Upper-Division (3000-4000) Courses
Note: Course numbers listed in the table are linked to course descriptions below.
|Course #||Section||Class #||Time(s)||Room||Course title||Instructor|
|AML 3285||M108||29991||M W F 5||Online||American Indian Literature||Susan Hegeman|
|AML 3673||1C15/ M109||10480/ 30005||T 7/ R 7-8||MAT 0115/ Online||Asian Am/African Am Interactions||Malini Schueller|
|AML 4170||1C44/ M110||10481/ 30036||T 8-9/ R 9||MAT 0115 & MAT 0114/ Online||Genre: Paranormal Romance||Tace Hedrick|
|AML 4242||M111||30042||M W F 3||Online||The Progressive Era||Susan Hegeman|
|AML 4311||M112||30073||T 2-3/ R 3||Online||Toni Morrison||Debra King|
|AML 4311||6441/ M113||24874/ 30082||T 4/ R 4-5||MAT 0114/ Online||Langston Hughes & Critical Race Theory||Mark Reid|
|AML 4311||6446/ M114||24897/ 30091||T 2-3/ R 3||MAT 0115/ Online||Ursula K. Le Guin||Stephanie Smith|
|AML 4453||M115||30102||M W F 4||Online||Desperate Domesticity: The American 1950s||Marsha Bryant|
|AML 4453||9100/ M116||21771/ 30129||M W F 3||TUR 1101/ Online||Race & Disability US History and Literature||Delia Steverson|
|AML 4685||102H/ M117||10485/ 30130||M W F 5||CBD 0210/ Online||Slave & Neo-Slave Narratives||Delia Steverson|
|CRW 3110||DEP-X||DEP-X||W 6-8||CBD 0234/ Online||Advanced Seminar in Fiction Writing
Manuscript submission required; click here for details
|CRW 3110||DEP-X||DEP-X||T 9-11||CBD 0234/ Online||Advanced Seminar in Fiction Writing
Manuscript submission required; click here for details
|CRW 3310||DEP-X||DEP-X||T 9-11||MAT 0117/ Online||Advanced Seminar in Poetry Writing
Manuscript submission required; click here for details
|CRW 4905||DEP-X||DEP-X||T 6-8||CBD 0216/ Online||Senior Advanced Fiction Writing: Long Short Story
Manuscript submission required; click here for details
|CRW 4906||DEP-X||DEP-X||M 9-11||CBD 0216/ Online||Senior Advanced Poetry Writing Workshop
Manuscript submission required; click here for details
|ENC 3250||9103/ M150||21864/ 30532||T 4 / R 4-5||MAT 0118/ Online||Professional Communication||Laura Gonzales|
|ENC 3312||6445/ M151||24896/ 30540||M W F 7||MAT 0151/ Online||Advanced Argumentative Writing||Raul Sanchez|
|ENG 3011||6452/ M161||25237/ 30597||T 7 / R 7-8||DAU 0342/ Online||Critical Theory and the Jew||Dragan Kujundzic|
|ENG 3115||6448/ M162||25005/ 30599||T 7/ R 7-8/ M E1-E3||TUR 2346 & TUR 2334/ Online||Introduction to Film: Criticism and Theory||Trevor Mowchun|
|ENG 3121||9105/ M163||21873/ 30600||M W F 3/ T 9-11||MAT 0116/ Online||History of Film 1||Barbara Mennel|
|ENG 4015||6432/ M164||24771/ 30602||T 4 / R 4-5||MAT 0116/ Online||Psychoanalysis through Popular Culture||Pietro Bianchi|
|ENG 4015||M165||30605||M W F 7||Online||Psychological Approaches: George Eliot and Dickens||Peter Rudnytsky|
|ENG 4133||11D0/ M166||13399/ 30607||M W F 2/ M 9-11||MAT 0113/ Online||Contemplative Auteurs||Richard Burt|
|ENG 4133||32CG/ M167||13421/ 30610||T 8-9/ R 9||UST 0103 & CBD 0216/ Online||Jewish American Cinema||Dragan Kujundzic|
|ENG 4905||DEP-X||DEP-X||TBD||TBD||Independent Study||Kenneth Kidd|
|ENG 4911||DEP-X||DEP-X||TBD||TBD||Undergraduate Research in English||Kenneth Kidd|
|ENG 4936||DEP-X||DEP-X||M W F 5||CBD 0212/ Online||Honors Seminar: Life Writing in the Time of Coloniality||Raul Sanchez|
|ENG 4936||DEP-X||DEP-X||M 9-11/ W 9-11||TUR 2346 & TUR 2334/ Online||Honors Seminar: Philosophy & the Cinema||Robert Ray|
|ENG 4940||DEP-X||DEP-X||TBD||TBD||Internship||Kenneth Kidd|
|ENG 4953||1G49/ M170||13121/ 30652||T 4/ R 4-5||CBD 0212/ Online||Senior Seminar for Majors: Rap from 1980 to Infinity||Victor Del Hierro|
|ENG 4970||DEP-X||DEP-X||TBD||TBD||Honors Thesis Project||Kenneth Kidd|
|ENL 3122||17A9/ M174||13156/ 30658||T 2-3/ R 3||MAT 0117/ Online||19th-Century English Novel||Rae Yan|
|ENL 4220||M175||30664||M W F 8||Online||The Faerie Queene||Peter Rudnytsky|
|ENL 4333||M176||30666||T 2-3/ R 3||Online||Shakespeare: Learning by Doing||Sidney Homan|
|LIT 3043||9117/ M183||21969/ 30678||T 5-6/ R 6||MAT 0114 & MAT 0115/ Online||Black Drama||Mark Reid|
|LIT 3173||6450/ M184||25017/ 30679||T 10-E1||CBD 0224/ Online||Love and Romance in Premodern Jewish Culture||Caroline Gruenbaum|
|LIT 3383||44A9/ M185||21445/ 30680||T 7-8/ R 7||AND 0032 & MAT 0003/ Online||African Women Writers||Rose Lugano|
|LIT 3400||41HF/ M186||20870/ 30681||T 4/ R 4-5||MAT 0108 & TUR 2303/ Online||Philosophy & Literature in the Enlightenment||Roger Maioli|
|LIT 3400||9141/ M187||23364/ 30682||T 4/ R 4-5||MAT 0117/ Online||Poetics of Justice: Law, Literature & Film||Eric Kligerman|
|LIT 4188||6454/ M188||25348/ 30683||R 6-8||MAT 0004/ Online||Intro to Postcolonial Studies||Apollo Amoko|
|LIT 4192||6442/ M189||24880/ 30684||MWF 3||MAT 0105/ Online||Why Caribbean Literature Matters||Leah Rosenberg|
|LIT 4194||9120/ M190||22085/ 30685||T 6-8||MAT 0003/ Online||African Literature in English: Issues of Race & Coloniality||Apollo Amoko|
|LIT 4305||6436/ M191||24806/ 30686||T 4/R 4-5||MAT 0115/ Online||Seeing Differently: Comics and Identity||Margaret Galvan|
|LIT 4331||M198||32184||MWF 3||Online||Envisioning Environmental Disaster in Children’s Literature||Brianna Anderson|
|LIT 4930||06A5/ M193||14696/ 30688||MWF 3||MAT 0114/ Online||See Also: Reading Out of Sequence||Richard Burt|
|LIT 4930||DEP-X||DEP-X||T 5-6/ R 6||CSE GE119 & MAT 0103/ Online||Science Fiction Creative Writing Workshop||Stephanie Smith|
|LIT 4930||017C/ M192||14695/ 30687||T 8-9/ R 9||MAT 0114 & MAT 0113/ Online||From Romance to the Novel||Roger Maioli|
|LIT 4930||9787/ M195||31585/ 31586||W 9-11||FLI 0119/ Online||Representations of War||Eric Kligerman|
|LIT 4930||9788/ M196||32064/ 32065||T 4/ R 4-5||UST 101 & UST 104/ Online||Israeli-Arab Conflict on Stage and Screen||Roy Holler|
|LIT 4930||9789/ M197||32068/ 32069||T 5-6/ R 6||UST 104 & UST 101/ Online||Holocaust Memory in Israel||Roy Holler|
American Indian Literature
This course will provide an introduction to literature created by American Indian and First Nations authors of the 20th and 21st centuries. We will consider American Indian literature as a postcolonial literature and as a creative and collective interpretation of history and culture. We will also examine how contemporary literature addresses issues of concern to Indian people, including legal sovereignty, cultural survival, representations of Indians in non-native communities, and issues of environmental stewardship. Authors will likely include D’Arcy McNickle, N. Scott Momaday, Tomson Highway, Le Anne Howe, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Louise Erdrich.
Asian American and African American Interactions
Ever since the category Asian-American emerged as a politicized identity in the 1960s, the major pedagogical imperative has been to study the literature and culture of this group on its own in order to legitimize the field itself and to understand its common histories and tropes. Similarly, African-American literature, affected by legacies of slavery and resistance, Jim Crow, and Civil Rights, has been conventionally seen as discrete and studied through different forms such as slave narratives, the literature of the Harlem Renaissance or that of the Black Arts movement. Yet from the very beginnings of major waves of Asian immigration, the two groups have been affected by and interacted with each other. At the same time African-American and revolutionary Asian politics have intersected in different historical periods. This course seeks to understand the nature of these exchanges through key theoretical readings on race, scholarship on these interrelationships, and literary and filmic expressions. Some of the questions we will attempt to grapple with will be the following: How do Asian-Americans see African-Americans and vice versa? What cultural characteristics and histories do they share? How have they been treated as minorities? What are their differences and how have they manifested themselves? What kinds of alliances have these groups created? How have both groups negotiated their Americanness? We will seek answers to these questions by dealing with issues of masculinity and nationalism, discourses such as Orientalism, the politics of anti-colonialism, events such as the LA riots, and cultural expressions such as hip hop. Ultimately the course stresses the importance of interethnic studies. Possible texts include W. E. B. Du Bois The Dark Princess, Frank Chin Chickencoop Chinaman, Anna Deveare Smith Twilight Los Angeles, Paul Beatty The White Boy Shuffle and Nina Revoyr Southland. We will also discuss some films and read critical essays on interethnic solidarity.
Genre: Paranormal and Gothic Romance
The study of genres within women’s popular writing has been a minor but consistent theme in feminist theory. We will be reading and discussing how both white women and women writers of color and of differing sexualities and classes attempt to operate within, while also having to change, an affective–that is emotional–and deeply rooted investment in the remains of the white middle-class conventions of the romance. Indeed, critics have shown that even under the pressures of a changing scene of racialized and class power, the genre especially of women’s romance still overwhelmingly struggles to say what makes *white* women desirable within a neoliberal economy. Here, we will discuss women’s popular writing in the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century via the paranormal and gothic romance, as it is imagined not just by white women writers but women writers of color as well as of differing classes and sexualities. We will ask how the paranormal and the gothic “work” in a generic sense, as well as how they work to change–or not–their intertwining with the genre of the romance. Our understandings of the constraints of genre—through our readings in theory and criticism–in particular, will help inform us where questions about feminism, race, class, and sexualities might be brought to bear in this particular area popular writing. Assignments will include reading quizzes, brief reading notes, and three in-class exams.
The Progressive Era
The Progressive Era in American history (roughly 1890-1920) is so named because of the reformist politics and social activism of the period, which took on corruption in government and big business, and sought to counteract some of the worst effects of mass immigration, urbanization, industrialization, poverty, and racism. The narrative literature of the period reflected this activist mood, taking on topics including populism, lynching, prostitution, urban housing and sanitation, women’s and workers’ rights, and the power of corporate trusts. Also notable in this literary moment was a close connection between journalism and narrative fiction — so close, in fact, that a many of the best-known fiction writers of the period were also journalists. In this class, we will read exemplary works of fiction (novels and short stories) and nonfiction from the Progressive Era and examine how the social movements of the period affected literary efforts, and vice versa. Some authors we will likely read: William Dean Howells, Upton Sinclair, Stephen Crane, Willa Cather, Abraham Cahan, W.E.B. Du Bois, and James Weldon Johnson.
Description: This course introduces students to an extraordinary woman whose work, both fictional and critical, has shaken the foundations of American literature (and criticism) to reconstitute both it and the boundaries of its canon. Students will investigate why critics herald Toni Morrison as the “most formally sophisticated novelist in the history of African-American literature” while also discovering why she is its most renowned. Morrison’s work has earned the highest accolades in contemporary literary circles: The National Book Critics Circle Award and the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Song of Solomon in 1977, the Pulitzer Prize and the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Beloved in 1988, the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2012) (among others). Her novels explore themes of naturalistic fiction while also engaging womanist thought, responsibility and respectability, and the more dramatic themes of modernism: death, love, rebirth, and memory. They are lyrical prose memorials to suffering and loss that move beyond characters’ victimization towards rectification, reconciliation, renewal, and revival.
Focus: Toni Morrison published eleven novels, two plays, a libretto, two short stories, five children’s books and several critical pieces. This semester we will read many of her novels, including what critics call the Beloved Trilogy. Our discussions and considerations focus on several themes: the relationship of Morrison’s work to womanist thought, the sacred to the secular, history and heritage, identity, “race, borders and the desire for belonging.” We will evaluate what critics have to say about Morrison (how they construct and reconstruct the artist and her work) as well as evaluate the author’s own critical perspectives on art and society.
The World of Langston Hughes: Through Critical Race Theory
This course employs an interdisciplinary approach that requires students to familiarize themselves with Langston Hughes’ literary and sociopolitical writings, and apply critical race theory, which scholars as Frank B. Wilderson III, Jared Sexton, Saidiya Hartman, Calvin Warren, and essayists like Ta-Nehisi Coates and James Baldwin employ, that signal a burgeoning Afro-Pessimism and or postNegritude moment where the postracial fantasy of neoliberal gestures have evaporated with the departure of President Barack Hussein Obama.
Discussion topics include the Harlem Renaissance, African American literature, the blues tradition in poetry and life, and the international sociopolitical climate of our quotidian life. 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 and how critical race theory might reveal or deny the persistence of anti-black violence in words and deeds. How does Hughes’ writings symbolically expose and fervently articulate a “Black Lives Matter” awareness and endgame?
Berry, Faith. Langston Hughes: Before and Beyond Harlem
Berry, Faith, ed. Good Morning Revolution: Uncollected Writings of Langston Hughes.
Hughes, Langston. The Big Sea: An Autobiography.
__________. I Wonder as I Wander: An Autobiographical Journey.
__________. Selected Poems of Langston Hughes.
__________. Five Plays by Langston Hughes
__________. The Ways of White Folks.
__________. The Panther and the Lash.: Poems of Our Times.
__________. Good Morning Revolution: Uncollected Writings of Langston Hughes.
Note: Assigned and recommended texts and readings are held at the Reserve Desk of Library West. Check the Reserve List for this course to see if any assigned essays or plays are available as PDF files and Electronic Streaming on ARES (ELECTRONIC RESERVE) section on Library West Website. Look under Reid and this course’s section number.
Major Authors: Ursula K. Le Guin
Stephanie A. Smith
“We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but it is somewhat beauty and poetry,” the great America astronomer Maria Mitchell wrote in her diary in 1871.
Hailed as a ‘living legend’ during her lifetime, Ursula Kroeber Le Guin passed away at the age of 88 in January 2018. Now recognized as one of the greatest authors of our time, Le Guin created new and alien worlds that yet always speak to deeply important issues in our own lives, and to what it means to be human. By turns witty and wild, mischievous and yet always dangerous, Le Guin’s consummate ability to both entertain and make the reader think is a rare and radiant combination that this class will explore by examining her multi-faceted career as a novelist, poet, essayist and children’s book author.
Desperate Domesticity: The American 1950s
This course explores fraught constructions of domesticity in American literary and popular culture of the 1950s, including the nuclear family, gender roles, consumerism, the rise of suburbia, the civil rights movement, and alternative domesticities. Our writers will include John Cheever, Gwendolyn Brooks, Flannery O’Connor, James Baldwin, Ray Bradbury, Patricia Highsmith, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Lowell, and Sylvia Plath. We’ll explore fifties family sitcoms plus the teen rebellion films Rebel Without a Cause and Blackboard Jungle. We will end with retrospective images of the American 1950s in contemporary culture, considering how the fifties shapes responses to pandemic domesticity in the U.S. Students will also read critical essays about key texts and contexts. In addition to participation, an informal presentation and a paper, assignments include a final project that incorporates UF Yearbooks from the 1950s.
Race and Disability in US History and Literature (Co-taught with Steve Noll, History)
This course will examine the intersection of race and disability in American history and literature by allowing students to understand the shifting meanings of these terms throughout American history and how American literature both reflected and shaped those changes. We will examine the very meanings of “race” and “disability” and how they change (or do not change) over time. We will examine the institution of slavery as itself a disabling construct, the history of eugenic sterilization in America, and finally end by discussing contemporary issues located at the intersections between race and disability.
Slave Narratives and Neo-Slave Narratives
In 1966 Margaret Walker published Jubilee, a quasi-fictional novel that recounts a black woman’s experience through slavery, the Civil War, and the Reconstruction. This text would serve as the beginning of a genre of African American writing that Ishmael Reed would later pen neo-slave or freedom narratives. As Ashraf Rushdy posits in The Cambridge Companion to the African American Novel, neo-slave narratives were not created in a vacuum, but rather are a continuation of African American oral and literary traditions, specifically the slave narrative. In order to understand the tradition by which the neo-slave narrative arose, it will be important to first identify the traditions of the slave narrative. Other than for the abolishment of slavery, what were the purposes of slave narratives? How did African American authors consider issues of violence, agency, authenticity, and sponsorship when crafting their slave narrative? What are the larger themes in slave narratives and how do neo-slave narratives rework those themes?
Advanced Seminar in Fiction Writing
Our workshop will be conducted in traditional workshop fashion: each week, we will discuss two short stories (or novel excerpts), by two different students. Every student will turn in two pieces of fiction over the course of the semester.
The writer whose work is being critiqued is expected to turn in a piece he or she believes to be as close to being finished as possible. The students critiquing the piece will treat it as published work, meaning they will discuss it as if the writer has deep intentions behind every line (which hopefully they do) and they, as readers, want to understand those intentions. Students are expected, each week, to comments for those who are being critiqued: notes that describe what the piece that is being critiqued has achieved, what it hasn’t achieved, what it might achieve, etc.
Dedication to understanding what each writer is trying to do, regardless of your aesthetic preferences, is mandatory. Also mandatory: that the writers be prepared to hear what the others have to say about their work. It is hard being critiqued, but we’re all here to help each other become better writers.
Students will be required to read (from a course-packet) one published short story a week, which we’ll discuss in class. The focus of these discussions will be on how the stories operate on the reader. In other words, we’ll try to dissect published works to see what makes them work.
Fiction From Life Experiences
CRW 3110 is a fiction writing workshop. The purpose is to build a community that supports this mode of storytelling. In the course of the semester, we are expected to submit two or three short stories or novel excerpts. We are also expected to write a critique of each submission, to help the class discuss the work in depth and to encourage the writer in the important work of rewrite. As Steven Gillis, author of Benchere in Wonderland says, “The art of writing is in the rewriting.”
And since good writing or rewriting begins with good reading (or hearing of the story), we will be exposed to the works of celebrated writers and how they have dealt with key issues like craft, motivation, voice, suspense, characterization, etc. We will also be required to attend a reading by visiting writers.
Advanced Seminar in Poetry Writing
In this advanced poetry workshop we will read contemporary poems that attempt to place us in history and connect us to the dead and the unborn (Charles Simic, Louise Glück, Nathaniel Mackay, among others). You will need strong compositional skills and a passion for reading: we will use these poems as models for exercises and prompts that will expand your vocabulary, refine your sentences, and sharpen your observations.
Senior Advanced Fiction Writing Workshop
In this workshop, we will focus on concision, specificity, intentionality, and the art of tension-building in fiction.
The class will be part traditional workshop (we’ll read and discuss student work, as well as published stories) part craft class (in-class exercises will be assigned). The class relies on student participation and your close-reading of the material at hand.
Senior Advanced Poetry Writing Workshop
Just as the civilization of the Kelts is revealed to us by their dolmens, and that of the Scandinavians by their mounds and kitchen-middens, so will the antiquaries of future times immediately recognise the spots inhabited in India by the English by the piles of soda-water bottles heaped up before the cantonments, and the dwellings of the Americans by their deposits of empty meat tins.
Edmond Baron de Mandat-Grancey, Cow-Boys and Colonels, 1887
Whenever [the Mauretania] was asked by a French island, “What ship are you?” she would reply, “What island are you?”
Terry Coleman, The Liners
Obree [in manufacturing his record-breaking bicycle] famously used bits from his washing machine and a piece of metal recovered from an Ayrshire road, as well as a training programme fueled by marmalade sandwiches.
TLS, July 14, 2006
Apsley Cherry-Garrard described polar exploration as the “cleanest and most islated way of having a bad time that has ever been devised.”
TLS, July 14, 2006
Poetry must be about hells and heavens, hills and halls, hopscotch and hiphop, and empty meat tins. We will be looking in language for the equivalent of things felt and seen. You will seek this in the words used by other poets, and those you invent for yourself. Be prepared to read until your eyes hurt, to write a dozen poems (one per week), and to find your poems criticized. Each week the workshop will discuss your work and the work of your predecessors.
This is Florida’s most advanced workshop in poetry, for students who hope to become poets and possibly attend an MFA program—or those who have merely developed an obsessive and perverse interest in writing. Students from this course have gone on to the University of Iowa, University of Virginia, Columbia University, University of Michigan, Cornell University, University of Houston, Johns Hoplins University, and other programs.
an anthology of modern poetry
a selection of contemporary books of poetry
This course will help students understand and practice the rhetorical strategies, genres, locations, media, and contexts in which contemporary professional writing happens. Students will conduct research and compose texts that are cohesive, well-designed, and informative while also honoring responsibilities to various audiences. Students will have an opportunity to engage with contemporary topics in social media strategy, information design, and content strategy. Students will leave the course with a digital portfolio that showcases their skills and strengths as professional communicators.
Advanced Argumentative Writing
This is a writing-intensive course that works on a writing-center or writing-studio model. Rather than meet as a group in a physical or virtual classroom, each of you will meet with me every week in person or via Zoom (depending on UF’s COVID policy for Spring 2021). At these meetings, we will discuss your work-in-progress, and we will assess your finished writing.
This course will give you practice in writing arguments for humanistic fields and disciplines. Specifically, you will write bibliographic essays and argumentative essays—probably three or four of each.
One premise of the course is that argument is conversation, not combat. In the humanities, conversations are ongoing. Over time, issues emerge and re-emerge. Conversations don’t end, because perspectives are always changing, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly.
Another premise of the course is that before you can converse—that is, before you can write an argument—you must know its subject matter. Toward that end, in this course you will spend more time learning about your topics than arguing about them. This will involve looking for, finding, and making sense of information found in and through the library.
You will not have to buy any books for this course. Everything you need will be available electronically through Canvas and Ares (course reserves).
Critical Theory and the Jew
The course discusses and explains major philosophical texts concerned with the figure of the Jew, in the works by Sigmund Freud, Martin Buber, Hannah Arendt, Emmanuel Levinas, Jean Paul Sartre, Albert Memmi, Sarah Kofman, Jacques Derrida or Shoshana Felman, among others. It also includes relevant theoretical as well as literary texts or films to discuss anti-Semitism and illustrate issues of representation of race before and after the Holocaust.
Introduction to Film: Criticism and Theory
Few art forms have generated as much written speculation as film, a surprising fact given that film is an audiovisual medium in which the word serves the image. Film theory and criticism “think the cinema” in very different ways, and one of the main tasks of this course is to learn how to think these particular thoughts, along with what it takes to seriously write film theory and criticism. Significant and often visionary works of film theory will be contextualized and closely analysed on their own terms. Individual films will be studied through film theory’s bold and imaginative adventures in thinking about film itself as art form, technology, mass communication, cultural criticism, and philosophical experimentation, to name just a few horizons of understanding. We will see rather quickly that film theory as a term is meaningless unless it is pluralized as “film theories.” We will also see more gradually how film theory and what is called “criticism” differ from each other in ways which are significant to the study and appreciation of film as a complex and evolving art form with direct ties to the values of individuals and cultures. We will tackle some of the more pivotal and enduring texts in film theory/criticism, paying careful attention to how theoretical models and acts of criticism enhance our understanding of individual films screened in class. Some questions which will guide our exploration of film theory/criticism are as follows: What are the formal aspects of film and how do they remain fluid over time? In what sense is film an expressive language born of the art forms which precede it? Is there such thing as an “essence” of film? What can films do to individual and cultural consciousness? How does film permeate other areas of culture, be it the arts or the sciences? What would a contemporary film theory/criticism look like and who is its ideal audience? These distinct yet overlapping lines of thought will involve the history of thinking about film, the close analysis of film theory and practice, the major and minor film theories throughout the 20th century, exemplary acts of film criticism and their occasional resistance to theory, and a glimpse into how film theory and criticism might envision film functioning in the digital age in which we find ourselves.
History of Film 1
The course provides an overview of the history of film from its origin to the coming of sound. The course is designed as the first part of a sequence on the history of film, but does not need to be taken in chronological order. The objective is to gain an overview of the historical development of early cinema, based on an understanding of key concepts in film studies and approaches to early cinema in film theory. Topics will include the beginning of film, the emergence of genres, the early social melodrama and the race film, and montage, stars, and experimental cinema. The course relies on weekly film viewings and readings.
Introduction to Psychoanalysis Through Popular Culture
Our subjective life is full of malfunctions, small crises, things that do not work or that break down. The hypothesis of psychoanalysis – already from its forefather Sigmund Freud at the turn of the XX century – is that these moments, no matter how small or insignificant, hold the truth of a subject. And that in order to listen to this truth, it is necessary not to fix these small events as soon as possible, but to let them speak freely. Psychoanalysis is a practice that takes the time to hear – and to render productive – these symptoms, because it believes that critical moments are a great opportunity and not an accident.
In this class we will attempt to recognize and to listen to the critical and symptomatic occurrences of our world, as they appear and are represented in contemporary ideologies and fantasies: in literature, TV shows, pop music, contemporary art and media. All the terminologies and concepts that characterize the practice of psychoanalysis (unconscious, desire, death drive, symptom, libido etc.) are already present in our world and already inform our lives. It is just a matter of recognizing their presence and reflecting on them. This course will teach you how to familiarize yourselves with the Freudian unconscious through horror films or video-art; to reflect on the Lacanian concept of desire through stand-up comedy shows or social media; to see the appearance of the “death drive” in hip-hop music or performance art.
Psychological Approaches: Dickens and George Eliot
This course will undertake a close reading of the most autobiographical novels by the two greatest Victorian novelists: Dickens’s David Copperfield (1850) and George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss (1860). We will consider such topics as the depictions of childhood, the social world, gender and class, romantic love, and sibling relationships in the novels. Some supplementary readings will be assigned to illuminate the connections between the lives of Dickens and George Eliot and their confessional masterpieces. Course requirements are a midterm final, and one five-page paper. Active participation in class discussions is also expected.
This course will focus primarily on philosophical filmmakers for whom images of nature or walking in nature can invite us to think when words fail us. The long take is a central feature of most of the films we’ll see. Plot counts for very little. Most of are over two hours in length; most are in black and white; and almost all have English subtitles. Contemplative cinema is sometimes called “slow cinema.” Films will include Out Stealing Horses; Taste of Cherry; Where is the Friend’s House?; An Autumn Afternoon; A Hidden Life; Under the Sun of Satan; Days of Heaven; Stalker; Mouchette; Au hasard Balthazar; Melancholia; Wild Strawberries; Paris, Texas; Encounters at the End of the World; Ordet; Day of Wrath; L’Avventura; and L’eclisse. Readings will include selections from Paul Schrader’s Transcendental Style in Film and Slow Cinema, edited by Tiago de Luca and Nuno Barradas Jorge.
Requirements: TOTAL ATTENDANCE; Co-Leading Class twice; two discussion questions and three shots for each class; student formulated quizzes each class; three 700 word papers; and a willingness to reflect, think, respond, by paying very, VERY, VERY close formal attention to films. All assigned work for the course must be completed, turned in on time, and be of passing quality to pass the course.
Jewish American Cinema
The course will screen and discuss masterpieces of world cinema such as films by Charlie Chaplin The Great Dictator, Norman Jewison Fiddler on the Roof, the Coen Brothers Serious Man, Billy Wilder Some Like It Hot, Mel Brooks The Producers and Blazing Saddles or Quentin Tarantino Inglorious Basterds. Films at the Jewish Film Festival organized online by the
Center for Jewish Studies at UF in the Spring 2021 will be screened and discussed as well.
Faculty Member of Choice
An Independent Study course may be taken for 1 to 3 credit hours, but will only count toward the fulfillment of the 10-course requirement for the English major if a student registers for 3 credit hours.
This course is for advanced students who desire to supplement the regular courses by independent reading or research under the guidance of a member of the faculty. The student must find a faculty member who is willing to supervise the semester-long study, and together, the two create a project. The student must meet with the professor at designated times, agreed upon in advance, and complete all assignments in a timely manner.
Undergraduate Research in English
Honors Seminar: Life Writing in the Time of Coloniality
This course examines the concept of coloniality through examples of life writing. The term coloniality, as articulated by Peruvian writer Aníbal Quijano and others, describes the pervasive influence that European ideas continue to exert on formerly colonized nations, particularly in the Western hemiphere. The term life writing refers to forms of non-fiction that describe all or part of an author’s lived experience.
We will begin by reading and discussing a handful of essays about coloniality and about life writing, in order to build a conceptual framework. Then, using this framework, we will read and discuss the following testimonios, memoirs, and diaries:
|Rigoberta Menchú||I, Rigoberta Menchú: An Indian Woman in Guatemala
(Me llamo Rigoberta Menchú y ací me nació la conciencia)
|Domitila Barrios de Chungara||
Let Me Speak! Testimony of Domitila, A Woman of the Bolivian Mines
|Carolina Maria de Jesus||Child of the Dark: The Diary of Carolina Maria de Jesus
(Quarto de despejo: Diário de uma favelada)
|Louise Erdrich||Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country: Traveling Through the Land of My Ancestors|
|Joy Harjo||Crazy Brave: A Memoir|
|Terese Marie Mailhot||Heart Berries: A Memoir|
Work for the course will include daily reading responses, two take-home exams, and a short (5-7 page) research project.
Honors Seminar: Philosophy and the Cinema
Robert B. Ray
Stanley Cavell, who wrote more often about the cinema than any other philosopher, often reminded his students “how mysterious these objects called movies are, unlike anything else on earth.” He also offered a definition of philosophy itself “as a willingness to think not about something other than what ordinary human beings think about, but rather to learn to think undistractedly about things that ordinary human beings cannot help thinking about, or anyway cannot help having occur to them.” Cavell went on to insist that learning how to think about such things “requires only a willingness to care.”
In this course, we will read some philosophers: Plato (two of the early Socratic dialogues and The Apology), Wittgenstein (The Blue Book), Emerson (selected essays), J.L. Austin (on excuses and pretending), and selections from Cavell himself. Movies will include People on Sunday, two by Buster Keaton, The Philadelphia Story, Holiday, Anatomy of a Murder, The Lady Eve, Vertigo, Close-Up, and All the President’s Men. These movies raise questions about how to recognize when someone is acting or pretending or lying; about how to distinguish between doing something by mistake and doing something by accident; about what happens when someone says one thing while meaning another; about how photography differs from painting.
Assignments: bi-weekly two-page papers responding to provided prompts; one final four-page paper.
The English Department at the University of Florida offers three* credit hours of internship to its majors who provide the following to the Undergraduate Coordinator for approval:
Once the Undergraduate Coordinator has approved the internship requested by the student, the department will register the student for the internship credits.
Upon completion of the internship:
*For two credit hours, the student would need to work 8 hours per week in a Fall, Spring, or Summer C semester; and 16 hours per week for Summer A or B.
*For one credit hour, the student would need to work 4 hours per week in a Fall, Spring, or Summer C semester; and 8 hours per week for Summer A or B.
Please note the following limitations on the English Internship:
Senior Seminar for Majors: Rap from 1970 to Infinity
Victor Del Hierro
On the opening track to A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory, Q-Tip said,
Back in the days when I was a teenager
Before I had status and before I had a pager
You could find the Abstract listening to hip hop
My pops used to say, it reminded him of be-bop
I said, well daddy don’t you know that things go in cycles
If we are to believe Q-Tip’s assertion, then we might understand Hip-Hop and its cultural signifiers as part of a larger ongoing discourse. This course will examine the history of Rap music and its role in Hip-Hop culture over the last 40 years. Furthermore, the class will focus on watershed moments in Rap music’s history and the connections across different eras as well as regional American and international movements. Drawing connections and parallels across different eras, this course will work to define what are the rhetorical movements and points of emphasis that continues to influence and sustain Rap music over time. Texts for the class will include contributions from Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Eric B. and Rakim, Queen Latifah, A Tribe Called Quest, Tricia Rose, Joan Morgan, Public Enemy, Salt-N-Pepa, Missy Elliot, Lauryn Hill, Jay Z, UGK, Schoolboy Q, OutKast, Megan Thee Stallion, NWA, Loren Kajikawa, Skepta, H. Samy Alim, Tupac, Ruby Ibarra, Little Brother, DJ Screw, Jeff Chang, Regina Bradley, Migos, Mac Dre, Ana Tijoux, and others.
Honors Thesis Project
Faculty Members (2) of Choice
Students must have have completed at least one semester of ENG 4936, Honors Seminar. Open to English Honors students.
The student must select two faculty members: one to direct the reading, research, and writing of a thesis on a topic of the student’s and director’s chosing, and another as the second reader. An abstract (100 to 200 words) must be delivered to the CLAS Academic Advising Center on Fletcher Road at least 10 days before graduation.
19th Century English Novel
This course analyzes key developments in the nineteenth-century British novel through a consideration of the British novel’s historical, literary-historical, and critical contexts. The nineteenth-century saw the development of the novel alongside a new enthusiasm for narratives of growth (this was, after all, the age of the rise of Samuel Smiles’ 1859 bestseller, Self-Help, and the popularization of the “self-help” genre). Given the central interest in “growth” and “development” during this era, we will focus on these themes to guide our readings and discussion. That is, our course will center on nineteenth-century literary depictions of “growing up,” broadly speaking, during a period in history when everything from the human population, to the market economy, to industrial technology, to print culture itself also seemed to be growing—and in alarming ways. How do nineteenth-century British novels attend to these anxieties about growth? For what reasons do nineteenth-century British novels so persistently turn to narratives of development? These are the questions we will attempt to answer by semester’s end.
Please note that this is a seminar-style class with a substantial reading load that requires active participation and daily attendance. Our readings will include works by authors such as Mary Shelley, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, and Oscar Wilde. As we focus on developing our skills in close-reading and argumentation over the span of this semester, we will also carefully consider thematic and formal questions related to these texts’ genres—thinking carefully about how these genres, too, grow and develop over the course of the nineteenth century. Graded assignments will likely include (a) Perusall annotations for readings; (b) 2 short argumentative close-reading papers; and (c) a final paper that synthesizes literary analysis, genre analysis, historical contexts, and literary criticism.
The Faerie Queene
This course will plunge “into the middest” and read the greatest poem of the Elizabethan period, Spenser’s unfinished epic The Faerie Queene, including his Letter to Raleigh and the Mutability Cantos. We will consider Spenser’s uses of allegory, political and religious themes, his analysis of desire, and his place in the epic tradition. A Bartlett Giamatti’s Play of Double Senses will serve as a companion and roadmap in our quest. Course requirements are a midterm final, and one five-page paper. Active participation in class discussions is also expected.
Shakespeare: Learning By Doing
The assumption in all my theatre courses is that the text of a play is not just what is written on the page, but that text in performance, in the collaboration of actors and audience. This means that the play’s full text includes: sub-text (the inner voice of a character, the character’s history before the play, that shapes and colors the playwright’s actual dialogue), gestures, movement, the entire “stage picture.” In the theatre we would further supplement this text with lighting, sound, costume, props, and make-up.
To be sure, one can approach a play in various ways—as literature, as a repository for the thinking of an age, as a springboard for political or cultural issues. But since I work on campus and in the theatre as an actor and director, and since the theatre is a medium with its own aesthetic principles, I approach plays with my students as something mean to be performed by an actor and ratified by an audience.
In his class each student will have a scene partner with whom he or she stages several scenes each semester. In my course, then, we study the theatre from the perspective of actors and directors, charged with memorizing lines, building a character, and enacting that character through delivery, gestures, movement, and, most especially, subtext.
Once performed, the class and I, as co-directors, “work” the scene with the two actors, trying out options, rehearsing options of interpretation. The emphasis, therefore, is on learning by doing, and I assess student work by intent, what goes into the performance—not by finesse. If there is finesse, that is consider a bonus. Each actor also writes a short paper assessing his or her experience during rehearsal. Performances and the scene-work paper count equally.
Professor Homan will provide commentary on the theatrical and critical history of Shakespeare’s plays, as well as the historical context of his theatre. He will also draw on his own experience as an actor and director. We will study through performance: Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Twelfth Night, Othello, The Taming of the Shrew, The Merchant of Venice, The Tempest, Much Ado about Nothing, and King Lear. We will also stage scenes from Tom Stoppard’s reworking of Hamlet in his Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.
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 script. Please have no fear son this issue.
I must add that if this course is given through Zoom, I have learned a lot this fall semester teaching two courses in Zoom, indeed have found that, whatever the disadvantages of not being live in a classroom or on a stage, there are actually some benefits with Zoom, new ways of rehearsing and performing when it come to the theatre. I have no worries about doing it this way and I believe you will also find that it works!
Chosen as the University of Florida’s Teacher/Scholar of the Year, Sidney Homan is Professor of English and author of some eighteen books on Shakespeare and the modern playwrights. He also works as an actor and director in professional and university theatres.
If you have any question or comments, please e-mail Professor Homan at email@example.com.
Mark A. Reid
What makes dramas written by Black American playwrights and theater collectives different from those written and or performed by such dramatists and collectives as Arthur Miller, Sam Shepard, Richard Foreman, Laurie Anderson, Judith Malina and Julian Beck’s Living Theatre and Peter Brook’s International Centre of Theater Research? Using recent theoretical and political debates on performance and the construction of identity, the class will trace the historical trajectory of African American theater from the 1950s to the present.
The course covers representative works from the Theater of the Black Experience, the Black Arts Movement, the Free Southern Theatre, and the African American avant-garde and experimental stage. Assigned readings may include works by Amiri Baraka, Ed Bullins, P. J. Gibson, Lorraine Hansberry, Langston Hughes, Adrienne Kennedy, Lynn Nottage, Suzan-Lori Parks, Stew, August Wilson, Tracey Scott Wilson, George C. Wolfe, and such performance artists as Fred Holland, Robbie McCauley, John O’Neal, Whoppi Goldberg, and Anna Deavere Smith.
In drafting the analytical group-paper or in the group-dramatic performance, student-groups must create a gumbo-like analysis/performance of the lived, imagined, and performed elements found in the assigned dramas
- Lorraine Hansberry A Raisin in the Sun (NY: Signet, 1959)
LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka). Dutchman and The Slave (NY: William Morrow, 1964)
- Lynn Nottage. Crumbs From the Table of Joy and Other Plays (NY: Theatre Communications Group, 2004)
- Ed Bullins, The Taking of Miss Janie (1975) in William B. Branch, Black Thunder: An Anthology of Contemporary African American Drama (NY: Penguin, 1992)
- Anna Deveare Smith. Fires in the Mirror (NY: Anchor/Doubleday, 1993)
- Anna Deveare Smith. Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 (NY: Anchor/Doubleday, 1994)
- Stew. Passing Strange: The Complete Book and Lyrics of the Broadway Musical (NY: Applause Books, 2009)
- James Baldwin. Blues for Mister Charlie: A Play (NY: Signet, 1964)
- August Wilson. The Piano Lesson (NY: Penguin, 1990)
- August Wilson. Fences (NY: Penguin, 1986)
Love and Romance in Postmodern Jewish Culture
This course explores the fascinating body of love stories and romance in medieval Jewish culture, written mostly between the tenth and fourteenth centuries across the Mediterranean basin and Christian Europe in a variety of languages (Hebrew, Judeo-Arabic, Hebraico-French, Yiddish, etc.). This corpus includes poetry, narratives, folktales, philosophical texts and chivalric romance. From magical herbs to men dressed in women’s clothing, these entertaining stories challenge our perceptions of medieval Jewish culture as a place only of religious observance and rabbinic stringency.
In these stories, “love” appears in various forms with some repeating characteristics, such as the objectification of the female body, a woman’s duplicity, or the happy marriage between two suitable partners. Men are alternatively the victims and the perpetrators of horrific acts done in the name of love. Because gender and queer theory has been largely absent from medieval Jewish scholarship, this course will provide a long-overdue lens with which to apply those theories.
Through a close reading of these texts in English translation, students will understand the complexities of love, marriage, and romance in medieval Jewish literary culture. Students will emerge with a new perspective on the wide-reaching networks of medieval literature across religious, geographical, and cultural boundaries.
No previous knowledge of Judaism, Hebrew, or medieval literature is expected.
African Women Writers
Rose Sau Lugano
In this class we will explore African women writers and critics, looking at their theoretical priorities and cultural positions. The course is designed to provide students with both a specific and a general view of the perspectives, status, achievement and experiences of African women in fiction. In exploring African women’s literary tradition, we will use a diverse set of texts from different genres, which include novels, poems, movies, and plays selected across the vast continent. We will endeavor to understand how women’s literary expression has been shaped by history, culture, and their personal experiences, as well as see how they are addressing issues of gender in their respective societies. Our discussions will focus on issues of identity, oppression, resistance, exile, gender roles, the role of religion, colonialism and Neo-colonialism. The framework for classroom discussion will revolve around two central issues:
- The way in which women authors represent gender as a crucial variable for social stratification.
- The use of writing itself as a tool for social transformation and critique.
Philosophy & Literature in the Enlightenment
The eighteenth century is sometimes described as the age when philosophy was made popular. Major thinkers like Voltaire and Diderot endeavored to introduce to the common reader the growing store of knowledge made available by the Enlightenment. In doing so, they avoided the use of Latin as the standard philosophical language as well as traditional expository genres such as the philosophical treatise; instead, they resorted to more accessible genres including short essays, encyclopedia entries, drama, and above all prose fiction. Voltaire, in particular, is responsible for consolidating the most characteristic Enlightenment genre: the philosophical tale, of which Candide is the maximum example. In this course we will consider the opportunities and problems inherent in using prose fiction as a vehicle for philosophical ideas. We will read Voltaire alongside other Enlightenment figures, including Fontenelle, Samuel Johnson, and Elizabeth Inchbald, and close by looking at a slightly later narrative which dramatizes the Enlightenment’s ambitions and dangers: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. All readings will be done in English.
Poetics of Justice: Law, Literature, and Film
In his brief yet complex parable “Before the Law” Kafka describes how a man from the country searches for the law but is stopped outside the gates by a menacing guard, never to gain entrance to the law. What is the significance of this failure to grasp the law? How does Kafka’s perplexing tale shed light on questions pertaining to the interplay between justice, law and violence, and how do we as individuals encounter these conflicts within the social
and political spaces in which we live?
This interdisciplinary course sets out to explore these very questions and collisions by juxtaposing shifting modes of representations. By turning to the works of history (Thucydides), Religion (Book of Job), philosophy (Plato, Nietzsche and Arendt), literature (Sophocles, Dostoyevsky and Kafka) and film (Coen brothers), our objective is to trace the narrative of justice through ancient Greece, the Enlightenment, the modern and postmodern periods. In particular, we will examine the realm of trials (both real and imaginary) to probe the relation between justice and ethics along with the various questions pertaining to law, guilt, responsibility, violence and punishment. How do writers critique the institutions of law and justice through works of literature and art? Our goal is to rethink these dynamic relationships by turning to the spaces of history, philosophy, political thought, literature and film.
Introduction to Postcolonial Studies
Faculty Description Forthcoming
Why Caribbean Literature Matters
The history of imperial conquest, slavery, migration, and colonialism in the Caribbean has long served to marginalize the region. Moreover, long histories of European colonialism fragmented the region into radically different linguistic and political entities. Further, colonialism exploited its human and natural resources. Even with the attainment of political independence since the 1960s, the various national economies remain small and dependent in comparison to United State or European nations. Its many islands are visible only at the bottoms and the edges of maps. Despite the region’s enduring marginalization, Caribbean writers and thinkers have played decisive roles in the development of US, British, and Canadian literatures. Diverse writers including Claude McKay, C L R James, Jean Rhys, Frantz Fanon, Derek Walcott, VS Naipaul, Zadie Smith, Junot Diaz, Jamaica Kincaid, Edwidge Danticat, Marlon James contributed substantially to such consequential politico-aesthetic movements as modernism, the Harlem Renaissance, the Negritude Movement, postcolonial literature, queer literature, climate fiction, science fiction and more. Against this background, this course introduces students to anglophone Caribbean literature. It addresses the literature with respect to the slavery abolition movement, modernism, the Harlem Renaissance, queer literature, and science fiction. Students will learn foundational concepts, themes, tropes, styles, and aesthetic concerns. Readings will likely include: The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave Narrative, Claude McKay’s Home to Harlem, Jean Rhys’s Voyage in the Dark; Sam Selvon’s Lonely Londoners, Andrea Levy’s Small Island, Michelle Cliff’s Abeng, Audre Lorde’s Zami, Olive Senior’s Gardening in the Tropics, and Rita Indiana’s Tentacle.
African Literature in English: Issues of Race & Coloniality
Faculty Description Forthcoming
Seeing Differently: Comics and Identity
Comics studies has emerged as a scholarly field of inquiry over the past 25+ years, but many foundational thinkers considered primarily the form of the comic in their scholarship. Recent scholarship has both extended and challenged this formalist approach by centering how race, class, ideology, gender, sexuality, etc. shape comics. Indeed, comics has become a flashpoint for identity-focused theoretical investigations. In this class, we will ask how these theories shift our understanding of comics and how comics themselves represent issues of identity.
Course assignments will include digital reflections on a shared course website, a short formal essay, and a research project with a digital component.
Envisioning Environmental Disaster in Children’s Literature
As the global climate emergency accelerates in the twenty-first century, it has become increasingly evident that environmental disasters and extreme weather will disrupt the lives of many of today’s children. In response to this developing crisis, environmental children’s literature has proliferated in the last twenty years as creators seek to educate young readers about the natural world and promote youth eco-activism. This course will examine how contemporary children’s literature from a range of genres and mediums invite readers to grapple with complex environmental issues, such as habitat destruction, plastic pollution, and overfishing. Throughout the semester, our inquiries will center on three pressing questions: How do the formal and narrative properties of comics, novels, picture books, and other media shape how these texts represent abstract and unsettling environmental problems? How do these texts and their paratexts empower (or, in some cases, disempower) children to enact meaningful environmental change? And, finally, how can environmental children’s literature motivate action and convey urgency without inducing feelings of overwhelming anxiety or despair in young readers?
Potential readings will include novels, such as Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves and Carl Hiaasen’s Hoot; the illustrated novel and animated series The Last Kids on Earth; graphic novels like Rachel Hope Allison’s I’m Not a Plastic Bag and Katie O’Neill’s Aquicorn Cove; and picture books, such as Carmen Bogan’s Where’s Rodney? Graded assignments will likely include co-leading a class discussion; biweekly discussion board posts; a creative imagetext project; a short critical analysis paper; and a final syllabus redesign project.
Reading Out of Sequence
Jacques Derrida says somewhere that “sometimes, to be responsible, you have to irresponsible.” Assuming this is the case, what would it mean to be a temporarily irresponsible reader? How responsive need a reader be in order to be considered a “good” reader? Under what condition are the creative recycling of books considered book art or literature? In this course, we will narrow these broad questions on one moment in critical editions of literature that has received no critical attention, namely, the cross-reference, the words “See also.” Is the author or editors’ use of “see also” as merely an invitation or is it an instruction to the reader to find and read the specified pages of a referenced work? Are we being guided or compelled? Under what conditions does an author refer us to another work? When can the reader say we are invited to refer a work without actually getting an explicit cross-reference? What is a reference? What is the relation between chance and pursing a cross-reference? Why has the cross-reference been excluded from book art and book history, reduced to an entirely pragmatic function of getting the reader from one page or citation to another? Taking the risk of reading irresponsibly, we will read a wide variety of literary text in relation to four sometimes clashing areas of research and art: first, book history, especially when it focuses on paratexts, including the table of contents, the index, footnotes, titles, title pages, etc; second, book art and conceptual poetry concerned with found language and aspects of books including paratexts, typography, and graphic design; third, the philosophy of the book as concerns Maurice Blanchot and Jacques Derrida; and, fourth, the literary history of the cross-reference, including the Geneva Bible, the King James Bible, John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and Grace Abounding, Denis Diderot’s entry on “Encyclopédie” in the Encyclopédie; Roland Barthes’s critical apparatus for a Balzac short story in S/Z; a footnote Edgar Allan Poe added to the second version of A Descent into the Maelstrom he subsequently wrote was to a passage that did not exist; Konrad Gessner’s encyclopedia, Bibliotheca Universalis (1545), Paul Otlet’s Mundaneum, and Samuel Richardson’s eight-volume epistolary novel, Clarissa, the only novel to extensively cross-reference itself. This course is not about past reading practices shared by communities of readers but a philosophical investigation into what we can learn by practicing kinds of reading invited or prompted by cross-references. In addition to reading the works above, we will look at Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote, selections from Richardson’s first novel, Pamela; Juan Luis Borges’ “The Garden of Forking Paths,” “The Book of Sand,” and “Library of Babel”; Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year; Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy and Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire to grasp just how singular a novel Clarissa is. We will consider how a fictional source is authorized (or not) in a frame narrative like Nathaniel Hawthorne’s introduction “The Custom House” to The Scarlet Letter and the fictional destruction of sources as in Hawthorne’s short story “Earth’s Holocaust” and Henry James’ Aspern Papers. In addition to reading in linear fashion, we will use cross-references to read literature ir-responsibly, out of sequence, jumping ahead or going back in the same book or over and on to another; that is, we will learn to reread, read more closely, even read infinitely. Do audiobooks provide auditory signals of footnotes (by having one voice actor read the narrative and another read the notes) will also be an area of our errant investigation, and are anticipated in David R. Bunch’s dystopian novel Moderan. When is it necessary to give references to you reader. Herman Melville does give the sources for “The Extracts” chapter of Moby Dick, but other references not provided by Melville have been given by modern editors, Herschel Parker chief among them. Jacques Derrida does not give the bibliographical reference to a passage by Friedrich Nietzsche he cites in The Post Card and leaves the passage in German too. (I tracked it down) We will make use of public domain digital editions of literature available at archive.org to ask questions about the aesthetics of reading and what reading conceptually means: when does a book become book art? How do book artists transform found language and narratives into conceptual poetry? When is it incumbent on an author to provide a reference with full bibliographical information to a book or article (excluding plagiarism)? What figures (such as “flood”) are used in book histories? Is skimming reading? How much can you say you skipped or skimmed and still confidently say you read the book? Can you simply ignore the cross-references in Clarissa and still be considered the “attentive reader” Richardson said he wanted? What is “consultative” reading? What is discontinuous reading? Typological reading? Is all reading a version of what Pierre Bayard calls non-reading? In addition to the works mentioned above, selected readings will include chapters from Gerard Genette’s Paratexts; Michel Foucault’s “Lives of Infamous Men”; Bill Sherman’s Used Books; Will Hogan’s The Thing The Book; Nicholas Nace’s Catch-words; Markus Krajewski’s Paper Machines: About Cards & Catalogs, 1548-1929; Garret Stewart’s Bookwork: Medium to Object to Concept to Art; Avital Ronnell’s Telephone Book; Mary Franklin-Brown’s Reading the World; Susan Howe’s Concordance; Anna-Sophie Springer and Etienne Turpin’s Fantasies of the Library; Henry James, The Aspern Papers; Pierre Bayard, How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read; The Library of Congress’s The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures; Curiosity and Method, Ten Years of Cabinet Magazine; Jacques Derrida’s (Mes)Chances” and “Typewriter Ribbon: Limited Ink (2 ) ‘within such limits’”; and Ann Blair’s Too Much To Know: Managing Scholarly Information Before the Modern Age. See also articles on encyclopedias by William West . . .
Requirements: Co-leading class twice, active class participation, discussion questions based on the assigned readings for every class meeting, and three papers.
Discussion Questions (DQs) and BIG WORDS are always due by Mondays and Wednesdays by 5:00 p.m. Send both in one word document. Attach all work in emails as word documents for the course to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not send pdfs. We will discuss your DQs in class the day after they are due Mondays and Wednesdays by 5:00 p.m. I have posted due dates for the first few assignments but I will no longer give due dates after January 13. You’ll know the drill by then.
BIG WORDS: For each assigned reading, I will ask you to look up the definitions of three Big Words and (and cut and paste the words and their definitions into one document including your DQs)
I’ll ask you to co-lead classes two times during the semester. You and your co-leader will create a google document and share it with me so I can give you advice before we meet for class.
Science Fiction Creative Writing Workshop
From that inaugural work of body-modification, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, fictions that engage deeply with science have often sought to extend, explore, confuse or break the confines of the human body and/or soul, in order to more fully understand what it means to be human. Whether contemplating technological interventions, such as the inventions we call robots, androids or cyborgs, or genetic ones, in which human genomes are scrambled, infected or recoded, or psychological ones, in which human perception plays a significant role, SF has repeatedly sought to challenge the limits of both known science and accepted norms regarding human embodiment. In this writing workshop we shall revisit some older fictions that take on the task of re-imagining the human body, while we perform some fictional thought-experiments of our own. We will workshop those experiments, read and critique our own works, and strive to create fictions about our future(s).
From Romance to the Novel
In contemporary usage, the word “romance” refers to a type of novel, one centered on the themes of love and romantic relationships. But “romance” also refers to a much older narrative tradition, one in which love shares space with dragons and heroic quests in an open landscape inhabited by larger-than-life human figures. In its traditional meaning, romance was the dominant narrative mode of the Middle Ages, and it is only around the late seventeenth century that it began to give way to the modern novel. Or did it? This will be the question animating this course. We will consider the distinctiveness but also the mutual indebtedness of these two narrative traditions. We will begin by looking at an outstanding example of medieval romance, Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur (1485); we will then turn to some of the first examples of the modern novel, reading works by Daniel Defoe and Henry Fielding; and we will consider how the themes and structures of romance either reappear or persist in hybrid modes, such as the Gothic novels of Horace Walpole and Ann Radcliffe and Sir Walter Scott’s historical novel Ivanhoe (1820).
Representations of War
This course sets out to probe the cultural, social and political functions of horror in relation to shifting moments of historical violence. In addition to exploring the horror genre in literary and cinematic works of the imagination (Shelley’s Frankenstein and Hitchcock’s Psycho), we will ultimately apply the aesthetic, epistemic and ethical questions arising in the genre to shifting representations of traumatic history. As we map out the history and themes behind this popular genre, our aim is to probe the intersections between horror and its socio-cultural and historical contexts. How is political violence represented, conceptualized and memorialized across shifting linguistic and visual texts? What ethical questions arise in our engagement with representations of traumatic limit events and the experience of horror these events entail?
After reading and screening central works from the horror genre, we will examine some of the emblematic scenes of historical violence in the 20th and 21st centuries. Turning to such instances as the legacies of colonialism (Heart of Darkness), First World War (Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) the Holocaust (Survival in Auschwitz and Eichmann in Jerusalem) the Vietnam War (Michael Herr’s Dispatches) and 9/11 (Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close), this seminar investigates the intersection between narratives of horror in the realms of both fantasy and history. In our inquiry into representations of horror, we will examine how this genre in European and American culture is employed to express both individual and national anxieties in the face of political violence. Finally, what does our fascination with the horrors of historical violence reveal about ourselves?
Israeli-Arab Conflict on Stage and Screen
Many encounters between Israelis and Palestinians take place on the stage. The playhouse and the cinema host a rich tradition of fictional and documented depictions of the conflict, offering a unique look into complex realties through different representations of Israel and Palestine. In this course we will screen, read and discuss movies and theatrical productions (both local and international), that critique and challenge official state narratives, ideologies and histories.
Holocaust Memory in Israel
The Holocaust played a significant role in the Zionist project, acting as a catalyst for the creation of the Israeli state which still sees itself as a metaphor for Jewish destruction and rebirth. What does it mean when a young country formulates its identity through modes of commemoration and retribution for millions murdered, shaping an unprecedented traumatic event into an ideological doctrine of nation creation? As the Holocaust slowly withdraws into the remote past, this course will review how its memory was used and constructed in Israeli society by examining Hebrew literary and cultural production (fiction, film, theater and TV), created alongside seminal socio-political events of the 20th century.