Literature Reading Groups

Current Reading Groups

Africana Studies Reading Group

Faculty Sponsor:

Dr. Rhea Lathan

Student Leader:

Cocoa Williams

Environmental Literature Reading Group

Faculty Sponsor:

Dr. Aaron Jaffe

Student Leader:

Emilie Mears

This is a 1-credit reading group that will meet throughout the fall semester to discuss literature’s longstanding relation to natural surroundings. If we wish to better understand our contemporary attitude toward the American environment and how it emerged, its literary history is an excellent place to start. The authors and works represented in this reading group show the progression of the American environmental imagination, from the earliest voices in this environmental interaction, with the seminal “shapers” of America, to the most recent voices of environmental awareness like Joni Adamson and Ursula K. Heise. We will discuss a range of issues including deforestation, air pollution, urban sprawl, endangered species, watershed loss, animal rights, rampant consumerism, and issues faced by the diverse communities in America who are unequally exposed to risks like climate change and toxicity. We will also read and discuss materials on eco-media and eco-composition in an effort to discuss these issues within our classrooms. In addition to our literary exploration, we also plan to engage in one or two outdoor activities such as a local hiking expedition or kayaking trip.

"It Can't Happen Here: Literature and Fascism in America"

Faculty Sponsor:

Dr. Robin Goodman

Student Leader:

n/a

We will be reading Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here (1935) and discussing it in relation to contemporary politics. For our first meeting on September 22, we will be discussing Chapters 1-13. Graduate students may enroll for 1 credit.

Queer Studies Reading Group

Faculty Sponsor:

Dr. Barry Faulk - bfaulk@fsu.edu

Student Leader:

Mat Wenzel

The Queer Studies Reading Group is an interdisciplinary, discussion-based group that investigates readings relevant to the field of queer studies and transgender studies. Whenever possible, we seek to include readings that are intersectional and hybrid, including but not limited to issues of gender, disability, race, religion, age, nationality, and class. We will read both new and foundational work in the field, ranging from fiction and poetry to manifestos to critical theory.

U.S. Literature Discussion Group

Faculty Sponsor:

Dr. Dennis Moore - dmoore@fsu.edu

Student Leader:

Dorothy Chan - dkc15@my.fsu.edu

The U.S. Literature Discussion Group invites graduate students and faculty to discuss topics on American literature and culture. Discussions are grounded in a variety of genres and time periods, and extend into cultural studies, politics, and history. While the group does not have officially designated presenters for the sessions, meetings take the shape of one big group conversation, but also feature graduate student-led discussions, guest lectures by notable scholars in the field, and more.

Advanced Literary Scholarship Group

Faculty Sponsor:

Dr. Andrew Epstein

Student Leader:

Margaret Mauk and Emilie Mears

Advanced Literary Scholarship (AdLit) is a professionalization group with two main objectives: monthly large-group meetings in which professors come in to talk about a topic of professionalism (publishing, prelims, the job market, etc.), and smaller specialized groups focused on developing essays for publication and/or collectively studying the scholarship of a certain area of interest. While AdLit is directed primarily towards PhD students in Literature, MA's and other tracks (Creative Writing, Rhetoric and Composition) may also enroll and find it useful in order to work on their literary scholarship.

Past Reading Groups

Professional Development Workshop for Literature Students

Faculty Sponsor:

Dr. Andrew Epstein - aepstein@fsu.edu

Student Leader:

Matt Dauphin - mdauphin@fsu.edu & Shonda Stevens - snstevens@fsu.edu

A pilot program of a new approach to comprehensive professionalization for literature students. Participants are exposed to a wide range of professionalization topics to help them develop strong backgrounds and prepare them to engage fully in the profession. Drafting and workshopping is a critical component, supplemented by group discussion and guest speakers.

Literature Course Design Workshop

Faculty Sponsor:

Dr. Barry Faulk - bfaulk@fsu.edu

Student Leader:

Matt Dauphin - mdauphin@fsu.edu & Shonda Stevens - snstevens@fsu.edu

A pilot program for a new design of literature pedagogy. Participants select a literature course from the undergraduate bulletin and build it from start to finish, including a syllabus, reading calendar, and assignments. Workshopping and discussion are the major components of this group, so that students gain the confidence to build a successful and thoughtful course, while paying attention to the challenges unique to the literature classroom.

Young Adult Reading Group

Faculty Sponsor:

Dr. Linda Saladin-Adams - lsaladinadams@fsu.edu

Student Leader:

Liz Liebman - el12f@my.fsu.edu

Graduate students meet to discuss selections of young adult literature, focusing on investigations of generic conventions, as well as the themes within the novels themselves. Special attention is typically paid to developing notions of the self; awareness of change in the body, mind, and social sphere; romance and heteronormativity; power and commodification; and other issues of relevance to adolescent readers.

Speculative Fiction Reading Group

Faculty Sponsor:

Robin Goodman - rgoodman@fsu.edu

Student Leader:

Matt Dauphin - mdauphin@fsu.edu

The Speculative Fiction Reading Group examines novels in this "umbrella" genre which most clearly contains fantasy and science fiction but is also home to any text that engages in significant world-building. Meeting every other week, we engage in discussions about the critical commentary generated about our own world through these speculative ones. We're also highly concerned with how the genre is both limited and enhanced by subtle--and sometimes overt--references to other works within its boundaries. Readings are selected each semester by popular vote; graduate students and faculty from all disciplines are invited to attend.

ENG5998-0010 Pedagogy and Editing Workshop

Faculty Sponsor:

Robin Goodman - rgoodman@fsu.edu

Student Leader:

Caitlin Newcomer with Scott Ortolano - cen09e@fsu.edu

The Editing and Pedagogy Group meets four times a semester to workshop materials and discuss pedagogical issues related to FSU's introductory literature course (LIT 2020). Enrolled graduate students work together to build content for the course's textbook, Perspectives on the Short Story. The course is open to all graduate students within the department.

Cultural Theory Reading Group

Faculty Sponsor:

Barry Faulk - bfaulk@fsu.edu

Student Leader:

Lakey - llakey@fsu.edu

The Cultural Theory Reading Group, made up of interested faculty and graduate students, meets once every two weeks for an hour and a half to discuss contemporary theoretical texts. Readings are selected each semester based on interests/fields of group members. Graduate students from any discipline are invited to enroll in this S/U course. Requirements for credit include leading one discussion and keeping up with selected readings.

The Renaissance Colloquium

Faculty Sponsor:

Dr. James O'Rourke - jorourke@fsu.edu

Student Leader:

Sarah Stewart - sls12j@my.fsu.edu

The Renaissance Colloquium is a group of faculty and graduate students who meet once a month to workshop papers and share scholarship. The group typically reads two short works (a conference length paper or part of a longer work) per meeting. It is open to all graduate students and faculty interested in scholarship regarding the broadly defined "Renaissance" period, including those working outside the English department.

Reading and Re-reading Bergson

Faculty Sponsor:

Dr. S. E. Gontarski - sgontarski@fsu.edu

Student Leader:

n/a

This weekly seminar is modeled after the sort of student-led seminars regularly held in the sciences to deal with particular contemporary issues. It will concentrate on the close reading and re-reading of two of Bergson's major works, Matter and Memory and Creative Evolution in order to confront principle issues in Bergson studies in the aftermath of Gilles Deleuze's Bergsonism. Collateral readings in other contemporary critics of Bergson will also feature in seminar discussions. Students taking the course for credit will write a detailed critique of one of Bergson's other books. Such a paper should be written as if it were a chapter in an anthology entitled, Understanding Bergson, which it may well become.

Recording of S. E. Gontarski's presentation entitled "There is No outside the Image: Bergson on Movement, Multiplicity, and Representation."

Recording of Laci Mattison's presentation entitled "The Metaphysics of Flowers in The Waves: Virginia Woolf's 'Seven-Sided Flower' and Henri Bergson's Intuition."

The following book grew out of the Henri Bergson Reading group:

Understanding Bergson, Understanding Modernism. Eds. S. E. Gontarski, Laci Mattison, Paul Ardoin. Continuum, 2012. 

Finnegans Wake Reading Group

Faculty Sponsor:

Dr. S.E. Gontarski - sgontarski@fsu.edu

Student Leader:

n/a

The combined Finnegans Wake seminar, tutorial, and reading group will be reconstituted one more time this fall semester for its 14th consecutive (academic) year; that is, we have now completed (with some interruptions) 13 years of a projected 14-year seminar. The fall 2009 installment will thus be the Wake's finale, or a Wake for the Wake. As was the case these past 13 years, a mixed group of undergraduates, graduates, faculty, obsessive-compulsives, and Joyce incurables will meet weekly to read aloud this narrative sound poem and discuss that portion of the text. This fall's re-incarnation of the group will meet Wednesdays from 12-1:30 (more or less) and feature theoretical and source readings and include public performances.

For obvious reasons we have not historically begun each semester at the beginning (if that's the word) of the text. In fact, one couldn't begin at the beginning even if one wished since the novel has no beginning; its opening pages follow the final pages of the novel, nor has it an end since the final words of the novel precede the opening words. We conclude then (suspect as conclusions may be) that it matters little where one jumps into the process of textuality and constructed meaning so long as one overcomes inertia and jumps. Next fall we begin our leap with the final chapter that, in its turn, or turn and turn about, anticipates the opening of the novel. We are thus in the Prequel of sorts to the Wake. Our end is the thus the perfect place to launch a new beginning.

The seminar/tutorial is available this fall for 1 or 2 credits, but preferably for 1. This finale will continue the feature of close reading of 2-3 pages of FW per week, but since we are in the final chapter of the final book, the moment of ricorso, the (cracked) mirror to the text as a whole, a compacted if not impacted anthology of all its stories, we will focus much more on theories of the Wake in this final installment. Students taking the course for credit will need as usual to attend every weekly session, participate by taking regular turns at reading the text aloud, participate in the public performances, and present a seminar paper at one of those weekly meetings, this time on a major secondary or theoretical document.

Recording of the group reading excerpts from Finnegans Wake.

The following essays have grown out of the Finnegans Wake Reading group:

Andrew McFeaters, "Museyrooms and Moebius Effects: A Ruim of History in Finnegans Wake," Hypermedia Joyce Studies 12.1 (February 2012), available on line at: http://hjs.ff.cuni.cz/archives/v12_1/main/essays.php?essay=mcfeaters

Nicholas Morris, "'Say yeh and wah say': Paronomastic Kenoma and the Idiotic Tetragrammaton in Finnegans Wake III.3," Hypermedia Joyce Studies 8.2 (July 2007), available on line at: http://hjs.ff.cuni.cz/archives/v8_2/main/essays.php?essay=morris

Andrew E. Baumann, "'The River Ever Runs, And Anna Calls': A Joyce-Deleuzian Billet Deux,'" Hypermedia Joyce Studies 5.2 (2005), available on line at: http://hjs.ff.cuni.cz/archives/v3/baumann.html