Courses

Graduate Courses

Spring 2021

AAS 555/ENG 536 Toni Morrison: Texts and Contexts This course provides a critical overview of the writings of Toni Morrison. Close reading, cultural analysis, intertextuality, social theory and the African American literary tradition are emphasized. Instructor(s): Imani Perry
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
COM 513/ENG 513/FRE 531/GSS 513 Topics in Literature and Philosophy: 'Porn Wars': Powers of Speech and Representation The advent of the Internet shut down the feminist "Porn Wars" debates 25 years ago, yet created conditions of possibility for a recent revival of debate on pornography at the intersections of philosophy, literary theory and history, social science, legal studies, and gender studies. At stake, beyond gender and sexual politics, are the broader politics of representation, dissemination, and "speech." We address these by discussing works from multiple fields, emphasizing literary studies and philosophy. Readings, beyond those listed below, include essays by G.S. Rubin, K.A. MacKinnon, N. Strossen, A. de Botton, J.J. Fischel, and S. Zizek. Instructor(s): April Alliston
Section(s):
S01 10:00 AM - 12:40 PM Th
COM 535/ENG 534/FRE 535 Contemporary Critical Theories: Writing, Technology, Humanity: The Work of Bernard Stiegler Bernard Stiegler's (1952-2020) writing is driven by the question of technology in the longue durée of social development, philosophical speculation, and political economy. In an unprecedented elaboration of the implications of understanding the human as a technical entity, Stiegler confronts predicaments concerning practices of education, transformations of "disruptive" capitalism, effects of computational automation on employment, the psyche and the capacity for reason, and the outlook for a world defined by the anthropocene. We read Stiegler's most important work and relevant philosophical and topical texts (from Plato to Greta Thunberg). Instructor(s): Benjamin Conisbee Baer
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
COM 572/ENG 580/FRE 555/GER 572 Introduction to Critical Theory: Dialectic and Difference Through a comparative focus on the concepts of dialectic and difference, we read some of the formative theoretical, critical and philosophical works which continue to inform interdisciplinary critical theory today. Works by Lukács, Adorno, Jameson, Freud, Heidegger, Husserl, Derrida, Arendt, de Man and Benjamin are included among the texts we read. Instructor(s): Claudia Joan Brodsky
Section(s):
S01 06:30 PM - 09:20 PM W
ENG 545 Special Studies in the 18th Century: Enlightenment Reason/Enlightened Awareness Cultivating non-judgmental awareness and other kinds of embodied presence are considered crucial for recognizing and undoing many forms of domination, privilege, and injustice. 18C England reveals a complex history of disavowing embodied presence and non-judgmental awareness, instead privileging systems that monitor and dominate people and the spaces they inhabit. Through 18C novels, we attempt to recover awareness, and track its erasure. Our archive includes writing on 18C imperialism, migration and land-cultivation. The course incorporates some training in mindfulness, compassion practices and conscious breathwork. Instructor(s): Sophie Graham Gee
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
ENG 556/AAS 558/GSS 556/HUM 556 African-American Literature: Reading Late 19th Century African American Literature Now What does it mean to read late-19th Century African American literature now? What critical questions does it answer, what methodological approaches does it demand, and what does it mean to ethically encounter the archive of postbellum black life and literature? We approach these questions by pairing deep readings of African American literature from the late 19th century with criticism that takes the period as its starting point. We read canonical and lesser known texts as sites from which race, freedom, aesthetics, performance, and the archive itself are being theorized, while also exploring how those very ideas might instruct us now. Instructor(s): Autumn M. Womack
Section(s):
S01 09:00 AM - 11:50 AM Th
ENG 563 Poetics: Inventing American Lyric in the Nineteenth Century Nineteenth-century American poetry is rarely invoked in current debates about the theory and history of "the lyric." The all-White Shelley-to-Stevens, British-Romanticism-to-American-Modernism narrative of the history of Anglophone poetry is still so common that this absence has gone unnoticed. In this seminar, we read current lyric theory against the racialized background of the nineteenth-century American poetics that turned a variety of popular verse genres (ballads and hymns, odes and epistles, elegies and drinking songs) into a lyricized idea of poetry, that replaced the genre of the poem with the genre of the person. Instructor(s): Virginia W. Jackson
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
ENG 567 Special Studies in Modernism: Early/Modern Essayism A Janus-faced encounter with the early modern essay, centering on Montaigne and Bacon, looking back to the ancients (Seneca, Plutarch) and forward to our contemporaries (Koestenbaum, Tolentino, et al.). The written work of the course takes the forms of imitation and analysis: we try on the styles of the essayists we read, working towards essays of our own. We also experiment with different ways of knowing and translating the form and spirit of the genre, including essays in film, music, and dance. Instructor(s): Jeff Dolven
Section(s):
S01 09:00 AM - 11:50 AM T
ENG 568 Criticism and Theory: The Criticism Co-Op How does the history of literary criticism have an impact upon the practice of criticism today? What are the enduring central questions that critics bring to their work and, indeed, what is the essence of that work? Our seminar immerses us in these issues. The course is designed for graduate students who would like to think deeply about their practice as critics and to explore the history of criticism as a resource for new writing. Instructor(s): Susan A. Stewart
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM M
ENG 571/GSS 571/HUM 573 Literary and Cultural Theory: Interdisciplinary Methods and the First Book This course asks questions about interdisciplinarity in relation to professional structures of recognition. We analyze prize-winning monographs which were "first books," first, to begin to build our own toolkits, and second to explore which works become "prize-winning." The "firstness" of our books is a point of departure, even as we place them in genealogies: theoretical, critical, archival. We ask: what is interdisciplinarity in each book and over time? what methods carry over between fields? what makes books 'field-defining'? Instructor(s): Monica Huerta
Section(s):
S01 06:30 PM - 09:20 PM W
ENG 572/ART 516/COM 576/HUM 572/MOD 572 Introduction to Critical Theory: The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility Taking our point of departure from Walter Benjamin's artwork essay, we trace the way in which photographers and artists from the late 1970s to the present have asked us to understand their work as resources for doing political work, as strategies of resistance and activism, as even training manuals on how to engage, rethink, and address some of the most urgent issues of our time. We consider works by, among others, Susan Meiselas, Allan Sekula, Kara Walker, Kerry James Marshall, Carrie Mae Weems, Glenn Ligon, Alfredo Jaar, Marcelo Brodsky, Walid Raad, Taryn Simon, Nikos Pilos, Isaac Julien, Claudia Andujar, and Fazal Sheikh. Instructor(s): Eduardo Lujan Cadava
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM Th
ENG 573 Problems in Literary Study: Storytelling What accounts for the power and pleasure of storytelling? This course examines both the story and the telling. Likely topics include oral and written, original and adaptation, telling and retelling, audience and address, enchantment and magic, fascination and fear, trust and trickery, history and case history, and truth and fiction. Our test cases take us from classical storytelling in The Odyssey, through fairy tales and folk tales, to the modern form of the novel. We also prioritize pedagogical practice: students team-teach some class sessions, as well as submit lesson plans and sample syllabi in lieu of traditional research papers. Instructor(s): Diana Jean Fuss, William Albert Gleason
Section(s):
S01 09:00 AM - 11:50 AM W
ENG 574/ENV 574/LAS 574 Literature and Society: Global Perspectives on Environmental Justice through Literature & Film This interdisciplinary seminar in the environmental humanities explores imaginative and political responses to unequal access to resources and unequal exposure to risk during a time of widening economic disparity. To engage these concerns, we venture to India, Japan, the Caribbean, South Africa, Kenya, the U.S., India, Cambodia, and Bolivia. Issues we address include: the interface between climate justice and social justice; water security, deforestation, the commons, Indigenous movements, the environmentalism of the poor, the gendered and racial dimensions of environmental justice and more-than-human environmental justice. Instructor(s): Rob Nixon
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM F
ENG 581 Seminar in Pedagogy Required weekly seminar for all English Department PhD students teaching for the first time at Princeton and scheduled to precept during the Spring 2021 semester. Balancing pedagogical theory with practical tips and collaborative discussion, the seminar helps students meet the challenges of their first semester in the classroom while also preparing them to lead their own courses. Topics include: integrated course design (preparing lesson plans; leading discussions; lecturing; teaching writing; assessment and grading); teaching online and best practices for remote learning; writing recommendations; and managing students, faculty, and time. Instructor(s): Diana Jean Fuss
Section(s):
S01 03:00 PM - 04:20 PM Th
ENG 583/HUM 587 Literature, Data, and Interpretation How and why has literary criticism relied on or resisted quantitative methods? In this seminar we survey current debates about evidence, Digital Humanities and cultural analytics and discuss methods of evaluating data as evidence across disciplines. Using approaches from data feminism, critical archival studies, and Data for Black Lives, we think about traditional objects of literary study: the book, the text, the poem, the artwork, as data with a complicated past and future. How might humanities and data together build more equitable ways of knowing? Instructor(s): Meredith Anne Martin, Rebecca Munson
Section(s):
S01 06:00 PM - 08:50 PM T
ENV 596/AMS 596/ENG 584/MOD 596 Topics in Environmental Studies: Climate Science and Digital Culture (Half-Term) Multi-disciplinary seminar focused on communicating climate science in the context of digital culture, with a specific focus on American journalism and social media. Course addresses a range of media - including documentary, the op-ed, data visualization, immersive storytelling, and virtual and augmented reality. Further considers the media culture and narrative strategies of communities leading movements for climate justice. Through individual and collaborative assignments, students test out different forms of science communication and experiment with crafting multimedia environmental stories informed by their research for public audiences. Instructor(s): Allison Carruth
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W