Graduate Courses, Fall 2012
|Course no.||Time(s)||Course title||Instructor|
|AML 6027||R 3-5||Radical Queerness & (Afro)Latinos: Neocolonialisms, Diasporas, & Locas||Hedrick|
|AML 6027||T 3-5||Race, Empire, & Asian-American Studies||Schueller|
|CRW 6130||M 9-11||Graduate Fiction Workshop||Leavitt|
|CRW 6166||T 9-11||American Short Story||Robison|
|CRW 6331||T E1-E3||Graduate Poetry Workshop||Logan|
|ENG 6016||M 6-8||Literature & Psychology: Supposing to know, desupposing knowledge||Harpold|
|ENG 6137||T 9-11
|The Untaught Canon||Ray|
|ENG 6138||T E1-E3
|ENL 6246||M 3-5||Jane Austen||Page|
|ENL 6256||T E1-E3||Victorian Genders & the Novel: Masculinities||Gilbert|
|ENL 6276||W 6-8||Post-Punk Cultures: British 80s||Bryant|
|LAE 6947||T 6-8||Writing Theories & Practices||Sanchez|
|LIT 6856||W 9-11||Literatures of Crisis in the African Postcolony||Amoko|
|LIT 6856||W E1-E3||Children’s Studies||Kidd|
|LIT 6934||W 3-5||Writing Technologies||Dobrin|
|LIT 6934||T 9-11||Shakespeare & Latin Antiquity||Shoaf|
Radical Queerness & (Afro)Latinos: Neocolonialisms, Diasporas, & Locas
Building on but departing from the established base of (white) queer studies, this course will work to uncover the often radical acts and artefacts of diasporic and neocolonial (Afro) Latino/a queerness in the United States. From the Stonewall Riots to the Young Lords New York/Chicago movement, from Andy Warhol’s Factory to the San Francisco Gay Latino Alliance, from AIDS videos to ACT UP; and from “diasporicans” from Puerto Rico, “sexiles” of color, alternative religions, and ethnicity who come to the United States from Latin America and the Caribbean, we will look at the ways in which “gay-tino” queers of color have used effeminacy, transvestite and transgender performance/performativity, writing, film, art, pornography, and their own bodies to disrupt United States Anglo/queer visions of sexuality and liberation.
We will be reading fiction, theory and criticism, and looking at films and documentaries (for example: Jose Muñoz’ Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics and his Cruising Utopia and Lawrence Martin La Fountain-Stokes’ Queer Ricans: Cultures and Sexualities in the Diaspora, Antonio Viego’s Dead Subjects: Toward a Politics of Loss, and Heather Love’s Feeling Backwards), non-fiction (for example: Arnaldo Cruz-Malavé’s Queer Latino testimonio, Keith Haring, and JuanitoXtravaganza, Jaime Enrique’s Eminent Maricones), fiction (for example: Mayra Santos-Febres, Sirena Selena: A Novel, Manuel Muñoz’ Zigzagger). We will also be viewing two Warhol films: Holly Woodlawn’s Trash and Mario Montez’ Screen Test #2.
Race, Empire, & Asian-American Studies
“Asian-American” is a highly contested, yet necessary category, born of racism, nationalism, and resistance. This course focuses on the ways in which different forms of racialization as well as histories of U.S. imperialism have informed the construction of Asian-American identities. We will examine Asian-American literary and cultural productions in relation to specific immigration acts, restrictions, exclusions, and laws as well as to racialized stereotypes such as model minorities. We will consider events such as the Rodney King riots in relation to Asian-American immigration and the politics of race and class. We will also study how U.S. imperialism in Asia and the Asia Pacific–the Philippines, Vietnam, and Hawai’i – have produced different Asian-American cultures. The course will engage readings in critical race theory and postcolonial theory with those of Asian-American literary and cultural production.
I’m not sure exactly which texts I’ll use but we’ll probably read Jade Snow Wong’s Fifth Chinese Daughter, Julie Otsaka’s When the Emperor Was Divine, Carlos Bulosan’s America is in the Heart, R. Zamora Linmark’s Leche and Lois Ann Yamanaka’s Blu’s Hanging. In addition we’ll engage with documentaries such as Sa-I-Gu and Bontoc Eulogy. We’ll read the works of race theorists such as Omi and Winant and Anne Anlin Cheng; postcolonialists such as Edward Said and Rey Chow; Asia-Pacific theorists like Rob Wilson; as well as prominent Asian-American critics including Lisa Lowe, Frank Chin, David Palumbo-Liu, E. San Juan Jr, and Vijay Prashad.
Course Requirements: One or two oral presentations; 8–10 response papers; long final paper.
Graduate Fiction Workshop
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. Although most of the writers who take this workshop focus on the short story, the submission of novel excerpts is encouraged.
American Short Story
You will create and propose an anthology, as if you were acting as editor. Your final proposal will include about twenty stories, each with an introduction, as well as a forward for the collection as a whole. In the forward you’ll articulate your ideas for the ordering of the stories and detail the appropriateness of your selections as something key to the American experience. You may elect to narrow your choices to a theme – city life, death in the family, road, gender confusion, drive-thru dining, basketball.
Each week, you’ll be provided with a packet – copies of four or five stories from my own imaginary anthology. We’ll discuss these stories one-at-a-time the next class, and you’ll keep a journal of your reviews a journal I may read and refer to on occasion. You will also have a couple turns to contribute to our reading by presenting stories you admire and want brought to our attention. You’ll distribute copies of these and, the following week, open and conduct a discussion.
The fifty or sixty stories I’ll share with the class will include works by Antonya Nelson, Barry Hannah, Edwidge Danticat, Ha Jin, Junot Diaz, Rick Bass, and Yiyun Li.
Graduate Poetry Workshop
There are four-and-twenty changes in a linnet’s song. It's one of the beautifullest songbirds we've got. It sings ‘toys’ as we call them; that is, it makes sounds which we distinguish in the fancy as the tollock eeke eeke quake le wheet; single eke eke quake wheets; or eek eek quake chowls; eege pipe chowl: laugh; eege poy chowls; rattle; pipe; fear; pugh and poy.
– Mayhew’s London
The south-east coast of Van Dieman’s Land resembles a biscuit at which rats have been nibbling.
– Marcus Clarke, His Natural Life
Being of an undiplomatic and demonstrative nature in matters that give me pleasure, I threw the paper up into the air and jumped aloft myself – ending by taking a small fried whiting out of the plate before me and waving it round my foolish head triumphantly till the tail came off and the body and head flew. . . . Then only did I perceive that I was not alone, but that a party was at breakfast in a recess. Happily for me they were not English, and when I made an apology saying I had suddenly seen some good news of a friend of mine – these amiable Italians said, “Hurrah, Signore, we also are delighted. If we had only got some little fish, too, we would throw them all about the room in sympathy with you!
– Edward Lear, letter of November 24, 1865
The object of poetry is to find the equivalent in language for things seen and felt. This workshop will ask you to write a dozen poems, one per week, and to read a broad selection of modern poetry from Robert Frost to poems published this decade. Each week the workshop will discuss your work and the work of your predecessors. 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.
- an anthology of modern poetry
- three or four volumes of postwar contemporary poetry
- James McAuley, Versification
Literature & Psychology: Supposing to know, desupposing knowledge
In this seminar we will interrogate relations of knowledge – knowledge of self, knowledge of others, institutional productions and transmissions of “objective” knowledge (such as those practiced in the classroom and laboratory) – in light of Freudian and Lacanian breaks with prior epistemologies. Psychoanalysis presents us with a subject of knowledge that is irreducibly divided between its allegiances to systems of positive truth and the insistent negativities that orient and sustain its desires. For such a subject, not knowing and routinized forms of stupidity are (at least) as constitutive of self-awareness as are reflection and mutual comprehension. What are the consequences of this model of knowledge for our individual and consensual habits of mind? For our practices of research and teaching?
Course readings will include primary texts by Freud (portions of the Norton Freud Reader, Freud’s short biographical study of Leonardo da Vinci) and Lacan (portions of Ecrits, Seminar XVII: The Other Side of Psychoanalysis) and selected short and long texts by theorists and critics writing in their wakes (notably Henry Bond, Carlo Ginzburg, and Dany Nobus and Malcolm Quinn).
Graded assignments include a written commentary and in-class presentation on an assigned reading, and a final research essay. (A research prospectus for the final essay is also required; this assignment is not graded.) All written work for the course will be completed in a course wiki. Basic knowledge of WWW- and image–editing applications may be to students’ advantage for some assignments, but is not required.
The Untaught Canon
In 1949, André Bazin organized what cinematic history would recognize as a crucial event, the Festival du Film Maudit [the Festival of Cursed Films]. Staged in Biarritz (the Atlantic version of Cannes) and presided over by jean Cocteau, the conference screened movies that seemed to be slipping into oblivion: Bresson’s Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne, Vigo’s L’Atalante, Welles’s Lady from Shanghai, Tati’s Jour de Fête. The event, which included a near-fist-fight between producer Louis Daquin and writer Alexandre Astruc, energized the French film scene, initiating the canon debates that would lead to the New Wave.
This seminar will examine canonical movies that, while not “cursed,” rarely get taught. The course will run primarily on its screenings (two movies per week) and on two questions: (1) What have academic curricula “lost” these films? (2) How would we begin to teach and write about them? Films /filmmakers will include early Frank Capra, Harlow screwball comedies, Vigo and Renoir (other than Rules of the Game), Frank Borzage, Prévert-Carné, Sturges, Powell-Pressburger, American Fritz Lang, French noir (Becker, Melville), Mann and Boetticher westerns, and others.
Weekly one-page papers responding to a specific question and scene. One 10–page final paper.
This course is meant to be a broad practical survey of strategies and techniques of video production. However, unlike previous iterations of this class, I will be trying something of a pedagogical experiment here, convening on the first day of class to allow you to determine collectively what exactly we will be covering over the 15 weeks of the semester. At the undergraduate level I get to teach an incredible diversity of approaches and technologies including both video and film, and I would like finally to be able to offer more than the familiar video production introduction at the graduate level. Among the possible subjects we might include are proto-cinematic technologies (allowing students to make thaumatropes or praxinoscope strips), cameraless filmmaking (direct animation, Rayograms, hand-processing in 16mm film), small-gauge celluloid (super 8 and/or 16mm), SD and/or HD video, found footage (film or video), contact printing, optical printing, and experiments in audio (with or without images). The first class will surely be an experiment in decision by consensus, and I don’t expect it to be easy, but I am excited to allow you a voice in determining what you learn. The outer boundaries of this experiment will be determined by the limits of my knowledge and the limitations of the technology we have at our disposal (so, for example, we won’t be able to include 3D animation). I expect to have six seats to offer to non-English majors as well, so we should have an interesting mix of perspectives and voices to accommodate as we collectively chart our way.
Also read again, and for the third time at least, Miss Austen's very finely written novel of Pride and Prejudice. That young lady had a talent for describing the involvements and feelings and characters of ordinary life, which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with. The Big Bow-wow strain I can do myself like any now going; but the exquisite touch, which renders ordinary commonplace things and characters interesting, from the truth of the description and sentiment, is denied to me.
– Sir Walter Scott (journal entry, March 14,1826)
You are very, very kind in your hints as to the sort of Composition which might recommend me at present, & I am fully sensible that an Historical Romance . . . might be much more to the purpose of Profit or Popularity, than such pictures of domestic Life in the Country Villages as I deal in—but I could no more write a Romance than an Epic Poem.-- I could not sit seriously down to write a serious Romance under any other motive than to save my Life; & if it were indispensable for me to keep it up & never relax into laughing at myself or other people, I am sure I should be hung before I had finished the first Chapter.
– Jane Austen (letter to James Stanier Clarke, April 1,1816)
Jane Austen lived from 1775 until 1817, but her critics and readers have not always placed her at home during these revolutionary times. Nor have they always recognized the powerful ways that she engages her world as she creates her own version of “ordinary life.” This course will focus on Austen’s writing (including juvenilia, letters, published novels, and uncompleted texts) in the context of the literature, culture, and politics of her time. We will Maria Edgeworth’s Belinda (and perhaps one other novel) as a way of placing Austen in the context of other women writers. We will also discuss several recent film adaptations of Austen’s fiction, considering the ways that such films re-imagine the past that Austen’s novels represent.
Students will write one 20-page paper, as well as make one presentation.
- Tomalin, Jane Austen: A Life (Vintage)
- Catharine and Other Writings (Oxford)
- Sense and Sensibility (Penguin)
- Pride and Prejudice (Penguin)
- Northanger Abbey, Lady Susan, The Watsons and Sanditon (Oxford)
- Mansfield Park (Norton)
- Emma (Penguin)
- Persuasion (Penguin)
- The Romance of the Forest
- Belinda (Oxford)
Victorian Genders & the Novel: Masculinities
This course will focus on Victorian genders with a special emphasis on masculinities, especially as manifested at mid century (mostly the 1840s–1870s) in the novel. Additionally, we will spend time reading and thinking about secondary works which interrogate and historicize our principal terms. Many of you have indicated interest in gender issues generally and specifically in masculinities, a topic which has received increasing attention in recent years. By the end of the course, you will have read a substantial amount of important secondary work regarding mid-century masculinities, as well as a good selection of both canonical and less-known Victorian novels.
- Carlyle, Heroes and Hero Worship
- Gaskell, North and South
- Hughes, Tom Brown’s Schooldays
- Meredith, Ordeal of Richard Feverel
- Ouida, Under Two Flags
- Collins, Man and Wife
- Kingsley, Westward Ho
- Lawrence, Guy Livingstone
- Pater, “Diapheneite” (1864) and “Winckelmann” (1867) [two short essays-handout]
- Darwin, From Selection in Relation to Sex (vII, Part II, Chapters XIX–XXI: “Secondary Sexual Characters of Man” (two chapters) and “General Summary and Conclusion” 1871
- Haggard, She 1886
- Sedgwick, Between Men
- Adams, Dandies and Desert Saints
- Foucault, History of Sexuality vI
The course will focus on novels (probably seven or eight) and secondary readings about gender and especially masculinity. Most of these readings will be critical and historical, rather than theoretical stricto sensu, and so you should either be familiar with basic concepts in gender theory or be prepared to do a little extra reading on your own. However, the class discussion will be tailored to (and by) the class members, so you if need to know more about something, please ask. I would also like to emphasize that, although the course will focus on the construction of masculinity in the period, that topic cannot be discussed without reference to female identity, class, and sexuality, among other issues. The use of the plural in the course title is not simply a convention; it reflects the imbrication of gender with other identity categories, despite the increasing sense of a widely shared masculine “essence” which marks the period and which it left as a legacy. In short, I expect seminar conversation to be rather wide-ranging.
Requirements include regular attendance and participation, eight short (1–2 page) responses to the reading, posted to the class email list, substantial contributions to discussion of response papers over email, one full length paper (21–25 pages), and possibly one formal oral presentation (based on outside reading).
Response papers are due each week. You may choose which eight weeks you will turn something in, but please do not turn them in late. Response papers should be circulated and shared; you must post them electronically at least 48 hours before class. (I will create an email list for the class, to which you may post papers, responses, questions, etc.) Response papers should be short (one to two pages), focused essays which engage the reading (primary, secondary or both) directly.
You are also expected to contribute substantively to discussion on the list, as well as, of course, in class. The class will be conducted as a seminar; each member will be expected to speak during each class meeting and to discuss collegially with other class members. I will contribute as a discussion facilitator and resource person, but not, generally, as a lecturer. You should plan to use the class to explore and expand your own research interests wherever possible. If you would like to tailor your final project for a particular purpose (dissertation chapter, for example), please let me know.
Post-Punk Cultures: British 1980s
This seminar will explore poetry, fiction, film, television, and music that emerged alongside major cultural shifts of the 1980s. It was a time of “Iron Lady” Margaret Thatcher, the new social identity “Black British,” and the New Wave. The emergent discipline of cultural studies assessed the social meanings of style, and Bloodaxe Books marketed “poetry with an edge.” We will work across artistic and popular media to map key cultural intersections of the British 80s. We will also devote class time to “profession 101” issues, especially those raised in Helen Sword’s forthcoming book Stylish Academic Writing. Michael Hofmann plans on joining some of our sessions.
- Julian Barnes, A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters
- The Clash, London Calling
- Margaret Drabble, The Radiant Way
- Carol Ann Duffy, Selected Poems
- Stephen Frears (dir), Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, My Beautiful Laundrette
- Michael Hofmann, Acrimony
- Derek Jarman (dir), Jubilee, The Last of England
- Linton Kwesi Johnson, Mi Revalueshanary Fren
- Grace Nichols, The Fat Black Woman’s Poems
- Dick Hebdige, Subculture: The Meaning of Style
- The Young Ones (TV series)
- Essays by Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall, Angela McRobbie
- Another novel (likely by Kazuo Ishiguro, Penelope Lively, or Martin Amis)
Writing Theories & Practices
This course introduces you to perspectives on writing and the teaching of writing in colleges and universities. It aims to give you historical and theoretical contexts in which to place your emerging teaching career. Expect to do much writing and reading.
Literatures of Crisis in the African Postcolony
This course turns on a foundational question in literary studies: what is the relationship between the realm of art—aesthetics—and the politics of everyday life—the lebenwelt. In an attempt to answer this question, we will undertake a genealogy of the contemporary literatures of Africa. As such critics as V. Y. Mudimbe and Simon Gikandi have contended, modern African literature first emerged in the late nineteen fifties and early sixties as a discourse designed to liberate African subjects from the colonial order of things. Written in the context of triumphant or, at any rate optimistic, nationalism, this literature predominantly deployed the aesthetics of realism. In hindsight, this deployment does seems neither accidental or co-incidental. These, it would seem, were literatures of radical possibility and profound optimism. Diverse critics such as Fredric Jameson, Kwame Anthony Appiah and Benedict Anderson all argue that realism is the preeminent aesthetic mode of nationalism. Both the nation and the realist novel are narratives of linear progress across time. Anderson appears to suggest that the novel (along with the newspaper) was central to the possibility of imagining the modern nation. The aesthetic of the novel made it possible to think and narrate the nation in “homogeneous empty time.” To what extent are the founding texts of modern African literature causally linked to the discourses of African nationalism? If the first generation of modern African emerged in the context of triumphant anti-colonial nationalism, then, succeeding generations have been written in the wake of what has come to be known as the Africa crisis. From the late nineteen sixties onwards, the promise of postcolonial plentitude give way to pessimism and despair as everyday African life came increasingly to be characterized by abject poverty, horrific violence, endemic corruption, repressive governance, crumbling infrastructure, extreme deprivation and other forms of mass misery. From one perspective, the African postcolony has come to be defined by an interminable, if not terminal, crisis. What has the aesthetic dimension of this crisis been? To what extent have Afro-modernism, magical realism and other forms of anti-realism displaced realism in the realm of African art? To what extent can these non/anti-realist modes been seen as symptomatic of a continent in crisis? Is it possible to trace one to one correspondence, if not a causal relationship, between the dominant forms of African art and the politics of everyday African life? Beyond canonical realist writers such as Chinua Achebe, Flora Nwapa and the early Ngugi wa Thiong’o, we will study such contemporary writers as Ben Okri, Zakes Mda, Cyl Cheney Coker, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Tsitsi Dangrembga and the later Ngugi.
What is/was/will be children’s or childhood studies? What are the pros and cons of organizing and investigating via such a rubric? Is children’s studies just getting started, or is it winding down? Those questions front and center, this course focuses on issues of field, disciplinarity, methodology, professionalization, and institutionalization. We’ll consider children’s or childhood studies in relation to more established fields like philosophy, history, anthropology, and literature, with special attention to children's literature studies. Children's media will also be in the mix. We will talk directly with the faculty and graduate students involved in the first and groundbreaking PhD program in childhood studies, at Rutgers-Camden - which is now facing possible shutdown or reconfiguration.
In terms of form, writing assignments will emphasize the practice of professional genres such as the book review, the conference paper, and the seminar paper. Seminar participants will also participate in a peer review simulation. In terms of content, students may write on any course-relevant topic.
- Essays by Nina Christensen, Karen Coats, Anna Mae Duane, Richard Flynn, Marah Gubar, Mary Galbraith, Kenneth Kidd, Gertrud Lenzer, Karen Sanchez-Eppler, Tom Travisano, Roberta Seelinger Trites, and Lynn Valone, among others.
- Philippe Ariès, Centuries of Childhood
- Robin Bernstein, Racial Innocence
- Steven Bruhm and Natasha Hurley, Curiouser
- Jacob M. Held, ed., Dr. Seuss and Philosophy: Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!
- Susan Honeyman, Consuming Agency in Fairy Tales, Childlore, and Folkliterature
- Henry Jenkins, The Children's Culture Reader
- Caroline Levander and Carol J. Singley, eds., The American Child: A Cultural Studies Reader
- Jeffrey Mehlman, Walter Benjamin for Children: An Essay on His Radio Years
- Emer O’Sullivan, Comparative Children’s Literature
- Carolyn Steedman, Strange Dislocations
- Shelby Anne Wolf and Shirley Brice Heath, The Braid of Literature
The idea of writing is inseparable from the concept of technology. This course examines the history of the relationship between writing and technology, considering the transitions from orality to literacy to electracy. The course will consider the intellectual and material aspects of technology and will consider whether technological developments and changes in writing practices are co-constitutive. We will also ask as to whether writing itself is a technology or if technology is a function of writing writ large.
Shakespeare & Latin Antiquity
This course will consider the Latin sources that we now think Shakespeare was far more conversant with than used to be conceded. Chief amongst these sources in this particular course will be Lucretius and Ovid.
I should make clear immediately that the course does not require, explicitly or implicitly, a knowledge of Latin and that the course is not a throwback to venerable Einfluss-Studien. We will be studying Shakespeare as a reader, a highly literate man, not as an “erudite.” To be sure, there will be times when we need the ipsissima verba, and on those occasions we will find them through the Internet or through other means that I will make available. But primarily our work will be research on the topics of invention that Shakespeare encountered in the Latin writers who were most influential in his career. Thus, to give a quick but salient example, in the early narrative poem, “Venus and Adonis,” Shakespeare responds to Lucretius on various occasions primarily by way of Lucretius’s famous celebration of Venus that begins in book 1 and continues throughout the De rerum natura. Such Latin topicality enables investigations of Shakespeare’s texts which return often surprising results. If Shakespeare is not as “erudite” as his great contemporary Ben Jonson, it turns out that he is nonetheless a very literate poet. It is this literacy that we will be most interested in examining so as to appreciate Shakespeare’s contribution to English poetry.
Requirements for the course will be participation in the seminar as we discuss the details of Shakespeare’s rhetoric and literacy and two essays prepared outside of class in which students undertake an analysis of a particular example of Shakespeare’s rhetoric and literacy. These essays need not necessarily be lengthy nor, at least in the first instance, do they need to comport large (“bone-breaking”) bibliographies. First and foremost, they must engage with the way that Shakespeare transforms sources: he is the most original writer in our tradition who deliberately re-scripts sources not his own, not original with him—almost as if others’ inventions of topics liberated him to invent English poetry. This is the simple proposition of the course. We will test this proposition to learn how it may help us to understand the rhetoric with which Shakespeare composes poetry as he transforms English, language and culture.