollment is limited to entering doctoral students in the English program.

This course satisfies the Group 1 requirement (problems in the study of literature).


Graduate Readings: On Interpretation

English 203

Section: 1
Instructor: Blanton, C. D.
Time: MW 12-1:30
Location: 305 Wheeler


Description

The last several decades have heard repeated, even rhythmic, calls to dispense with ‘interpretation’ as the model and indispensable methodological instrument of reading and critical reason, even within intellectual disciplines seemingly constituted by a history of interpretive practice. But the fact that such calls find themselves so regularly renewed again might also suggest the tenacity of the problem of interpretation as such, even a certain difficulty in avoiding interpretation in the name of avoiding interpretation.

This course will seek to approach this apparent contradiction from two directions. From one angle, we will survey a few of the more pitched battles over interpretation and interpretability, scattered across the intellectual history of the postwar period. From another, we will track a much longer history, sampling a series of hermeneutic systems and traditions that insist on reading behind, beyond, before, and beside—from traditional modes of scriptural exegesis to modern practices of dialectical and psychoanalytic encryption and decryption.

To concentrate our reading, each student will be asked to designate one object (textual, aesthetic, philosophical, or otherwise) to which interpretation itself might return over the course of the term.


Graduate Readings: Prospectus Workshop

English 203

Section: 2
Instructor: Abel, Elizabeth
Time: Tues. 2-5
Location: 301 Wheeler


Book List

Recommended: Hayot, Eric.: The Elements of Academic Style

Other Readings and Media

Participants will upload installments of their writing to our bCourses site on a weekly basis. 

Description

This will be a hands-on writing workshop intended to facilitate and accelerate the transition from qualifying exams to prospectus conference, from prospectus conference to first dissertation chapter, and from the status of student to that of scholar. The workshop provides a collaborative critical community in which to try out successive versions of your dissertation project and to learn how your peers are constructing theirs. We will review a range of prospectuses from the past to demystify the genre and to gain a better understanding of its form and function. The goal is to insure that by the end of the semester, every member of the workshop will have submitted a prospectus to his or her committee.

Writing assignments are designed to structure points of entry into the prospectus: although some of the early assignments may be more immediately relevant to certain projects than to others, they all have the benefit of facilitating the passage from ideas to words on paper or screen according to a series of deadlines. Beginning with exercises to galvanize your thinking, the assignments will map increasingly onto the specific components of the prospectus as the semester proceeds. These assignments provide a skeletal structure rather than a comprehensive guide for your work. You should be reading and thinking about your project throughout the semester (ideally in conversation with your advisor) and may find that working on one assignment triggers productive thinking about another; don’t feel you need to wait for the deadline to start work on it. I will be available to discuss any facet of the writing process by email or to schedule individual meetings outside of regular office hours.


Graduate Readings: Aesthetics and Politics: Kant and Beyond

English 203

Section: 3
Instructor: Goldsmith, Steven
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: 65 Evans


Book List

Adorno, T.: Aesthetic Theory; Burke, E.: Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful; De Man, P.: Ideology of the Aesthetic; Derrida, J.: The Truth in Painting; Kant, I. : Critique of the Power of Judgment; Rancière, J.: Aesthetics and Its Discontents; Schiller, F.: On the Aesthetic Education of Man

Description

As an introduction to the political possibilities, problems, and questions raised by Kantian aesthetics, this class will navigate between two quotations: 1) Schiller: “If man is ever to solve that problem of politics in practice he will have to approach it through the problem of the aesthetic, because it is only through Beauty that man makes his way to Freedom”; 2) Auden: “Poetry makes nothing happen.”  At first we will focus on eighteenth-century models developed by Burke, Kant, and Schiller, perhaps in conjunction with some romantic poetry.  We will then follow a range of twentieth- and twenty-first century elaborations and contestations, including, among others: Adorno, Arendt, Bourdieu, Clark, Derrida, De Man, Jameson, Lyotard, Ngai, Rancière, and Terada.  Toward the end of the semester, we may want to explore what Kantian aesthetics have to say about our current fascination with new formalisms, materialisms, and other post-critical theories. 


Readings in Middle English

English 212

Section: 1
Instructor: Nolan, Maura
Time: M 3-6
Location: 262 Dwinelle


Book List

Borroff, M.: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; Burrow, J.: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; Burrow, J. and T. Turville-Petre: A Book of Middle English; Patience, Pearl: Verse Translations

Description

This course will survey Middle English literature, excluding Chaucer, beginning with the earliest Middle English texts and ending with Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. We will focus on language, translation, and close reading to start, leading up to a broader consideration of the Middle English literary tradition and its role in the creation of English literature as we now know it. Students will have a variety of options for written work.


Graduate Proseminar: The Later-Eighteenth Century

English 246F

Section: 1
Instructor: Goodman, Kevis
Time: W 3-6
Location: 106 Mulford


Book List

Burke, Edmund: A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful (Oxford); Burke, Edmund: Reflections on the Revolution in France (Oxford); Burney, Frances: Evelina (Norton); Johnson, Samuel: Selected Poetry and Prose [ed Wimsatt and Brady]; Johnson and Boswell: Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland; Tour of the Hebrides; Smith, Adam: Theory of Moral Sentiments (Liberty Fund); Sterne, Laurence: A Sentimental Journey (Penguin); Walpole, Horace: The Castle of Otranto (Oxford); Williams, Helen Maria: Letters, Written in France (Broadview); Wordsworth and Coleridge: Lyrical Ballads, 1798 and 1800 (Routledge);

Recommended: Williams, Raymond: Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society

Other Readings and Media

One Course Reader (possibly in two volumes). Location for purchase to be announced.

Description

The later eighteenth century has presented literary historians with more than the usual challenges to periodization and organization by author, movement, or genre. The years between (roughly) 1740-1800 witnessed the proliferation of new genres in verse and prose alike, the transformation of existing ones, and the recovery of archaic forms. Proceeding with more of a chronological drift than in strict chronological order, we will try to do justice to the heterogeneity and eccentricity of the period, investigating its adjacent and overlapping concerns largely by topic and question. These will include: the emerging category of “literature” within letters or written material; aesthetic theory in relation to empiricism and science; the Scottish Enlightenment and theories of sympathy; skirmishes over the “common” tongue and the idea of “the people”; natural history and landscape description; the revival of romance before “Romanticism”; antiquarian impulses and forms (and forgeries); borders and peripheries within the nation; new international spaces and sentiment; experimental and revolutionary cultures. In addition to the primary texts, you will get an introduction to some of the critical discussions within later eighteenth-century and early Romantic studies.

The Course Reader (or Readers) will be the source of many of our readings, including the primary texts by Anna Barbauld, Hugh Blair, William Collins, William Cowper, Oliver Goldsmith, Lord Kames, Thomas Gray, David Hume, James Macpherson, Joseph Priestley, Christopher Smart, Charlotte Smith, Edward Young, as well as all of our secondary materials.


Literature in English, 1900-1945

English 246K

Section: 1
Instructor: Jones, Donna V.
Time: MW 1:30-3
Location: 301 Wheeler


Book List

Conrad, Joseph: Secret Agent; DuBois, W.E.B.: Souls of Black Folk; H. D.: Asphodel; Larsen, Nella: Quicksand; Lawrence, D.H.: Women in Love; Lewis, Wyndham: Tarr; Wells, H.G.: Modern Utopia; Woolf, Virginia: To the Lighthouse

Other Readings and Media

Secondary readings by Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Frederic Jameson, and Ewa Ziarek

Description

In this seminar, we will read a wide range of British and American novels from the first half of the twentieth century focusing on the intersections between modernism and theories of modernity. While we will pay considerable attention to modernism's diverse modes of formal experimentation, we will also closely examine various works of social theory—some drawn from the early twentieth century, and others drawn from recent works of criticism. The course readings will address a range of topics such as the aesthetics of internationalism and fascist reaction; empire, nationalism, and colonial resistance; race and theories of diaspora; vitalism, irrationalism, and techno-modernism.


Research Seminar: The English Department

English 250

Section: 1
Instructor: Marno, David
Time: Tues. 3:30-6:30
Location: 180 Barrows


Description

The English Department is one of the most curious developments in the history of human civilization. What do we study? The answer used to be, “literary texts of the English canon.” But then we questioned what belonged to the canon, what constituted a literary text and whether its segregation from non-literary texts was defensible, and eventually whether we should restrain ourselves to the study of texts at all. 

At times, we have claimed that what holds together students of English is not what we study but how we do so. But what exactly are the skills that we teach to our students? Other literature departments require the knowledge of at least one foreign language; most English majors read texts in their first language. There are some “methods” that we supposedly share, such as “close reading” or “critical thinking.” Yet, aside from the difficulty of explaining why we should have exclusive claims to either of these skills, we have called them into doubt by exposing their historical particularities, epistemological biases, and political inefficiencies.

But what if this constant self-questioning of the subjects and methods is not an incidental feature of the study of English but belongs to it in some essential way? What if behind the debates about English there is an ideal of an academic discipline that is completely democratic? If such an ideal were to exist, it would have to wrestle with its own paradoxical nature, especially the fact that it seeks to establish an academic discipline, that is, a branch of knowledge separate from all other branches of knowledge, and yet it wants to leave or actively make this knowledge accessible to all. Why would we want such a discipline, and what are the consequences of wanting it? 

In this course, we will be looking at the Department of English as a social and intellectual experiment with a fascinating past, a challenging present, and a doubtful future. What were the original motivations behind its establishment? What are the driving forces that continue to maintain it today? What are the particular challenges facing the English department and its students in the 21st century? And finally: what do we want its future to look like? 

While the course focuses on the particular case of English Department, it is open to any graduate student interested in the histories, theories, and ethnographies of the university, in the relationship between academia and its publics, and/or in the philosophies and political theories of education in general. Assignments include the preparation of a syllabus for an undergraduate course you see yourself teaching in the future; a full, written-out lecture for the same course; as well as a final paper considering any one of the topics explored in our course. Readings include chapters from the history of literary criticism from Matthew Arnold to Eve Sedgwick, accounts of the modern university from Wilhelm Humboldt to Tomoko Masuzawa and Sara Ahmed, histories and critiques of the English Department from Gerald Graff to Fred Moten and Stefano Harvey, and political theories of education from Thomas More to Ivan Illich and Hannah Arendt. All readings will be posted on bCourses.


Research Seminar: Transcendentalism

English 250

Section: 2
Instructor: Tamarkin, Elisa
Time: Thurs. 3:30-6:30
Location: 180 Barrows


Book List

Cavell, Stanley: Emerson's Transcendental Etudes; Cavell, Stanley: The Senses of Walden; Emerson, Ralph Waldo: The Portable Emerson; Hawthorne, Nathaniel: The Blithedale Romance; Higginson, Thomas Wentworth: Army Life in a Black Regiment; James, Henry: The Bostonians; Thoreau, Henry David: The Portable Thoreau; ed. Buell : The American Transcendentalists: Essential Writings

Description

This course considers Transcendentalism and its legacies with particular focus on the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson from the publication of Nature (1836) through Letters and Social Aims (1875).  Following Emerson's career in essays, lectures, and journals, we will examine his relationship across the nineteenth century to the intellectual and social history of the movement he defined.  What began in religious dissent from orthodoxies at Harvard became a program for reform and antislavery, for public intellectualism, for self-culture, and for new experiments in reading, writing, and living.  We’ll read Emerson beside major works by Henry David Thoreau and Margaret Fuller, plus George Ripley on utopianism, Bronson Alcott on education, Orestes Brownson on the “laboring classes,” Theodore Parker on hermeneutics, and Jones Very on Transcendentalism as a poetic practice.  We’ll also read responses to Transcendentalism by Hawthorne, Melville, Whitman, and Henry James.  Central to our discussions will be the movement’s engagement with German and British Romanticism (especially Kant, Schleiermacher, Herder, Strauss, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Carlyle) and, finally, the engagement of Nietzsche and others with Transcendentalism as an American answer to philosophical thinking.


The Teaching of Composition and Literature

English 375

Section: 1
Instructor: Serpell, C. Namwali
Sirianni, Lucy
Time: Tues. 10:30-12:30
Location: 305 Wheeler


Description

This course introduces new English Department GSIs to the theory and practice of teaching literature and writing, first for discussion sections of lecture courses, and second, for self-designed reading and composition (R&C) courses. By the end of the semester, we will have developed sets of teaching materials and syllabuses for current and future courses. This course qualifies for the GSI Teaching and Resource Center’s Certificate of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.