Graduate Courses, Spring 2004

Times and locations of class meetings are subject to change. Consult the UF Schedule of Courses for an explanation of the class period abbreviations.

Course no. Time(s) Course title Instructor
downAML 6017 W 6-8 What is “American” Literature? Smith
downCRW 6130 T 6-8 Graduate Fiction Workshop Leavitt
downCRW 6130 T 6-8 Graduate Fiction Workshop Powell
downCRW 6331 T E1-E3 Graduate Poetry Workshop Hofmann
downCRW 6331 M E1-E3 Graduate Poetry Workshop Logan
downENG 6016 R 3-5 Literature & Psychology: Re-reading Lacan Harpold
downENG 6075 W 3-5 Queer Theory & Cultural Politics Emery
downENG 6075 R 9-11
T E1-E3
Writing in Thoreau, Benjamin, Wittgenstein, Bazin, et. al. Ray
downENG 6077 M 9-11 Theory Online (Neo-Baroque Writing) Ulmer
downENG 6137 M 6-8
screenings W 9-11
Film Theory: Lyotard Nygren
downENL 6226 T 9-11 Studies in Renaissance Literature: Poetry Clark
downENL 6236 T 3-5 The Novels & Journals of Frances Burney McCrea
downENL 6236 F 6-8 Studies in Restoration & l8th-Century Literature – The Rise of the Dunces New
downENL 6256 M 3-5 Dickens Craddock
downLIT 6357 T E1-E3 The World of Langston Hughes Reid
downLIT 6855 T 9-11 Black Nation/Queer Nation: Black Sexual Culture in the US Horton Stallings
downLIT 6855 W 9-11 Gender & Modernity Hegeman
downLIT 6856 R E1-E3 Postcoloniality, Globalization & English Literature Amoko
downLIT 6857 M E1-E3 Modernism & Revolution: Literature & Culture in the 1920s Wegner
downLIT 6934 R 6-8 Studies in Children’s Culture: Visual Texts Cech
downLIT 6934 W E1-E3 Questions in Chicana/o & Latino/a Studies Hedrick

AML 6017

What is “American” Literature?

Stephanie Smith

In 1846, critic and writer Margaret Fuller published an essay titled, “American Literature: Its Position in the Present Time, and Prospects for the Future,” in which she surveyed the field, as it were, of her time and made predictions for the future – our future. Returning to that essay as a launching point, this class is going to re-examine an “American” literary heritage, what it is, what it might mean, and where it went after 1846. The “literature” we will read in this class will confine itself to the period before 1900; however, the critical literature will reach forward to the 21st century.

Readings will likely include:


CRW 6130

Graduate Fiction Workshop

David Leavitt

This is an intensive fiction writing workshop for graduate students in the MFA program in Creative Writing. Reading varies, according to the whim of the instructor, but will probably consist of short novels.

The workshop itself operates on the principle that prose fiction is made of words, punctuation marks, and white space. Craft is the name of the game, with the result that we spend more time talking about point of view and voice than we do about subject matter, “theme,” or “plot.” The class is rigorous. Members are expected to submit their work at least four times during the semester, and to emerge at the end better writers than they were at the beginning. They are also expected to amaze the instructor on a weekly basis by exhibiting great critical acuity and by feats of insight.

Although most of the writers who take this workshop focus on the short story, I will be making a concerted effort to create an atmosphere that will be equally fruitful for those working on novels or longer works.


CRW 6130

Graduate Fiction Workshop

Padgett Powell

This course is open to MFA candidates in fiction only.

Your job is to write with force and surprise and to tender your efforts regularly and cleanly. My job is to induce criticism which will cure whatever ills are at hand without making the writer ill.

It is difficult to say what is wrong with a piece of fiction in a way that will be at once corrective and palatable to its author. A good professional editor may manage it with a piece not much flawed. I fear, after nearly twenty years trying, that it is rarely possible to do this in a direct way to a more troubled piece of writing for the forming writer then and there. I believe, though, that it is possible, in speaking ostensibly about this or that piece of writing by this or that writer, to speak prescriptively and salubriously toward the bettering of later writing, both that done by an author and by witnesses to his or her ordeal. A general sense of what constitutes good writing is supposed to obtain in the course of our piecemeal daily assaults upon the specific faults and merits of a particular piece of writing.

Objective of course clearly stated at outset: that you leave it writing better than when you entered it. That you put to paper things not said before that surprise us.


CRW 6331

Graduate Poetry Workshop

Michael Hofmann

As Ez says, “poetry should be at least as well-written as good prose”– and how often is that ever the case? In this course – in addition to poetry – we will read some of this “good prose,” and – in a multiply transgressive semester – each of them both in the native and translated form.


CRW 6331

Graduate Poetry Workshop

William Logan

“When asked if he had ever tried out the stroke in the water, Sir Nicholas replies, ‘No Sir, but I swim most exquisitely on land. I content myself with the speculative part of swimming. I care not for the Practick.’” This workshop will have the usual pleasures and pressures, antics and aardvarks (“Nothing ventured, nothing ingrained,” might be the motto, if we had a motto). Readings in contemporary and modern American, British, and Irish poetry, and meticulous discussion of your own delightful work.



ENG 6016

Literature and Psychology: Re-Reading Lacan (Against Adaptation)

Terry Harpold

This course is occasioned by the publication in late 2002 of Bruce Fink’s English (re)translation of Jacques Lacan’s Écrits: A Selection. For more than a quarter century, Alan Sheridan’s 1977 translation of selected essays from Lacan’s most important published work has been among the most widely-read texts of twentieth-century critical thought, despite its obvious and often consequential misrepresentations of Lacan’s original texts. We will devote this semester to close and programmatic re-readings of Fink’s new renderings of classic essays collected in Écrits: A Selection.

The course title is taken from that of Philippe Van Haute’s masterful close reading of the final essay of Écrits: A Selection, “The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of Desire in the Freudian Unconscious.” “Subversion” is one of most dense and challenging of Lacan’s shorter written texts. It is also one of the most significant. Based on Lacan’s Seminar V (“Les Formations de l’inconscient,” 1957–58), “Subversion” marks a turn in Lacan’s teaching, from his emphasis in the 1950s on orders of the imaginary, the symbolic, and the dependance of psychic structure on operations of language, to his development in the 1960s of the concepts of the objet petit a, the real, and the fantasy. At the centers of the Seminar and the essay are the famous (or infamous, if you prefer) Graphs of Desire. These strange, compelling loops and sigles represent the most elaborate of Lacan’s early attempts to codify and transmit his teachings via graphic and para-mathematical objects. “Subversion” is arguably the culmination of the theoretical trajectories sketched out in Écrits: A Selection. We will rely on Van Haute’s lucid and insightful book to guide our way through the fascinating, sometimes baffling defiles of this evocative, essential essay.

Readings for the course will include most of Fink’s translation of Écrits: A Selection (Norton, 2002); Van Haute’s Against Adaptation (Other Press, 2002); Joël Dor’s Introduction to the Reading of Lacan (Other Press, 1998); and selections from Peter Gay’s edited collection of the writings of Freud, The Freud Reader (Norton, 1995). Graded assignments include two in-class presentations and two 8-10–page précis/commentaries on essays from Écrits: A Selection.

N.B.: All texts for the course will be available for purchase at Goerings Book Store, 1717 NW 1st Avenue, before the end of the Fall 2003 semester. We will begin the course with a discussion of Dor’s Introduction to the Reading of Lacan. You should come to the first class meeting prepared to discuss this text.


ENG 6075

Queer Theory and Cultural Politics

Kim Emery

This course provides a graduate-level introduction to major concerns, methodologies, and texts in queer theory. The first part of the semester will be devoted to discussion of field-defining texts, including Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality, Volume 1, and works by Gayle Rubin, Judith Butler, David Halperin, Eve Sedgwick, and John D’Emilio, among others. In the second part of the course, we will situate queer theoretical approaches in relation to specific sites of cultural engagement, seeking to illuminate both the cultural implications of queer theories and the theoretical insights of queer cultural work (including community organizing, activism, and institution-building, as well as writing, films, and other forms of artistic production). In class discussions and formal assignments, students will be encouraged to explore the applicability of various theoretical paradigms (Marxist, feminist, deconstructionist, psychoanalytic, Foucauldian) to various concerns of queer politics (visibility, sexual liberation, civil rights legislation, AIDS activism) and to examine the usefulness of queer theoretical frames to the analysis of cultural politics more generally, with a focus on the contemporary United States. Additional readings may be drawn from among the following:

Course requirements

(Advanced graduate students may propose and write an article-length seminar paper in place of the short papers and midterm.)


ENG 6075

Writing in Thoreau, Benjamin, Wittgenstein, Bazin, et. al.

Robert Ray

Struggling to devise a method of writing history that would prove as compelling as the cinema he admired, Walter Benjamin made a note to himself: “The eternal would be the ruffles on a dress rather than an idea.” Although he never completed what has become known as The Arcades Project, Benjamin’s dream of a different critical writing, “exact fantasy” in his words, still provokes questions. For example, when Peter Wollen tells us that couturier Paul Poiret celebrated the 1925 Art Deco exhibition with three show barges named Amours, Délices, and Orgues, the three words in the French language that are masculine in the singular and feminine in the plural, why does his explanatory gloss (“Thus Poiret translated the economy of fashion into that of the singular masculine phallus and Leporello’s endless list of women’s names”) seem so much less interesting than the story itself? What would it mean to take seriously yet another of Benjamin’s propositions that “To someone looking through piles of old letters, a stamp that has been long out of circulation a torn envelope often says more than a reading of dozens of pages”?

This course will investigate the writing problem Benjamin raises by looking not only at his notes for The Arcades Project, but also at a sample of other people thinking along the same lines: Thoreau (we will spend two-three weeks on Walden), Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, André Bazin, Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, and the New Historicists. The course should interest students in American literature, film studies, and modern theory.

Assignments: two 12-page papers; two oral reports.


ENG 6077

Theory Online (Neo-Baroque Writing)

Greg Ulmer

What happens to theoretical writing in hypermedia? We are in a time of transition in the language apparatus, shifting from the page to the screen. This shift involves not only technology, but also institutional practices and identity formation (individual and collective). An idea of what is involved with such a moment may be seen in the previous such shift, from the manuscript to the printed book, during the Reniassance. It was during that period that oratory and the pedagogy of the memory palace that dominated Church schooling gave way to the doctrine of clear and distinct ideas (Descartes) of the secular universities. This doctrine – still the dominant attitude reflected in composition pedagogy – actually reflects only one part of the Western worldview, the Classic sensibility, while ignoring the other, equally important part – the Baroque. Some of the most important contemporary theorists – Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Lacan, Jean-Francois Lyotard, for example – participated in a neo-Baroque movement as a way to think beyond the conceptual classification system of literacy, and to include the image in a more complex, holistic grasp of reasoning. A recent study of the Classic essay is entitled “Clear and Simple as the Truth.” Bringing together the Baroque with the Classic styles of authoring, our project for the semester is to design and test an image-text mode of writing that may be called “Obscure and Complex as the Real.” The course is taught in the Networked Writing Environment (NWE) using the website as the medium of production. No previous experience with website design is required. Assignments include three websites, email, and several in-class presentations. The course attends not only to the principal question (adding the obscure and complex to clear and distinct ideas) but also to the heuretic method of generating new poetics, and the practical implications of the results for pedagogy and writing.

Required texts may include: F.N. Thomas and Mark Turner, Clear and Simple as the Truth; Gilles Deleuze, The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque; Mieke Bal, Quoting Caravaggio: Contemporary Art, Preposterous History; Brenda Silver, Virginia Woolf Icon.


ENG 6137

Film Theory: Lyotard

Scott Nygren

This seminar will consider film in relation to the theoretical project of Jean-François Lyotard, who is best known for his concept of the postmodern. However, the significance and impact of his work far exceed this.

Lyotard’s project enables us to think of film as a mode of inscription where conceptual and propositional capacities intersect with figural, libidinal and productive effects. Through his texts, we will engage with fundamental issues in the current theorization of film and video, from gender theory and postcoloniality to historiography and heterology.

Lyotard’s work remains radically under-recognized in English language scholarship. Part of this shortcoming is due to the curious limitations and timing of his translation into English, so that some major works are still untranslated, while others appeared out of sequence. The seminar will work through available works in English to recover Lyotard’s process of thought. Readings will extend from his earliest book on Phenomenology to his last works on Augustine and Malraux, two figures who for Lyotard come to represent the beginning and end points of the Western metaphysical tradition.

Theoretical work will be mobilized ‘next to’ a series of filmic texts, to paraphrase Deleuze. In other words, theory will operate as neither hierarchically superior to film as explanatory narrative nor secondary to the text as if a passive interpretation of it, but as a parallel project in different terms. Accordingly, we will proceed by viewing films in relation to texts, to consider how each may inform a reading of the other. Pontecorvo’s film Battle of Algiers will be considered next to Lyotard’s political writings in opposition to France’s war against Algeria. Other films, from Brakhage’s Dog Star Man to Hou Hsiao-hsien’s City of Sadness, will be similarly mobilized in relation to texts from Libidinal Economy to The Differend: Phrases in Dispute.

A broad range of historical, international, documentary, avant-garde and early cinema will be screened as part of the seminar, to extend the parameters of how film is addressed. The complex relationship of avant-garde film with political activism will be of special interest, in order to think through the possibilities of textual agency in a postnational information economy.

Lyotard’s strategies intersect productively with the work of Derrida, Foucault, Lacan, Irigaray, Jameson and Deleuze, among others, and some of those intersections will be discussed. However, students are not expected to have read any of the theoretical texts in advance. Lyotard’s work will be presented as both an introduction to theoretical work for new students, and as advanced material for those already conversant with theory.


ENG 6226

Studies in Renaissance Literature: Poetry

Ira Clark

In this course we will be reading Milton’s Paradise Lost plus what are often regarded as the greatest lyrics in English, along with some exemplary criticism. We will attend first to understanding the poems, and second, to establishing contexts within which and approaches from which to read and write about poetry.

Students will be responsible for reading and contemplating assignments before we meet to discuss them. You will also be responsible for leading two twenty-minute discussions of a context for or an approach to reading some work (one on Milton and one on secular lyrics). Finally you will be responsible for writing three tightly argued and fully exemplified, stylish papers (one on Paradise Lost, one interpreting a single or several related secular lyrics, and another interpreting a single or several related sacred lyrics, the latter two on works not covered in class).

Your evaluations will be based on the two reports (see instructions on the report schedule) and the three papers (each approximately 2500 words, conforming to the MLA Style Manual article format), each worth one-fifth of your grade. Both reports and papers should quote the standard annotated edition and be based on a sound knowledge of the glosses in major annotated editions, standard historical dictionaries, and other reference works.

This course abides by the University’s policies on plagiarism and academic honesty. Except for grave illness or death in the immediate family, all late work earns an automatic E.


ENG 6236

The Novels and Journals of Frances Burney: Fanny Burney/Madame D’Arblay, Prose Fiction/Prose Journals, Literary History/Cultural Studies

Brian McCrea

Burney’s names are problematic. Chafing against its tendency to demean the author, Margaret Ann Doody has argued against referring to Burney as Fanny, the name by which her family knew her. Madame D’Arblay, the preference of eminent Victorians, is more antiseptic but equally misleading. It’s the name that Burney and her heirs affixed to the volumes of her journals and letters that sustained her fame in the 19th Century. The name came late to her, a forty year old bride, well after her early literary successes and her great literary friendships were behind her. The success of Evelina allowed Burney to identify herself on her subsequent title pages as “The Author of . . .,” a name that changed with each novel. She rarely referred to herself as Frances Burney, the name that eases post-modern anxieties, the name we will use.

Between 1778 and 1814, Burney published four novels. She also wrote comedies and tragedies, only one of which was produced. And she wrote assiduously in her journals, which will run to almost twenty volumes when their publication is completed.

Had she wished to, Burney could have dropped some big names. During the last years of his life, she was far closer to Samuel Johnson than James Boswell was. As Second Keeper of the Queen’s Robes from 1786 to 1791, she bore intimate witness to “the madness of King George.” When her husband asked that he resume his commission in the French army but not be required to fight against the English, Napoleon forgave the preposterous request because Alexandre d’Arblay was the husband of the author of Cecelia. The Marquis de Lafayette was her emissary to the First Consul.

And Burney was famous in her own right. After the success of Evelina and Cecelia, shopkeepers crowded to see Burney, and she could write without irony or false pride, “Even if Richardson or Fielding could rise from the grave, I should bid fair for supplanting them in the popular eye.” As Burney’s family moved between England and France during the Napoleonic Wars, her celebrity helped them to the front of the queue. More recently, Burney has assumed a significant role in medical literature. Her recounting of her mastectomy in September 1811 is one of the most comprehensive and widely-cited descriptions of surgical procedures prior to anaesthesia; it also is reprinted in the Norton Anthology.

Over the past twenty years, Burney has assumed a central role in 18th Century studies. Publications about her have tended to pursue psycho-biography; her fictions have been treated as covert dialogues with her father, the eminent musicologist Charles Burney. The emphasis in this course will be new historical insofar as we will focus upon the value Burney gives to anecdotes, her preoccupation with the nature of representations, her fascination with the history of the body, her sharp focus upon the smallest details of status and her skeptical analysis of ideology. This, however, makes the course seem more thesis-driven than it actually will be. We will open the semester reading together Evelina, Burney’s first and most popular novel. After that opening we will work between Burney’s novels and her journals. Students will be asked to read one of Burney’s final three novels and a ten year period in the journals. Our class sessions will study how Burney’s prose – both fiction and non-fiction – bespeaks her anxieties about social categories based upon race (the heroine of Burney’s last novel, The Wanderer, initially appears in black-face), class and gender. We also will raise questions of literary status: how do we distinguish between fiction and non-fiction? What did Burney mean when she used the term “novel”? What does Burney’s reading for/with her beloved son Alexandre tell us about the beginnings of “children’s literature” in England?

Class sessions also will pursue Burney’s relevance to writers and issues in other periods. Burney’s crucial and direct influence upon Jane Austen is a cliché of Burney criticism. But Burney, in her life and works, anticipated the Brontes, George Eliot, and a good bit of recent theorizing about both the epistemological and the cultural status of fiction. Her novels and her journals offer an early instance of the sometimes uneasy dialog between literary history and cultural studies.

Beyond their reading in Burney and their participation in class discussions, students will be asked to submit an essay that elaborates upon any one of several possible relationships: Burney’s relationship to another author; the relationship between events and characters described in Burney’s journals and events and characters in her fictions; the relationship between Burney’s gender and her opportunities as a social and political observer; the relationships between Burney and her various families; the relationship between Burney and the great events of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Era; any relationship that students discover and wish to pursue.


All these are available at Goering’s Books and Bagels, 1717 N. W. 1st Avenue

On Reserve:


ENL 6236

Studies in Restoration and l8th-Century Literature – The Rise of the Dunces

Mel New

This course will cover English literature from 1660–1745, along with Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy (1759–67), and will concentrate on the poems and satires of Dryden, Pope, and Swift, and the philosophy of John Locke, among other readings. The main question we will be examining is why these authors were able to foresee – and indeed predict – with both humor and horror the madness of much in modern intellectual life, beginning with unintelligible writing by critics of literature (whom Pope labeled “Dunces” in his famous Dunciad); to the incoherence of religious, social, and political fanaticism (which Swift labeled the “perpetual possession of being well-deceived; of being a fool among knaves”); and concluding with the vices and follies of a society that was losing its sense of art and style amidst a flood of bad writing, and something called “popular culture” (what Dryden would label “the realms of Nonsense, absolute”)? (He also wrote that “Loads of Sh** almost chok’d the way” but we will try not to be vulgar in this course). In accord with Locke’s best suggestion, we will also try to attach clear and definite ideas to the terms we use: hence, art, style, madness, fanaticism, fools and knaves, vices and follies, bad writing and popular culture, and even chiasmus and closed couplets will all receive some attempt at definition during the course of the term.


ENL 6256


Patricia Craddock

Charles Dickens was both the Stephen King and the Toni Morrison among Victorian novelists – enormously popular with the public, yet respected, sometimes reluctantly, by his peers and elite critics as well. For that reason alone, a study of his career and the reading of nearly all his novels would be worthwhile. In addition, however, his work is fascinating from a number of theoretical perspectives, ranging from the formalist to the contextual. This course offers students the opportunity to study a single figure in depth, but a figure who is so richly various that “depth” does not preclude “breadth.” Each student will have an opportunity to “teach” one of the novels to the class, finding and assigning for class reading a short critical article or chapter relevant to her or his approach to the novel, which may include stage or film versions. In addition, each student will be responsible for two 15–20 minute conference papers (one due in mid semester, the other at the end of the course), dealing with different novels. Thus each person will study three novels in particular depth and experience the other students’ approaches to the other novels. Background and critical works will be assigned or recommended as appropriate, but the main focus of the course is simply the experience of reading a major author’s oeuvre as a whole. Books (as many as we can of the following): Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, The Old Curiosity Shop, Nicholas Nickleby, Little Dorrit, Dombey and Son, Barnaby Rudge, Martin Chuzzlewit, Great Expectations, Hard Times, David Copperfield, Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend, Tale of Two Cities.


ENL 6357

The World of Langston Hughes

Mark A. Reid

This course employs an interdisciplinary approach and seminar format that requires students to familiarize themselves with Langston Hughes’ literary work as well as the socio-political atmosphere that were the subjects of some of his writings. Discussion topics include the Harlem Renaissance, African American drama, the blues tradition in poetry, and the international sociopolitical climate in which Hughes lived. In discussing the literary work and political life of Langston Hughes, the seminar participants will critically assess how Hughes fared as an American writer and social critic.



ENL 6855

Black Nation/Queer Nation: Black Sexual Culture in the US

LaMonda Horton Stallings

This course will examine various forms of black sexual culture and their importance to the construction of sexuality and sexual identity to the African American community after emancipation. Cultures to be addressed: pornography, cross-dressing/drag, S&M, safe sex, and more. We will begin our assessment in the 19th century and continue into the 21st century. Topics we will cover include: queer sexuality in slavery, theories concerning black eros, representation of sexuality in black folklore, literature, and film, a marxist and historical context of black pornography, contested sexual identities of homosexuality, heterosexuality, bisexuality, and the importance of nation in the construction of “normative” gender and sexuality in the African American community.

Course requirements include a 20 minute presentation, a book review, attendance, a bibliography, and a final seminar paper.

Texts we will read (tentative):

Theorists and critics we will encounter:


ENL 6855

Gender and Modernity

Susan Hegeman

“Modernity” is an enormously complex concept, focusing our attention both on a set of fascinating historical, historiographical, and theoretical issues and on a profoundly unsettling lived experience of newness, rupture, and change. In this course we will read some of the canonical works in the theorization of modernity in order to develop a better understanding of this, and related concepts, including postmodernity and globalization. Focusing our inquiry into modernity will be the issues of gender and sexuality. The preliminary argument of the course will be twofold: 1) that women are often relatively invisible in the classic accounts of modernity and 2) that it was nevertheless often through questions related to gender and sexuality that the upheavals and anxieties of modernity were registered. The scope of the course will be broadly international; indeed, the readings are designed to some extent to take us out of the Anglo-American context and into an exploration of continental European and global considerations of these issues.

This course is intended for students working in nineteenth-, twentieth-, century literature and culture who wish to explore broader historical and theoretical frameworks for thinking about issues of gender, modernity, and globalization.

Possible readings (anticipate approximately one book per class meeting):


LIT 6856

Postcoloniality, Globalization and English Literature

Apollo Amoko

This course will turn on a critical examination of the condition of literary studies. Over the last two decades, departments of English literature in the so-called Anglo-American academy have become the locus of some of the most ostensibly trans/postnational cultural discourses, most notably postcolonialism and globalism. At the same time, however, these departments have remained profoundly ethnocentric institutions so much that, as Simon Gikandi has recently argued, the common periodization of English Literature in epochs such as Medieval, Renaissance, Augustan, Victorian and so on makes sense only if the organization of the discipline is pegged to a certain nationalist history of England onto which is uncritically appended a nationalist history of the United States of America. As well, the literatures of Africa and the Caribbean continue to inhabit the conceptual and/or actual margins of the discipline. In short, English literature is at once nationalist and global. How might we account for this paradox? How did a relatively small number of high canonical fictional texts – and the metropolitan institutions of culture that study them – come to occupy center stage in theorizing the global moment? Why did English prove so hospitable a home for discourses of postcolonialism and globalism even as it seemed institutionally to disregard the radical implications of these theories? How is it that the global or postcolonial age came to be theorized in primarily, if not exclusively, cultural terms so much that, as Arjun Appadurai has memorably opined, “Social scientists look on with bewilderment as their colleagues in English and comparative literature talk (and fight) about matters that, until recently as fifteen years ago, would have seemed about as relevant to English departments as, say, quantum mechanics”? The critical authors to be studied may include such differently canonical figures Matthew Arnold, F. R. Leavis, Raymond Williams, Terry Eagleton, Homi Bhabha, Gauri Viswanathan, Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Simon Gikandi, Gerald Graff, David Shamway and John Guillory. We will also focus on a recent special of the PMLA 116: 1 (January 2001) “Globalizing Literary Studies.” The fictional texts to be studied may include the works of such others as Salman Rushdie, Ben Okri, Jonathan Franzen, and David Lodge.


LIT 6857

Modernism and Revolution: Literature and Culture in the 1920s

Phillip Wegner

In his landmark essay, “Modernity and Revolution,” Perry Anderson argues that one of the indispensable coordinates for the efflorescence of literary and cultural experimentation that we now know as modernism was “the imaginative proximity of social revolution.” In this course, we will take Anderson’s insight – along with the formulation of the modernist “fidelity” that can be extracted from Alain Badiou’s work – as our starting point for an investigation of a rich variety of intellectual texts – manifestos, novels, poems, films, and philosophical treatises – that appear in the crucial modernist decade of the 1920s. Our geographical focus will remain primarily on Europe and the U.S., although we may occasionally look at works published elsewhere. For the writers, artists, and intellectuals of this decade, a series of dramatic upheavals – the German revolutions of 1918-19, the Hungarian Revolution of 1919, the struggle for Irish independence (1916-22), and, most significantly of all, the Russian Revolution of 1917 – promised to sweep away the ossified institutions and practices of the old world. This lived possibility of social and cultural change was central to the work of all of these figures, enabling them both to break with the artistic and intellectual conventions that ruled their times and places and to imagine wholly new ways of human being in the world. It is precisely this sense of hope and possibility that also perhaps accounts for why we experience these works as so alien today – as the noted art historian T.J. Clark has recently written, for us who live in a seemingly interminable posthistorical present, “the modernist past is a ruin, the logic of whose architecture we do not remotely grasp. . . This is a world, and a vision of history, more lost to us than Uxmal or Annaradapurah or Neuilly-en-Donjon.” Thus, we will explore these works with an eye not only to beginning to grasp something of their unique “architectures” and the radically other historical situation from which they emerge, but also toward the possibility of “repeating” (to borrow a recent concept from Slavoj Zizek) their achievements in our own time.

Note to enrolled students: We will frame the course by reading Perry Anderson’s essay “Modernity and Revolution,” and Alain Badiou’s short book, Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil. I will make the essay available and the book will be ordered from Goering’s in the next few weeks, and both should be read before the first class meeting.

Although the final list of works we are going to read and view has yet to be determined (scope and ambition of the final list will depend in part on you), the following should offer you some sense of the possibilities:


LIT 6934

Studies in Children’s Culture: Visual Texts

John Cech

This course will examine a wide range of visual texts that have been created for or appropriated by children and young people – from ancient visual narrative forms (e.g. story “sticks” and “spirals”) to comic books and graphic novels from battledores, chapbooks, and primers to the sophisticated picture books available to contemporary audiences. It will also explore other, non-print-based, visually-oriented narrative forms, like animated and live-action films, videos, video games, and television programs, as well as key examples from the material culture of childhood (e.g. puppets, toys, and games). The focus of the course will be on ways in which the visual contains and expands narrative possibilities, as well as offering its own dynamic and unique methods of storytelling. Work in the course will be creative, analytical, and scholarly.


LIT 6934

Questions in Chicana/o and Latino/a Studies

Tace Hedrick

This is a course for those interested in some of the most pressing current intellectual, academic, and pedagogical questions posed to scholars, teachers, and programs of Chicano/a, U.S. Latina/o, and Ethnic Studies. Impelled partly by the rapid growth of U.S. “Hispanic” populations and partly by changes in the political landscape of the United States over the last 15–20 years, scholars and teachers of Mexican-American, Cuban and Cuban-American, Puerto Rican and Nuyorican, and Dominican-American culture have had to rethink the very orientations, motivations, and even locations of their work. We’ll be looking at current arguments around regional vs national approaches; historicism; the uses of cultural nationalism; the politics and scholarship of area programs vs. ethnic studies programs; feminism and critical race studies; border studies; international studies.