Courses

Graduate Courses

Fall 2021

COM 535/ENG 538/GER 535 Contemporary Critical Theories: Marx's Capital: Reading Volume 2 Capital, vol. 2 -- the least well-known volume of Marx's opus -- may paradoxically now be the most pertinent in global contemporaneity. In terse and highly formalized terms, it theorizes the total subsumption of society under interlocking yet clashing circuits of capital. It also gives a powerful account of how the system reproduces itself in and through the negotiation of its inherent crises. We read vol. 2 intensively and supplement it with important works that sustain or develop its theses (inter alia: Marx's unpublished chapter on subsumption, Rosa Luxemburg, Antonio Negri, Aiwha Ong, Neferti Tadiar). Instructor(s): Benjamin Conisbee Baer
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
COM 547/ENG 530 The Renaissance: The Early Modern 'I' Terms like "self" and "subjectivity" and the question of their historical or transhistorical meaning remain at the heart of literary study in the pre-modern period. With those issues in mind, this seminar focuses on the early modern first person, the "I." We begin with some classical and medieval precursors, and with critical and theoretical writing on our subject matter. Then we turn to the heart of the matter: Petrarch, Montaigne, Shakespeare, the first two being the great European masters of the first person, the last said to have buried the first person in the voices of his characters. Instructor(s): Leonard Barkan
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:30 PM W
ENG 523/COM 519 Renaissance Drama: Tragedy: Theory and Practice, 1500-1700 In this course, we trace and analyze the ways in which tragic drama was theorized and written in the 16th and 17th centuries. Our focal points are i) the recovery of Artistotle's theory of tragedy and its integration with broader notions of the tragic; ii) the ways in which different tragic writers lent on, appropriated, ignored, and creatively subverted these theoretical developments. Other than reminding ourselves that the relationship between theory and practice is a two-way street, we think hard about the connections between tragic drama and questions of history, human agency, religion, modernity, and secularization. Instructor(s): Rhodri Lewis
Section(s):
S01 09:00 AM - 11:50 AM M
ENG 555/GSS 555/LAS 505 American Literary Traditions: The Other America: Caribbean Literature and Thought How do Caribbean writers articulate literary and theoretical imaginaries that shift our thinking about this archipelago of islands, its diaspora, and the globe? How does the Caribbean demand an account of entangled legacies of indigenous decimation, enslavement, colonization, and revolution? This seminar will center what the Caribbean necessitates in thought: relation, ruination, decolonization, environmental precarity, the plantation matrix, and translation. We also pay attention to how Caribbean writers have conceptualized counter-humanisms that shift and texture critical theorizations of race, feminism, and queerness. Instructor(s): Christina León
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
ENG 558 American Poetry: American Elegy This course examines the literary, social, political, and cultural importance of American mourning poetry. Covering mainly the antebellum period to the present, we explore the expanding role and enduring power of elegy as it evolves across a range of subgenres. Likely topics include deathbed elegies, child elegies, slave elegies, war elegies, lynch elegies, family elegies, eco-elegies, and anti-elegies. Instructor(s): Diana Jean Fuss
Section(s):
S01 09:00 AM - 11:50 AM W
ENG 563 Poetics: Black Aesthetics: Visuality & Visibility in Contemporary Black Poetry This course considers how contemporary Black poets have explored & expanded the concept of Black aesthetics the Black Arts Movement first theorized. We focus on texts that reward an interest in how visibility (concerning what can be seen) & visuality (concerning how we process the world in visual terms) operate to produce & make meaning of Blackness. How do oral & aural culture manifest themselves in these works? What is the status of the (visually troubling) Black body in the line of text? What does Black abstraction make visible? We read Black poetry, criticism, cultural studies, & theory to move from these questions to new ones.
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM Th
ENG 571/COM 574 Literary and Cultural Theory: Ecological Poetics of the 19th C. Americas This course explores how 19th century (mostly) American authors registered the transformation of natural history into the sciences of life, and how attentiveness to the ecological fashioned their ethics. Most of our authors adopted a vitalist and materialist understanding of life, which led them to understand the boundaries of individual phenomena as porous and environmental. Changing their understanding of what the natural is, they proposed a series of cosmological, poetic and ethical responses to the idea that life is common to all creatures and in fact to all phenomena, and that matter is inherently dynamic and vitalized.
Section(s):
S01 07:00 PM - 09:50 PM T
ENG 572/HUM 572 Introduction to Critical Theory: Phenomenology Phenomenology is a tradition concerned with how the world gives itself to appearances. It is also an epistemological method, committed to perpetual beginning as a way of apprehending the world and our place in it. This course is an introduction to this philosophy of continual introductions, beginning with several of Edmund Husserl's foundational texts, then moving to a multi-week reading of Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception, alongside recent works of critical phenomenology that engage race, gender, sexuality, and disability. Instructor(s): Gayle Salamon
Section(s):
S01 09:00 AM - 11:50 AM T
ENG 573/COM 580/AAS 573 Problems in Literary Study: Black Modernisms A foundational moment in the history of European modernism in the twentieth century was the discovery of the world of Black others and the use of Blackness as a mechanism for maintaining and sustaining a new style of art. At about the same time, Black writers and artists adopted modernism as the aesthetic that would represent Black subjectivity in a world defined by racial violence. This course has two aims: to explore how black writers and artists in Africa, the Americas, and the Caribbean responded to high modernism's exoticism and to explore how they adopted and transformed the aesthetic ideology of global modernism. Instructor(s): Simon Eliud Gikandi
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM M
ENG 574 Literature and Society: Political Economy, Racial Capitalism, and the Enlightenment In this course we look at foundational works of Enlightenment political economy with particular emphasis on how theses on labor and property involve assumptions about, as well as constructions of, gender, kinship, race, and indigeneity. In other words, we trace the development of racial capitalism and examine how theses on human being were inextricable from emerging ideas about markets and value. We pay particular attention to the role of "literary" models in early works of political economy--from Utopia to the Robinsonade--as well as how they anticipated later institutional practices of anthropology and comparative religion. Instructor(s): Russ Leo
Section(s):
S01 06:30 PM - 09:20 PM M
ENG 582 Graduate Writing Seminar While dissertation seminars invite students to map the territory and the stakes of their thesis, and article workshops tailor writing for specific journals, this seminar focuses on the craft of writing. Our premise is that craft and argument are mutually constitutive and our method is deliberative slow motion, tracking words, sentences, paragraphs with care. The course is run as a writing workshop; we consider questions of voice, pacing, organization, and word choice. Students expected to come prepared with a piece of writing they will work on for 12 weeks. Instructor(s): Zahid Rafiq Chaudhary
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
GSS 504/ENG 507 Race, Gender and the Anthropocene What does the Anthropocene have to do with gender, race and sexuality? This course explores the ways in which urgent environmental issues intersect with questions of gender, race and sexualities. Exploring films, images and non-fiction writing, we engage themes such as the invention of the wilderness idea; being Black in nature; Indigenous lifeways and land rights; feminist and queer ecologies; animal, tree and plant intelligence; slow violence; the commons; COVID and climate; masculinities, militarization and climate change; gender and environmental justice, and strategies for change. Instructor(s): Anne McClintock, Rob Nixon
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 03:20 PM T
HUM 598/CLA 588/ENG 585 Humanistic Perspectives on the Arts: Thinking in Public, Writing for the World This course examines the ever-evolving role of the university-trained scholar in contemporary culture. In the varied ecosystems of contemporary publishing, what are the boundaries between academic and public-facing work? What obligations, if any, do scholars have to engage with the public? How do institutional structures like discipline and field bear on what we choose to write about in non-academic venues? What does it mean, as a scholar, to be "very online"? Through these questions, and others, we attempt a critical and creative evaluation of the paths for scholarship outside, or alongside, traditional venues for academic writing. Instructor(s): Sarah A. Chihaya, Dan-El Padilla Peralta
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM M