Graduate Courses, Spring 2007

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 M 6-8 American Literature to 1900 Leverenz
downAML 6017 R E1-E3 American Literature & Sexuality: 1600–1800 Schorb
downAML 6027 W 6-8 New York City, as “Subject” Smith
downCRW 6130 T 9-11 Graduate Fiction Workshop Leavitt
downCRW 6130 T 9-11 Graduate Fiction Workshop Hasak-Lowy
downCRW 6331 M E1-E3 Graduate Poetry Workshop Hofmann
downCRW 6331 T E1-E3 Graduate Poetry Workshop Logan
downENG 6076 W 9-11 Fredric Jameson: Dialectics, Modernism, & Utopia Wegner
downENG 6077 T 9-11 Imaging Metaphysics Ulmer
downENG 6077 T 3-5 Forms: Allegory Paxson
downENG 6138 W 6-8
M 9-11
Networked Traces: Reconsidering Video Production Nygren
downENG 6138 F 6-8
R 9-11
Auteur After Life: Krzysztof Kieślowski, or, The Spirit of the Material Caes
downENL 6216 M 9-11 Studies in Middle English: From Troy to Camelot to “Troynovant” (“New Troy,” or London) Shoaf
downENL 6256 M E1-E3 The Woman Question in Late-Victorian Culture Snodgrass
downLIT 6308 MWF 4-5 Comics & Animation Ault
downLIT 6357 R 3-5 Competing Empires, Competing Paradigms: Twentieth Century Caribbean Literature Rosenberg
downLIT 6357 R 6-8 African American/African Literature: Tropological Revision of Black Identity in African American Narratives Horton-Stallings
downLIT 6934 R 9-11 Children, Culture, & Violence Cech

AML 6017

American Literature to 1900

David Leverenz

In this course we’ll focus on antebellum American texts and genres: slave narratives, short stories and novels, essays and poems. My emphasis will be on close readings, with some attention to ideological contexts both then and now and to relevant criticism. We’ll explore how constructions of blackness and whiteness intersect with gendered norms, and how those intersections affect the emergence of “sensational” and “sentimental” fiction. We’ll also discuss the strengths and limits of close reading, with some attention to the history of criticism.

We’ll begin with close readings of Frederick Douglass’s Narrative, his rewriting of those chapters ten years later in My Bondage and My Freedom, and Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. (Texts will be Classic Slave Narratives, ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Bondage, ed. William Andrews.) Next we’ll take several weeks to discuss a variety of short narratives by Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne, in their Library of America editions, in part to see how white writers handle blackness in their themes and imagery. We’ll examine the interplay of sensational and sentimental modes, and we’ll try to figure out what Poe is doing with all those fragmented body parts in his satires. We’ll also discuss why several of Hawthorne’s sketches were so much more popular than the stories that have since been canonized. Then we’ll turn to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Harper Classics ed. or Norton critical ed., depending on class preference for cheapness vs. criticism) and either Herman Melville’s Moby Dick (Penguin ed.) or some shorter texts by Melville, depending on class interest. We’ll conclude with some essays by Emerson, perhaps with excerpts from his journals, and some poems by Whitman. The class may add or substitute other texts and authors, e.g., Olaudah Equiano, Margaret Fuller, Dickinson, Longfellow, Walden, The House of the Seven Gables, The Last of the Mohicans, Fanny Fern’s Ruth Hall. Everyone should already have read Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.

NOTE: you should read Douglass’s Narrative for our first meeting. Also, I’m probably going to retire in a couple of years, so I’ll be reluctant to direct more dissertations, though I’ll be happy to be on dissertation committees if our interests converge.

Class format will be informal, featuring what I hope will be vigorous discussion. I’ll usually start with some prefatory framings, then ask each of you to say what issues, passages, and/or befuddlements you’d like to talk about. We’ll explore some current critical tensions, e.g., between “race, class, and gender” critics and those who want to resurrect the possibility of aesthetic appreciation. We’ll also consider the vexed politics and aesthetics of antebellum sentimentalism.

Work required: one comparative close reading, probably in the fourth week (30%), a brief prospectus for the research essay, and a 15–20 pp. research essay (70%). Grading will be based entirely on your writing, with one exception: missing more than one class without a valid excuse will lower borderline grades, and missing more than two will lower any grade. An A means I think your writing shows dissertation potential by sustaining a complex and original argument with sophistication. A B+ means strong writing at the Masters level, usually offering original arguments and textual insights, though needing more sustained development and complexity. A B means competent writing at the Masters level. Lower than that means some relatively basic problems with either your writing or your commitment to academic work. E-mail me at if you have any questions, since I’m on leave and out of town this fall.


AML 6017

American Literature and Sexuality: 1600–1800

Jodi Schorb

This seminar introduces students to the theories, methodologies, and texts central to the study of early American sexualities. Beginning with the period of early settlement and colonization, the course then foregrounds a challenging period in the study of sexuality, the American eighteenth century—an undertheorized period that, if we apply Foucault, should reveal a shift in sexual knowledge between early modern acts and modern industrial identities. How do specific literary genres (travel writing, religious sermons, execution narratives, diaries, advice pamphlets, trial transcripts, early American novels) reflect existing sexual knowledge and beliefs, as well as proliferate new sexual discourses, desires, and possibilities? How and at what critical moments do concepts of religious, political, and familial order overlap and influence the creation of “ideal” and deviant bodies (i.e. monster births, sodomites, cross-dressers, rapists, coquettes, rakes)? Who read these texts and for what purposes (orthodox and other)?

Secondary readings, largely interdisciplinary in scope, will frame the dominant arguments, debates, and gaps in how we currently talk about early American sexual knowledges and practices (including the limits of Foucaultian frameworks), and shed light on the role that religion, race, region, class, colonization, the emerging public sphere, and early national discourses play in shaping representations of gender and sexuality.

Primary texts likely to include sermons by Samuel Danforth and Cotton Mather; diaries of Joseph Moody and William Byrd; execution narratives, i.e. “Life and Dying Speeches of Arthur, A Negro Man” (1768); travel writing, i.e. New Voyage to Carolina (1709); Mann’s account of soldier and cross-dresser Deborah Samson The Female Review (1797), early Republican novels, including The Power of Sympathy, The Coquette, and Ormond. Requirement include regular attendance and participation, one or two oral presentations of secondary scholarship, eight short (2-page) reading response papers shared electronically prior to class, and a final seminar paper produced in stages.


AML 6027

New York City, as “Subject”

Stephanie A. Smith

New York City established itself as a significant “metropolitan” seaport particularly during the 19th century. Although Boston remained a powerful seaport, from which both goods and a burgeoning American literary culture were exported, New York came to dominate such trade and by the 20th century took its place as a “world trade center.” This course is designed to take an in-depth look at New York as a “subject,” through the eyes of the artists and writers who throve there, from the late 19th to early 20th century, a historical and cultural examination of a metropolis that has been recently re-transformed by the phrase “9/11.”

Readings will include both poetry and prose, work by William Dean Howells, Edith Wharton, Theodore Dreiser, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hart Crane, and more.


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, 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.

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

Todd Hasak-Lowy

This course is for MFA degree candidates in fiction only. It will be run in the ‘traditional’ writing workshop fashion, with the writer silent while his or her work is discussed. While students’ writing will ultimately determine the focus of the class, one multi-part question we’ll regularly address is: what are the rules of fiction? In other words, what must a writer do in any given piece, and why (and how) do different efforts to avoid or refuse these demands sometimes work and sometimes not?

Works at any stage of development can be submitted, but the more polished the better for everyone involved. Students are expected to take their responsibilities as readers and critics every bit as seriously as they do their own writing. Comments (including my own) from readers to writers will be honest and thoughtful, and writers will be asked to be understanding if and when the former seems to come at the expense of the latter. Writers are expected to find ways to improve as writers, hopefully thanks to the workshop format.

Attendance mandatory.

I may distribute a few short readings at the beginning of the semester.


CRW 6331

Graduate Poetry Workshop

Michael Hofmann

For this semester I’m planning a course of poetry and fiction in translation, to appeal particularly to graduates who feel unread or under-read. The reading may turn out to be unfeasible, but at the moment I’m hoping to do 3 novels (a Hamsun, a Kafka, and a Koeppen), 3 solo poets (Mandelstam, Trakl, Vallejo) and 3 anthology/ choruses that showcase, so to speak, the translator ( Lowell ’s Imitations, Tom Paulin’s Road to Inver, and Eliot Weinberger’s book of Chinese poetry). Students to contribute original poems, translations, and parodies.


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.”

– Sprawson, Haunts of the Black Masseur

Carmichael: It’s awfully hard to live poetry, ma’am.

Dove: Goodbye, Mr. Carmichael.

– Barbary Coast

“I have two acting styles. With and without a horse.”

– Robert Mitchum

“Whoo-oop! bow your neck and spread, for the kingdom of sorrow’s a-coming! Hold me down to the earth, for I feel my powers a-working! whoo-oop! I’m a child of sin, don’t let me get a start! Smoked glass, here, for all! Don’t attempt to look at me with the naked eye, gentlemen! When I’m playful I use the meridians of longitude and parallels of latitude for a seine, and drag the Atlantic Ocean for whales! I scratch my head with the lightning and purr myself to sleep with the thunder! When I’m cold, I bile the Gulf of Mexico and bathe in it. . . . I’m the man with a petrified heart and biler-iron bowels! The massacre of isolated communities is the pastime of my idle moments, the destruction of nationalities the serious business of my life! The boundless vastness of the great American desert is my enclosed property, and I bury my dead on my own premises! . . . Whoo-oop!”

– Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi

We will find a place for frivolity and fecklessness within the seriousness of verse and hope that within our studies cheerfulness will keep breaking in. The workshop will include readings in the poetry of the past century as well as the poetry of the age, and we will spend a few weeks on versification. Readings in contemporary and modern American, British, and Irish poetry, and meticulous discussion of your own delightful work. Also, practical dentistry and lock-picking.

Reading List:


ENG 6076

Fredric Jameson: Dialectics, Modernism, and Utopia

Phillip Wegner

In Hegel nothing can be understood in isolation, everything is to be understood only in the context of the whole, with the awkward qualification that the whole in turn lives only in the individual moments.

– Theodor Adorno, “Skoteinos, or How to Read Hegel”

The peculiar difficulty of dialectical writing lies indeed in its holistic, ‘totalizing’ character: as though you could not say any one thing until you had first said everything; as though with each new idea you were bound to recapitulate the entire system.

– Fredric Jameson, Marxism and Form

In this course, we will take these claims about the nature of dialectical thought as a starting point for an examination of the work of one of the most prolific and influential U.S, literary and cultural critics of the second half of the twentieth and first part of the twenty-first centuries. We will read Jameson’s work this semester with the aim not only of appreciating its insights into an incredible range of literary, cultural, and theoretical phenomena, but also of using his striking (re)formulation of the dialectic as a model for our own intellectual practices. At the same time, we will pay particular attention to the central significance of two deeply interrelated categories – modernism and utopia – in much of his work. We will first read the four major statements in Jameson’s project – Marxism and Form: Twentieth Century Dialectical Theories of Literature (1971); The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act (1981); Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1991); and Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions (2005) – with an eye toward what they have to teach us about the changing fortunes of “theory” and engaged critical thought over the course of the last forty years. Then we will look at his most recent “quartet” of books – along with Archaeologies, Brecht and Method (1998), A Singular Modernity: Essay on the Ontology of the Present (2002), and the forthcoming, The Modernist Papers (2007) – in order to tease out further his current thoughts about the cultural logics of a diverse range of “modernist” practices. Time permitting, and depending upon student interest, we may also look at some of his earlier works on modernism – such as some of the essays collected in the two volumes of The Ideologies of Theory; or sections of the earlier books, Fables of Aggression: Wyndham Lewis, The Modernist as Fascist; Late Marxism: Adorno, or, The Persistence of the Dialectic; and The Seeds of Time – or his work on film collected in Signatures of the Visible and The Geopolitical Aesthetic: Cinema and Space in the World System.


ENG 6077

Imaging Metaphysics

Greg Ulmer

There is much discussion in contemporary theory about the end or closure of Western metaphysics, along with challenges to essentialism in all its form. These discussions are a symptom of a shift underway in the language apparatus away from literacy toward electracy. The Classical Greeks invented metaphysics in the context of the new institution of school (the Academy, the Lyceum), as part of their development of the possibilities of alphabetic writing. “Metaphysics” in this grammatological context refers to the classification system made possible by the written word as a recording technology. After nearly 200 years of electracy, a new category system is emerging, across a number of institutions employing new media. Many theorist have called for a new logic, or new writing, more adequate to our society of the spectacle.

In the seminar we will respond to these calls by using the heuretic method to design and test a poetics to guide the creation of an image metaphysics (category system). The poetics will be derived from an analysis of Martin Heidegger’s An Introduction to Metaphysics, Jacques Derrida’s “To Unsense the Subjectile” (treating the pictograms of Antonin Artaud), and Rosalind Krauss’s Art in the Age of the Post-Medium Condition. The image category will be tested with the composition of two Websites, using cascading stylesheets (CSS). The course is taught in the Networked Writing Environment (NWE). Experience with Web design is helpful but not required.


ENG 6077

Forms: Allegory

James Paxson

This seminar will survey a range of literary texts and theoretical or critical statements on the device allegory, or “saying other.” Our own theoretical platforms will include philology, rhetoric, psychoanalysis, feminism, semiotics and deconstruction. Major theorists (St. Augustine, Hugh of St. Victor, Dante, Walter Benjamin, Angus Fletcher, Paul de Man, and others) will punctuate an historically organized list of allegorical writers (Apuleius, Bernardus Silvestris, de Pizan, Chaucer, Langland, Colonna, Spenser, Bunyan, Milton, Kafka, Bulgakov, Coetzee, Rushdi) whose works incorporate especially the device’s master trope, prosopopeia or personification, and the narrative drive of interpretation and abstraction. Though we will have a reading list highlighting the transhistoricality of allegory, emphasis will be on some of the premodern monuments to the device – especially Langland’s Piers Plowman and Spenser’s The Faerie Queene. Work includes: weekly reports on readings, one book review and a term paper.


ENG 6138

Networked Traces: Reconsidering Video Production

Scott Nygren

This seminar will address problems in cultural theory through the making of video images and tapes, as a specific approach to the larger field of Media and Cultural Studies. Video will be conceived as a mode of embodied writing and knowledge production parallel to other more familiar modes of textual construction. Prior experience with video or computers might be helpful but is not required; all technologies will be introduced at a basic level prior to initiating your own work.

The seminar derives from three significant events in the recent past, all characterized by a convergence of elements previously assumed to be categorically separate. Theoretical work and artistic practice have converged so that work in either area now freely borrows from the other. A similar convergence has occurred between computers and video, now fused in a new hybrid medium. Last, intercultural concerns and avant-garde strategies of representation have likewise merged to produce some of the most exciting video work since the 1990s.

The convergence of theoretical writing and artistic practice characterizes such critical texts as Derrida’s Glas, Blanchot’s Step / Not Beyond, Barthes’ Roland Barthes and Ronell’s Telephone Book, and such videotapes as Yun-ah Hong’s Memory / All Echo, Woody Vasulka’s Art of Memory and Marlon Riggs’ Tongues Untied. We will read theoretical texts as possible models for video work, and view films and tapes that have previously attempted an intersection of cultural theory and moving image media. In both cases, established literary and filmic texts will act as points of departure for the generation of new models. At the same time, participants in the seminar will regularly produce and screen their own video work in response to class discussion and to each other’s video texts.

The merging of computers and video implies the imminent practicality of hypermedia, once video parallels alphabetic text as a primary organizing tool of interactive multimedia. This shift from hypertext to hypermedia remains in the not-quite-yet stage for individual artists and scholars, due to limitations of speed, memory and compression, despite hyperbolic claims that it has already arrived,. As training for this newly determining context, we will look at works by avant-garde artists who have been conceptually interactive for a long time. Accordingly, the seminar’s video work will be produced and discussed in the context of such digital imaging developments as Hypermedia, DVD-ROM’s, HDTV and a video-capable Internet. However, this discussion will be oriented not towards the technology as such, but towards its implications for the reconfiguration of knowledge, power and desire in a social context.

Last, a contemporary renewal of avant-garde strategies of representation has emerged to articulate problems of identity, race, gender, economy and history in a multidiasporic world culture. We will look at videos generated from such culturally hybrid situations as Korea/US, Britain/Nigeria, Uganda/US, Iran/Britain and Aborigine/Australia, as a currently active and dispersed media project by which we can set bearings for new work.

We will be working with Mac G5 Final Cut Pro editing systems, which are user-friendly desktop computers designed for video production. The department will provide digital camcorders for shooting high quality footage. Attention may also be given to problems of institutional design and innovation, as a social basis for work in video.


ENG 6138

Auteur After Life: Krzysztof Kieślowski, or, The Spirit of the Material

Christopher Caes

This course explores the cinema of internationally renowned Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski. Specifically, we will approach Kieślowski’s cinema as a productive site for investigating late transformations of the auteur in European cinema. The title of this course, “Auteur After Life,” is intended to signal 1) the ways in which Kieślowski’s own feature films are born out of the death of documentary filmmaking, 2) the ways in which his cinema has functioned as a new lease on life for the European auteur, as a “reanimation” of the auteur after the “death of the author,” and 3) the ways in which Kieślowski himself has continued uncannily, after his own death, to “direct films,” to direct his own screenplays via other filmmakers (Tykwer, Tanović, Stuhr). As a cinema haunted by doubles, ghosts, and parallel lives, a cinema in which authorial figures, both human and demiurgic, both living and resurrected proliferate, Kieślowski’s films are uniquely configured to stage these questions. We will trace Kieślowski’s own interrogation of the figure of the auteur via a focus on the contradictory impulses of his cinema, a cinema torn between a fidelity to the profilmic event and a preoccupation with editing, between an “Eastern” humanism and “Western” psychoanalysis, between a fascination with providential/demiurgic authorship and a concomitant fascination with the uncanny productivity of chance. This will take us through a series of investigations ranging, among other things, from documentary film theory and the themes of chance, intention, and historical trauma to Derridean spectrality, postcommunism, and mourning. Screening two full-length films (or the equivalent thereof) per week, we will examine the bulk of Kieślowski’s documentary and feature work, as well as look at selected films by auteurs in dialogue with Kieślowski, such as internationally active Polish filmmakers Krzysztof Zanussi and Agnieszka Holland as well as West European directors Tom Tykwer and Lars von Trier.


ENL 6216

Studies in Middle English: From Troy to Camelot to “Troynovant” (“New Troy,” or London)

R. Allen Shoaf

In this course, we will read the anonymous Middle English masterpiece Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, Henryson’s Testament of Cresseid, Malory’s Morte d’Arthur, Spenser’s Faerie Queene I (“The Legend of Redcrosse Knight”), and Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida.

With the “city” (Troy, Rome, Camelot, London, often called “New Troy”) as our organizing “topic,” or (literally) “place,” we will examine the ways in which the Matter of Rome and the Matter of Britain intersect in the early formation of the British literary tradition. Or, put differently, we will assess the Latin heritage that everywhere informs Medieval and Early Modern British Literature – the writings of Vergil, Ovid, Horace, Statius, Seneca, Cicero, et al.

There are no pre-requisites for this course (although, self-evidently, if you are familiar with various Latin classics, that will be to your advantage). All material will be available in translations as well as in the originals. The course will serve as a general introduction to the professional study of Medieval and Early Modern British Literature. Attention will be paid to methods as well as various contents; and students should be equipped after this course to navigate their way through scholarly research in the literatures of the period and, indeed, of periods beyond, to at least the beginnings of Romanticism. Moreover, students may want to note that the works we will be reading are among those that are frequently taught in sophomore-level surveys in most colleges and universities in America.

Requirements will include one in-class report from each student and either a research paper of 25 pages or two extended “explications” of 12–15 pages (the latter option particularly suits students interested in the material but not in Medieval and early Modern British Literature as a career specialization). Extensive use will be made of the Internet where there are now vast archives of relevant material; and I will be especially prepared to help any students who need a general introductory orientation to using the Internet in scholarly researches.


ENL 6256

The Woman Question in Late-Victorian Culture

Chris Snodgrass

This course will study later Victorian poetry, drama, prose fiction, painting, graphic arts, and contemporary (Victorian) works of cultural criticism and critical theory as a means for examining the Victorian fin-de-siècle culture’s attempts to cope with the issue known as “the Woman Question.”

We will first try to understand some of the aesthetic and cultural assumptions of the eighteen-nineties, applying those assumptions to some texts that revolve around the figure of woman. We will then read contemporary commentary on the issues raised by “The Woman Question” and use those issues to contextualize the works of some of the most significant canonical late Victorian artists, as well as important (if generally neglected) non-canonical fin-de-siècle figures. We will be studying (albeit fairly briefly) an unusually large number of figures, in order to try to capture the fuller range of debate on one of the most critical issues of the period. Among the artists we will read, in addition to various Victorian feminist and anti-feminist essayists, are Oscar Wilde, Max Beerbohm, various Pre-Raphaelite artists, Ernest Dowson, Arthur Symons, Henry Harland, Victoria Cross, Grant Richards, Arthur Wing Pinero, George Egerton [Mary Chavelita Dunne], Ella D’Arcy, Mathilde Blind, Graham R. Thomson [Rosamund Marriott Watson], Mary E. Coleridge, and Aubrey Beardsley. While most of the weekly assignments do not explicitly include twentieth-century critical theory – and a sophisticated knowledge of literary theory is in no way a prerequisite – you will be encouraged to employ whatever theoretical perspectives you know to help illuminate the issues under study.

The course will try specifically to organize your efforts toward the end of producing a publishable professional article. Approximately 50% of the final grade will depend on the term paper and the supporting bibliographical work and scholarship. The other 50% will be based on the quality of weekly reading notes, as well as the degree of preparation for and participation in the discussions of the scheduled course material.


LIT 6308

Comics and Animation

Donald Ault

This seminar will focus on a selective history and emergent theories of comic books, comic strips, and animated cartoons from the late 19th century to the present, with emphasis on earlier, “originary” works, and the 6000 + pages of texts of Carl Barks, the subversive Disney comic book artist/writer and animation story man from 1946–1966 who created Scrooge McDuck and whose work will be central to the theoretical, analytical, and historical issues of the seminar. ImageTexts of other artists, writers, animators, and studios to be studied will probably include Winsor McCay, George Herriman, Bill Cole, Chester Gould, Will Eisner, Frank Miller, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, the Disney, Fleischer, Iwerks, and Warner Bros. Studios, and many others.


LIT 6357

Competing Empires, Competing Paradigms: Twentieth Century Caribbean Literature

Leah Rosenberg

“Have I given you the impression that the Antigua I grew up in revolved almost completely around England ? Well, that was so. I met the world through England, and if the world wanted to meet me it would have to do so through England .”

- Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place

Exile and Englishness have traditionally been viewed as the “ground zero” of Anglophone Caribbean literature. In the 1950s, V.S. Naipaul, George Lamming, Sam Selvon and many other writers from across the region emigrated to London where they attained international acclaim, establishing the West Indian literary tradition. (Ultimately, two members of this generation would win the Nobel prize for literature, Derek Walcott (1992) and V.S. Naipaul (2001).) Schooled in everything English from language and literature to music and food, newly arrived writers expected to be embraced by the mother country. Instead they found systematic racism and war rations. This exile and discrimination became the core of much Caribbean literature, cultural theory, and literary criticism. The literary and critical tradition proved powerful in shaping not only Caribbean literary studies but also British literature and cultural studies in the twentieth century. The first half of this course traces this literary migration and creation from C.L.R. James’s arrival in England in 1932 to emergence of black cultural studies and the contemporary success of Zadie Smith and Andrea Levy.

In the second half of the semester, we examine Caribbean literature and cultural criticism that does not so clearly fit this paradigm. How do we understand the powerful role of U.S. imperialism in the Caribbean and the large body of literature produced by Caribbean writers who emigrated to Canada and the United States? How did this paradigm include Indo-Caribbean writers and literary subjects? To what extent and how did women writers find a place in this model? How did queer literature and film come to play such a critical and yet often marginalized role? Authors will include: C.L.R. James, Claude McKay, Una Marson, Isaac Julien, Stuart Hall, Paul Gilroy, Jamaica Kincaid, Shani Mootoo, Colin Channer, Andrea Levy, V.S. Naipaul, Sam Selvon, Nalo Hopkinson, and Marcia Douglas.


LIT 6357

African American/African Literature: Tropological Revision of Black Identity in African American Narratives

LaMonda Horton-Stallings

“Black writers also read each other, and seem intent on refiguring what we might think of as key canonical topoi and tropes received from the black tradition itself.”

– Henry L. Gates The Signifying Monkey

This class will examine canonical and recent African American novels and their thematic concerns with constructions of identities. It will focus on the way in which certain tropes are repeated with differences between two or more texts. We will interrogate the historical and cultural foundations for the origins of the tropes and differences in the revisions. Paying special attention to aesthetics and style, we will also investigate any connections between constructions of identities and specific narrative forms.


Novels to be supplemented with critical readings by Henry L. Gates, Karla F.C. Holloway, Charles Johnson, Roderick A. Ferguson, Deborah McDowell, William L. Andrews, Nellie McKay, and others.


LIT 6934

Children, Culture, and Violence

John Cech

This seminar will be an examination of the recurrent – indeed, ancient – presence of violence in the cultures of childhood. The course will explore a number of cultural locations of violence, from fairytales, myth, and fables to contemporary picture books and fantasy; from nursery rhymes and children’s folklore to contemporary films and video games. We will look at a range of theoretical and critical materials including psychological positions and child care manuals, legal rulings and socio-political commentaries like Geoffrey Canada’s Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun and James Garbarino’s See Jane Hit.