Spring 2017 Course Descriptions
Prerequisite is completion of 1213 and departmental permission. Introductionto literary creative writing (not genre writing), especially short stories and poetry, and to the structural foundations of literary writing. Major emphasis on student writing.
English 2223: Introduction to Poetry and Poetics
Vincent B. Leitch
In this introductory general education course, students study British and American English-language works, focusing on poetic themes, forms, and techniques. The course examines twenty major poets from Shakespeare to Plath and fourteen short landmark texts of poetic theory from Plato to Rich. Essay skills sharpened include writing a literary response, a close reading, and a cultural critique, all focused on poetry.
ENGL 2283: Critical Methods
While this course is not meant to be a comprehensive survey of theory, we
will learn to incorporate theory, criticism, historical context, and close readings
in our four short Papers and in our final exam essay. In this section, our primary works of
literature all focus on powerful and dangerous female characters and will include Allison Adele Hedge Coke’s “Lucy: The Sun and Moon Over Jasper,” Edgar Allen Poe’s short story
“Ligeia,” Louise Erdrich’s Tracks, Toni Morrison's Beloved, and Ire’ne Lara Silva’s
“Cortando Las Nubes or Death Came on Horses” from her short story cycle, Flesh to
Bone. We will study a variety of theorists and critical approaches as they are incorporated by scholars who have published on our primary texts, including Psychoanalytic approaches, Marxism, feminism, Black feminism, post/paracolonialism,
Indigenous approaches, Settler Colonial Studies, and Xicanx studies.
ENGL 2413: Introduction to Literature
“Literature” means different things to different people. In this course, we will approach the topic by genre, beginning with short stories, then two short novels, then poetry, and then drama. The overall goal is for students to develop an appreciation for and understanding of literature as a form of writing that provides enjoyment while also working on deeper levels to communicate about common human experience. We will be reading European and North American authors, from the 5th century BCE to the present.
ENGL 2443-001: World Literature 1700 to Present
This course is designed to explore the idea of “rewriting” or “writing back” focusing especially on texts from the colonial and post-colonial world. Some of the key questions that will guide us during the semester include: How does “rewriting” or “writing back” give voice to figures that are under-represented or occluded in well-known cultural texts? What are the political and ethical stakes of such forms of rewriting? If certain literary texts emerge from particular historical contexts that shape the ways in which they view the “world,” how do forms of rewriting re-imagine multiple ways of existing in such “worlds”? We will explore these questions by putting texts in dialogue with each other. Jean Rhys’s (Wide Sargasso Sea) rewriting of the history of the “madwoman in the attic” from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre will enable us to explore the intersections between colonial, racial and gendered forms of oppression. We will also see how figures that are viewed as “monsters” or “others” in particular texts (Caliban in Shakespeare’s Tempest, Hurree Babu in Rudyard Kipling’s Kim, the unnamed Arab victim in Albert Camus’s The Outsider) become primary figures in rewritings set in different cultural locations [Aime Cesaire’s A Tempest (set in the Caribbean), Jamyang Norbu’s The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes (the China-Tibet issue is its background), Daoud Kamal’s The Meursault Investigation (set in Algeria)].
ENGL 2883: AMERICAN LITERATURE SURVEY –1865 to the Present
This second part of the American Literature survey will explore the after effects of manifest destiny and the expansion of the territory now known as the United States. We will address reconstruction, the poetry of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, the short stories of John Steinbeck, Jean Toomer, Flannery O’Connor, and Amy Tan. We will watch two films from different perspectives both entitled Birth of a Nation, and we will end putting one foot into the 21st century thinking about social media, visual culture and the digital age.
ENGL 2883-002: American Literature Survey- 1865 to the Present
As much or more than any American literary tradition, African-American literature expresses what it is to be, as WEB Dubois put it, “other in this American world”: what it is to be possessed of a “double-consciousness” in which one feels “shut out” from the dominant culture “by a vast veil.” Such sense of otherness in African-American literature has undoubtedly been shaped by the history and heritage of slavery. Yet, as Paul Gilroy argued in The Black Atlantic, the time has long passed when slavery could be credibly treated as the special “property or possession of blacks.” Rather, slavery is “a part of the ethical and intellectual heritage of the West as a whole” – is a part, especially, of the contradictory nature of “this American world.” This course will survey late 19th and 20th century American literature, including the works of African-American, Jewish-American, Southern, and Women writers, with a view to what it means to be “other” in America, drawing not just on WEB Dubois’s notion of double-consciousness, but on the thought of recent French philosophers Michel Foucault and Emmanuel Levinas, both of whom made resistance to the normalizing forces of modern social and political life a central focus of their work.
ENGL 3023-001: Days of the Living Dead: A Cultural and Narrative History of the Zombie
Zombies are everywhere nowadays—from books, movies, games, walks to contemporary descriptions of “zombie capitalism” and “zombie media.” However, the sheer visibility and ubiquity of the zombie often disguises the fact that this figure is a relatively new “monster” in the cultural arena. This class will explore the cultural and narrative origins and numerous afterlives of the zombie. We will begin by looking at a prior narrative paradigm for contemporary zombie fictions: the plague narrative (we will read Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year). After that, we will explore three major “moments” of the zombie narrative:
1) Colonial anxieties about the “other” and the Haitian zombi: We will watch White Zombie, the first zombie film, read segments from William Seabrook’s pseudo-ethnography The Magic Island and Zora Neale Hurston’s chapter on the zombie in Tell my Horse, and finally turn the gaze and consider how Haitians read the zombie with a discussion of Patrick Chamoiseau’s novel Chronicle of the Seven Sorrows
2) The advent of the flesh-eating zombie: We will read the cold-war era classic Richard Matheson’s I am Legend and see how it influenced George Romero’s seminal Night of the Living Dead
3) Contemporary anxieties about terrorism and bio-terror: We will watch Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later and also read Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead along with Colson Whitehead’s Zone One.
At the end of the class, we will also explore how the zombie has been deployed as a “positive” metaphor for resistance and revolution in contemporary times: our case studies will include the zombie marches during the Occupy Wall Street Movement and Herman Melville’s short story “Bartleby the Scrivener.” We will end by discussing the recent globalization of the zombie figure focusing specifically on the Pakistani movie Zibahkhaana (Hell’s Ground, 2007). Primary readings and screenings will be supplemented by relevant critical material.
ENGL 3103: Advanced Composition: “Style for Writers”
As writers, we make stylistic choices when we shape language for our readers. But how often do we reflect on the implications of those choices? How does style affect the way others perceive us? How can style determine the work our writing does (or does not do) in the world? In this course we will study and produce language as “a living force” (Performing Prose). We will examine the relationship between sentence level features and the larger rhetorical situations in which writing functions. We will analyze style in others’ work and apply dynamic stylistic concepts as we draft and revise our own writing. We will stretch ourselves as writers by playing with language, experimenting with new rhetorical techniques and adding sophisticated stylistic strategies to our repertoires. This course is ideal for students in any discipline looking for dedicated time to study and improve their writing in an energetic and supportive workshop setting. Students will be invited to design the major course project to fit individual interests and writing goals.
ENGL 3143 Studies in Literacy and Rhetoric: Marketing the English Major
Dr. Will Kurlinkus
What does an English major do after s/he graduates? What do professional writers do on the job? How do I get a job as an English major? Is an English degree actually valuable to the world?
In this course students will learn to market themselves as English majors while also learning to market (through social media, video portraits, and qualitative research) the English major as a valuable path for other students across the university.
Throughout the semester former English majors in a variety of career paths will visit the class and discuss tips and tricks regarding how they got where they are today.
Students will leave the course with a professional online writing portfolio including:
- A resume, cover letter, and application to a job or internship.
- A social media marketing campaign (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat).
- A well-edited video interview.
- Qualitative user research documents demonstrating an ability to run interviews, listening sessions, design probes, etc.
- A grant application.
- A polished writing sample.
Readings will include:
- Katherine Brooks. You Majored in What?: Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career.
- Ann Handley: Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content.
- Mike Monteiro. Design is a Job.
- Elaine McMillion Sheldon. Short Documentary Filmmaking: Creating Video Portraits.
- Jonah Berger. Contagious: Why Things Catch On.
ENGL 3253: Special Topics in American Indian Literature: Indigenous Rhetorics
Using the key concepts of story, survivance, and sovereignty, this course is designed to offer an introduction to the growing field of indigenous rhetorics. Wewill focus predominantly on work and communities from the U.S., Canada, and Latin America, though we will consider a variety of genres, mediums, and sites of rhetorical production. We will give particular attention to digital and material rhetorics in thingslike film, music, codices, wampum, and khipu. Though we will spend some time analyzing texts, we will also consider how to ethically account for and utilize indigenous rhetorics. One major class project, for example, will be creating your own khipu. We willalso practice speaking Nahuatl, a language spoken by indigenous communities in Mexico.
ENGL 3363: Films and Contexts: American Indian Film
T/R 1:30–3:30 TR, with a screening time from 6:30-9:30 on T’s.
For decades, thousands of western movies have represented American Indians in absurdly stereotypical ways. What happens to those images when Indians themselves point the cameras, tell the stories, and do the acting? This course will look at several films in which Native Americans play key roles in front of and behind the camera, going back to James Young Deer’s work in the silent era, on to pivotal shifts like Zacharias Kunuk’s The Fast Runner and Chris Eyre’s and Sherman Alexie’s collaboration on Smoke Signals, and up to the latest works by Sydney Freeland, Sterlin Harjo, and others. As we view feature presentations, short films, documentaries, animations, and more, we’ll consider how American Indian critical theory and film theory might be brought into productive conversation. Attendance at separate screening times and at the Native Crossroads film festival scheduled April 7-8 is required.
ENGL 3363.001: Postcolonial African Cinema
The beginning of filmmaking in Sub-Saharan Africa coincided with and chronicled the processes of decolonization and the building of new nations. The career of Ousmane Sembene of Senegal,often called the “Father of African Cinema,” spanned forty-some years, from the early 1960s till his death in 2007. We will watch and discuss several of his and his contemporaries’ films, as well as recent movies, that give us insights into what challengesnewly independent African countries faced and often still face. Film in West Africa follows in the tradition of “orature,” and filmmakers are the modern descendants of traditional storytellers or “griots.” Besides watching recent feature and documentary filmsfrom Senegal, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria, we will also read critical texts on African cinema, such as Melissa Thackway’s Africa Shoots Back, as well as personal narratives, among themManthia Diawara’s We Won’t Budge: An African in Exile in the World or the award-winning Peace Corps account by Sarah Erdman, NineHills to Nambonkaha: Two Years in the Heart of an African Village, and others. We will end the course by looking at current events and youth movements in West Africa that use Facebook and YouTube animation films and music tooffer positive alternatives to the pessimism often associated with the continent of Africa propagated by the daily news.
ENGL 3483 (Online) - Native American Writers
Prerequisite: 1213. May be repeated once with change of content; maximum credit six hours. Investigates the ways Native American writers reflect their cultural histories and thought systems through their writing. By focusing on the emergence of Native literature over the past three decades or on Native writers of Oklahoma, students will learn how Native traditions have been translated into literature. In this course, we will study Indigenous writers who are either from, live in, or have lived in the state of Oklahoma. We will pay careful attention to tribal distinctions, including studying about the culture, history, geography, and contemporary reality of the sovereign nations from which our various tribally enrolled authors descend. We will also examine indigeneity through the lens of critical race and mixed race studies as well as legal frameworks. Particular attention will be given to depictions of Oklahoma in these works.
ENGL/MLLL 3573.001: Arthurian Literature
TTh 9:00 – 10:15
This class will look at how different authors have worked and reworked the Arthurian legend for their own purposes, and how different times emphasize different values. Authors will include Geoffrey of Monmouth; Chrétien de Troyes; Sir Thomas Malory; Alfred, Lord Tennyson; and Mark Twain, among others. Requirements (besides regular attendance and significant reading) are four six-page papers.
ENGL 3643: SPECIAL TOPICS IN NON-WESTERN LITERATUREAND CULTURE: Black Lives Matter: Early African, Transatlantic,and African American Resistance Literature"
You’ve heard of Eric Garner—but have you ever heard of Crispus Attucks? You’ve heard of Kendrick Lamar—but have you ever heard of PhillisWheatley? You’ve heard of the Ferguson Protests of 2014—but have you ever heard of Stono’s Rebellion of 1739?Today, when news outlets report on the Black Lives Matter movement, they draw parallels only to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s of the 20thcentury. Yet the origins of Black Lives Matter go back well over several hundred years to West African societies. And on this side of the Atlantic, during the 16th, 17th,18th, and 19th centuries there were people of African descent in this country and abroad who resisted American and European slavery and who maintained their African identities through various written, rhetoricalstrategies.This class will explore the shaping of early African identity through resistance literature of Africa, the Atlantic, and America. The various notions of what defines “resistance”will be explored, and we will focus on the improvisational written activities that fall under this category. The goals of this class are to: 1) learn the cultural, political, and historical contexts of early African/Black writings; 2) learn the resistance strategies of these texts; 3) learn how these texts functioned simultaneously as creative writing,and 4) learn to write effective, critical papers on themes concerning early African/Black literature. Emphasis will be on early African Diasporic texts that helped to form notions of self, humanity, and power in African, Transatlantic, and American locations.Writings by figures such as Phillis Wheatley, The Black Men of the Massachusetts Petitions, Belinda Royall, Mary Prince, Olaudah Equiano and others will be highlighted.
ENGL 4013: Major Figures: J.R.R. Tolkien, The Road to Middle Earth
Millions of people now know J.R.R. Tolkien as the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Far fewer know that his "day job" was teaching Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Literature at Oxford University. Tolkien built Middle Earth out of his fascination with language and with such medieval and heroic texts as Beowulf, the Elder Edda, the Volsungssaga, the Kalevala, and Sir Orfeo.
In this course we will retrace Tolkien's "road to Middle Earth," reading his famous works against the medieval texts that inspired them, along with biographical material and his own critical writing about literature and fantasy.
SPOILER ALERT: Since so many people have already read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings or seen the movies, class discussion will include references to the later chapters and conclusions of both works.
ENGL 4013 Major Figures: James Baldwin: Literature and the Long Civil Rights Movement
Professor James Zeigler
At the height of the civil rights movement in the early 1960s, James Baldwin was the most visible and influential writer in America. This Presidential Dream Course is part of a resurgence of interest in Baldwin that has resonated and reverberated with the election of the first African American President, a resurgence of anti-black racism in U.S. public culture, and the emergence of the social justice movement Black Lives Matter. Students will attend and participate in public talks by distinguished guest scholars and writers Michelle Elam, Marlon Ross, and Frank X. Walker.
This course will demonstrate how the quality of Baldwin’s writing and the character of his example matter now as much as ever. We will revisit his literary fiction and creative nonfiction to discover the sources and style of his importance during his long career, which ran from the late 1940s until the 1980s. We will ask Baldwin’s work and the stories that surround it to reveal how it was possible for a massive, democratic movement to take to the streets to bring about the end of official Jim Crow rule in the American South. Taking cues from civil rights historians who argue that recollections of the black freedom struggle should not be confined exclusively to America or to just those incredible years between Brown v. Board of Education and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, we will also let Baldwin teach us how the civil rights movement was a long, transnational undertaking that remains unfinished. While he will represent for us so much of the intelligence, indignation, and undying activism of the movement for civil rights, other details of his subject position – e.g. Harlem, secular, gay – will encourage us to discern and critique the limitations of nuclear family values in Cold War America and the paternalistic tendencies of Dr. King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Our attention to the not-so-distant past of civil rights will be informed by concerns about the present. We will consider how the momentous fact that an African American has twice been elected President of the United States sits in dizzying contradiction to statistics indicating that for many black Americans basic rights and vital opportunities are no more secure than they were at the time of the March on Washington in 1963. The Supreme Court’s 2013 undoing of the Voting Rights Act will matter to our discussions, as will recent acts of lethal vigilante and police violence that have attributed unsought significance to names such as Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown, and John Crawford. Preceding these young black men in death was Emmett Till, whose 1955 lynching is the subject of Baldwin’s play Blues for Mister Charlie. Through the lens of Baldwin’s writing, we will see how the popular fiction that America is “post-racial” is an alibi to divert us from the overdue reckoning that Baldwin initiated in a body of writing that expresses righteous anger, fitting indignation, and generosity sufficient to imagine reconciliation with even the hateful.
Readings will include the novels Go Tell It on The Mountain, Giovanni’s Room, and If Beale Street Could Talk; the play Blues for Mister Charlie; and essays from Notes of a Native Son, Nobody Knows My Name, The Fire Next Time, and No Name in the Street. Supplemental readings will orient us to the historical contexts in which Baldwin was writing, instruct us in critical race theory, and demonstrate that the movement for civil rights remains unfinished. Major assignments will include a book review, response papers, a presentation in class, and an original research paper.
ENGL 4133: History of the English Language
This course traces the development of the English language, from its Indo-European roots to its Germanic ancestry, and then through the major phases of its transformations: Old English (Anglo-Saxon), Middle English (the language of Chaucer), Early Modern English (the language of Shakespeare), and contemporary English, in some of its various forms. We will track changes in pronunciation and spelling, changes in vocabulary, and shifts of meaning for certain words. We will also follow the adjustments in the habits of sentence formation. Along the way we will see how various idiosyncrasies of modern English came to exist. Why do we say life with an [f] but alive with a [v]? Why the different pronunciations of l-i-v-e in “I live for live music”? Why don’t we say thou anymore? And what is ye in “Ye Olde Coffee Shoppe”? Why is there a b in debt and a gh in night? (Not the same reason in each case.) Such questions, and many more, will be addressed in this class.
Texts: Baugh, Albert C., and Thomas Cable. A History of the English Language. 6th ed. Boston: Pearson, 2013 [referred to below as "B", followed by section number(s)].
Cable, Thomas. A Companion to Baugh & Cable's History of the English Language. 4th ed. Boston: Pearson, 2013. You must acquire a clean copy of this text, not a used one; it is in paperback.]
1) workbook assignments; workbooks to be turned in at each exam
2) 3 in-class exams
3) comprehensive final exam
4) one 10-page paper
5) one reading aloud of a passage of Old, Middle, or Early Modern English
Requirements are weighted with respect to the final grade as follows:
1) 10% 2) 15% each 3) 20% 4) 20% 5) 5%
ENGL 4523.001: Shakespeare’s Comedies and Histories
From dark political satire to sparkling romantic comedy, high political drama to slapstick, Shakespeare’s comedies and histories are at once deeply literary works and effective commercial theater, still dominating popular markets. This class will explore Shakespeare’s artistry and his social context, lloking at plays such as Twelfth Night, Taming of the Shrew, and Henry IV part 1 (with the immortal Falstaff). Requirements including acting out a scene, a six-page paper, a twelve-page paper, and a final exam.
ENGL 4603.001 Searching for Hamlet
Su Fang Ng and Sara Coodin
This Presidential Dream Course supported by President Boren examines the enduring popularity of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Searching for Hamlet explores how Shakespeare’s play remains relevant to audiences over its 400-year long history. We examine the diverse, often contradictory ways that Hamlet has been read, performed, and interpreted over its long historical afterlife, both within and outside the Western tradition. Foregrounding the question of where the "real" or authentic Hamlet resides, we introduce students to how a series of historically significant adaptations of Hamlet raise important philosophical questions about the meaning of literary works. We consider seminal debates that animated the field of Shakespeare studies, including questions about staging, Shakespeare’s transformation by editors, and various versions of Hamlet. The course spans the centuries from Hamlet’s early modern origins through its adaptation on the Restoration and 18th century stage, to later modern and postmodern engagements both in the West and globally. Several eminent scholars of Shakespeare will be visiting campus as part of the course.
ENGL 4623 English Romantic Poetry: The Grotesque
We will examine late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century literature that exposes the ugly, the repressed, and the monstrous in British Romantic culture. In a time of revolutionary upheaval, artists created work that reflected anxieties and hopes about democracy, feminism, sexuality, urbanization, capitalism, empire, and more. In this era artists gave us our first modern Gothic and horror stories as well as much literary and visual production that exposed grotesque and monstrous events and characters. We will read such authors as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, Edmund Burke, Mary and Percy Shelley, John Keats, James Hogg, Thomas de Quincey, and Jane Austen and study representations of ghosts, lamias, transgressive women, demons, and evil patriarchs. 2-3 Short papers and a 10-12 page final paper.
ENGL 4853.001: English Capstone
Whether you are planning to enter the workforce right away or continue your academic pursuits in graduate school, this writing capstone course will help you synthesize,revise, and expand on the work you have done your courses as you prepare for your professional life after college. Together, we will create e-portfolios of artifacts or materials that best suit your career goals as you begin to think about and craft an (online)professional identity. By the end of the course, you will have thought carefully about how your coursework has offered you transferable skills that you will be able to demonstrate or showcase in your e-portfolio.
ENGL 5313.001: Introduction to Literary and Cultural Studies
This course is meant to introduce students to the vocabularies, issues, questions, practices, and purposes of contemporary literary and cultural studies. In short, we will be studying "theory." Students who have some background in theory will be able to benefit from this course, but no previous knowledge is required or assumed.
In its broadest conception, theory involves an inquiry into the foundations of language, literature, and culture. Expressed with more specific reference to graduate students in a Department of English, this inquiry involves thinking through the forces that guide—or should guide—how we read, interpret, and teach texts of all sorts, including but not limited to works of literature. (We will also be reading about Star Trek, cat massacres, prisons, sexuality, and carnival, among other things.) Through our study of theory and criticism, we will be investigating the foundational assumptions, values, beliefs, fantasies, desires, and ideologies that enter into the study of literature and culture.
Our textbook for this course, The Norton Anthology of Theory & Criticism (2nd ed.), will be supplemented by a number of handouts. We will be reading works by a wide variety of figures, ranging—just to name a few—from Adrienne Rich to Philip Deloria, from Friedrich Nietzsche to Judith Butler, and from Susan Bordo to Stuart Hall.
This is a discussion class, and students will be expected to participate actively in class discussions throughout the semester. Final grades will be based upon students' performance in class discussions, short weekly writings, and a term paper approximately twenty to thirty pages in length. The term paper will represent a theoretically oriented approach to a topic that each student chooses, in consultation with the instructor; students will be able to choose topics from their own areas of interest (for instance, CRL, early modern, American literature, and so on).
ENGL 5453: Special Topics: “Composing Leadership”
Sandra Tarabochia and Michele Eodice
This course focuses on the intellectual work of writing program leadership. We will consider the practical demands of program administration and explore writing programs (broadly defined) as sites for research, theory building, and activism. Students will investigate methodologies for conducting program-based inquiry; analyze rhetorical strategies for communicating with stakeholders and advocating for meaningful program development; and examine philosophical frameworks for leadership. Together, we will read and work through problem sets/case studies/scenarios as well as develop links between historically situated practices and visions for the future of writing in higher education. Relevant topics may include: curriculum design, faculty development, program assessment, institutional politics, and identity. Students will have the opportunity to engage projects/activities such as the following: mini ethnography, program review, situated performance, conference proposal, journal/book review, course/curriculum development, assessment design, group or individual presentation, and WPA biography. Course texts may include: WPA: Writing Program Administration (the journal of the Council of Writing Program Administrators), WPA as Researcher, The Activist WPA, Gen Admin: Theorizing WPA Identities, Decolonizing Educational Research, Recomposing Composition, The Rise of Writing.
ENGL 5543.001 Global Shakespeare
Su Fang Ng
This seminar examines Shakespeare’s works in relation to formations of globality. We examine Shakespeare both in his time and in the adaptations that follow after, especially postcolonial appropriations of Shakespeare and the history of Shakespeare’s role in English colonial education. This course has 3 parts. Part I looks at globalization in the early modern period and how English drama and Shakespeare participated in discourses of early modern empire. Through the drama, we will also consider early modern discourses of race and foreign relations. Part II looks at key adaptations and reception of Shakespeare in the eighteenth through nineteenth centuries, focusing on the Restoration operatic Tempest and Romantic ideas of Shakespeare. Part III examines postcolonial adaptations that came out of African and Caribbean decolonization, including Aimé Césaire, as well as contemporary non-western dramatic adaptations, Sulayman al-Bassam Arabic Al-Hamlet Summit and film versions of Shakespeare from India and Japan.
Graduate students from all periods are welcome to bring their own interests in the reception and adaptation of Shakespeare to the class, including Shakespeare in America and elsewhere. Early modernists will have the chance to study an important current trend in Shakespearean scholarship while those specializing in other periods can build a strong historical foundation for the study of literary reception/adaptation in their period. Course requirements will include one or two presentations on the primary texts and scholarship (including writing a 1-2 page response paper), a review of a scholarly book, a term paper, and active participation.
ENGL 5703: Introduction to African American Literature, Theory and Cultural Texts
This course will give students a basic overview of key moment within the African American literary and critical tradition from the 19th century to the present will also giving a brief nod to other cultural texts such as film, visual art and some music. From the literary standpoint we will address 19th century literature and figures such as Harriet Jacobs, Harriet Wilson, David Walker and Charles Chesnutt among others while paying attention to abolitionist, nationalist and sentimental literary movements as well as critiques of Reconstruction. We will also look at early to mid-20th Century texts and figures situating them within the social and political landscape of their time. In terms of the theoretical landscape we will address critical perspectives on the Harlem Renaissance, Anti-Essentialism, Afro-Pessimism and other Black literary struggles over African American identity. We will read literature by W.E.B. Dubois, Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Cade Bambara, Suzanne Lori-Parks, Ralph Ellison and criticism and theory by Henry Louis Gates, Joyce Joyce, Saidiya Hartman, Paul Gilroy, Toni Cade Bambara, Amiri Baraka and others. Finally, we will look at Black cinema as a genre studying a few films as texts in this way. We will spend a day on visual artists as well as a day addressing the intersectionality of traditions of music in this cultural landscape.
ENGL 5703: Foucault and American Literature
R 3-6 pm
The recently completed publication of the lecture courses that Michel Foucault (1926-84) gave at the College de France during the years 1971-84 not only inaugurated a renaissance in Foucault scholarship that is still on-going. It also transformed the way Foucault’s thought as a whole is now understood. Prior to the publication of the lectures beginning in the late 1990s, many interpreters had thought that Foucault’s last works, consisting as they did of detailed examinations of practices of “self-care” and other “technologies of self” in antiquity, represented a break from his earlier genealogical analysis of modern forms of political power, especially liberalism, toward an aesthetic and ethical preoccupation with self-invention and authenticity, with the problem of the nature of subjectivity. Foucault, some commentators contended, had abandoned his work on the social interpellations of power and become instead a liberal or neoliberal thinker of individual self-creation and self-fashioning.
Today, however, there is an emerging consensus that Foucault’s work did indeed undergo a “turn” in the mid-1970s, but that this turn involved not an abandonment of his efforts to provide a critical genealogy of liberalism but an intensification of those efforts made possible by his notions of modern “governmentality,” understood as a “conducting of conduct,” and “biopower,” understood as a power over biological life. Modern governmentality exercises power not repressively, through exclusion and “deduction,” in the manner of sovereign power, but by expansively, including within its domain of regulatory control an ever-widening range of life processes, whether economic, familial, biological or affective, that have shaped the sentiments, beliefs, and values of the modern subject. Resistance to such power cannot be gained therefore by appealing to such subjectivity, much less by asserting its uncontaminated, trans-historical nature, but rather by engaging in forms of “counter-conduct” that subvert who we are and what we have become. As Foucault put it, “Maybe the target nowadays is not to discover what we are, but to refuse what we are.” Henry David Thoreau reflected a similarly transgressive spirit when he wrote in Walden: “a man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.”
In this course, we will first read selections from Foucault’s lectures on governmentality and biopolitics drawn from the years 1976-84, considering them in the light of widely influential critiques of his thought by Giorgio Agamben and Achille Mbembe. Then we will apply such concepts to two discrete periods in American literary history. The first is the revolutionary and post-revolutionary period from 1776 to the War of 1812 in which a tradition of civic republicanism reflected in the Articles of Confederation, as well as in fictional works of the period, was rapidly displaced by the influence of liberal forms of government associated with the emergence of a market culture and the influence of Adam Smith’s political economy.
The second period is the post-Reconstruction one of the late 19th century extending into the early 20th century that saw the ascendancy of a new kind of racism, a radically naturalistic, biopolitical racism which was fostered by much contemporary science and which relegated marginalized people of color not just to an inferior but to an un-human status. Readings will include works by Herman Melville, Charles Chesnutt, Stephen Crane (The Monster), and James Weldon Johnson.
ENGL 6013: Research Seminar in Rhetorical Analysis
Rhetorical criticism is a special field in rhetorical studies traditionally practiced by rhetoricians in Communication, but increasingly by rhetoricians within the field of composition and rhetoric. It involves a range of methods, from the neo-Aristotelian criticism favored by many traditional scholars, to the ideological criticism practiced by a range of new-left scholars. While methods of rhetorical analysis are based on theories of rhetoric, there is often a detachment between rhetorical theories and methods of rhetorical analysis. This is particularly true in the case of Kenneth Burke, whose work has spawned several methods of analysis that have had a life of their own. For this reason, study of rhetorical theory is enhanced by a corresponding study of rhetorical methods for the analysis of communicative events.
This course will prepare you through inquiry and practice to analyze a communicative event of your choice (including signs, texts, speeches, protests, architecture, objects, interviews, advertising, everyday practices, curricula) through a variety of rhetorical lenses. We will use recent work on public rhetoric and feminist rhetoric as extended examples. You will write short analyses of your artifact using different rhetorical lenses and revise one into a longer essay. Your grade will be based on class participation, peer review, and a portfolio that includes selected short papers and the long essay.