Fall 2019 Course Offerings
HIST 502A: Queer Sexualities; Tamara Chaplin
CWL 501: Theory of Literature; Brett Kaplan
MUS 520: Social Theory in Ethnomusicology; Michael Silvers
ENGL 537: The Uses and Abuses of Victorian Historicism; Eleanor Courtemanche
GWS 581A: Queer Cinemas in Transnational Contexts; Chantal Nadeau
MDIA/GWS 560: Feminst Media Studies; Angharad N. Valdivia
LA 506: Vision; D. Fairchild Ruggles
ENGL 553: Mourning in Comic Time; Irvin Hunt
ENGL 581: The Novel, Postcolonialism, and World Literature; Wail S. Hassan
ENGL 500: Introduction to Criticism & Research; Andrew Gaedtke
ENGL 584: Rhetoric and the Body; Lindsay Russell
HIST 502A: Queer Sexualities
Professor: Tamara Chaplin
Meets: Mondays 3-4:50pm, 318 Gregory Hall
This graduate course is an exploration of the themes, debates, and methods shaping queer history. It incorporates theory and is focused on the production of historical work in the field, ranging geographically and chronologically in order to examine the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer past. We will give special attention to persecution, pathologization, and modalities of resistance and desire while also investigating the forms of power that have influenced the historical gendering and racialization of sexual identity categories.
CWL 501: Theory of Literature
Professor: Brett Kaplan
Meets: Wednesdays, 2:00-4:50pm, 3024 Foreign Languages Building
This course will offer you an introduction to the major ideas, problems, and critical trends that have shaped the study of literature and culture over the past several decades. By the end of the semester, you will be familiar with the evolution of and interrelations between a number of theoretical fields, including structuralism, psychoanalysis, deconstruction, postcolonial theory, indigenous studies, critical race theory, digital humanities, visual studies, and feminist and queer theory. Some of the texts on the syllabus might already be familiar, but many certainly will not. In any case, the goal of the course will be to have you see familiar problems in a new light and to develop new skills to think about the relationship between literature, culture, politics, and scholarship. This course is conceived for graduate students in comparative literature, but it is appropriate for anyone engaged in literary or cultural studies in any geographic context.
MUS 520: Social Theory in Ethnomusicology
Professor: Michael Silvers
Meets: Tuesdays, 2:00-4:50pm, Location TBA
History of theoretical ideas and paradigms that have influenced ethnomusicology from the late 19th century through the early 21st century. Helps students to sharpen their own theoretical tools for conducting ethnomusicological research, teaching, and analysis of existing literature. Participants will study theoretical approaches from anthropology, folkloristics, sociology, semiotics, linguistics, communications, and ethnomusicology that have been influential in ethnomusicology. Participants will write a series of short papers to develop their theoretical thinking, writing, and argumentation.
GER 574: Romanticism and its Afterlives
Professor: Laurie Johnson
Meets: Thursdays, 3:00-4:50pm, 1038 Foreign Languages Building
Romanticism is one of the most significant movements in Western intellectual history. And, it supposedly ended around 1850. In this course, however, we will test the notion that Romanticism is still with us, in various guises. Texts from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818) to Christoph Ransmayr's The Terrors of Ice and Darkness (1996), as well as several films, will help students develop a clear understanding of the movement, of its impacts, and of important trends in literary, philosophical, and cultural history from the late eighteenth century through the post-Romantic movements of Realism, Expressionism, and others. This course is for graduate and undergraduate students. Readings and discussions are in English, with no prerequisites. Advanced undergraduate and graduate students in German should read the course texts in German (and may choose to write essays in German).
MACS/ENG/CWL 503: Historiography of Cinema
Professor: Julie Turnock
Meets: Tuesdays, 1:00-4:50pm, 336 Gregory Hall
While the title of this course is “Historiography of Cinema,” it is designed to incorporate issues of moving image culture more broadly. This course introduces methodology and theory beneficial to students working on topics in television, video art, advertising, and digital media-making, and more. The aim of this class is to introduce and train students in research methods and approaches in moving image studies, and discuss how the long tradition of cinematic scholarly discourse can impact research in other areas of media and various periods of technological emergence.
ENGL 537: The Uses and Abuses of Victorian Historicism
Professor: Eleanor Courtemanche
Meets: Mondays, 3:30-6:00pm, 125 English Building
The Uses and Abuses of Victorian Historicism The field of Victorian studies has recently begun to challenge and rethink its dominant methodology of culturally-inflected historicism. Some scholars call for a renewed attention to form, to theory, or even to “presentism,” the long-deplored error of projecting your own era’s values onto the distant past. Complicating matters is the fact that secular historicism was a profoundly influential intellectual paradigm during the Victorian age, transforming the fields of theology, science, literature, and politics—including the romantic idea of the nation and fantasies of empire. In this class, we’ll try to understand the current theoretical debate by contrasting the Victorians’ own approaches to historical inquiry with our own. Readings will be drawn from Edmund Burke, Walter Scott, George Eliot, Walter Pater, William Morris, Oscar Wilde, Lytton Strachey, Walter Benjamin, Georg Lukács, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, the editors of Victorian Studies, members of the V21 Collective, and the volume Ten Books that Shaped the British Empire (ed. Burton and Hofmyer).
GWS 581A: Queer Cinemas in Transnational Contexts
Professor: Chantal Nadeau
Meets: Wednesdays, 11:00am-1:50pm, Location TBA
This course provides a journey into the possibilities and limitations of thinking contemporary queer cinemas as pivotal locations for social and cultural transformations in transnational contexts. How are issues of nationalism, citizenship, inclusion/exclusion, (out)law, normalcy, gender and race mediated within queer visual narratives? The readings and films for the class will cover a wide- range of interpretations, disciplinary traditions, and aesthetics and analytical approaches.
SPAN 535/CWL 562/GWS 581B: The Politics of Pleasure: Latin America Queered, Exposed, Affected
Professor: Vincent D. Cervantes
Meets: Thursdays, 3:00-6:30pm, 1118 Foreign Languages Building
In The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1, Michel Foucault posits, “We...are in a society of ‘sex,’ or rather a society ‘with a sexuality’: the mechanisms of power are addressed to the body, to life, to what causes it to proliferate, to what reinforces the species, its stamina, its ability to dominate, or its capacity for being used” (147). Foucault’s reading of sexuality’s evolving historical position in modern societies describes how sex and sexual identities have been captured and converted into social and political structures—circumscribed by a biological imperative to expose modern societies to life or death. Departing from Foucault’s critical gesture, this seminar focuses on the implications, possibilities, and failures of a Latin America “of sex” or rather a Latin America “with a sexuality.” Foregrounding the affective nature of “pleasure” as an auspicious contour of sex, this seminar provokes these associations through literary and critical texts that problematize and extend ideas of sexuality in Latin America.
With attention to the aesthetics, ethics, and politics of pleasure, this seminar brings feminist, queer, and affect theories to bear on Latin American cultural and intellectual production. That is, to expose possible blind spots and to linger in the messiness of critical and theoretical uncertainties. In practice, the assigned readings bring together seemingly contradictory or disparate texts, to work toward alternative or divergent reading methods that could account for the socio-political location of sex and sexuality in Latin American literary and cultural studies. Literary assignments include narratives by Horacio Castellanos Moya, Salvador Elizondo, Alberto Fuguet, Ariel Magnus, Sylvia Molloy, Octavio Paz, Cristina Rivera Garza, and Luis Zapata. The theoretical praxis of the seminar draws on feminist theory, queer theory, continental philosophy, and cultural criticism: Sara Ahmed, Leo Bersani, Lauren Berlant, Teresa de Lauretis, Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Derrida, Brad Epps, Michel Foucault, Sigmund Freud, Erin Graff Zivin, Elizabeth Grosz, Emmanuel Levinas, Juana María Rodríguez, Renata Salecl, Darieck Scott, and Michael Warner. Seminar discussions will be conducted in English, Spanish, and Portuguese; however, students must be able to read and understand Spanish.
MDIA/GWS 560: Feminist Media Studies
Professor: Anghard N. Valdivia
Meets: Wednesdays, 6:00-8:50pm, Location TBA
"Feminist Media Studies" will take a contemporary, intersectional, and transnational approach. We will explore recent book length publications by scholars such as Safiya Noble, Jillian Baez, Myra Washington, Jungmin Kwon, Ralina Joseph, Sarah Projansky, Raka Shome, and Isabel Molina Guzman. Readings are extensive and directed toward illustrating the range of theoretical and empirical approaches applied to addressing questions of central interest in the interdisciplinary field. Viewings will complement the texts we are reading. emphasize some lesser-known historical texts central to theoretical debates in the field. Viewings and readings are focused on "popular" film and television. Course Information: Same as GWS 560. 4 graduate hours. No professional credit.
LA 506: Vision
Professor: D. Fairchild Ruggles
Meets: Mondays, 9:00am-12:00pm, 18 Temple Hoyne Buell Hall
This advanced seminar explores visual theory as it pertains to and was developed for pictorial representation and three-dimensional space. The format consists of a discussion of prepared texts on vision, perspective, perception, semiotics, mimesis, framing, and the cultural and/or physiological basis for vision. These are difficult texts but fundamental to understanding theories of vision and how our eyes perceive, and our minds understand, the space that is the visual field. The procedure in class will be to outline in writing the structure of the argument of each book or essay prior to class, to discuss its implications for the study of landscape and the built environment in class, and then to revise and polish it for delivery of the rewritten summary to me the following week. There is a lot of reading, and students should allow time for preparation.
ENGL 553: Mourning in Comic Time
Professor: Irvin Hunt
Meets: Thursdays, 3:30-6:00pm, 123 English Building
This seminar will study comedy as a strange form of intimacy with what we’ve lost for good. Comedy is usually thought of as a form of detachment, but we will explore it as the interplay between closeness and distance to and from the subjects and the things one has lost: dreams, lives, histories, and futures, none of which can be recovered. I mean to emphasize that overlap between subjects and things, for we will also be probing the promiscuities between the lives of the subjected and object ontologies. We will be thinking of comedy not only as a genre, “a scene of affective mediation and expectation” (Berlant and Ngai), but also as a time, a temporal structure. We will examine how comedy constructs a time in which mourning is not a triumphalist process, a “salvific wish,” to use Candice Jenkins’s lapidary term, but a lingering in ruptures, in simultaneities, in wakes that is also uncomfortably a lingering in pleasure. Our central question is twofold: what kinds of temporalities does comedy bear and what kinds of mourning does that time allow?
Full texts or excerpts will be taken from 20th & 21st century black artists, from jazzed up singers to stand-up comedians: Louis Armstrong, George Schuyler, W. E. B. Du Bois, Bill Bojangles Robinson (and other minstrel and vaudeville performers), Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Fran Ross, Nina Simone, Richard Pryor, Paul Beatty, Kara Walker, Jordan Peele, Suzan-Lori Parks, and others. Our theoretical apparatus will be drawn from Hegel, Kierkegaard, Bergson, Freud, Kenneth Burke, Susanne Langer, Hartman, Moten, Alenka Zupančič, and more. Come ready to enjoy how this motley crew of black avant-gardes refashions what we know about humor, affect, memory, redress, fugitivity, and time.
ENGL 581: The Novel, Postcolonialism, and World Literature
Professor: Wail S. Hassan
Meets: Thursdays, 2:00-4:30pm, 156 English Building
This seminar focuses on the confluence of three bodies of work: narrative theory, postcolonial studies, and the idea of world literature. Considered the (post)colonial genre par excellence, the novel nonetheless has roots in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, 12thcentury Japan and 16thcentury China. How do feminism and postcolonial studies speak to the classical European theory of the novel (from Lukács to Bakhtin, Watt, and Moretti)? How do themes of resistance culture, including the challenge to patriarchy and Eurocentrism, address the globalization of the novel and the imperialism of English? In addition to the above-mentioned theorists, readings from major contributions to each of the three fields may include Ortega y Gasset, Jameson, Radway, Armstrong, Doody, Said, Spivak, Casanova, and Damrosch.
ENGL 500: Introduction to Criticism & Research
Professor: Andrew Gaedtke
Meets: Wednesdays, 1:00-3:50pm, 156 English Building
ENGL 584: Rhetoric and the Body
Professor: Lindsay Russell
Meets: Mondays, 3:30-6:00pm, 127 English Building
For more information on course affiliation, please contact Susan Koshy (firstname.lastname@example.org).