Racial segregation has been called the “structural lynchpin” of inequality in the United States and challenged as a “badge” through which slavery extends its long shadow over social, economic, political, and cultural outcomes. Despite this influence, inadequate formal attention has been given to the literature that attempts to represent and theorize the experience of segregation. In this course, we will study late 19th and 20th century segregation narratives and attempt to discover whether there are formal and thematic principles that unite them into a coherent body.
Among the segregation narrative’s recurring themes are: the demarcation of racial categories; “whiteness” and the new south; legal and extra-legal mechanisms of enforcement, including miscegenation laws and lynching; the impact of segregation on domesticity and relationships of family and kinship; discourses of segregation and criminality; the construction of the American ghetto; and shifting notions of personality and citizenship.
While our initial and primary focus will be on “white studies” and African-American literature, in the semester’s final weeks, we will branch out to explore the segregation narrative in Native American and Japanese-American literatures.
Course work consists of intensive reading and consistent class participation, a few short response papers, leading a class discussion, and a culminating research project including a formal paper proposal with abstract and annotated bibliography.
Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in: American Literary and Cultural Studies to 1900 or Post-1900 Literary and Cultural Studies; African-American Literary and Cultural Studies; and Literary Genre (fiction). This course also fulfills the Alterity requirement.
We will read and discuss later works of fiction by Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, arguably one of the most prolific and gifted novelists on the contemporary literary scene. Through an interrogation of her last eight novels -- from Tar Baby to God Help the Child -- our readings allow us to not only map the trajectory of her move toward a global positioning, but also investigate matters relevant to her complex political and aesthetic vision. Central to our discussion is a consideration of Morrison's role as literary and cultural critic. We will draw upon a range of critical perspectives, including post colonial, feminist, and psychoanalytic literary theory. As a post-script to our conversation, our investigation culminates with a discussion of Desdemona, Morrison's lyrical reinvention of Shakespeare's Othello.
Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: Postcolonial and Transnational Literary and Cultural Studies; and Women's Literary Studies/Gender Studies. This course also meets the Alterity requirement.
In a Q&A accompanying the PBS documentary series Black in Latin America Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. remarks, “…there were 11.2 million Africans that we can count who survived the Middle Passage and landed in the New World, and of that 11.2 million, only 450,000 came to the United States… All the rest went south of Miami as it were.” Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of people brought against their will from Africa to the Americas landed in the Caribbean and Latin America, Latinx people of African heritage have often been erased not only in mainstream US culture but also in US Latinx communities. As a corrective to this erasure, this course examines the histories, cultures, and literatures of US Afro-Latinx peoples and focuses specifically on connecting the Hispanophone Caribbean and the US South.
Possible readings include:
- The Afro-Latin@ Reader, eds. Juan Flores & Miriam Jiménez Román
- Chango’s Fire, Ernesto Quiñones
- Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina, Raquel Cepeda
- Loosing My Espanish, H.G. Carrillo
This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: Post-1900 Literature and Culture; and Colonial, Postcolonial, and Transnational Literary and Cultural Studies. This course also meets the Alterity requirement.
We’ll continue drawing on entries from various volumes in the Keywords for. . . series from NYU Press. Visitors are welcome, and our
Blackboard--Canvas page will include links to lists from the past several semesters. In Fall ’017 we had sessions focusing on “Food,” “Gender” and “Sexuality,” from Keywords for Asian American Cultural Studies, and on “Environmental Justice” and “Ecomedia,” from Keywords for Environmental Studies, as well as two on entries from Keywords for American Cultural Studies, 2d ed.: one on “Affect” and one on “Democracy,” “Identity” and “White” – plus the discussion that Prof. Alisha Gaines led on a recent piece by the UCLA prof who’ll be in our midst, Spring ’018: Robin D. G. Kelley!
The fiction workshop will follow the traditional workshop model to assist writers as they seek clarity in both the writing and the process. I want to focus on the connection between the visual pacing and the language used to add depth and composition to the storytelling. We will consider the “anthology of images” that Susan Sontag describes in On Photography. In addition to Sontag’s ideas, we will consider the notes on photography and filmmaking from Teju Cole, Michael Ondaatje, and the film editor Walter Murch. I am working on a reading list that will feature novels and short stories from writers such as Lesley Nneka Arimah, Kirsten Valdez Quade, Paul Harding, Celeste Ng, C. Dale Young, Victor Lavalle, and others. Also, I like to begin each semester with an anonymous workshop option where the stories, novel excerpts, or essays are submitted without identifying the writer. The writer can participate in the session, asking questions and offering commentary with a bit of distance the anonymity provides.
Each student will have three drafts workshopped by the entire class: short stories or novel chapters. You can either submit two drafts and a revision of one, or three new drafts. If you want to submit a longer piece (up to 100 pages) you can do it in three separate sessions. In addition, each student will choose a story from Best American Short Stories, O’Henry Prize Stories 2015 or a story of your own choosing and do a short presentation on it in class. The presentation involves creating a handout which includes an writing exercise.
In this class we will explore some of the subtleties of the craft of fiction writing. What risks do successful fiction writers take and how can we learn from them? What new risks might you take in your own fiction? How can you make your fiction as dramatic, intense, engaging (and publishable) as possible? Our goal is the creation of a community of writers who can learn from and help each other. Courage, honesty and dedication are expected.
CRW 5130 is a graduate workshop in fiction writing. This class will follow the workshop model, and therefore student work, and the intensive discussion of that work, will be our main focus. To that end, over the course of the semester students will be required to share at least three story-length manuscripts (one revision and two new pieces; novel excerpts are fine). This course assumes that you have a very serious interest in fiction writing, as well as in discussing the writing of same with others likewise engaged. Our concerns are mainly practical and craft-based: where you as author wish to go with a particular draft, and how we, as readers and writers engaged in a common cause, might help you get there.
This is a poetry workshop, so the primary emphasis is writing and a two-hour workshop. For the craft part of the class we will be looking at excerpts from the letters of the poets. I will post excerpts on Canvas, and class discussion will center on what these letters tell us about becoming a poet. We will begin with Ovid and Horace and end with the Beat Poets—Ginsberg, Kerouac, Snyder, and Philip Whalen. Other poets we will read are Keats, Dickinson, Plath, Sexton, Bishop and Lowell, Rimbaud, Rilke, and Langston Hughes.
What is a poem? What is a book of poems? This workshop will serve a two-fold purpose consistent with its twice weekly meeting schedule. Monday of each week will be reserved for workshopping individual poems submitted in advance by workshop participants. Wednesdays will be reserved for workshopping book-length or chapbook (ten poems or more) manuscripts submitted in advance by class members. We will consider, therefore, poetry on both a microscopic and macroscopic scale, and will seek the organizing motifs, narratives, obsessions, and revelations that elevate a poem (as a collection of words) and a book (as a collection of poems) to a sum much greater than its constituent parts. Accordingly, we will have frequent cause for turning to myth-weaver par excellence, Ovid. It is recommended that all workshop participants read the Metamorphosis prior to the beginning of our first workshop. We will also consider, formally and informally, recent and canonical debut volumes of poetry.
Metamorphosis / Ovid. Trans. Charles Martin. Bernard Knox, Intro. W.W. Norton and Co. 2005 ISBN-10: 039332642X. ISBN-13: 978-0393326420
A hands-on editing practicum offered on an S-U basis. Meets Weds nights fall and spring and, when offered, Mon and Weds nights summer B session. This workshop counts as an editing elective and/or toward English's 12-hour Graduate Certificate in Publishing and Editing. About 10 students a year complete the Certificate. The workshop incorporates a rigorous professional refresher on grammar, punctuation, and usage; writing mechanics and copyediting practices; and active-voice writing and developmental editing. Open to students from any academic department and from the community (government agencies, businesses, and independent writers). Intended for students seeking to improve their writing and editing proficiency across various genres. Texts: 1) the most recent edition of Amy Einsohn's The Copyeditor's Handbook and 2) Editing Manuscripts, Documents, Reports, and Articles, an 80-page booklet prepared by the instructor and sold by Target Copy. Undergraduate students who have completed 90 or more hours, have earned at least a 3.0 cumulative gpa, and have the instructor’s and academic dean’s permission can take ENC 5217 as an elective or toward the Certificate. Students in ENC 5217 pursue real-world professional writing and editing client projects—on and off campus, hard-copy and online. Graduate students can also choose to work on their own research and writing projects. Among other genres, ENC 5217 projects may include creative nonfiction; conference paper drafts; selections from thesis or dissertation chapters; academic, corporate, and agency curriculum materials; policy and procedure writing; popular press and academic journal articles and essays; and a variety of internship projects. The instructor helps students find client projects on campus, in the community, and online. The workshop has proven valuable for part- and full-time writers and editors in academia, the corporate world, government agencies, and freelance environments.
This workshop will provide opportunities to explore the broader field of creative nonfiction, but will focus mainly on the personal essay and that genre’s rich tradition. We’ll read published essays, including some critical and theoretical work, in order to explore issues such as genre, persona, context, audience, and voice, but our focus will be on workshopping student work (including memoir chapters, if anyone has them). Our readings will include some canonical essays by writers such as Montaigne and Emerson, but will focus mainly on work published in the United States during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries by both established essayists such as White, Baldwin, and Didion as well as emerging writers such as Eula Biss, Claudia Rankine, and Jenny Boully. We’ll also discuss video, graphic, and digital essays. Students have the option of submitting two drafts for workshop, or workshopping one draft and turning in a final revision. One of these two pieces can be a digital, graphic, or video essay.
- Phillip Lopate, ed., The Art of the Personal Essay (Anchor-Doubleday)
- John D’Agata, ed., The Next American Essay (Graywolf)
- Carl Klaus and Ned Stuckey-French, eds. Essayists on the Essay: Montaigne to Our Time (Iowa)
- Various handouts and links
Requirements: Successful completion of this course satisfies three credit hours of the academic requirement for the Certificate in Editing and Publishing. If a student has already met the academic requirement, the course can count for additional credits toward the 12-hour Certificate.
A course in epistemology, that is, a course that takes as its threefold focus (1) what we know in Rhetoric and Composition; (2) how we know what we know; and (3) how we circulate what we know. Such a course is both disciplinary--taking up questions and methodologies defining the discipline--and (as in many fields) interdisciplinary--begging, borrowing, and stealing concepts and methodologies from elsewhere to re-make them as the discipline's own. Because research methods in Rhetoric and Composition are diverse--including the historical, the theoretical, and the empirical--we'll read a diverse array of texts and create, as a class, a number of research designs. We'll review theoretical scholarship and large-scale studies for two purposes: to critique and to use as (adapted) models. We'll pose questions that guide historical research projects, and we'll sketch out designs relying on adapted social science methodologies. Projects in the course include 3-5 written reviews of research and scholarship; a research notebook; and a research design project that may lead to thesis or dissertation projects.
Requirements: This course satisfies the R/C requirement for a research methods course for all MA and PhD R/C students.
The latter part of the twentieth century is marked by what neopragmatist Richard Rorty has called the “linguistic turn,” where we live the world historically and know it linguistically. Language is the tool of tool in our cultural toolbox, a move that subordinates poetics and aesthetics to the architectonic arts of rhetoric. While Rorty announced this linguistic turn in 1964, philosopher I. A. Richards had made a similar argument for the centrality of rhetoric 40 years earlier. Thus, our entry into modernism during the early decades of the twentieth century and our entry into post-modernism during the latter decades of the twentieth century can be characterized as a rhetorical as well as a linguistic turn.
Our goal in this course is to trace 20th- and 21st-century configurations of rhetoric. We will do that by exploring the influence of specific philosophers/rhetoricians and by exploring issues in the early decades of the 21st century that shape and, reciprocally, are shaped by a particular philosophy of communication. Theorists included range from I. A. Richards and Gloria Anzaldúa to Ernesto Grassi and Donna J. Haraway.
Requirements include six response essays (2-3 pages single spaced), a midterm project introducing a theorist not included on the syllabus, and a final seminar paper.
This course focuses on a specialized area of critical theory, in this case Feminist Theory. As a space of inquiry, Feminist Theory bridges the Humanities and the Social Sciences, broaches nationalist and postnationalist perspectives, and moves from abstract philosophies of language and the subject to social engagement and activism. It touches on areas such as psychoanalysis, structural linguistics, performance theory, anthropology, and Marxism, as well as on their intersections, while asking vital questions about what it means to live, think, work, and participate in an embodied world. In the past year, feminism has had a vital resurgence. We will be thinking about what people mean when they talk about feminism in the current political climate, and what that has to do with the long history of feminist thinking on what it means to be a gendered being. We will be looking at the development of what is known as the "second wave" of feminist philosophical, political, and cultural thought, working through some of its seminal texts and ideas. Readings may include but are not limited to: Sigmund Freud, Simone de Beauvoir, Helen Cixous, Julia Kristeva, Monique Wittig, Judith Butler, Gayle Rubin, Michel Foucault, Beatriz Preciado, Clare Hemmings, Toril Moi, Sarah Ahmed, Lauren Berlant.
Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for course in the following Areas of Concentration: Feminism, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Post-1900 Literature and Culture. This course also fulfills the Alterity requirement.
Theory, with a capital T. Under this headword, one finds a bewildering number of forms of intellectual inquiry: structuralism, post-structuralism, feminism, psycho-analysis, deconstruction, Marxism, critical race theory, queer theory, reader-response and reception theory, semiotics, systems theory, pragmatism, hermeneutics, New Historicism, Russian Formalism, New Criticism, Critical Theory, New Materialism, Speculative Realism, Surface Reading, Distant Reading, and so on. Some of these schools of thought are complementary, others mutually exclusive; some brand new, others borrowed or recycled. Most are known for their stylistic and conceptual difficulty. Rather than muddling through the entire intimidating collection of Theory's “isms” and sifting through an equally perplexing collection of proper names, we will selectively sample some of its most compelling primary texts, ideas, debates and questions, concentrating on a handful of its most compelling threads of inquiry about literature, culture, media and about critical and interpretive practices. Along the way, we will delineate some useful maps of the issues and motives of literary and cultural theory that will expand the ways you read literary, social, and cultural texts.
Requirements: This course is a requirement for graduate students in all three programs
A conventional prose workshop, requiring you to submit for discussion 30-40 pages of new material for class discussion. You may work in whatever genre best suits your needs.
Publishing & Editing Certificate Credit: Successful completion of this course satisfies three credit hours of the academic requirement for the Certificate in Editing and Publishing. If a student has already met the academic requirement, the course can count for additional credits toward the 12-hour Certificate.
Why, how, and with what effects do humans communicate? How do the dominant modes of storage and transmission influence social and cultural practices? How and why does information change when it is transmitted? This gateway course will provide you with a way of thinking about these questions through an analysis of the historical interactions between reading, writing, and the technological systems that have influenced the way we manufacture, transmit, consume, and understand textual representations of human experience. Together, we will carefully theorize complex iterations of ‘text’ and ‘technology’ both in terms of their material attributes and their changing relationships to literary culture. The course will follow a generally chronological trajectory of the literary and social forms of textuality from the clay tablet to the electronic tablet, but we will specifically highlight moments of change or transition during which a new medium or text technology transforms the expressive dynamics of an existing literary system. Here, we will read and analyze: transmissions on skin, stone, and clay; a variety of manuscript compositions (from papyrus through parchment to post-its); the development and evolution of mechanized print; the origin and progress of photography and film; and modern electronic forms of textual representation. Each of these categories will be explored through historical inquiry and hands-on encounters with individual artifacts. Students are encouraged to focus their own work on the period, media, or genre that interests them most. Alongside the historical and sensory, we will read, in their entirety, select literary works produced within distinct technological regimes to further assess the often difficult relationship between transmission, expression, and duration. These readings may include but are not limited to: The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Egyptian Book of the Dead, Homer, Euripides, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Philip Sidney, James Joyce, and William Gibson as well as films by: Thomas Edison, Sergi Eisenstein, Alan Crosland, Fritz Lang, and Ridley Scott. To complement these literary-historical examinations and think more carefully about them, we will also consider the intricacies of mediation and aesthetics by working through some of the seminal texts and ideas in poststructuralist philosophy, textual criticism, film theory, and various thinkers associated with the Frankfurt school. This course is primarily designed to motivate a deep and varied understanding of textuality in its many forms, but it will also prepare students to teach a wide variety of undergraduate classes associated with the Editing, Writing, and Media track.
Requirement: This course fulfills the general literature requirement for one course pre-1660 or one course pre-1800. It also satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Area of Concentration: History of Text Technologies; Medieval and Early Modern British Literary and Cultural Studies (through 1660).
This course focuses on the loose collective of avant-garde poets known as the “New York School,” a group increasingly viewed as one of the most significant and influential to emerge in American poetry since World War II. As we engage in an in-depth study of the core poets – Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, and James Schuyler, among others – we will examine their innovative responses to modernism and the European avant-garde (cubism, surrealism, Dada), as well as their perpetuation of an American avant-garde tradition stemming from Emerson and Whitman. We will consider their work both individually and collectively, and we will interrogate – as the poets did themselves – the paradoxes of the avant-garde itself, including the problems inherent in the very notion of a “school” of poetry (after all, O’Hara himself said “schools are for fools”). We will also investigate the interconnections between these poets and some of their contemporaries, like Charles Olson, Allen Ginsberg, and Amiri Baraka, and will end the semester by looking at the work of several important poets who follow the lead of the initial movement, Ted Berrigan, Bernadette Mayer, and Alice Notley.
The course will consider New York School poetry within the historical context of postwar American culture. We will also focus on the intersections between New York School poetry and developments in the other arts, particularly Abstract-Expressionists and other visual artists (Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Larry Rivers, Jane Frelicher, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol) and cutting-edge jazz, classical, and rock music (Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, John Cage, the Velvet Underground). Throughout, we will assess the centrality of New York School poetics to contemporary American writing, and discuss issues that have been central to recent critical work on this movement and contemporary poetry more broadly, including friendship and community, poetry as a form of political/cultural critique, pop culture, gender and sexuality, consumer culture, and the everyday.
Requirements: This course fulfills the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: Post-1900 Literature and Culture; a Literary Genre (poetry).
This course is a seminar in textuality, textual coding and in and post Gutenberg aesthetics, a workshop in contemporary textual criticism and mark ups for material in the new William Burroughs archive at Florida State University , and an introduction to electronic collation, particularly with the University of Virginia’s site, Juxta Commons (http://juxtacommons.org/) and Versioning Machine (http://v-machine.org/)
The principal activity of the course (in addition to reviewing core theoretical texts) is the marking up of Burroughs mss. and tss. in preparation for posting them on our web page (burroughsarchive.org) and generating collations and essays drawn from our findings. Posting such documents itself constitutes publication, and we have many documents and variants to work with in Special Collections. We will be working, in conjunction with the Library, with TEI (q.v.) and XML mark ups, and, if we can find some money, with the XML editor, oXygen (https://www.oxygenxml.com/) and an embedded CollateX (https://collatex.net/).
Requirements: This course fulfills the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: Post-1900 Literature and Culture; History of Text Technologies; or as an undergraduate EWM elective. The class is open to advanced undergraduate English majors who can register as graduate students with 95 credits. Students with fewer than 95 credits can register as undergraduates with the permission of the instructor.
This course fulfills 3 credit hours of the academic requirement for the Certificate in Editing and Publishing. If a student has already met the academic requirement, the course can count for additional credits toward the 12-hour Certificate.
“ '. . .As a woman, I have no country. As a woman, I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.' ” --Virginia Woolf, Three Guineas
This course is premised on the notion of travel and mobility as feminist issues. From Chaucer's Wife of Bath onward, women who "get around" have been viewed with fascination and loathing by masculinist-xenophobic ideologues, and female mobility (when not enforced by "the traffic in women"--as wives or as slaves) has been stigmatized, eroticized, exoticized, and demonized. At the same time, having the means to travel—and the intellectual and spiritual freedom travel proffers—can be celebrated as marks of an individual woman's empowerment within a given culture. (Never mind the mere right to operate a motor vehicle--only recently granted to Saudi women.) Course readings include, but are not limited to: Aphra Behn, Oroonoko and The Widow Ranter; Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's "Turkish Embassy Letters"; Virginia Woolf's The Voyage Out and Orlando; Hélène Cixous and Catherine Clément's The Newly-born Woman; Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior; Toni Morrison's Beloved; and Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel Persepolis. The course will conclude with a discussion of more recent, popular, travel memoirs by women such as Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) and Cheryl Strayed (Wild).
NB. My courses are NOT Kindle-friendly. Students are strongly urged to purchase hard copies of all assigned readings.
Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: Colonial, Postcolonial, and Transnational Literary and Cultural Studies; Feminism, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. It also fulfills the Alterity requirement.
Pedagogy Workshop is intended to provide GTAs with continued support during their first year of teaching in the FSU College Composition Program. ENC 2135 teaching skills and preparation for future teaching opportunities and course design will be emphasized. PhD students will work with Dr. Montgomery for the last half of the semester to develop expertise and lesson plans for teaching upper-level non-composition courses.
- Attend class regularly. This class will depend heavily on your participation. I expect you to have as much (or more) to learn from each other as from me or the guest speakers. If you must miss a class, please let me know. You should miss no more than one class during the semester. Missing a meeting with your mentor counts as a missed class.
- If you are an MA or MFA student, you will design a course you plan to teach in the summer or next year, and if you are a PhD student, you will work with Dr. Montgomery during the last half of the semester and submit to her any assignments she gives you.
- Observe two classes you are interested in teaching, and write a 2-page observation/reflection essay on the courses you observed and the ideas/techniques you picked up that you might use in your own classes.
- Participate in activities with your mentor. You will meet with your mentor and the other GTAs in your mentoring group three times over the course of the semester. Your mentor will be available to offer support to you and will also observe classes you teach and write a letter for your teaching file. (GTAs who work with Dr. Montgomery during the last half of the semester will not attend the final mentoring meeting.)
Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement that all graduate teaching assistants in the Department of English enroll in ENG 5933—Pedagogy Workshop—during both fall and spring semesters of their first year as GTAs in our program.
An exploration of the rich body of literature on dreams and dreaming in the Middle Ages, with a focus on the peculiarly medieval genre of the dream-vision. First we will investigate the relevance of medieval “dream theory,” via ancient and medieval discussions of physiology, psychology, and dream taxonomy. We will then engage two central traditions that shape the dream-vision genre—the philosophical and the courtly—as expressed in Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy and Guillaume de Lorris’s and Jean de Meun’s Roman de la Rose, respectively. Building upon these foundations, we will spend most of the semester closely reading the most intriguing dream-visions produced in late medieval England, by the era’s three most accomplished poets (contemporaries in the second half of the fourteenth century): Geoffrey Chaucer, the anonymous Pearl-poet (aka the author of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight), and William Langland.
As we enter this eccentric community of erotic daydreamers, narcoleptic sinners, and chosen visionaries, we will consider whether medieval dream-poetry anticipates (or perhaps challenges?) “modern” ideas of subjectivity, personal experience, and psychology. Our concerns will include the intersection of dreaming with problems of literary representation; the engineering of the dream-form to critique literary tradition and/or contemporary reality; and the creative alchemy by which dreams become texts and texts become dreams. Middle English readings will be mostly in the original (with helpful glosses); relevant Latin, French, and Italian background materials will be supplied in English translation. No prior knowledge of Middle English is required; however, proficiency in Middle English pronunciation and comprehension is a formal goal of this seminar. This course will be of interest to medievalists and early modernists, but also to those engaged in the history of subjectivity, psychology, and/or the generally bizarre.
Requirement: This course fulfills the general literature requirement for one course pre-1660 or one course pre-1800. It also satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Area of Concentration: Medieval and Early Modern British Literary and Cultural Studies; a Literary Genre (poetry).
British Aestheticism began in the 1850s, with the dream of pure art with a flawless form that existed only for itself. Walter Pater’s The Renaissance provided the movement with a philosophical foundation. Yet by the end of the century, Aestheticism would be irrevocably linked in the public mind with the Wilde trial and all things scandalous and perverse.
We will trace the evolution of Aestheticism over the course of the 19th century, as the movement became a byword for “Decadence.” We will take special note of transformations in the Aesthete idea of Beauty. We will consider questions like these: did imperialism, gender, consumerism, industrialism somehow shape Victorian notions of the Beautiful, despite the protestations of Aesthetes to the contrary? How did the idea of the Beautiful transform literary criticism? Most important, does “Art for Art’s Sake” mean anything in the Age of Neo-liberalism?
Our reading will include but is not limited to: The Renaissance, Walter Pater; Against Nature, Joris-Karl Huysmans; Hauntings and Other Fantastical Tales, Vernon Lee; The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde.
Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: British and Irish Literary and Cultural Studies: 1660-1900.
This course will focus upon a close reading of Milton's work in light of such issues as the domestic politics of the early Stuart and Interregnum periods; available ideologies of family structure and gender relations; humanism, euhemerism, and the classical tradition; and the theology of radical Protestantism in the seventeenth century. Most of the course will be devoted to studying the entirety of Paradise Lost; however, we will also consider such briefer works as Comus, Lycidas, and (time permitting) Samson Agonistes.
Requirements: This course fulfills the general literature requirement for one course pre-1660 or for one course pre-1800. It also satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: Medieval and Early Modern British Literary and Cultural Studies; a Literary Genre (Poetry)
If writing itself is a process, theater, that is, production and performance, is all the more so since this realization or embodiment of text involves, in addition to the author and his own writing process, innumerable collaborators as producers, actors, directors, set designers, and even marketers contributing to the whole. Textual stability is eroded in direct proportion to the number of collaborators involved, markedly so in a text's transition, transformation, or translation into film, especially during the period from the 1930s to the 1950s when Hollywood saw itself as Broadway West. This course will feature Masterworks of American Theatre and the performance of those works by the likes of Eugene O'Neill, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, among others. We will examine and discuss all these playwrights as process writers with theater itself as an unstable extension of that process, and film as yet another revision. We will examine these playwrights' habits of writing, and rewriting their plays from performance to performance, sometimes offering two or three endings to directors and publishers, of adapting works from short stories, to plays, to films, of rewriting failed plays under new titles for stage and/or film, to the point in this process that deciding on a stable, final, publishable version is perhaps impossible for theatrical works. The result of such textual instability is a lingering uncertainty of whether or not the playscript, the book, the published artifact is itself, or in itself, the work of art. For “conflicting cultural and academic reasons,” then, the result often is “the neglect and dismissal of American drama as a legitimate literary form,” as Susan Harris Smith suggests in American Drama: The Bastard Art (Cambridge Studies in American Theatre and Drama, 2006). Such “bastard status” is further confirmed by publishers’ sales statistics as theater books, playscripts, tend to sell at performances and very little beyond (check your own bookshelves for confirmation). We will explore and test these conclusions and assumptions with not only close readings of individual works, but we will try to assess their translations, adaptations, re-writings into and after performance, especially the alterations made for film versions (which, of necessity, is our main source of performance).
Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in Post-1900 Literature and Culture; a Literary Genre (drama).
This course examines theories of popular culture and media in the context of the emergence of mass culture and focuses on the evolution of media in the digital era. We will take seriously George Lipsitz's claim that "perhaps the most important facts about people have always been encoded within the ordinary and the commonplace." Paying particular attention to the relationship between literature and popular culture, we will analyze strategies of reading and reception as well as constructions of ideology in this material, including categories such as gender, race, class, and nation. The course interrogates designations such as "high," "pop," "mass," and "folk" as well as concepts of subculture, counterculture, and youth culture. We will focus particular attention on television and popular music case studies, although we will also consider film, new media, popular fiction, advertising, and fan culture. We will explore key theories and methodologies, including cultural studies, media studies, audience studies, feminist theory, critical race theory, and postmodernism. We will also consider key media trends such as media convergence, transmedia storytelling, participatory fan culture, serial narratives on television, authenticity projections in music, the evolution of reality TV and documentary, and the complex status of truth claims in the digital era. Our focus will be on U.S. culture, but we will consider questions of globalization and make use of transnational critical frameworks.
Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: Post-1900 Literary and Cultural Studies; the History of Text Technologies (reception conceptual area, Film/TV media). This course fulfills 3 credit hours of the academic requirement for the Certificate in Editing and Publishing. If a student has already met the academic requirement, the course can count for additional credits toward the 12-hour Certificate.
Any number of approaches to African Diaspora fiction can be identified. In this course the focus is on the supernatural as it manifests in various literary forms. I use the word "supernatural" expansively to include not only the usual indications of phenomena beyond the natural world and the scope of human action, but conjuration, "speculative fiction," "magical realism," and manipulations of time and historical periods that create an "unnatural, realistic" text.
This class will explore belief systems that traditionally have informed the spirituality of many people of African descent. The course privileges an experience-centered analysis of belief systems as they inform writings within the African Diaspora. The objective is to develop a high context for some core beliefs that operate as a recursive strategy in literature by authors such as Octavia Butler, Gloria Naylor, August Wilson, and Nalo Hopkinson.
Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: African American Literature, Culture, and Folklore; Transnational Literary and Cultural Studies; and meets the Alterity requirement.