Fall 2016 Seminar Descriptions

Undergraduate Seminars

ENGL 4920 Seminar in Literature and Language

TBA with Dr. Martin Huld

Description TBS

ENGL 4925 Practicum in Literature and Language

TBA with Dr. Bidhan Roy

Description TBS

Graduate Seminars

ENGL 5190 (formerly 510) Proseminar in Literature

Swift and Pope and Eighteenth-Century Satire, Monday, 6:00pm-8:45pm with Dr. Ruben Quintero

We will study the satiric works of six eighteenth-century authors (Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, John Gay, Samuel Johnson, Henry Fielding, and Laurence Sterne)—from Swift’s Tale of a Tub (1705) to Sterne’s Tristram Shandy (1759-1767). In the hands of these authors, satire, the most protean of genres, becomes a form of cultural critique as was never before possible. We will explore why and how. In the eighteenth century, our modern print culture takes shape as scientific, technological, social, political, and philosophical developments in England foster an explosion of print and a growing middle-class readership. In those contested spaces of conceptual reform and revolution of the eighteenth century, these satirists do have significant voices. For this seminar, you will need a sense of humor, an appreciation of literary form, a firm sense of the arts of rhetoric, and a love of language and of our humanity. This should be an enjoyable course that teaches you to recognize some of the graces of satire.

ENGL 5400 (formerly 560) Seminar: British Literature

E. M. Forster, Wednesday, 6:00pm-8:45pm with Dr. Benjamin Bateman

This seminar in British literature will focus on the short and long prose of E.M. Forster in order to conceptualize a global modernism in which crises of Empire and sexuality collide. Forster is a curious modernist, because his earliest novels predate the era of “high modernism” and his late short stories and essays follow many years after the Second World War. In other words, Forster’s oeuvre provides the opportunity to stretch modernism back into the 19th century and forward into contemporary conflicts about colonial capitalism, sexual identity, aesthetic autonomy, and the “liberalism” with which Forster obdurately identified. Forster was also a public intellectual whose creative force extended beyond novels and short stories to university lectures, radio addresses, biographies, and epistolary correspondence. Through Forster we can explore how modernism took shape not in opposition to but in tense collaboration with mass media, popular culture, and the commodity form. We will certainly read his most well known novels—Howards End, A Passage to India, A Room With a View, Maurice, The Longest Journey, and Where Angels Fear to Tread—but we will break these up with detours into his posthumously published and explicitly gay short stories, his travel writing, and his meditations on the difficult relationship between democratic spirit and stylistic innovation.

ENGL 5600 (formerly 570) Seminar: American Literature

African American Poetry and Poetics, Thursday, 6:00pm-8:45pm with Dr. Lauri Ramey

The purpose of this course is to gain close familiarity with African American poetry and poetics from the inception of the genre in the 18th century to the most recent examples. We will conceptualize, interpret and evaluate African American poetry in historical, theoretical, cultural, sociopolitcal and aesthetic contexts. We will study the works of famous African American poets as well as marginalized figures in order to examine the politics and practices of canon formation. We will consider African American poetry in relation to American, Anglophone, and black diasporic poetry, and to other artistic genres and media. Our curriculum will include poetry from textual traditions and oral traditions in a wide array of styles and formats.

ENGL 5700 (formerly 580) Seminar: World Literature

Modern European Authors, Wednesday, 3:05pm-5:50pm with Dr. Jun Liu

This seminar studies the classical texts of several 19th and 20th century modern European authors such as Flaubert, Baudelaire, Gogol, Dostoevsky and Kafka along with the texts of critics of modernity and modernization such as Marx, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Walter Benjamin and Marshall Berman. Berman's All That Is Solid Melts Into Air (with the title taken out of Marx and Engel's Communist Manifesto) will serve as a clear road map for this class. An alternative title for the seminar could be "modernity in fugue." Fugue is a form of polyphonic music in which a theme becomes several voices that respond to each other. The seminar investigates how an aesthetic, contrapuntal modernity in modern European literature responded to the process of modernization and to the project of modernity as launched by the Enlightenment.