Spring 2015 Course Offerings

1000.10                Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man                   Miller

                          MW      12:45-2:00 p.m. 

1000.11           Shakespeare and Others                                    Keller

                          TR 11:10-12:25 p.m.

1000.12           The Assassination of Lincoln                             Mallon

                          MW 2:20 p.m. -3:35 p.m.

In this seminar, students will examine the immediate historical context of Abraham Lincoln's murder, and use theassassination as a window through which to observe various aspects of 19th-century American culture.  These will include theatrical taste, portrait photography, historical painting, and literary elegy.  Visits to Ford's Theatre and other sites associated with Lincoln's murder will allow students to see the assassination as a part of local history.  In addition, we will work at developing critical perspectives on the long-term effects of the assassination on American political psychology, including ideas about martyrdom and conspiracy.  Students will write several short papers and sit for both midterm and final examinations.

1210                Introduction to Creative Writing

































TR 12:45PM - 2:00PM

In general, our Intro to Creative Writing is a course that intends to expose students to at least two main genres of writing, normally poetry and prose fiction, with the possibility of exposure to one or two other genres as well (playwriting and/or creative nonfiction). Since each instructor has the freedom to design his or her own section, each section is unique.

I have decided to base this section on a successful Dean’s Seminar I have offered several times to first years in CCAS. We will work with brief prose forms in three broad genres; very short short stories (“sudden” or “flash” fiction); brief essays (primarily personal essays, but all types of creative nonfiction); and prose poetry.

We will cycle through each of the forms throughout the semester, with new writing expected from every student every week. There will be extensive workshop discussions of student writing – indeed, that will be the primary (though not exclusive) classroom activity.

Students will also be asked to attend and review three public readings by book-published authors, and there will be a number of responses to assigned readings as well, but the primary work of the course will be the weekly assignments, which will then be culled and revised for inclusion in an end-of-semester portfolio, which will be the basis for most of a student’s grade in the course.

I do follow a strict attendance policy, carefully explained on the syllabus, since so much of the work in the class is group-based and experiential; classes can’t be made up. Students need to be aware that their earned grade could be lowered quite drastically if they have excessive absences.

1210.11 Chang TR 12:45PM - 2:00PM
1210.12 TBA TR 9:35AM - 10:50AM
1210.13 TBA WF 2:20PM - 3:35PM
1210.14 TBA M 2:20PM - 3:35PM AND W 3:45PM - 5:00PM
1210.15 TBA MW 4:45PM - 6:00PM
1210.16 TBA TR 9:35AM - 10:50AM
1210.17 TBA TR 11:10AM - 12:25PM
1210.18 TBA MW 12:45PM - 2:00PM
1210.19 TBA TR 2:20PM - 3:35PM
1210.20 TBA TR 9:35AM - 10:50AM
1210.21 TBA TR 8:00AM - 9:15AM
1210.MV TBA MW 11:30AM - 12:45PM

1320W.10          Literature of the Americas                        Carrillo

                          TR 2:20PM - 3:35PM

1340.10            Shakespeare's Globe                                 Keller

                      TR 9:35AM - 10:50AM

1410-1411            Introduction to English Literature                               



TR 12:45PM - 2:00PM

















TR 11:10AM - 12:25PM

In this writing-intensive course, we will explore a genealogy of Gender and Genre through literature produced in and around the early British Isles, from the elegiac poetry of the Anglo-Saxons to the epic poetry of John Milton’s Paradise Lost. In this survey of medieval and early modern texts, we will trace how the forms of narrative were informed by and acted on the construction of concepts of sex and sexuality. Moreover, we will explore how pre-modern debates around eunuchs and hermaphrodites, madness and monstrosity, nature and nurture, essential and artificial, eternal and mutable came to produce later notions of transgender, queerness, disability, race, and religious difference. Readings include selections from the chivalric romances of Tristan (Beroul) and Silence, The Canterbury Tales (Chaucer), and Twelfth Night (Shakespeare).  We will read texts alongside some important works of literary criticism.

1410W.12 Francis TR 11:10AM - 12:25PM







TR 12:45PM - 2:00PM

This WID course deals with major British authors from the French Revolution (1789) to the present: Blake, Wordsworth, Keats, Shelly, and Byron; Tennyson, Browning, and Oscar Wilde; Joyce, Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway), T. S. Eliot, Yeats and Tom Stoppard and others.

1411W.11 TBA MW 2:20PM - 3:35PM
1411W.12 TBA MW 9:35AM - 10:50AM

1510-1511            Introduction to American Literature                               

1510W.10 TBA MW 2:20PM - 3:35PM











MW 12:45PM - 2:00PM

This course aims to introduce you to a wide selection of American writing produced between 1865 and the present.  We will focus on issues, controversides, and strategies that characterize this writing, as a "modern" American literature begins to emerge in the years after the Civil War and then grows and changes throughout the twentieith ceutury and into the present.  We will approach our readings from historical, cultural, and literary perspectives. 

1511W.11 TBA TR 2:20PM - 3:35PM
1511W.12 TBA TR 9:35AM - 10:50AM
1511W.13 Lopez MW 11:10AM - 12:25PM

1611W.10             Intro to Black American Literature                          Waid

                        TR 11:10AM - 12:25PM

1711W.10                     Intro Postcolonial Lit & Film

                        T 11:10AM - 12:25PM AND R 11:10AM - 12:25PM

1840W.10             Comedy                                                                         Carter

                       TR 9:35AM - 10:50AM

This WID course deals with comic masterpieces from Chaucer to Tom Stoppard,  We study major works in narrative verse—such as Chaucer’s “Wife of Bath” and Byron’s Don Juan, plays—Shakepeare’s The Winter’s Tale and Henry IV Part I, Moliere’s Misanthrope and Tartuffe, Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildernstern Are Dead, and novels—Voltaire’s Candide, Stendhal’s Red and Black and Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn.  We track common themes—hypocrisy, for instance, and study ways in which the corrective of laughter is applied to serious matters.

2240.80             Play Analysis                                                          Stokes

                       TR 12:45PM - 2:00PM

2250                           Dramatic Writing                                                     

2250.80 Calarco M 3:30PM - 6:00PM

2460                             Fiction Writing                                                       





TR 9:35AM - 10:50AM

This course will concentrate on the practice of writing short stories and learning editing skills with the guidance of literary models and class writing.

2460.11 TBA TR 2:20PM - 3:35PM
2460.12 TBA MW 12:45PM - 2:00PM

2470                         Poetry Writing                                                                      

2470.10 Chang TR 2:20PM - 3:35PM




2560.10                Intermediate Fiction Writing                               Carrillo

                         TR 11:10AM - 12:25PM

2570.10                 Intermediate Poetry Writing                                McAleavey

                        TR 9:35AM - 10:50AM

This course is a place to continue discovering what each of you wants to do and can do best in poetry. Each week I’ll offer you an assignment or a prompt, and you will produce at least one new poem draft each week to share with the class. Much of the course will be conducted in workshop format, with your draft poems the primary texts for discussion, though we will also talk about poems in the assigned text (the anthology Legitimate Dangers), as well as poems we access online or stuff that I may bring in as handouts.

I believe that undergraduate student poets need to write a lot – and to do writing that opens up new material and investigates new approaches. This semester I’ll be asking you, among other things, to try your hand at nonce forms, and to update some older modes like dramatic monologues and elegies. Undoubtedly some of the assignments/prompts I will give you will grow out of the ways your own work seems to evolve through the semester.

Of course writers can’t produce new work without being exposed to the successful work of others and studying it closely, so I will also ask you to compose brief, casual essays each week, either responding to poets in Legitimate Dangers or reviewing a public poetry reading you’ve attended that week.

Over the course of the semester, you’ll need to attend and review three poetry readings by book-published poets. In the anthology, I’ll assign one poet each week for everyone to respond to.

These weekly essays (reviews and responses) are meant to be no more than 300 words each, and I will grade them; please note that I’m asking them to be casual – not sloppy, but not particularly formal, either. (I won’t grade your poem drafts, however.) Collectively these essays will constitute 20% of your earned grade.

You will revise your six best poems from the semester as a final portfolio, accompanying each with a paragraph laying out your sense of the poem’s goals and describing how your sense of the poem may have changed through the revision process. The bulk of your earned grade in the course (70%) will rest on this portfolio.

Because this is a workshop course, participation and engagement accounts for 10% of the earned grade. Attendance is also required; I follow a precise policy regarding absences that could severely lower your earned grade.

2800W.10           Critical Methods                                                    DeWispelare

                          MW 3:45PM - 5:00PM

This survey course introduces students to argumentative writings that are commonly grouped under the hybrid heading “literary theory and cultural criticism.”  On one level, this is a course in the history of ideas.  One can even say that it is a course in the history of one very persistent and knotty philosophical problem: what, if any, is the nature of the relationship between “representation” and “reality?”  Put another way, what if any amount of “truth” can be located in the artistic, linguistic, and especially literary representations that we make of individuals, communities, or the world?  Some more specific versions of this question include: does language bear any relationship to the reality it purports to describe? Is there some “engine” or “spirit” (cf. Marx and Hegel) at the heart of culture that generates art independent of any one artist’s intentions? Do cultural representations of specific groups of people have any mooring in reality, and if not, what damage do they do?  Is the very idea of objective reality a misleading fantasy?  We will discuss these and other questions in this class, and students will gain familiarity with trenchant answers as proposed by thinkers from Plato to the Postmodernists.

On another level, this is a course in specific methods that are often deployed in advanced literary and cultural criticism.  Students will gain fluency in the terminology and conceptual frameworks associated with idealism, materialism, Marxist criticism, psychoanalytic criticism, structuralism, post-structuralism, post-colonialism, new historicism as well as critical race, sex, gender, and disability studies.  By mastering the basic contours of these diverse ways of interpreting artistic and cultural phenomena, students will be equipped to pursue more advanced courses in literature, philosophy, history, cultural studies, and even political theory.  In terms of literature in particular, we will also talk at length about advanced conceptions of form, genre, language, and aesthetics.   

This course asks that students engage with readings that are short but frequently quite difficult, both linguistically and conceptually.  In addition to the texts on criticism, we will also be reading two works of fiction on which students will demo their new critical knowledge.  This is a WID course, and so students will also do a fair amount of argumentative writing and revision.  Take heart, by supporting each other and working as a group, you will find that the reading and writing are manageable and that there are great intellectual payoffs.

2800W.11           Critical Methods                                                    Alcorn

                          TR 2:20PM - 3:35PM

This course will study the major schools and theoretical methods that have influenced the study the literature since 1940.  We will examine formalist claims about literature, French structuralist and post-structuralist claims, and review dominant themes of cultural and historical criticism. 

3250.10             Intermediate Dramatic Writing                                Griffith

                      W 3:30PM - 6:00PM

3370.10            Advanced Poetry                                                    Shore

                       TR 12:45PM - 2:00PM

3380.10           Creative Nonfiction                                   Skyhorse

                        TR 2:20PM - 3:35PM

3390.10           Topics in Creative Writing                                     Jones

                        MW 2:20PM - 3:35PM

3390.11            American Memoir                                              Page

                        WF 2:20PM - 3:35PM

3390.80            Advanced Screenwriting                                   Stern

                          W 3:30PM - 6:00PM

3411.10             Shakespeare II                                               Thompson

                        TR 11:10AM - 12:25PM 

"Shakespeare II: Shakespeare Made Strange" will explore three of Shakespeare’s most famous plays along with four of his least read and performed works in order to think about how we encounter “Shakespeare” and how the man, the myth, and the collected body of work might still be strange. Thus, we will explore the history of editing Shakespeare, the history of Shakespearean canon formation, and changing performance trends. In addition, we will think about Shakespeare’s canon in relation to the disparate experiences of reading, seeing, and performing his dramatic works.

3411.11             Shakespeare II                                               Thompson

                       TR 3:45PM - 5:00PM

"Shakespeare II: Shakespeare Made Strange" will explore three of Shakespeare’s most famous plays along with four of his least read and performed works in order to think about how we encounter “Shakespeare” and how the man, the myth, and the collected body of work might still be strange. Thus, we will explore the history of editing Shakespeare, the history of Shakespearean canon formation, and changing performance trends. In addition, we will think about Shakespeare’s canon in relation to the disparate experiences of reading, seeing, and performing his dramatic works.

3446.10             Shakespean England                                            Dugan

Capstone seminar course for sophomore students in the Dean’s Scholars in Shakespeare Program, though all students are welcome to enroll. This course focuses on the cultural history of Shakespeare’s England, including the role of theater within London. It includes a nine-day study abroad trip to Stratford-upon-Avon and London, England. Students who go on the trip will see the RSC's Love's Labor's Lost and Much Ado About Nothing as well as the Shakespeare Globe Theater's performance of John Ford's The Broken Heart, while also visiting key sites of early modern London. Please contact Holly Dugan for more information about the course or the cost of the study abroad trip.

3450.10            Shakespeare on Film                                      Cook

                       MW 2:20PM - 3:35PM

3481.10            The Eighteenth Century II                              Wallace

                      TR 9:35AM - 10:50AM

This course looks at a selection of playtexts produced during the long eighteenth century (1660-1800).  While we will certainly consider what might be called purely ‘literary’ or ‘aesthetic’ elements, we will read these texts as part of the culture that produced them, and the culture they produced.  These include military and political conflicts, ideological conflicts (especially regarding gender and class), and conflicts about what could or should be represented on stage.  In other words, 18th-century theatre engages in the culture wars we now expect to see enacted on television or the internet.

 In part, these plays trace the trajectory of culture from libertine to sentimental, from Restoration libertinism to Georgian domesticity, and perhaps from aristocratic to bourgeois, but of course we will also challenge these dichotomies.

3490W.10            Early American Lit & Culture                            Seavey

                       TR 3:35PM - 5:00PM

Beginning with a Shakespeare text which represents a bridge between the turbulent early modern period in Europe from which Renaissance literature emerged and the domain of uncertainty of the New World, this course considers some of the imaginative costs and benefits of the Euro-African settlement of the Americas between the beginning of the seventeenth century and the end of the eighteenth century.  It is a story filled with problems, accommodations, excuses, and conflicts, with some suggestive successes mixed in.  Although this course deals to an extent with historical materials, its approach is a literary one, assuming that careful interpretive distinctions of the sort used to reveal the meanings of poetry and fiction are needed to answer the most interesting historical questions.  

3520W.10            American Romanticism                                  Sten

                       TR 11:10AM - 12:25PM

This course focuses on the explosive period of the “first flowering” of American literature in the period 1825-1865.  At this time U.S. authors competed with English and European authors for the public’s attention but also worked hard to establish a strong literary tradition of their own, one with “American” roots and expressive of “American” issues and interests.  We will examine what is distinctive about several important authors from this period—including Poe, Emerson, Melville, Hawthorne, Harriet Jacobs, Whitman, and Dickinson—and see what they contributed to the formation of an “American” literature and the literary and cultural controversies of the day.  We will also explore how these writings reflect important historical and cultural developments, from the rise of Jacksonian democracy and efforts at reform--in education, religion, politics, gender relations, and class--to the deeply divisive conflicts over race and slavery and the outbreak of the Civil War. 

3541.10            Victorian Literature II                                                     Carter

                        MW 12:45PM - 2:00PM

This course on the period 1865-1910 tracks the development of aestheticism and the critique of the earnestness and “high moral tone” of the Victorians.  Representative authors—Thomas Hardy, Pater, Oscar Wilde, and Swinburne; Baudelaire, Nietzsche and Proust.   Representative works:  The Importance of being EarnestTess of the D’urbervillesThe RenaissanceSwann’s WayFlowers of Evil.

3610.10              Modernism                                                Green-Lewis

                          TR 12:45PM - 2:00PM

3631.10                American Drama II                                        Combs

                          TR 2:20PM - 3:35PM

3641W.10              The American Novel II                                      Soltan

                          MW 3:45PM - 5:00 PM

Invisible Man, Lolita, Herzog, The Moviegoer, The Bluest Eye, White Noise, Blood Meridian, The Crying of Lot 49, Gilead and other significant twentieth and twenty-first century American novels will be our focus in this course.  We will consider the cultural, philosophical, political, and spiritual environment within which this work was produced.  This course will be a no-laptop seminar.

3650.10              The Short Story                                                 Combs

                          TR 11:10AM - 12:25PM

3710W.80               Contemporary Drama                               Griffith

                          MW 12:45PM - 2:00PM

3810.10          Asian Amer/Latino/Lit Cult                                  Lopez / Chu

                        MW 12:45PM - 2:00PM


This course, team taught by Professors Chu and López, will compare the overlapping literary and cultural expressions of Asian Americans and U.S. Latinas/os.  We ask how Asian American cultural production, rooted in diverse transpacific histories, engages with U.S. Latina/o culture, itself constituted by diasporas from the Caribbean and Latin America, Africa, and Europe.  We'll consider: texts by and about mixed Asian-Latinas/os; the poetics of return to Asian and Caribbean homelands; the Chinese diaspora in Cuba and Cuban America; postcolonial Filipina revisions of race and gender; Los Angeles as the site of fraught Asian American-Latina/o relations; and the "Kung Fu" convergence in African-American and U.S. Latina/o hip-hop.  Authors include Junot Díaz, Cristina García, Jessica Hagedorn, Sigrid Nunez, Lisa See, Hector Tobar, Karen Tei Yamashita, and graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang.

3810.11                Jewish Lit Live                                             Moskowitz

                           TR 12:45PM - 2:00PM

The following authors will visit the class to engage in dialogue about their own work which students will have read: Sandra Bernhard, Jean Korelitz, Daniel  Handler (Lemony Snickett), Tom Beller (Salinger biographer), MIchelle Brafman, Gary Shteyngart.

3810.12            Politics, Skepticism & Lit                                                      Seavey

                        TR 11:10AM - 12:25PM

Skepticism, the ironic approach to existence, coexists somewhat uncomfortably with the activities of politics, but skeptical approaches to public and personal life emerge in the early modern period with the writings of Erasmus and Montaigne.  In the Eighteenth Century as irony comes to its richest appearance, it can be seen in Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and even in the historical writings of Gibbon.  Turning to the American Nineteenth Century, an era when skepticism tended to be discounted as an adequate approach to experience, Emerson revisits Montaigne’s Essays in an effort to incorporate skepticism into an aspect of idealizing affirmation.  The course moves toward the profound negations of Henry Adams, a figure carefully spraddling domains of imaginative expression and public life in Washington, with his Education of Henry Adams. 

3810.13            Modern British Poetry                                                        Soltan

                        MW 2:20PM - 3:35PM

The great achievements of British poetry in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries will be our focus in this course.  Using as our primary texts The Oxford Anthology of English Poetry, Volume 2, Blake to Heaney, and New British Poetry (eds. Paterson and Simic), we will explore modern and postmodern innovations and ideas in verse as they express themselves in the work of writers like Philip Larkin, WH Auden, Stevie Smith, and Carol Ann Duffy.  This course will be a no-laptop seminar.

3810.14             War in American Literature                                Moreland

                         TR 3:45PM - 5:00PM

3820.10             Fitzgerald                                                         Moreland

                         TR 12:45PM - 2:00PM

3820W.10           Faulkner & Morrison                                         Schreiber

                        TR 12:45PM - 2:00PM

This course links authors Toni Morrison and William Faulkner through the ways in which their fictional and discursive practices reflect on each other.  Specifically, we will examine how the texts of both authors reenact and resist racism and patriarchal structures; how they explore the ways in which memory and the past construct identity; and how they experiment with style.  We will consider the ways in which the texts illuminate a continuum in American literature through discussions of socially constructed identity and issues of race, class, and gender.  In addition, the class utilizes cultural studies and psychoanalytic critical approaches to the texts of these authors. 

3830.10           Literature and Madness                                         Alcorn

                        TR 9:35AM - 10:50AM

3830.11          Disabled People & the Holocaust                             Mitchell

                      TR 2:20PM - 3:35PM

Nazi euthanasia, otherwise known as the T4 program, was a pre-cursor to the Holocaust. T4 implemented a shadow medical bureaucracy that killed 300,000 disabled people in German hospitals and psychiatric institutions during World War II.  The development of the machinery of mass death in eugenic science led to the Final Solution.  The seminar will focus on new literature in Disability Studies that attempts to come to terms with this history and the geo-politics of memorialization.  Students must apply to the study abroad program course page at:  passport.gwu.edu/?go=DeansScholarsDisabledPeopleHolocaust.

3840.10          Gender and Southern Texts                             Romines

                    MW 4:45PM - 6:00PM           

Many persistent and stereotypical U.S. constructions of gender--the Southern belle, the mammy, the good old boy, the redneck, the tragic mulatta, to name a few--are rooted in the history and cultures of the South.  In this class we will read a selection of fiction produded by Southern writers in the twentieth century, plus a selection of critical and theoretical texts, to consider how ideas of region and gender are intertwined and have been powerful influences on U.S. cultures.  Texts will include Jean Toomer's Cane,  Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!, Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind, Margaret Walker's Jubilee, selected stories by Eudora Welty, Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men, Ernest Gaines' A Lesson Before Dying, Alice Walker's Meridian, Dorothy Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina, and others.

4220.10            Creative Writing Senior Thesis                                      Page 

4250.10            Honors Thesis                                                              Cook

4360.10            Independent Study                                                        McRuer

4470.10            Internship                                                                     Seavey

6130.10            Literary Analysis and Digital Networks                            Hsy

                        M 6:10PM - 8:00PM

 Scholarly research in the humanities is not about answers: it's about generating informed, conceptually nuanced questions. Digital networks (including online technologies and social media) are transforming humanities research and changing the ways scholars think about our archives and our modes of inquiry. Can a computer read a text as well as a human? Is there an ideal way to present, access, and interpret a digitized archive? What kinds of communities do DH projects produce...or exclude?

This seminar explores the history of DH and will address some major theoretical and cultural issues raised by DH projects. Our focus will be on question of how digital media shapes literary analysis. To this end, we will read major literary texts and examine relevant DH projects related to those texts. We will also consider how literary scholars collaborate with other disciplines to explore the cultural work of images, maps, and audiovisual materials.
Assignments will include regular blog postings; one will entail an evaluation of a DH resource or project, and one will show how DH theory enables new readings of a literary text (or set of texts). By the end of this course, each student will produce a substantial, researched piece of scholarly writing that combines DH theory and original literary analysis; this piece will be written in stages in order to mimic the process of peer review for an online academic venue.
Literary texts will include works by important medieval and early modern authors (such as Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, Margery Kempe, John Mandeville, Matthew Paris, and William Shakespeare). DH scholarship will include Franco Moretti's Graphs, Maps, Trees(2007), Matthew Jockers' Macroanalysis (2013), academic blogs (EXM, Postcolonial Digital Humanities), online projects (Map of Early Modern London), and peer-reviewed journals (Accessus, Deaf Studies Journal, Disability Studies Quarterly, and Hybrid Pedagogy).
NO COMPUTER SKILLS are required beyond word processing and Internet access.
Students taking this course are happily encouraged to enroll in Prof. DeWispelare's ENGL 6350, which will include some instruction on digital humanities project building.

6260.10           Early Modern Women Writers                                 Chang / Dugan 

                        T 4:10PM - 6:00PM

This course analyzes the work of women writers in two distinct cultural contexts: early modern England and France. Revisiting influential scholarship about women writers in the Renaissance while also surveying new approaches to this field (particularly those clustered under the umbrella of the digital humanities), we will read a wide variety of primary and secondary sources that capture the expansive, but too often occluded, histories of women in all aspects of book production in the Renaissance, including writing, editing, translating, printing, and selling books. How did gender shape literary networks of influence in England and France? How does a comparative approach change the kinds of claims we make about “women writers” in the Renaissance? How does our own cultural investment in networks frame our approach to those of the past? And how do new digital approaches change the way we work on and think about women’s writing and history?  By the end of the course, students will have gained familiarity with the works of writers like Christine de Pizan, Louise Labé, Marguerite de Navarre, Margaret Cavendish, Aemilia Lanyer, Mary Sydney, and Hannah Wolley, as well as work by Elizabeth I and Catherine de Medici. They also will continue to hone their writing and the networking skills that define research in the humanities, including developing skills in the digital humanities.


This is a graduate level course, but it is also open to advanced undergraduates in French. Students registering for the course through the French department are encouraged to read the sources in French. The rest of the class will read these works in translation. All seminar discussions will be conducted in English. Please contact Leah Chang or Holly Dugan for more information.

6350.10            Nineteenth Century                                                     DeWispelare

                        W 6:10PM - 8:00PM       

This seminar invites the participation of graduate students who are interested in studying the diverse literatures of the transatlantic slave trade and the British abolition movement.  Together we will explore the primary texts, philosophical debates, economic paradigms, legal history, and visual culture that were produced coincident with the institution of slavery and debates over its past and future.  Primary readings will date from roughly the 1770s to the 1840s and will include writers like Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, Granville Sharp, Thomas Clarkson, Olaudah Equiano, William Earle, Robert Wedderburn, Mary Prince, and Harriet Martineau, among others. 

We will approach these materials through the scrim of contemporary theory.  In particular, this course takes as its point of departure the ten-year anniversary of the publication of Ian Baucom’s Specters of the Atlantic (2005), a masterful work of literary and cultural theory that will serve as our central secondary text.  Baucom’s innovative account of the 1781 massacre aboard the slaveship Zong creatively interweaves and applies thinkers like Agamben, Arrighi, Buck-Morss, Burke, Davis, Glissant, Gilroy, Kant, Lynch, Makdisi, Marx, Mbembe, McKeon, Spivak, Williams, ŽiŽek—but even this alphabetical list is but a paltry simulacrum of this book's rich and exciting theoretical bibliography.  As we discuss the course’s primary works alongside a slow reading of Specters of the Atlantic, we will examine Baucom’s presuppositions, explore his interlocutors, test his conclusions, and dwell on the enduring three-way problem of capital, slavery, and the philosophy of history that Baucom explores so provocatively. 

In lieu of an extended research project or seminar paper, this course will feature instruction and guidance in the practical execution of a digital humanities project.  Students will learn basic techniques for the design and implementation of a digital source database. The goal is that as a group we will collectively produce an online resource where students can circulate occasional writing and research produced in conjunction with the course material.  Absolutely no previous programming experience is required, but curiosity is obligatory.  Because this course will limit itself to the practical skills required of online digital humanities programmers, students who are interested in the theoretical and cultural issues raised by DH are highly encouraged to enroll concurrently in Prof. Hsy’s ENGL 6130: Literary Analysis and Digital Networks.               

6450.10                Twentieth Century                                                  Chu

                         R 6:10PM - 8:00PM

Asians have been coming to America since 1849, but the writings of the immigrants and their descendents didn’t become “Asian American” until the discipline as such was formally recognized as a response to student strikes in 1968.  In fact, there was no such racial group in 1878 when the United States Congress created a new legal category, “aliens ineligible to citizenship,” just for Chinese, and then began to pass laws that also excluded other Asians and Pacific Islanders from immigration and citizenship—setting them apart from Europeans and placing them into a middle category, neither white nor black.

Asian Americanist scholars argue that the treatment of Asian Americans in America has always been shaped by U.S. foreign policy objectives, by the Orientalist perception of Asians as unassimilable aliens, and by a suspicion of “orientals” borrowed from European colonialism and re-framed just for America.  In response,  Asian American writers have turned from writing only about their efforts to claim identities as fully American citizens to questioning American “exceptionalism” and to reconceiving themselves as citizens of the world.  Or have they?

This course introduces constructions of Asian American race and ethnicity and provides alternative accounts of Asian American experiences.  We’ll discuss the political roots of the terms “Asian American” and “Asian American literature”; nineteenth-century East-West encounters; Chinese immigration and exclusion; Japanese American internment narratives; feminist, national, and postcolonial influences; adoption; transnational migration; theories of narrative, genre, mourning, melancholia, and loss.   Authors anf filmmakers include

6510.10            Writing, Race and Nation                                         Sten

                       T 6:10PM - 8:00PM               

This graduate seminar will look at representations of race and nation in nineteenth-century American writing, from David Walker’s Appeal (1829) to W.E.B. DuBois’s The Souls of Black Folk (1903), and explore how issues of race complicate or contradict both popular and legal conceptions of the nation in this period.  We will examine conflicts over land ownership between native Americans and white aristocrats, as seen in genealogical fictions by Melville (Pierre) and Hawthorne (House of the Seven Gables), and conflicts between slaves and slaveholders over questions of ownership of human capital, citizenship, and racial passing in Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, William Wells Brown’s Clotel, or The President’s Daughter, and Frances Harper’s Iola Leroy, and other narratives by African Americans.  Featured theoretical writings include Robert S. Levine’s Dislocating Race and Nation (2008), Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities (rev. ed. 2006), and Eric J. Sundquist’s To Wake the Nations: Race in the Making of American Literature (1993).  Requirements include oral reports, a review of scholarship, and an 18-20 page essay modeled after the publishable article.

6720.10            Independent Research                                                Mitchell

6720.11            Independent Research                                                 Mitchell

6811.10            Folger Institute Seminars II                                          Mitchell

6998.10            Thesis Research                                                          Mitchell

6999.10            Thesis Research                                                          Mitchell

8998.10            Advanced Writing and Research                                  Mitchell

8999.10            Dissertation Research                                                 Mitchell