Spring 2017 – Graduate Seminars
Instructor: Bohls, Liz
This one-credit seminar/professional-workshop prepares Graduate Teaching Fellows to be instructors-of-record in undergraduate ENG courses. It provides concrete, practical guidance on teaching literature and media to undergraduates. Short readings provide conceptual frameworks to consider when thinking about pedagogy, assisting large lecture courses, leading discussions, preparing syllabi, designing paper assignments, constructing lesson plans, and commenting and grading student writing within the lit/media course. The workshop will be primarily conducted as discussion, punctuated by guest panels and some presentations.
Instructor: Gershow, Miriam
Prospective Composition GTFs who are currently enrolled in or have successfully completed ENG 611 spend one term working with an experienced teacher in a section of WR121 or WR122. The apprenticeship is set up to complement the theoretical work in ENG 611 with practical experience for teaching WR121 or 122. Grading option is P/NP only.
Instructor: Pyle, Forest
This course will explore key theoretical works that shape and illuminate the study of literary and cultural texts. It will include three units. The first will take up semiotically-oriented accounts of symbolic formations including writings by Saussure, Barthes, The Frankfurt School, Althusser, Gramsci, Derrida. The second unit will be concerned with theories that explore the effects and affects of these formations and will include work by Benjamin, Arendt, Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, Deleuze. The third unit will focus on theories that are concerned with literary and cultural texts in relation to social and historical identities and will include work by Fanon, Djebar, Spivak, Mohanty, Gikandi, Gates, hooks and Butler.
Instructor: Laskaya, Anne
Cathy Caruth has argued for a link between trauma and literature, suggesting that trauma is represented “in a language that is always somehow literary: a language that defies, even as it claims, our understanding.” This seminar offers students opportunities for close reading and inquiry into non-Chaucerian Middle English material contextualized within theories of trauma/trauma narrative. Representations of, and reflections on, mourning, memorialization, plague, war, crusades, antisemitism, torture, bodily suffering, and terror are not hard to find in medieval material, just as they are not hard to find in 20th and 21st century texts.
The seminar’s primary texts will be drawn from works like Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Piers Plowman, Pearl, The Three Dead Kings (from MS Douce 302), The Vision of Tundale, Romances like the Alliterative Morte Arthure and the Seige of Jerusalem; as well as late medieval English visual materials like the Bayeux Tapestry, Danse Macabre (printed by Marchant, 1485), and 12th-15th century Illuminated Biblical Manuscripts. Secondary readings will include a few key texts from modern/contemporary trauma theory and selections from studies of medieval culture like Geraldine Heng’s now classic Empire of Magic: Medieval Romance and the Politics of Cultural Fantasy, Esther Cohen’s The Modulated Scream: Pain in Late Medieval Culture, Robert Bartlett’s The Hanged Man: A Story of Miracle, Memory, and Colonialism in the Middle Ages, Miri Rubin’s Gentile Tales: The Narrative Assault on Late Medieval Jews, J. Tolmie’s Laments for the Lost, David Nirenberg’s Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages, Jane Gilbert’s Living Death in Medieval French and English Literature, as well as the work of Mary Carruthers, Brett Whalen, Patricia DeMarco, Sarah Lipton, Aranye Fradenburg, J. J. Cohen and others.
Instructor: Luk, Sharon
This course is an introduction to historical materialist methods of cultural studies. We will examine language and aesthetics as “constitutive human processes” in the modern world, with particular attention to relations of capital, race, nation-state, and social reproduction. Course work will guide you to understand and apply methods of marxian analysis and to participate in the ongoing criticism and evolution of such approaches. In this pursuit, you will become more familiar with critical vocabularies for thinking about modernity and consider how race, class, gender, and sexuality function as determinate forces. As intellectuals, you will also practice grounding yourselves as the center of your own projects and, from this standpoint, responsibly and deliberately position yourselves in the larger ideological terrain in which your work unfolds.
This course will examine the work of two of the twentieth century’s leading poets, W.B. Yeats and Seamus Heaney, who trace how art shapes and is shaped by the crises of revolution, guerilla warfare, and global conflict at the beginning and end of the twentieth century. Both winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature (Yeats in 1923; Heaney in 1995), Yeats and Heaney were principal heirs of the poetic legacy of British Romanticism and worked to reinterpret that legacy amidst the shifting contexts of key moments in twentieth-century (and, for Heaney, twenty-first-century) literary and cultural history. As witnesses and commentators on the revolutionary movements and violent upheaval that convulsed modern Ireland at key moments in the past century, both saw their work as contributing to the development of an Irish national literature that would come to be known as one of the most important literary traditions in the modern period. The course will explore a wide selection of Yeats’s and Heaney’s writing to trace the development of their poetic visions over their long careers and consider the ways that their aesthetics intertwine and diverge. As part of that exploration, we will examine how Yeats’s poetry is shaped by Victorian literary culture and the project of the Irish Literary Revival and consider how it continues to unfold against the backdrop of World War I, the Irish War of Independence and Civil War, and the rise of transatlantic modernism. While considering the ongoing influence of Yeats for Heaney, we will also reflect on the effects of Heaney’s membership in the Field Day collective and his roles as poetic interpreter and leading public intellectual responding to the decades of urban guerilla warfare known as the Northern Ireland “Troubles.” Our ongoing project during the class will be to distill the key features that made both poets such crucial figures for twentieth-century literature and to consider the light that each sheds on the complex interplay of art and politics at moments of historical crisis
Cultures of American Modernism explores the various and multiform nature of American modernism from 1910 to 1935. US Modernism developed in dialogue with several phenomena of modernity: newly national forms of social and economic integration, instead of the ‘island communities’ of an earlier era; new models of perspective and experience emerging from psychology, philosophy, and the European visual arts; changes in urban cultural institutions; mass immigration and the large-scale movement of African Americans northward in the Great Migration; a fruitful ambivalence towards a technologically and economically innovative mass culture; and new sexological and political discourses that were rapidly altering the social understanding of sex and gender. We will pursue an interdisciplinary study of this moment of cultural ferment, by looking at literary modernism’s relationship with visual culture, popular literature, and little magazines, as well as some of the more familiar literary texts of US Modernism. The course will also introduce students to some of the key features and scholarship of the new modernist studies that have developed over the past fifteen ten years, including the new interest in the interrelation between technologies of visual culture and literature; the cultural economy of the modernist magazine and book; discourses of race in American modernism and its relation to the Harlem Renaissance; how transatlantic and cosmopolitan approaches have altered traditional understandings of modernist exile and expatriation; and how the category of the “middlebrow” was crucial in the long-term institutionalization of modernism.
ENG 695 Theories of Media
Instructor: Gopal, Sangita
This course is a historical introduction to film and media theory. We will explore how the form and function of media was theorized at different temporal junctures and spatial contexts from the late 19th century to the present. It will be globally focused and we will examine how film and media has been historically theorized in different production centers in the US, Europe, Asia and Africa. Our readings proceed roughly chronologically and are accompanied by film and media curations that best exemplify and anchor particular ways of thinking about cinema and media. The course assumes that the various theories of cinema and media are in conversation with media objects. We will always hold theory and its object of contemplation in simultaneous and dialectical relation.
Instructor: Gilman, Lisa
This interdisciplinary course examines theoretical and methodological scholarship in performance studies scholarship associated with folklore, theater studies, anthropology, and literary studies to explore whether these approaches exist as distinct fields of inquiry or whether areas of convergence represent an identifiable theoretical approach. We will read and discuss works by important contributors to the field of performance studies to examine the relationships between approaches from different disciplines, and we will explore how these different perspectives can increase the breadth and depth of students’ research endeavors theoretically and methodologically.