Graduate Courses, Spring 2014

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
CRW 6130 T E1-E3 Graduate Fiction Workshop Leavitt
CRW 6166 W E1-E3 Fiction Forms Ciment
CRW 6331 T 9-11 Graduate Poetry Logan
CRW 6166 M 6-8 Verse Forms Wade
ENG 6075 W 9-11 Theory Art Ulmer
ENG 6077 M 6-8 Literary Theory: Forms Wegner
ENG 6138 T 6-8
Screenings:
R 9-11
Critical Issues in French Film History Turim
ENL 6256 R E1-E3 Defining Figures in Fin-de-siècle Aestheticism Snodgrass
LIT 6047 T 4, R 4-5 The Modern Theater: Learning by Doing Homan
LIT 6357 R 7-9 New Approaches to Black Sexualities Ongiri
LIT 6357 W 6-8 The World of James Baldwin Reid
LIT 6856 W 9-11 Fictions of Africa Amoko
LIT 6934 T 6-8 Reading and Writing Sendak Cech
LIT 6934 W 3-5 Writing, Theory, and the Colonial Difference Sánchez
LIT 6934 T 9-11 The Carceral Imaginary Schorb

CRW 6130

Graduate Fiction Workshop

David Leavitt

Description to be added.

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CRW 6166

Fiction Forms

Jill Ciment

This class will explore fictional forms—point of view, voice, plot, scene, character, and structure. The semester will be divided between lectures and workshops. Each student will create a basic outline for a novella and then proceed to experiment with different approaches to that story, putting into practice all the elements of narrative. Reading will be assigned weekly.

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CRW 6331

Graduate Poetry Workshop

William Logan

“Keep your mind off the poetry and on the pajamas and everything will be all right.”
Gregory Peck, Roman Holiday

Alexandre Dumas fils, the health-obsessed son of a famous father, ... agonizes over half a sentence for a year, “and then his father arrives from Naples and says: ‘Get me a cutlet and I’ll write your play for you,’ writes the scenario, brings in a whore, borrows some money and goes off again.”
New York Review of Books, 15 February 2007

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

“Dang! This is the worst doughnut I ever did eat!”
Country-and western singer Bill Monroe, eating his first bagel, Burkhard Bilger, New Yorker, May 14, 2007

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.

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CRW 6166

Verse Forms

Sidney Wade

“Poetry is what’s lost in the translation,” Robert Frost is famously supposed to have said. Regardless of whether or not he actually did say it (none of the assiduous researches devoted to the subject have managed to come up with an original text), it’s an assumption that will be discussed and challenged in this class. During this semester students will be asked to translate a minimum of six poems from another language. Before, during, and after the work of translation, we will discuss a variety of issues involved in the endeavor, such as 1) whether or not a fluent understanding of the original language is necessary to the translator; 2) how the foreign literary landscape influences the work of translation; 3) how one deals with the challenges of form; 4) are translations transcriptions? representations? 5) issues of music, rhythm, speech, drama, nuance, punctuation, etc. We will also read and discuss passages on the theory of translation. Each student will be required to lead one class discussion on the readings, and every week we will workshop students’ translations, as per the regular workshop format. Final folders should include six revised translations of the chosen poet’s work. Students who are not perfectly fluent in their chosen language must engage the services of a native speaker to help them with the literal trots. Graduate students or professors in other university programs are often very happy to help.

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ENG 6075

Theory Art

Greg Ulmer

Within the methodological framing of grammatology (the history and theory of writing), debates about the closure of Western metaphysics are understood as an engagement with the limits of literacy as an apparatus (social machine). The apparatus of alphabetic writing was invented in Classical Greece, including the new institution of school (Plato’s Academy, Aristotle’s Lyceum), within which were created the practices of writing—logic, rhetoric, poetics, metaphysics: the methods that gave rise to the scientific worldview. Alfred North Whitehead famously observed that all philosophy is a footnote to Plato. His point is not so much that the tradition is Neoplatonic, but that the methods of reason created in the Academy remain at the core of philosophy as a discipline. Gilles Deleuze declared that the primary task of philosophy is the creation of concepts. The first concept was “Justice,” credited to Plato according to a history written by the grammatologist Eric Havelock, and the context of the apparatus makes Deleuze’s point redundant. The insight provided in this perspective is that “metaphysics” is relative to its apparatus, and each apparatus operates within the powers and limitations native to its communicational episteme. English Departments (and by extension the Humanities disciplines in general) are the heirs, curators, and stewards of “Western Metaphysics” in this sense.

The goal of this seminar is to take up the challenge implicit in our legacy as diadochi (successors) of the Greeks, “not to follow in the footsteps of the masters,” as Basho stated in his personal motto, “but to seek what they sought” (adopted as a guide for heuretics—the logic of invention). Grammatology clarifies the important role that the Humanities disciplines may play in the creation of a digital apparatus (electracy), developing at least since the beginnings of the industrial revolution, continuing today in every dimension of technology, institutional practices, and identity formation (individual and collective). The seminar undertakes a heuretics project in two parts: 1) the design of a poetics for generating an electrate equivalent of what Aristotle composed for alphabetic writing. A scholarly description of Aristotle's works provides the point of departure. Jacques Lacan is tapped to represent the innovations of twentieth-century philosophy and theory, specifically his theory of the “object little other” (objet petit a [autre]), as a significant innovation in ontology that is the “thing” of imaging technologies. This template is completed by a sample of artists’s experiments in the cinematics that are to electracy what alphabetic technologies are to literacy. 2) The second part of the experiment is to use this poetics to test the pedagogy Ulmer developed for electracy in his experimental textbook, Internet Invention.

Proposed readings (tentative): An introduction to the works of Aristotle (TBA); Jacques Lacan, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-Analysis (Seminar XI); David Campany, Ed. The Cinematic; Gregory Ulmer, Internet Invention. Projects and assignments are composed primarily in the blog medium, including some image manipulation.

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ENG 6077

Literary Theory: Forms

Phil Wegner

In an homage to his teacher, the great French Hegel scholar Jean Hyppolite, Michel Foucault notes any effort “truly to escape Hegel involves an exact appreciation of the price we have to pay to detach ourselves from him. ... We have to determine the extent to which our anti-Hegelianism is possibly one of his tricks directed against us, at the end of which he stands, motionless, waiting for us.” Foucault’s insight seems especially apt today: for despite the efforts of many in Foucault’s generation to expunge critical theory of Hegel’s influence, interest in his work—and dialectics more generally—have witnessed a tremendous resurgences in recent years. However, this latest turn to Hegel is not a return in the sense of seeking a lost moment before the great revolution of post-structuralist critical theory; rather, as Slavoj Žižek would have it, such a movement involves an effort to repeat Hegel, “to distinguish between what [Hegel] actually did and the field of possibilities he opened up.” Only in this way, all these thinkers suggest, might we actually hope to achieve Foucault’s goal “to leave Hegel behind, once more.” In this course, we will examine some of the most interesting recent engagements with Hegel’s immense corpus and the radical thought mode of the future to which it gave rise. We will begin with a short reading from Hegel himself (in a surprisingly accessible recent translation), before turning to two short mid-century introductions to dialectical thinking: Henri Lefebvre’s Dialectical Materialism (1940) and C.L.R. James, Notes on Dialectics (1948). From there, we will embark on the central labor of the course, first investigating the entirety of Fredric Jameson’s Valences of the Dialectic, currently spread across three volumes (Valences of the Dialectic [2007], The Hegel Variations [2010], and Representing Capital [2011]). We will then turn to some of the major recent reconsiderations and re-deployments of Hegel’s project, developed by Rebecca Comay, Susan Buck-Morss, and Catherine Malabou. Finally, we will conclude the seminar by way of an engagement with Žižek’s monumental Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism (2012). Since every theory course is an introduction to theory (you can only learn it by “diving in,” testing the waters for yourself), any student in any of our programs, whatever previous levels of preparation one may have, are welcome: all that is required is a willingness to profit from, and even enjoy, the writings of some of the most significant thinkers working today. Readings will include G.W.F. Hegel, Hegel’s Preface to the Phenomenology of Spirit (in the translation and with the running commentary by Yirmiyahu Yovel); Henri Lefebvre, Dialectical Materialism; C.L.R. James, Notes on Dialectics: Hegel, Marx, Lenin; Fredric Jameson, Valences of the Dialectic; Jameson, The Hegel Variations: On the Phenomenology of Spirit; Jameson, Representing Capital: A Reading of Volume One; Rebecca Comay, Mourning Sickness: Hegel and the French Revolution; Susan Buck-Morss, Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History; Catherine Malabou, The Future of Hegel: Plasticity, Temporality and Dialectic; Malabou, What Should We Do With Our Brain; Malabou, Plasticity at the Dusk of Writing: Dialectic, Destruction, Deconstruction; Slavoj Žižek, Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism.

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ENG 6138

Critical Issues in French Film History

Maureen Turim

This course will examine the history of film in France, tracing the country’s preeminence in silent cinema, the growth of the French film industry, including its problems during two disastrous world wars, the vitality of French cinema of the thirties, the new wave innovations and the present moment. We will look at various movements such as the avant-garde, Poetic-Realism, and cinema verité. Our approach to these films will be multifaceted, including close analysis, socio-historical readings, and critical theoretical work. We will consider how French theory not specifically about film may be applicable to the discussion of film, as well as looking at the work of film scholars on French cinema. The question of national cinematic identity in its industry and governmental formations will be addressed.

We will also concentrate on films set in Paris and its surrounding area. We will consider artistic, technological, and ideological changes in French Cinema, as well as critical and theoretical responses to those changes. Narrative complication, ambiguity, and strategies that renew film form at various moments will be investigated. Urbanization and diasporic communities in a changing France will be our concerns, as will issues of gender and sexualities. This seminar will be highly participatory, with members taking part in e-learning postings and preparing presentations for class using powerpoints of frame captures and clips.

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ENL 6256

Defining Figures in Fin-de-siècle Aestheticism

Chirs Snodgrass

The Victorian Period presaged the 20th and 21st centuries in at least two key ways. It was perhaps the first modern society in which gender and sexuality were central, and possibly primary, organizing principles of the culture. The Victorian Period, particularly the fin de siècle, was also perhaps the first modern era to hypothesize aestheticism as a defining cultural ethic. The convergence of these two idea-sets incited a significant tension between tradition and modernity, stability and transience, linear history and aestheticized or “suspended” time, the ideal and the grotesque, among other dichotomies—regardless of whether the ostensible subject was a threatening Other or mainstream culture, iconoclastic and conservative. The intersection of aestheticism—extended in late-Victorian “Decadence”—and sexual politics will be the focus of this course.

The course will survey written and visual texts by familiar figures such as Pater, Wilde, and Beardsley, as well as relatively unfamiliar (“non-canonical”) writers, among them Arthur Symons, Ernest Dowson, Victoria Cross, Vernon Lee [Violet Paget], Henry Harland, Ella D’Arcy, and George Egerton [Mary Chavelita Dunne]. Visual images will be considered as texts equal in interest to written ones. The course will try specifically to organize your efforts around producing a successful conference paper. Approximately 50% of the final grade will based on this term paper (and the supporting scholarship) and the other 50% on the quality of weekly reading notes and the degree of preparation for and participation in the discussions of the scheduled reading.

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LIT 6047

The Modern Theater: Learning by Doing

Sidney Homan

The goal of this seminar is a production of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, to be staged on campus and at other venues in Gainesville. The major roles of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern will be divided among the ten members of the seminar, so that no one has to memorize all the lines of one of the major characters. In effect, we will be offering our audiences a variety of takes on Stoppard’s two messengers. Half of each weekly seminar meeting will be a rehearsal for this production.

In the other half, we will read, talk about, put in their theatrical and critical histories, and perform (but on-book) other plays of the modern theatre to put in context our production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. We will thus consider Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, Embers, All That Fall, Play, Eh Joe, Not I, and Come and Go; Harold Pinter’s The Lover, Old Times, Betrayal, and No Man’s Land, Sam Shepard’s True West, Curse of the Starving Class, and Buried Child; and Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia.

The assumption in all my courses is that the text of a play is not just what is written on the page but that text in performance, delivered by actors before an audience. This means the play’s text also includes gestures, movement, blocking (the stage picture), and sub-text (what the character is saying inwardly, beneath the lines delivered onstage, as well as the “history’ for that character invented by the actor). In the theatre, we would further supplement this text with lighting, sound, set, costumes, props, and make-up. To be sure, one can approach a play in a thousand ways—as literature, as a repository for the thinking of an age, as the springboard for political or cultural issues. But, since I work both on campus and in the theatre as an actor and director, and since the theatre itself is a unique medium with its own aesthetic principles, I approach the plays, with my students, and as a fellow “student,” as something meant to be performed by an actor and ratified by an audience.

A word of comfort: whether you have acted before or not, experience in the theatre is not a factor in the class. We use acting as a way of studying the text. Have no fears on this issue!

If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail Professor Homan at shakes@ufl.edu.

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LIT 6357

New Approaches to Black Sexualities

Amy Ongiri

This class will examine the current cultural and theoretical discourse relating to the production and consumption of the Black sexuality in literature, film and critical theory. We will consider the politics of representation in relationship to questions of masculinity, violence, the Black female body as spectacle, the body in relationship to constructions of urbanity, and the Black body in a transnational economy. Texts examined will include Dariek Scott’s Extravagant Abjection: Blackness, Power, and Sexuality in the African American Literary Imagination (NYU, 2010), Roderick Ferguson’s Aberrations In Black: Toward A Queer Of Color Critique (Minnesota, 2003), Jafari S. Allen’s Venceremos?: The Erotics of Black Self-making in Cuba (Duke 2011), Kara Keeling’s The Witch’s Flight: The Cinematic, the Black Femme, and the Image of Common Sense (Duke, 2007), Richard Iton’s In Search of the Black Fantastic: Politics and Popular Culture in the Post-Civil Rights Era (Duke, 2010) and Fred Moten’s In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition (Minnesota, 2003) among others.

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LIT 6357

The World of James Baldwin

Mark Reid

The seminar will critically survey James Baldwin’s literary work and political essays, as well as review selected biographies that explore Baldwin’s life in the United States, France, and Turkey. Baldwin was engaged in the socio-political world that surrounded and sometimes consumed his artistic and moral energies that brought him to become active in the U.S. Civil Rights movement and international concern the construction of nation, race, and sexuality. One critic wrote of Baldwin in these words: “Following publication of Notes of a Native Son and The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin’s literary star approached its peak during the turbulent 1960s. His burgeoning role as celebrity, prophet, and leader heaped an unsustainable amount of pressure and responsibility onto his slight frame in an American landscape that doubly punished Baldwin for being both black and gay, and he often turned to Turkey for sanctuary.” This seminar reveals the artistry, compassion, and moral commitment of one of America’s greatest writers.

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LIT 6856

Fictions of Africa

Apollo Amoko

This course examines the vexed relationship between, on the one hand, the founding texts of colonial anthropology and, on the other hand, the founding texts of modern African literature. Colonial anthropology first emerged as mode of understanding the radical other, the African subject initially thought to be outside the realm of reason and rationality. Modern African literature first emerged as a mode of knowledge designed to liberate African subjects and worlds from the colonial library; this literature sought to positivize the negative image of Africa normalized in the colonial library. But, paradoxically, the founding texts of African literature depended, for their revisionary power, on the grammar and conceptual infrastructure of colonial social science and, in effect, normalized an anthropological episteme for Africa. As Simon Gikandi argues, “The founding texts of African literature claimed to have an African world as their referent but this was the African world which social science had produced for African writers [...] These texts are more useful for telling us about their authors’—and subjects’—anxiety about colonial modernity than they would ever tell us about ‘traditional’ or ‘precolonial’ Igbo, Yoruba or Gikuyu worlds.” To what extent is Gikandi’s radical contention justifiable? The anthropological texts to be studied will include, Evans Pritchard’s Witchcraft, Magic and Oracles Among the Azande, Branislaw Malinowski’s The Dynamics of Cultural Change: An Inquiry Into Race Relations in Africa, Placide Tempels’s Bantu Philosophy, Jomo Kenyatta’s Facing Mount Kenya and the writing of Leo Frobenius. The fictional texts to be studied will include Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s The River Between, Okot P’Bitek’s Song of Lawino and Song of Ocol, Flora Nwapa’s Efuru, Buchi Emechata’s The Joys of Motherhood, Chiekh Hamidou Kane’s Ambiguous Adventure, Camara Laye’s A Dark Child and the poetry of Negritude. We will also study the following theoretical/critical texts: V. Y. Mudimbe, The Idea of Africa and The Invention of Africa, Christopher Miller’s Theories of Africans and the work of Simon Gikandi.

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LIT 6934

Reading and Writing Sendak

John Cech

Maurice Sendak is considered to be one of the key, shaping figures of American and, indeed, world children’s literature for more than half a century. Sendak’s influences on the art of the picture book as well as our thinking about childhood has been ubiquitous and profound. The seminar will explore Sendak works (in print and other media) with special attention to the rich historical sources of his works, his archetypal poetics, his revisioning of the form of the picture book, and his redefinition of the role of the artist creating works for young people in contemporary culture. The seminar will ask the participants to create a number of original works—poetry, fiction, picture books, fantasy sketches, comics—inspired by Sendak’s books.

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LIT 6934

Writing, Theory, and the Colonial Difference

Raúl Sánchez

This course examines theoretical opportunities for the field of Writing Studies made possible by recent scholarship on 1) the various communication systems of pre-Columbian America and 2) rhetorical practices in contemporary Latin America (including the U.S.). Specifically, it examines how this work contests prevailing theoretical notions about the technology of writing itself, forming an implicit critique which in turn urges theorists in Writing Studies to reimagine the field’s core concepts. As well, the course asks how Writing Studies might take part in what Walter Mignolo and others call “border thinking,” the process of relocating knowledge production outside of European-cum-modernist-cum-postmodernist ideological frameworks.

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LIT 6934

The Carceral Imaginary

Jodi Schorb

In his influential work of cultural studies Imagining the Penitentiary, John Bender argued that early modern fiction enabled the construction of the prison in the late eighteenth century, in essence claiming that the development of the English novel and the modern prison were intertwined. This seminar posits Bender’s hypothesis as a launching place to investigate the carceral imagination in modern literature as well as the literary effects of the modern prison.

The seminar begins by tracing the “transformation of punishment”—the shift from what Foucault described as the “spectacle of the scaffold” (public punishment) to the development of the penitentiary (private incarceration). We will read works by transatlantic prison reformers (Beccaria, Bentham, Rush) as well as contemporary theory on the role of the prison in the cultural imaginary (from Brombert”s “The Happy Prison” to Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, to Caleb Smith’s The Prison and the American Imagination, to Dylan Rodriguez’s Forced Passages). This backdrop provides the class with detailed knowledge on the development of the prison and foregrounds its wider social and cultural effects.

We will then read a range of fiction (novels, novellas, short stories) designed to help us more fully consider literature’s role in the transatlantic and hemispheric development of the modern prison--and the prison’s shaping role in our cultural imaginary. Readings are likely to include Defoe’s Moll Flanders (1722), Fielding’s Jonathan Wild (1743), Poe’s “Pit and the Pendulum” (1842), Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-street” (1856), Agnes Smedley’s “Cell Mates” (1920), Reinaldo Arenas, Before Night Falls: A Memoir (1993), and additional memoirs and fiction by inmate authors. Secondary reading are diverse in scope, including legal theory, history, literary studies, and critical race theory.

Near the end of the semester, students will have increased flexibility to chose what primary and secondary literature they wish to read. Whether your interests include the 18th century British novel, the American Renaissance, modern fiction, narrative theory, the treatment of cultural dissidents, or the contemporary crisis of mass incarceration, or the prison and sexuality, this course will guide you towards a theoretical and historical framework for selecting and analyzing the literature of your choosing.

I require periodic reflective responses, periodic oral presentations, and a final project (either a conference paper or a seminar paper).

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