Browse our current and past graduate course offerings.
PROF. CARRIE BRAMEN
Monday 9:30-12:10, Clemens 548
Registration Numbers: (A) 17475 (B) 19895
All new students in the English Department’s Masters Program are required to take English 501, which is designated Introduction to Scholarly Methods. Doctoral students are also welcome to take this course as its main concern is relevant to all of us: How do you write compelling and engaging academic prose? Why is the professionalization of academic writing often accused of being dull? And for whom do we write when we write an academic essay?
This course is methodological—a composition course at the graduate level—but is also polemical. We will discuss challenging issues that do not have easy answers: Should academic writing be clear or difficult? What is the case that each side makes in defending a distinct academic stylistics? We will read Wayne Booth’s The Craft of Research, in addition to Helen Sword’s Stylish Academic Writing (Harvard 2012) and Jonathan Culler and Kevin Lamb’s collection Just Being Difficult: Academic Writing in the Public Arena (Stanford 2003).
The writing will involve various genres: an annotated bibliography, a conference proposal, a conference paper, and finally a seminar paper. The latter will be synergistic, in that the seminar paper will develop from one of your other seminars and we will work on the assignment in our course. The final paper, in other words, will serve a dual purpose: it will satisfy the final requirement for our seminar as well as for your other intensive seminar.
This course is divided into two sections, A and B, which have different formats: the A section is a conventional seminar, whereas the B section does not have a common meeting time, but instead consists credit-hours to give first-year M.A. students full-time status. (full-time students can enroll in the A section on-line, and they will automatically be enrolled in the B section.).
All new M.A. Program students must enroll in the A section, and full-time students should also enroll in the B section. But it is not mandatory to enroll in the B section. Some students prefer to use those three credits toward an extensive graduate seminar.
English 501 A is intended to enhance our familiarity and facility with the kinds of questions literary scholars ask today and their strategies for answering them. We will study various critical approaches and gain a grounding in research methods.
(Please note that while the A and B sections of this course can count toward your eight-semester requirement for the M.A. and while the A section is required for all new M.A. students, neither the A nor the B section of this course counts toward the four intensive seminars required for the degree.)
PROF. MING QIAN MA
Thursday 9:00-11:40, Clemens 1032
Registration Number: 18475
English 502 is designed as a survey of the critical theories of the 20-and 21-Centuries, with an emphasis on the post 1960s period. Chronological in approach, it will study the founding or representative texts of various schools or types of theories and criticisms, focusing on their working assumptions, grounding perceptions, fundamental concepts, paradigmatic formations, and corresponding methodologies. The objective of this course is to further prepare students for their more advanced studies at the graduate level by 1) providing a review/overview of the critical and theoretical discourses indispensable to literary and interdisciplinary studies; 2) offering an intensified learning process that aims at cultivating an intellectual rigor manifested in the accuracy of understanding, the agility of methodological performance, the clarity of oral articulation, the cogency of thinking, and the elegance of writing; 3) presenting opportunities to practice literary criticism by applying these theories to readings of literature for the purpose of learning a range of interpretative methods; and 4) improving and refining a diacritical sensitivity toward not only the significance but also the limitations of each type of critical theories.
Course assignments include one 40-minute presentation, weekly response papers, three short papers of literary criticism, and a term paper.
Textbooks required for the course:
Literary Theory: An Anthology, 2 Edition. Edited by Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Blackwell, 2004
Billy Budd, Sailor and Other Tales, by Herman Melville; with a new introduction by Joyce Carol Oates. Signet Classic, 1998. (Other editions are acceptable)
Supplementary reading materials will be distributed in the form of handouts.
PROF. DAVID ALFF
Friday 12:30-3:10, Clemens 1032
Registration Numbers: 23490 (B) 234491
Warrantless entry. Actionable wrong. Moral breach. These were just a few of the definitions that placed the word “trespass” squarely at the center of emerging discourses of property rights, criminal law, seafaring, commerce, and empire between the Restoration of Charles II (1660) and the American Revolution (1776). Our semester-long engagement with this keyword will consider the role of trespassing and trespassers within a variety of plays, poems, and fictions that became some of the era’s most acclaimed and divisive works. Primary readings will include John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, John Dryden’s Amboyna, Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko, Daniel Defoe’s Tour thro’ the Whole Island of Great Britain, John Gay’s Beggar’s Opera, and Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, among many other pieces. We will contextualize these self-consciously literary works alongside theories of state dominion articulated by Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Hugo Grotius, John Seldon, and others. The overall goal of our seminar will be to understand how it is that societies decide who and what can go where and why. Writing assignments will stress close engagement with course texts and fluency in genres of the academic profession. All participants will deliver a 15-minute presentation and submit four 2-page responses. Intensively-registered seminar members will write an article-length research paper. Prior exposure to eighteenth-century literature is neither required nor expected.
PROF. STACY HUBBARD
Monday 3:30-6:10, Clemens 1032
Registration Numbers: (A) 22393 (B) 23494
This course is intended as a survey of American fiction between 1895 and 1940. We will read quite a few novels and stories together during the semester and you will be asked to read several more on your own. We will, of necessity, go broader than we go deep, although we’ll drill down in various spots to get into particular aspects of aesthetics, politics, material and literary culture in the period. Issues to be discussed include race, passing and primitivism; urbanism; regionalism; realism and naturalism; feminists and the New Woman; public spectacles; modernist time; narrative structure; machine culture; industrial culture and workers lit; immigrant stories; the novel of consciousness; and the impact of film and photography on fiction. The course is intended to be of use to students who are preparing for oral exams in 20 century American literature, devising syllabi for undergraduate surveys, or just aiming to get the lay of the land.
Each week, we will read 1 novel or 2 novellas, some contemporaneous essays, and some critical and/or historical materials that will help us to situate the fiction. In addition to these “A list” readings, I will provide “B list” readings from which you can choose additional titles in order to get deeper into a particular genre, style, or movement and to develop your final essay. Each week, one or more students will give brief presentations situating and introducing the readings and relating them to a few additional texts beyond those required. Formal writing assignments will include a mid-semester essay (7-8 pages) discussing a particular literary movement or debate going on in American modernism; and an end-of-semester paper that addresses a cluster of texts with reference to a particular theoretical, historical or literary critical issue.
Our readings will be drawn from the following (to be sorted into A and B lists at a later date):
William Dean Howells, A Hazard of New Fortunes; Hamlin Garland, Main-Travelled Roads; Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage; Sarah Orne Jewett, Country of the Pointed Firs; Henry James, The Spoils of Poynton; Charles Chesnutt, Conjure Woman; Kate Chopin, The Awakening; Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie; Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth; Upton Sinclair, The Jungle; Gertrude Stein, Three Lives; Mary Antin, The Promised Land; James Weldon Johnson, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man; Sui Sin Far, Mrs. Spring Fragrance & Other Writings; Abraham Cahan, The Rise of David Levinsky; Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio; Jean Toomer, Cane; Sinclair Lewis, Babbitt; Willa Cather, The Professor’s House; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; Anzia Yezierska, Bread Givers; Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time; F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby; Nella Larsen, Passing and Quicksand; William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury; John Dos Passos, The Big Money; Tillie Olson, Yonnondio; Djuna Barnes, Nightwood; John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath; Richard Wright, Native Son.
PROF. MYUNG MI KIM
Tuesday 3:30-6:10, Clemens 436
Registration Numbers: (A) 23492 (B) 23493
"A MERRY CAN ISM"
"A MER IN CAN ISM"
"A MARR CAN ISM"
Theresa Hak Kyung Cha
"The Word (Le Mot)"
9 color slides, 5 color photographs
This course will examine a fundamental but often under-theorized condition of 20 century and contemporary American poetry, namely, its translingual, interlingual, and transcultural predicament. How does this condition of mutability and linguistic heterogeneity inflect and exceed current discourses on diaspora and hybridity? We will discuss the rupture and displacement of monolingualism in what counts as “American Poetry.” In our reflection on the stakes of transcultural and translingual poetics, we will interrogate the way the politics of translation inhabits legibility, standardization, and linguistic practices of the nation. At the same time we will ask whether it is possible to redefine translatability from the perspective of what I call the “transl(i)tive” dimension of poetic practice. Transl(i)tive practice traverses and recalibrates the binaries of major/minor, dominant/peripheral, global/local; we will explore how this transitive and chiasmatic space operates both within and between poetry and thinking, and how it might extend the established parameters of scholarship about American poetry.
Our readings may include: Gertrude Stein, selected essays and The Geographical History of America; William Carlos Williams, Louis Zukofsky, from A, Catullus, and 80 Flowers; Robert Duncan's late work; Jack Spicer's After Lorca and Language; Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's Dictee along with her multimedia, installation, and film work; Nathaniel Mackey, Susan Howe, Cecilia Vicuna, Harryette Mullen, Tan Lin, Erin Moure, Norma Cole, Caroline Bergvall, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, and others.
Companion texts/possible extensions: Fred Moten, In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition, Kamau Brathwaite, The History of the Voice; Alfred Arteaga, Chicano Poetics: Heterotexts and Hybridities; Jacques Derrida, Monolingualism of the Other or the Prosthesis of Origin.
PROF. DAMIEN KEANE
Wednesday 12:30-3:10, Clemens 1032
Registration Numbers: (A) 23494 (B) 23495
This seminar will function as an introductory survey of British and Irish modernism, less in the sense of a parade of greatest hits (although the syllabus will lean heavily toward canonical works) than as an investigation into the institutional settings in which agents in the literary field competed for recognition. To do so, the semester will be organized around three specific institutions, as a means for us to track and account for the various demands, prohibitions, and opportunities generated within each that, in turn, enabled the construction of what later came to be known as literary modernism: possible candidates include libraries, journals and little magazines, publishing houses and imprints, recording studios, university curricula, and intelligence services. Underwriting the entire seminar will be a commitment to hands-on work with materials in Buffalo’s Poetry Collection.
Primary works will be drawn from among those of: W.H. Auden, Samuel Beckett, Elizabeth Bowen, Nancy Cunard, T.S. Eliot, David Jones, James Joyce, Louis MacNeice, W. Somerset Maugham, Flann O’Brien, George Orwell, Jean Rhys, Dylan Thomas, Virginia Woolf, and W.B. Yeats.
Critical readings will be drawn from those by: Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Tony Bennett, Pierre Bourdieu, Tim Brennan, Pascale Casanova, Terry Eagleton, Michel Foucault, John Frow, Lisa Gitelman, Erving Goffman, John Guillory, Jerome McGann, D.F. McKenzie, Jim McGuigan, Franco Moretti, Lawrence Rainey, Mike Savage, Max Weber, and Raymond Williams.
Course requirements for all registered students will include one fifteen-minute (about two single-spaced pages) oral presentation; and, for intensively registered students only, a conference-length paper (ten pages) plus a bibliographic essay (ten pages). The expectations for the final project are realistic; as such, there will be no incompletes granted for the seminar. Lastly, it is mandatory that potential auditors contact me before the start of the semester.
PROF. NNEDI OKOAFOR
Tuesday 12:30 - 3:10, Clemens 538
Registration Number: 21056
PROF. JUDITH GOLDMAN
Tuesday 12:30 – 3:10, Clemens 1032
Registration Number: 21057
In this unique Colloquium course, we will examine a broad array of aesthetic techniques deployed in poetry and fiction in order to explore and reassess questions of genre to which we’ve become anaesthetized.
Specifically, we will think through what function the concept of genre performs, what kinds of writing activity genre allows us to pursue, and how mobilizing the question of genre itself may help writers foster innovative sites of practice.
Predominantly exploratory in nature, the Fall Writing Colloquium is designed to investigate the limits and boundaries of poetry and fiction by negotiating three interrelated spheres of activity:
1) sharing student projects in writing
2) reading a wide range of texts in order to become familiar not only with contemporary writing, but also critical and theoretical concepts that will augment writing practice
3) participating in several Colloquia sessions during which the two sections of the class will meet to prepare for and discuss visits by an exceptional roster of writers: poets, novelists, short story writers, and writers of cross-genre and inter-genre forms
PROF. DENNIS TEDLOCK
Wednesday 3:30-6:10, Clemens 538
Registration Numbers: (A) 23496 (B) 23497
Narrative, which can be highly lyrical, will be distinguished from story, whose movement is determined by plot. Our attention will be centered on oral narratives that are spoken rather than sung. Spoken myths and tales are rich in multivocal discourse. M. M. Bakhtin sets up a dichotomy between the monological epic and the dialogical novel, ignoring the fact that folktales provide a dialogical antecedent to the novel. He is one among many who have used the epic to set up a grand dichotomy between oral and literate discourse.
Mythography is the process by which oral narratives are converted into texts. We will explore this process in its full range, from ancient writing systems to sound recording, comparing the works of such mythographers as playwrights, poets, novelists, and compilers of sacred books, on the one hand, and those of folklorists, linguists, and ethnographers on the other.
Brief responses to reading or listening assignments will be due each week. In addition, there will be exercises in the scripting of sound recordings. Term papers may be based on sound recordings, on oral narratives that have already been textualized, or on performances by the authors of written works. Readings will include David Antin, “The Beggar and the King”; M. M. Bakhtin, “Discourse in the Novel”; Dell Hymes, “Breakthrough into Performance”; Claude Lévi-Strauss, “The Structural Study of Myth”; Charles Olson, “Projective Verse”; a selection from Salman Rushdie, Haroun and the Sea of Stories; Dennis Tedlock, Finding the Center: The Art of the Zuni Storyteller and The Spoken Word and the Work of Interpretation; and W. B. Yeats, Mythologies and Irish Fairy and Folktales.
First reading/listening assignment: “Transcription between Languages,” accompanied by a sound recording of Andrew Peynetsa performing “The Boy and the Deer” in Zuni and a written translation into English. Interval(le)s 4, special issue Transcribed Performance: 21st Century Talk Poetics, pp. 871-896. http://www.cipa.ulg.ac.be/intervalles4/contentsinter4.php
Theory and Practice of the Avant-Garde
PROF. STEPHEN McCAFFERY
Wednesday 12:30-3:20, Clemens 438
Registration Numbers: (A) 22397 (B) 22398
This course examines the historical continuum of a formally radical poetics from 1870 to the present day. After mapping out some broad theorizations of the Avant-Garde, we will examine in depth several texts and movements: including Mallarmé’s seminal text “Un Coup de Des”; Italian parole in liberta, Russian zaum or transrational language; collage; Dada, Gertrude Stein’s early cubist poetics; the poetics of Fluxus; the formally inventive poetries of the 1970 and 80s, and the conceptual and post-conceptual poetics of the present. The material will be studied against certain persistent interrogations: should the Avant-Garde be considered as historically circumscribed and, if so, is it feasible to speak of a contemporary avant-garde? What are the relations of formal innovation to such socio-political and cultural issues as postmodernity, globalization, gender and race?
Peter Bürger, Theory of the Avant-Garde.
Mary Ann Caws, Manifesto: A Century of Isms.
Renato Poggioli, The Theory of the Avant-Garde.
Marjorie Perloff, The Futurist Moment.
Kryzysztof Ziarek, The Historicity of Experience: Modernity, the Avant-Garde, and the Event.
A Course Kit will make available several shorter texts.
PROF. ALEX REID
Monday 12:30-3:10, Clemens 538
Registration Number: 17052
PROF. ELIZABETH MAZZOLIINI
Wednesday 12:30-3:10, Clemens 538
Registration Number: 23012
This course is designed to support and develop TA pedagogy in the composition program at UB. The course will examine foundational and contemporary scholarship and research in rhetoric and composition that addresses first-year composition pedagogy. The course will serve as a forum for the discussion of classroom practices and issues as they arise during the semester and situate those discussions within the context of composition theory. We will investigate the historical development of first-year composition, the current debates regarding such courses, and the potential futures of writing instruction.
PROF. JOSEPH CONTE
Wednesday 3:30-6:10, Clemens 1032
Registration Numbers: (A) 21048 (B) 21049
Literature after September 11, 2001 reflects a shift from the provincial politics of nation-states to that of transnational politics—issues that require adjudication across national, geographic, cultural, linguistic, religious, and racial borders. In the epoch of globalization, these are conflicts that are unlikely to be resolved without the cooperation and understanding of diverse peoples willing to set aside sectarian interests. If the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 brought to a close an overt dichotomy in international politics and deprived Western writers of a reliable foil, the events of 9/11 not only redirected our “intelligence community” from counterespionage to counterterrorism but also compelled writers to attend to a multilateral political terrain beyond the nation-state. This new political paradigm is both transnational and asymmetrical. The system of global capitalism, for which the secular ideals of representative democracy are a thinly disguised “advance man,” contends with the emergent threat of a transnational theocracy that is resistant to the agnostic, graphical, and consumerist Western ideology.
We will read some works of fiction that directly represent the events of 9/11 on American soil and others that reflect changes in the global political and cultural milieu in its aftermath. Native New Yorker Don DeLillo has called this the “age of terror” in his immediate response to the collapse of the towers, “In the Ruins of the Future: Reflections on Terror and Loss in the Shadow of September,” and in Falling Man (2007), he eschews documentary realism in favor of representing 9/11 through the cognitive and psychological trauma of a World Trade Center survivor whose recuperation is the beginning of a “counternarrative” to terrorism. Orhan Pamuk gauges the impact on the streets of Istanbul in “The Anger of the Damned,” but he sets his only political novel, Snow (2004), in the village of Kars in far eastern Turkey, away from the multiculturalism of Istanbul that links Europe and Asia, in order to foreground the tensions and resistance between Islam and Turkey’s secular state as girls, forbidden to wear head scarves to school, commit suicide. J. M. Coetzee, in Diary of a Bad Year (2007), fashions a multi-tracked narrative in which the author-surrogate Señor C. ventures a series of “strong opinions” on anarchism, terrorism, the state, Al Qaida, democracy and so on that question the purpose of writing in an ethically confused and disputatious world.
These and other works of contemporary fiction and nonfiction, in whole or in part—Paul Auster, Man in the Dark (2008), Jean Baudrillard, The Spirit of Terrorism (2002), Noam Chomsky, 9/11: Was There an Alternative? (2011), Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007), Ken Kalfus, A Disorder Peculiar to the Country (2006), Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland (2008), Amy Waldman, The Submission (2011), Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower (2006), and Slavoj Žižek, Welcome to the Desert of the Real (2002)—suggest that, rather than suffering from self-absorption and disaffection, innovative fictions have engaged global politics. As Pamuk contends, it is through novels that world citizens do their deepest thinking about themselves.
Course requirements include a seminar presentation and a twenty-page research paper that will integrate fiction and nonfiction, sociopolitical and literary critical sources.
Prof. Steven Miller
Prof. Marc Crépon (École Normale Supérieure, Paris)
Thursday, 12:30-3:10, Clemens 1032
Registration Numbers: (A) 23498 (B) 23499
This course introduces students to the questions of rhetoric that animate the most significant works 20 century philosophy, psychoanalysis, and literary criticism. An entire range of thinkers—I.A. Richards, Kenneth Burke, Melanie Klein, Roman Jakobson, Gaston Bachelard, Ella Sharpe, Jacques Lacan, Paul Ricœur, Gérard Genette, Michel Deguy, Francis Ponge, Jacques Derrida, Jean-François Lyotard, Sarah Kofman, Paul de Man, Miklos Szentkuthy, Hans Blumenberg, Pascal Quignard, and Susan Sontag, among many others—retrieved and systematically rearticulated ancient questions of rhetoric. On the one hand, rhetoric is most commonly understood, formalized, and taught, as a verbal ornament, a technique of persuasion, a resource of literary invention; it is supposed to occur at the intersection of speech and language, literature and philosophy, politics and knowledge. On the other hand, rhetoric proves to be something uncanny: rather than a masterable set of techniques or devices, it names a movement of language beyond language, a internecine war of language against itself, a form of madness, whereby language both contests its own limits (indeed, the very concept of language) and reaffirms them. At some point, each of the thinkers that we will discuss necessarily encounters this madness and decides whether it is essential to knowledge or an impediment.
In order to construct the field wherein these questions of rhetoric arise, we will attempt to engage with as many of the authors listed above as possible. But we will spend the most time in the vicinity “metaphorological” texts (Bachelard, Genette, Ricœur, Blumenberg) that privilege rhetoric as science (and that turn upon the figure of metaphor) and “deconstructive” texts (Lyotard, Derrida, de Man) that privilege rhetoric as madness (and that turn upon the nonfigure of hyperbole). Situated upon the shifting sands between such texts, we will find texts of the psychoanalytic tradition (Klein, Sharpe, Lacan).
I am delighted to announce that this seminar will begin with three weekly sessions offered by Marc Crépon (École Normale Supérieure) who will be in residence at UB in the fall as WBFO/Silvers Visiting Professor of Humanities. Professor Crépon will examine the relationship among “the invention of idiom,” “the madness of language (and the law),” and translation through a close reading of Derrida’s Monolinguism of the Other and other texts on translation.
In the remaining ten weeks of the seminar, we will examine several metaphorological texts: Gaston Bachelard’s Lautréamont and Formation of the Scientific Mind; Paul Ricœur’s The Rule of Metaphor, and Hans Blumenberg’s Paradigms for a Metaphorology. We will go on to study a few pivotal early examples of Derrida’s contestatory engagement with the tradition of metaphorology (“Freud and the Scene of Writing,” “Violence and Metaphysics,” “White Mythology”), pursuing theme of the “madness of language” through close attention to the way in which the figure of hyperbole (as a “polemical” movement of language beyond itself) drives and overdetermines Derrida’s analysis of metaphor in philosophical discourse and discretely animates some of his later writings on war and violence (especially The Politics of Friendship). Finally, we will compare the way in which Lacan construes the relationships between metaphor and language and language and madness (Seminar III: The Psychoses, “The Instance of the Letter in the Unconscious”). Along the way, I hope that it will be possible to clarify the relationship between rhetoric and “object relations” in both Derrida and Lacan.
Reconstruction, Reaction, and Afro-American Literature, 1865-1905
PROF. JAMES HOLSTUN
Friday 12:30-3:10, Clemens 538
Registration Numbers: (A) 23500 (B) 23501
The canon of nineteenth-century Afro-American literature tends
to focus on 1830-1865, and the movement toward abolition. In this
course, we’ll focus on 1865-1905, and two different
processes: the attempted consolidation of abolition in Radical
Reconstruction, potentially the greatest social revolution in the
history of the United States, which might have transformed the
political economy of the South, and then the North; and the white
racial reign of terror and structural re-enserfment that succeeded
in limiting or turning back this radical moment. My presentist
starting point is that Radical Reconstruction and its defeat are
more important for understanding the American and Afro-American
present than is the struggle for Abolition. The relative lack of
prominence of these years in our canon is, as Reds like to say,
We’ll begin with W. E. B. Du Bois’s Back
Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880 (Scribner edition);
it’s a big book, so you might want to get a summertime jump
on reading it. We’ll also read C. Vann Woodward on the
Compromise of 1877; parts of Douglass Blackmon’s Slavery
by another Name on postwar penal slavery (including some
first-person narratives); and, on race and its postwar
restructuring, writings by Oliver Cromwell Cox, Theodore Allen, and
Barbara J. Fields and Karen Fields (Racecraft: The Soul of
Inequality in American Life). We’ll also read
—Albion W. Tourgée, A Fool’s Errand (1879)
—William Wells Brown, My Southern Home (1880)
—Frances Harper, Iola Leroy (1892)
—Frederick Douglass, on Reconstruction from the third autobiography, Life and Times (1881, 1892).
—Thomas Nelson Page, Red Rock (1898), a pro-lynching novel
—Pauline Hopkins, Selections, Contending Forces (1900)
—Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery (1901), classic of black uplift.
—Thomas Dixon, The Clansman (1905), highly influential, including on D. W. Griffith.
—Ida B. Wells, Writings on Lynching
—Charlotte Forten Grimké, Selections
—Frances Harper, Selected Poetry; Trial and Triumph
—Charles Chessnut, “The Wife of His Youth”
We’ll read some reflections on the antebellum-postbellum
transition in some of the shorter and lesser-known postwar slave
narratives; and excerpts from Women’s Work: An Anthology
of African-American Women’s Historical Writings from
Antebellum America to the Harlem Renaissance. We’ll
conclude with Charles Chesnutt’s, The Marrow of
Tradition (1901), on that perennial American institution, the
All students will write week semiformal essays (1-2 pages). “Intensive” students will also write a twenty-page seminar paper. Happy to talk more about any of this. The reading list may shift a little over the summer. Write me in August for the final version, a preview of Du Bois, and a guide to ordering less expensive used copies of our texts: email@example.com
PROF. DIANE CHRISTIAN
Wednesday 3:30-6:20, Clemens 610
Registration Numbers: (A) 23502 (B)
William Blake attacked the Enlightenment worship of Reason and cited Imagination as the superior faculty (“What is now proved was once, only imagined”). He analyzed reason as the accusatory moral faculty posed against the artistic/religious incorporative power of imagination (“If Morality was Christianity Socrates was the Saviour”). He interrogated and reshaped the Christian sense of the erotic (“Men are admitted into Heaven not because they have curbed or govern’d their Passions or have no Passions, but because they have Cultivated their Understandings”). He literally rewrote Milton in his epic Milton, bringing him back into time to correct his errors and reform his righteousness. Blake’s struggle with Milton was not a narcissistic ‘agony of influence’ but a reformation of the truth of religious imagination. He understood imperialism and remarked that “Shakespeare & Milton were both curbd by the general malady & infection from the silly Greek & Latin slaves of the Sword.”
Blake also anticipated radical insights of Feuerbach (“Thus men forgot that All deities reside in the human breast”), Marx (“The voice of slaves beneath the sun, and children bought with money”), Freud (Blake illustrated the Oedipus complex in The Book of Urizen”) and feminism (“Against the Patriarchal pomp and cruelty labouring incessant”). His is the most powerful analysis of religion, art, morality, war, emotion and gender in English poetry. To express it he created his own mythology—which combined and thought with all the wisdom he knew—notably the Bible, artists and poets, and Plato, Bacon, Newton, and Locke.
This course will consider all his work, poetic and graphic, with emphasis on the body as the focusing structural metaphor and on Blake’s Christian revision of the erotic.
PROF. CRISTANNE MILLER
Monday 12:30-3:10 , Clemens 1032
Registration Number: 23642
In this workshop, students will rework a paper (typically a seminar paper) for publication. The workshop will help students to identify an appropriate journal for her or his work. It will then assist in the tailoring of the project for the format and focus of that publication. It will also offer guidance in the key characteristics of a successful submission. The workshop will feature several group meetings at the beginning of the semester and then regular consultations with the instructor for the remainder of the semester. This workshop is open to 3rd year students only.