Course Offerings: Spring 2006

Spring 2006 is under way, and what an exciting semester, full of passion, thought, and hard work. Please visit descriptions of our Current Upper-Division Undergraduate Course Offerings and our Current Graduate Seminar Offerings.

 

CURRENT UPPER-DIVISION UNDERGRADUATE COURSE OFFERINGS:

 

ENG 302.01 Prof. Valerie Karno
MW 2-3:34 SURGE

THEORIES OF CINEMATIC AFFECTS

This course will study the impact of affect in cinematic representation. We will read theories of affect, think about the link between narrative and affective theories of cinema, and explore the links between affect, humanism, and the animate.  We will study a range of cinema, from American and international animation to the "avant garde".  Requirements include several papers, an exam, and class participation


 ENG 304.01 Prof. John Leo
MW 4-5:45 INDP AUD

FILM GENRES: FILM AND THE COLD WAR

This course explores mainly European and US filmmaking during the Cold War. Topics include differences among production practices and audiences, genres and aesthetics (e.g. combat film, domestic melodrama, varieties of "Socialist Realism," satire, narrative modes, nation-building), and the roles of popular culture along multiple ideological fronts. Some questions we will explore: how

is "youth" imagined in the West as opposed to the Soviet bloc? Or, what kinds of contradictions occur, e.g. youth as consumers but also rock and roll "juvenile delinquents? youth as potential "brownshirts" ("hooligans," proto-Nazis)--or the carriers of a new "subjectivity" based on socialism? What kinds of film topics get censored by both sides, and for what reasons? What kinds of "stories" and "narratives" strike you as "different" from " Hollywood "? Why?

Film titles may include "Our Daily Bread" and "The Rabbit Is Me" ( East Germany ), "Man of Marble" ( Poland ), "Mephisto" ( Hungary ), "Freeze-Die-Come to Life" and "Come and See" ( USSR ), " Salvador " and "Dr. Stangelove" ( US ), among others.

Readings draw from film history and theory, US and European history since World War II, types of audience formation, film and "propaganda," ideology and aesthetics. Students can expect quizzes, in class writing, and several papers stressing critical reading and viewing skills as well as expository writing and working with complex kinds of evidence.

 


ENG 305.01 Prof. Talvikki Ansel
W 3:30-6:15 Surge  

ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING

(Course counts toward Creative Writing Focus)

This class in an advanced poetry workshop for students who are interested in writing poetry. Emphasis will be on generating new work for a mid-term and a final portfolio of poems. Poems will be discussed in a "workshop" setting-- you will receive responses to your work from your fellow classmates and instructor.

Students should be dedicated to pursing their craft and willing to try new approaches to writing. To supplement the writing, we will also be reading and discussing poetry by contemporary poets. Previous experience in a poetry workshop (such as ENG 205) is highly recommended, as well as a familiarity with the terms used to discuss poetry. Requirements: participation, poems, short essays on the readings. If you have any questions about enrolling in the class, please contact the instructor.

 


ENG 336.01 Prof. Paul Arakelian
T Th 12:30-1:45 Surge  

THE LANGUAGE OF CHILDREN'S LITERATURE

Children's literature has been dismissed as mere fluff and vilified as cultural indoctrination. In this course we will attempt to determine whether children's literature is just harmless fun or dangerous propaganda by developing a method of analyze the language of literary texts. We will review those linguistic tools with which critics describe style, and then we will apply those tools to children's texts and ask whether style reveals or reinforces cultural values. Students will consider in particular books by Dr. Seuss by analyzing their sound patterns, word choice, and sentence structure.

 


ENG 337.01 Prof. Paul Arakelian
T Th 11-12:15 Surge  

VARIETIES OF AMERICAN ENGLISH

In this course we will study the evolution of American English from its beginnings as a colonial DIALECT of British English to its current status as a world-wide LANGUAGE. In particular, we will consider regional and social varieties (New England English, Black English) as well as historical varieties (Colonial English). The majority of class time will be devoted to individual or group exercises and projects which will enable you to study the varieties of American English in film and in person. Your grade will depend on both exams and projects. The projects will send you out into the field to interview people, record the way they speak, and analyze their dialects. This course contains language that may be offensive to some students.

 


ENG 364.01 Prof. Gitahi Gititi
T Th 9:30-10:45 Surge


CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN LITERATURE

Much, perhaps most, contemporary African literature (i.e., literature by African authors addressing African reality) concerns itself especially with issues and events affecting African societies in the period after their acquisition of independent national status. This by no means implies that this literature does not reach back to the period of European colonial domination of Africa, or the period before European advent on the continent.

As the new nation states emerge, they struggle with issues of self-definition, the process of establishing and maintaining political and economic parity, the reconstruction of cultural foundations eroded by European colonization, and so on. Literature, of necessity, imaginatively examines issues of individual and group morality, ethics social class formation, gender disparity, the reconciliation of traditional norms with “modernity,” and other crucial questions.

The small sampling of African texts selected (rather arbitrarily) for this class will be read against a variety of contexts –historical, political, cultural, economic, and linguistic. While the readings are in English translation, an awareness of Africa’s unique linguistic, cultural, and political complexity will be an asset.

 


ENG 368.01 Prof. Elisabeth Bell
T Th 9:30-10:45 Surge

BIBLE AS LITERATURE

This course on the Bible as literature—as opposed to literature of the Bible—will investigate uses of biblical texts by contemporary authors and will mainly focus on the works of American writer Robert COOVER [1932-], who in his fictions makes ample use of passages from both the Old and the New Testament. Among the questions this course asks will be the relation between the nature of "revelation" and the diversity of its interpretation and recording, i.e., myth-making.

Required texts:

The Bible , King James Version

Coover, Robert: The Origin of the Brunists . New York : Grove Press, 2000.

Pricksongs & Descants . New York : Grove Press, 2000. "After Lazarus," "The Brother," "J's Marriage," "A Pedestrian Accident," and "The Wayfarer."

The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop . New York : Plume / New American Library, 1987.

Handouts:

[selections from] The Five Books of Moses. Translated by Robert Alter. Norton, 2004.

[background information on] The Epic of Gilgamesh

 


ENG 378.01 Prof. Ryan Trimm
T Th 9:30-10:45 Surge

POSTMODERNISM AND CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE :
POSTMODERNISM AND AFTER

Course Description: The class will begin by investigating the burning question of what exactly is (or was) this thing called postmodernism. We’ll look at sample text or two (such as Trainspotting or The Crying of Lot 49) and a few critical essays (by figures such as Fredric Jameson, Jean-Francois Lyotard, and Linda Hutcheon) to help us sketch out a provisional answer. The rest of the semester will then work to add shading and complexity to our rough sketch by examining a wide range of literary, theoretical, and cinematic texts. We will investigate postmodern “playing” with history and time, and consider how such play might be productive in forcing us to rethink how the past impacts and intersects the present. The class will also pursue the question of identity in postmodern culture by mapping out how the postmodern problematizes notions of the self; we will also consider whether or not there can be such a thing as a postmodern identity. We will also think through the postmodern obsession with borders and boundaries of all stripes, from the unstable divisions between cultures to the dissolving lines between technology and the human body. Finally, we will

think about how postmodern texts make their very textuality an issue through a self-referential concern with “literariness,” theories of the image, etc. We will examine texts such as Beloved, Pulp Fiction, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Arc d’ X, Cloud Atlas, Brazil, and Crossing the River.

 


ENG 382.01 Prof. Hillary Kelleher
T Th 11-12:15 Surge


MEDIEVAL & RENAISSANCE AUTHORS: CHAUCER

It is a critical commonplace to find in Early Modern authors an affirmation of humanism: a celebration of the individual within an ultimately intelligible cosmos.  This course questions the conventional view by focusing on literary examples of doubt, mystery and uncertainty, with particular regard for the emergence of philosophical skepticism and the continuing influence of negative theology.  Alongside the impulse toward knowledge, we shall discover, lay a powerful awareness of its limits; as St. Paul was so often quoted as saying, “For now we see through a glass, darkly… now I know in part.”  This sentiment is expressed not only in writing but also in painting, especially through the technique of sfumato (literally “smokey”), which we consider as we move through the readings.  Attention will be paid to the epistemological relation between magic and science, as well as to the influence of Enlightenment notions of rationality on our current system of historical classification.  Through an engagement with both primary and secondary sources, students will gain an understanding of the scope of this period’s literature as well as a familiarity with contemporary schools of criticism.  Texts will include (but will not be limited to) selections from Dante’s Divine Comedy, the anonymous Cloud of Unknowing, Spenser’s Faerie Queene, Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Jonson’s The Alchemist, Donne’s Anniversaries, and Herbert’s The Temple.

 


ENG 383.01 Prof. Stephen Barber
T Th 2-3:15 Surge

MODERNIST LITERATURE, 1900-1945

This course charts the aesthetic innovations of the first half of the twentieth-century in comparison to both predecessor- and future periods and movements. We will read across genres – namely poetry, drama, and novels – in order to develop a coherent and sophisticated understanding of what “modernism” means. Representative poets include Yeats, Pound, HD, Eliot, Williams, and Stevens; dramatists include Wilde, Shaw, Yeats, and Beckett; novelists include Lawrence, Joyce, Woolf, Rhys, Stein, and Barnes. There are three assignments: two brief essays and one final critical paper.

 


ENG 385.01 Prof. Mary Cappello
T Th 11-12:15 Surge  

WOMEN WRITERS: RADICAL POETRIES:
EMILY DICKINSON AND GERTRUDE STEIN

In the past several decades, the most prominent experimental poets in the United States have traced their lines of influence back to the radical poetries of Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) and Gertrude Stein (1874-1946). This course will offer an in-depth exploration of the wildly unconventional, sometimes impossible, always challenging poetry, prose, and poetics of these two women writers. In addition to the poems, we’ll read critical commentary and contemporary theoretical meditations on Dickinson, and we’ll grapple with the problem of print culture’s erasure of the unprecedented experiment undertaken by the Dickinson fascicles; we’ll read Stein’s Tender Buttons, Three Lives, Patriarchal Poetry, Lifting Belly, and Geographical History of America, and we’ll consider recent attempts to understand Stein’s poetics as experiments in cognition (carried out on the reader). We’ll explore Dickinson’s influence on 20 th century American collagist, Joseph Cornell, and Dickinson and Stein’s influence on contemporary L-A-N-G-U-A-G-E poets, Susan Howe and Lyn Hejinian. Biographically the writers seem worlds apart—Dickinson the isolato, Stein the socialite. It will be especially interesting, then, to discover the places where their literary practices cross-over and depart. Perhaps more than the work of many writers, the writing of Dickinson and Stein seems to require conversation and a rivetous attention. Thus, one of the major aims of our time together will be from the start to perform close readings of the primary texts. Students will be expected to research and compose annotated bibliographies; to open class discussion; to produce two substantive analytic seminar papers; and to try their hand at occasional less traditional writing, e.g., imitations of or contemporary instantiations of poems by Dickinson and Stein.

 


ENG 396.01 Prof. Matt Frankel
MW 3-4:15 Surge  

LITERATURE OF THE SEA: THE RUMOWICZ SEMINAR
The Question of Technology and American Literature of the Sea

In the opening chapter of Moby-Dick, Herman Melville imagines a "metaphysical professor" who confirms that "meditation and water are wedded for ever." Taking Melville at his word, this course explores the wedding of thinking and the sea through the issue of technology. Signifying at once the historical context, the scientific innovations, and the structural procedures of human cognition, technology has concerned philosophers, cultural critics, and writers of fiction in equal measure. Accordingly, in the first half of the course we will read works dedicated to examining the interrelations between history, science, and thinking; and in the second half of the course, we will turn to the fictional universe of Moby-Dick in an attempt to theorize Melville's famous proposition: how might the sea serve not only as a setting for instrumental experimentation and an occasion for the expansion of scientific knowledge, but also as an image of thought itself--that is to say, the negotiation of port and the open sea as the very technology of thinking.

Texts for the first half of the course will include sections of Alfred North Whitehead's Science and the Modern World, Walter Benjamin's "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," Herbert Marcuse's "Some Social Implications of Modern Technology," Theodor Adorno's "Culture Industry Reconsidered," Martin Heidegger's "The Question Concerning Technology," and Michel Foucault's "Technologies of the Self." In addition to Melville's Moby-Dick and various scholarship on American technology in the nineteenth century, the second half of the course will explore the media phenomena of Titanic (both James Cameron's film and extended DVD commentary, as well as Robert Ballard's recent exhibit, "Return to Titanic," at the Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration) as a technological response to the technological failure of its central subject.

 


ENG 472.01 Prof. Hillary Kelleher
T Th 2-3:15 Surge  

SHAKESPEARE

“There needs no ghost,” claims Horatio, “come from the grave” to reveal what’s what in the state of Denmark .  Yet Hamlet remains haunted by the ambiguity of his supernatural encounter.  This course explores Shakespeare’s equivocal relation to the occult--from Hamlet’s father, Macbeth’s witches and Caesar’s soothsayer, to the astrological portents of King Lear, the faeries Midsummer and the magic of The Tempest.  We will also look at more earthly forms of haunting, including obsession (the Dark lady of the sonnets), repression (Lady Macbeth) and jealousy (Othello), and consider Shakespeare’s unique creation of conscience in his greatest characters, all of whom are possessed by inner darknesses and contradictions.  While engaging intensely with the plays and poems, students will deepen their understanding of the historical context and gain insight into the perspectives of such prominent schools of contemporary criticism as psychoanalysis, new historicism and post-structuralism.  Throughout the semester, we’ll ponder how Shakespeare own ghost continues to haunt Western subjectivity and to shape what we’ve come to call modernity.

 


ENG 482.01 Prof. Martha Rojas
T Th 12:30-1:45 Surge

AMERICAN ENLIGHTENMENT AUTHORS  

This course examines the cultural history of the Enlightenment in eighteenth and early nineteenth-century America . Through readings of classic legal, literary, political, religious, scientific, and visual texts, we ask what "enlightenment" meant for various inhabitants and figures of the United States . We will investigate the physical spaces of Enlightenment (clubs, coffeehouses, colleges, churches, salons, libraries, museums, statehouses, and charitable societies) as well as the material manifestations of the "republic of letters" (periodicals, pamphlets, books, prints). We will survey recent theoretical and historical accounts and critiques of the Enlightenment that address topics such as the concept of a deliberating public, the place of feeling in the age of reason, the valorization or denigration of "primitive" peoples, and the development of nationalism and cosmopolitanism.

 


ENG 486.01 Prof. Carolyn Betensky
T Th 12:30-1:45 Surge

BRITISH AUTHORS
THE BRONTES AND THEIR WORLD

Emily, Anne, and Charlotte Bronte, three young sisters from an odd, impoverished, and tragedy-prone English family, wrote some of the most successful and beloved literature of the nineteenth century. With novels such as Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights , and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, among other writings, these young women captured the imaginations of their contemporaries and continue to absorb the attentions of readers today. The texts of the Brontes were not uncontroversial, however. In their own time, the uncomfortable themes, scandalous plots, and unusual stylistic aspects of their work met as often with outrage as they did with acclaim.

In this course we’ll be reading major (and some quirkily minor) works by members of this fascinating and puzzling family in historical and cultural context. Among other questions we’ll be considering will be the different ways and reasons the Brontes’ texts, as well as the Brontes themselves, have been configured and reconfigured by their readers over the past two centuries.

 


ENG 487.01 Prof. Stephen Barber
T Th 11-12:15 Surge

WORLD AUTHORS

This course offers a rare (and thrilling) opportunity to study two authors of inestimable significance to the tradition of the novel: Marcel Proust and Franz Kafka. Our focus will be on the philosophy of aesthetics evolved by each author in his work, as well as on the interrelated innovative conceptions of knowledge, affect, and power devised by Proust and Kafka. There are three assignments: the first is to be a brief annotated bibliography, and the second is to be an abstract of what will be the student’s final paper.

 


ENG 493.01/494.01 Prof. Karen Stein
TBA

INTERNSHIP IN ENGLISH
(By Override Only)

These courses offer 3 credits each for successful completion of a supervised internship experience. The courses are designed to provide practical job experience related to your English major. They are intended to help you identify career skills, explore career goals, learn job search techniques and explore a particular work environment.

The first step in this process is to fill out an application for the course(s). Applications are available in the Advising Office, INDP 139. You will be expected to find your own job placement. Lists of possible placements are available at the UYA office in Taft Hall. You may consult with the UYA Program in Taft Hall or with a member of the English Department advising staff for assistance (The UYA Program offers a 15-credit internship). You are expected to work at the placement for 120 hours over the semester (approximately 10 hours/week).

Course requirements:

1. A journal of work experience: what you do at your job, what you are learning about office management and politics, how you fit in, what you are learning about your own capabilities and interests.

2. Evaluation by your supervisor at the job site.

3. Your final report.

4. Other class assignments.

 


HPR 312.01 Prof. John Leo
M 4-5:45 Lg. Aud.
T 4-5:45 Chaf 204

FILM GENRES: FILM AND THE COLD WAR

This course explores mainly European and US filmmaking during the Cold War. Topics include differences among production practices and audiences, genres and aesthetics (e.g. combat film, domestic melodrama, varieties of "Socialist Realism," satire, narrative modes, nation-building), and the roles of popular culture along multiple ideological fronts. Some questions we will explore: how is "youth" imagined in the West as opposed to the Soviet bloc? Or, what kinds of contradictions occur, e.g. youth as consumers but also rock and roll "juvenile delinquents? youth as potential "brownshirts" ("hooligans," proto-Nazis)--or the carriers of a new "subjectivity" based on socialism? What kinds of film topics get censored by both sides, and for what reasons? What kinds of "stories" and "narratives" strike you as "different" from " Hollywood "? Why? Film titles may include "Our Daily Bread" and "The Rabbit Is Me" ( East Germany ), "Man of Marble" ( Poland ), "Mephisto" ( Hungary ), "Freeze-Die-Come to Life" and "Come and See" ( USSR ), " Salvador " and "Dr. Stangelove" ( US ), among others.

Readings draw from film history and theory, US and European history since World War II, types of audience formation, film and "propaganda," ideology and aesthetics. Students can expect quizzes, in class writing, and several papers stressing critical reading and viewing skills as well as expository writing and working with complex kinds of evidence.

 


HPR 312.02 Prof. Naomi Mandel
TR 12:30 Surge

HISTORY OF LITERARY THEORY AND CRITICISM

This course will introduce you to a historical range of approaches to and theories of representation. Rather than a static relation between two objects, or between an object and a text, we will view representation as an active force, and study what it enables, prohibits, forces and denies.

Since the purpose of this course is not only to provide you with a background in literary theory and criticism but also teach you how to use it, throughout the semester you will be applying the theories we develop in class to selected pieces of contemporary literature, primarily fiction and film.

Texts:

Leitch, et. al., eds. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism
Fincher, David, dir. Fight Club. (recommended)
Additional Texts on electronic reserve.

NOTE: This course is being offered through the Honors Program. You must have a G.P.A. of 3.2 or higher to enroll in this course.

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CURRENT GRADUATE SEMIMAR OFFERINGS:

 

ENG 540.01 Prof. Martha Rojas
W 7-9:45 PROV

 STUDIES IN AMERICAN TEXT BEFORE 1815:
TRANSAFLANTICISMS & LITERARY CULTURE

From the first colonization of the Americas , and stretching beyond the Revolution to the early national period, the literary culture of the North American settlements developed in the context of other colonies as well as that of the increasingly cosmopolitan British empire . In this course we will attend to the profound influence that American texts exerted in the British Isles, to the ways in which British culture shaped the American literary and political imagination, and to the dialogues and controversies that preoccupied transatlantic communities — models of colonialism, ideals of civilization, and the emerging of discourses of race and nation.

 


ENG 545.01 Prof. Valerie Karno
M 4-6:45 Surge

AFFECT IN AMERICA AND GLOBALIZATION

Studying cinema, literature, and theories of affect, this course will explore the ways affect has been used in the construction of democratic representations during the last century. How have feelings arguably bound in or transmitted through  corporeality influenced technologies of the individual and national body? How have shame, revulsion, and surprise operated through images of democratic difference? What does cinematic affect reveal about the qualities of American imperialism?  Requirements will include reflection papers, short and long papers, and class presentations.

 


ENG 550.01 Prof. Josie Campbell
W 3:30-6:15 Surge  

STUDIES IN BRITISH TEXTS BEFORE 1700:
READING AGAINST THE TEXT

The course explores a variety of literature of the Middle Ages--in particular romance literature--through a feminist rereading of the texts.  Although such rereading can not and should not be univocal (feminist theory is far too eclectic for that), at least two assumptions can be shared: feminism recognizes that patriarchal hegemony works through various modes of discourse and images as much as it does through institutions of church and state.  The enterprise of understanding women as they are produced in texts helps us to understand not only their social repression but their subversive power.  Feminist criticism, then is fundamentally political at the same time it may be aesthetic.  As Stephen Greenblatt points out in a different context, we must learn "to look less at the presumed center of the literary domain (my emphasis) than at its borders, to try to track what can only be glimpsed, as it were at the margins of the text."  From such readings we can hope for "insight into the half-hidden cultural transactions through which great works of art are empowered."

The emphasis in the course will be on romance literature, including such works as those of Christine dePisan, DeLorris and DeMeun, Marie DeFrance, Chrétien DeTroyes, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, selections from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and selections from Malory's Morte D'Arthur.  Some attention will be paid to medieval art and architecture.  There will also be attention paid to the uses of medieval romance in a few movies, as well as in the contemporary novel (at least one).

There will be several short papers, an oral presentation, and a final paper.

 


ENG 557.01 Prof. Jean Walton
R 7-9:45 PROV

STUDIES IN BRITISH TEXTS AFTER 1900:
MODERNISM AND THE GREAT WAR

This course will take the Great War as the historical moment from which to consider the development of Modernism and modernity in Britain. Our readings will be chosen from among fiction, poetry, journalism, and memoirs written during and after the First World War, mostly dating from the teens and twenties, but including some much later meditations on the war and its legacy. Among the sub-topics that will be considered are: the shape this particular war takes in the development of Modernism in England (did the war disrupt or crystallize post-Victorian literary movements that were already underway?); how did one’s class, gender, sexual, political affiliation figure in one’s literary mediation of the War?; what impact did the War have on psychoanalytic conceptions of amnesia, hysteria, neurasthenia, etc?; when does critical engagement with the War shade off into voyeuristic fascination with it?; what happens to the body between the structured discipline of military training and the miasmatic paralysis of trench life?; what is the relation between the pastoral and the machinic?; what might be discovered now by revisiting Paul Fussel’s landmark study, The Great War and Modern Memory, thirty years after its first publication?

Writers and texts to be included are: Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, Rebecca West, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), Gertrude Stein (okay, so not all of the authors are English), Ford Maddox Ford, Wyndham Lewis, Vera Brittain, Edmund Blunden, A.T. Fitzroy (a.k.a. Rose Allatini), Christopher Isherwood, Pat Barker. Video (if available) of 1916 silent film “The Battle of the Somme.” Psychoanalytic writings of Sigmund Freud and W.H.R. Rivers; Frank Gilbreth’s applied motion studies of “crippled veterans.” Selections from the London literary journal, The New Age, which was published throughout the war, and which is available online through Brown’s Modern Journals Project.

Our aim will be to use the intersection of the Great War and literary modernism as an opportunity to practice the art of historicizing literary production, while at the same time learning to pose the most productive theoretical and interpretive questions of texts, whether they be literary or not.

 


ENG 635.01 Prof. Stephanie Dunson
T 3:30-6:15 Surge

SEMINAR IN SUBJECTIVITIES:
REGIONAL WRITING AND SLAVE EXPERIENCE

“Margins to Mainstream: Literary Intersections Between African American and American Texts”

The goal of this course challenge the traditional status of the African American literary canon as marginal/marginalized literature by putting texts in direct intersection with the so-called mainstream of American literature. While students might anticipate some pairings (e.g., Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography and Frederick Douglass’s Slave Narrative, or Joel Chandler Harris’s Uncle Remus Tales and Charles Chesnutt’s Conjure Tale), others will likely surprise and challenge them (e.g., Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Larsen’s Passing, or Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” and Morrison’s Beloved). In studying and comparing these kindred but initially disparate-seeming texts, our goal is not only to challenge the bland duality that often limits literary study to a projected divide between margin and mainstream, but also to move beyond the assumption of prototype and progeny; rather, we will read the pairings as fully reciprocal, moving capably, fluidly, and meaningfully (if we allow them) between assumed racial and even historical boundaries.  Other texts under consideration include Toni Morrison's Playing in the Dark, Eric Sunquist's To Wake the Nations, Nathaniel Hawthorne's The House of Seven Gables, Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Mary Rowlandson's The Sovereignty and Goodness of God, Richard Wright's Native Son, and William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury .

 


ENG 605.01 Prof. Ryan Trimm
T 3:30-6:15` INDP

SEMINAR IN GENRES: HISTORICAL NOVEL AND THE ENDS OF HISTORY

The historical novel is oft associated with an attempt to resurrect "how it really was," a claim dependent on the fabrication of verisimilitude. However, as historical novels also implicitly articulate a relation between past and present, they can also be viewed as suggesting narrative formulations of the contemporary, its significant features, and their genealogy. The course will begin with a foundation in the traditional historical novel, examining its foundations in nineteenth-century historiography and realism. After a brief excursus in some modernist revisions of the genre, we'll consider a swath of postmodern and postcolonial variants. The class will track shifts in historiography, as well as transformations in how the past is represented and conceived. We will interrogate the claim that we live in a post historical age and consider how one might historicize the present. We'll also take a look at how contemporary novels revision the past to examine silences of history regarding race and gender, to re-imagine present and future, and to exorcise specters of the past.

We will read novels by Walter Scott, George Eliot, Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner, Jeanette Winterson, Julian Barnes, John Fowles, Graham Swift, Caryl Philips, Amitav Ghosh. Critics and theorists will include figures such as George Lucas, Hayden White, Jacques Derrida, Friedrich Nietzsche, Roland Barthes, Fredric Jameson, Ranajit Guha, Robert J.C. Young, and Dipesh Chakrabarty. If time permits, we will also examine a few representative films (East is East; Distant Voices, Still Lives).


ENG 660.01 Prof. Naomi Mandel
W 4-6:45` PROV

SPECIAL TOPICS: VIOLENCE

This course takes as its starting-point Walter Benjamin's assertion that violence posits specific challenges to attempts to critique it, and Gilles Deleuze's suggestion that critique itself performs a kind of violence. What is the relation between violence and critical thought? Does one inevitably violate the other? Is violence merely the object of critique, or can it perform a critique of its own?

We will explore these questions through a range of works from a variety of disciplines: philosophy, literature, critical theory, music, and film. Along the way we will explore the relation between coherence and hegemony, silence and speech, history and imagination, pleasure and pain, submission and control.

Course requirements: one presentation and a 20-25 page paper, or two presentations and two 10-12 page papers.

 

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This page last updated:3/6/2006 by: J. Jennifer Jones
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