Graduate Courses, Spring 2006

Times and locations of class meetings are subject to change. Consult the UF Schedule of Courses for an explanation of the class period abbreviations.

Course no. Time(s) Course title Instructor
downAML 6017 M 6-8 Histories & Theories of Consumption Kim
downAML 6027 W 6-8 New Queer Writing Emery
downCRW 6130 W 9-11 Graduate Fiction Workshop Leavitt
downCRW 6130 W E1-E3 Graduate Fiction Workshop Powell
downCRW 6331 M E1-E3 Graduate Poetry Workshop Hofmann
downCRW 6331 T E1-E3 Graduate Poetry Workshop Hofmann
downENG 6075 R 3-5
screenings W E1-E3
Academedia Burt
downENG 6077 M 9-11 The Persistence of the Dialectic Wegner
downENG 6137 R 9-11
screenings M E1-E3
The Untaught Canon Ray
downENG 6137 T 9-11 The Language of Film Ulmer
downENG 6137 M 9-11
screenings F 9-11
Cultures of Performance Alter
downENL 6226 W 9-11 Studies in the Renaissance: 17th-Century Poetry Clark
downENL 6256 T E1-E3 Wilde, Beardsley, & the Aestheticization of Late-Victorian Sexual Politics Snodgrass
downENL 6276 T 6-8 Twentieth-Century British Literature Kershner
downLIT 6037 F 6-8 H.D. & Modernist Studies Bryant
downLIT 6358 R E1-E3
screenings F 9-11
Theoretical Approaches to Black Popular Culture Ongiri
downLIT 6855 W 3-5 Tourism, the Caribbean & Literature Rosenberg
downLIT 6856 F 3-5 African Literature in English: The Aesthetics of Crisis Amoko
downLIT 6934 R 6-8 Shakespeare: Rhetoric Shoaf
downLIT 6934 R 9-11 Studies in Children’s Culture(s) Cech

AML 6017

Histories and Theories of Consumption

Julie Chun Kim

In this course, we will think about whether paying attention to consumption and related practices (exchange, use, ingestion) can and should change our approaches to textual interpretation. A topic of great interest for anthropologists, historians, philosophers, and literary critics alike, consumption has been analyzed in and across the disciplines with a variety of methodologies. We will examine some of these methodologies, including the new historicism associated with Stephen Greenblatt, to understand the conclusions that their practitioners have reached about the social significance and meanings of consumption. At the same time, we will examine works from the eighteenth-century Atlantic world, which has proven of late to be a fruitful site for the theorization of consumption. Reading present-day and eighteenth-century texts together, we will consider not only how we can apply theories of consumption to older materials but also how the historical particularities of those texts can challenge our theoretical conclusions and critical practices. We will also think about how present-day theories of consumption actually seem to originate, in some cases, from the context of the eighteenth century and specific eighteenth-century texts. In doing so, we will historicize and re-evaluate current opinions about consumption from yet another perspective.

Readings for the course may include

Assignments will include eight weekly response papers (2–3 pp.), a book review of a recent critical work on consumption (5–7 pp.), an undergraduate-level syllabus for a course on consumption, and a final, conference-style paper (8–10 pp.).

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AML 6027

New Queer Writing

Kim Emery

In a 1998 interview, Judith Butler claimed with her writing “to roundly endow an ontological domain...discursively to institute one.” I propose that even those of us rather less confident about the power of writing to create new realities would be hard pressed to deny that literature possesses some sort of performative – or transformative – force. What that is and how it works will be the subject of this course.

We will read recent work by both established and emerging LGBTQI and/or otherwise queer writers, across a variety of genres—scholarly and popular, as well as literary. Our approach will take seriously the significance of literature as a source of new ideas, identifications, experiences, and theoretical insights, while also attending closely to the writerly aspects of work in queer theory. Engagements with narrative, transition, and temporality will be of particular interest. Works to be assigned will almost certainly include:

Suggestions from prospective participants (and other interested parties) are also welcome.

Short weekly assignments, one presentation, a prospectus, and a seminar paper will be required.

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CRW 6130

Graduate Fiction Workshop

David Leavitt

This is an intensive fiction writing workshop for graduate students in the MFA program in Creative Writing. Reading varies, according to the whim of the instructor, but will probably consist of short novels.

The workshop itself operates on the principle that prose fiction is made of words, punctuation marks, and white space. Craft is the name of the game, with the result that we spend more time talking about point of view and voice than we do about subject matter, “theme,” or “plot.” The class is rigorous. Members are expected to submit their work at least four times during the semester, and to emerge at the end better writers than they were at the beginning. They are also expected to amaze the instructor on a weekly basis by exhibiting great critical acuity and by feats of insight.

Although most of the writers who take this workshop focus on the short story, I will be making a concerted effort to create an atmosphere that will be equally fruitful for those working on novels or longer works.

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CRW 6130

Graduate Fiction Workshop

Padgett Powell

This course is open to MFA candidates in fiction only.

Your job is to write with force and surprise and to tender your efforts regularly and cleanly. My job is to induce criticism which will cure whatever ills are at hand without making the writer ill.

It is difficult to say what is wrong with a piece of fiction in a way that will be at once corrective and palatable to its author. A good professional editor may manage it with a piece not much flawed. I fear, after nearly twenty years trying, that it is rarely possible to do this in a direct way to a more troubled piece of writing for the forming writer then and there. I believe, though, that it is possible, in speaking ostensibly about this or that piece of writing by this or that writer, to speak prescriptively and salubriously toward the bettering of later writing, both that done by an author and by witnesses to his or her ordeal. A general sense of what constitutes good writing is supposed to obtain in the course of our piecemeal daily assaults upon the specific faults and merits of a particular piece of writing.

Objective of course clearly stated at outset: that you leave it writing better than when you entered it. That you put to paper things not said before that surprise us.

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CRW 6331

Graduate Poetry Workshop (Two Sections)

Michael Hofmann

As I can’t make them turn out the same, I’m going to try to make them different. Penny plain, tuppence coloured – something like that.

In one section of the workshop (say, Monday), the tutelary spirits will be recent and contemporary American poets like James Schuyler, Charles Simic and Lawrence Joseph. We will pick up the new book of unfinished Elizabeth Bishop poems and drafts (due in February, if it’s out).

In Tuesday’s version the accent will be European twentieth century (in translation), with Eugenio Montale, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Zbigniew Herbert (if available) and others.

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ENG 6075

Academedia

Richard Burt

This course will address literary and media theory, primarily Avial Ronell’s The Telephone Book and Stupidity, Alan Liu’s The Laws of Cool, and Gerard Genette’s Paratexts, and film to rethink the so-called Culture Wars of the late 1980s and 1990s in terms of the academia’s mediatization. To analyze and udnerstand what has become “academedia,” we will pay particular attention to appearances of academics in film and television documentaries and interview programs; the academic paratext (prefaces, bookcovers, footnotes, interviews, acknowledgements, academic photos, blurbs, article and book mss reports, tenure and promotion reviews, and so on) as symptom of the academic unconscious; academic consultants and the cinematic paratext (opening title sequences; closing credits; DVD audiocommentaries; film websites; and so on); and academic scandals, anecdotes, gossip, and so on.

Case studies will include

Films will include

For more information, please go to <http://www.clas.ufl.edu/~rburt/academedia/>.

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ENG 6077

The Persistence of the Dialectic

Phillip Wegner

This course will explore the productive engagements with and reworkings of the tradition of Hegelian dialectical theory and practice in three of the most important literary and cultural theorists operating today: Fredric Jameson, Judith Butler, and Slavoj Zizek. Bruce Robbins, in a review essay on the occasion of the reprinting of Butler’s first book, Subjects of Desire: Hegelian Reflections in Twentieth-Century France (1987), argues that one of the inaugural gestures of the rich and diverse body of thought known as post-structuralism is the displacement of Hegel’s “master-slave” dialectic by Friedrich Nietzsche’s revision of this founding narrative in his landmark work, On the Genealogy of Morals. Butler’s thought, Robbins then suggests, marks its distinction from post-structuralist theory in its commitment, albeit in a critical fashion, to Hegel’s dialectic and the politics of emancipation that arise from it. In this course, we will attempt to test the validity of this claim, and see to what degree it also applies to Jameson’s and Zizek’s equally rich and influential critical programs.

We will begin our discussion with an examination of two short texts by Hegel: the Preface to The Phenomenology of Spirit (in a new translation by Yirmiyahu Yovel); and the “Self-Consciousness” chapter of The Phenomenology, with a particular attention paid to its “Lordship and Bondage” section. The latter will be read in conjuncture with the “First Essay” of Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morals in order to compare the treatment of this relationship in both works. We will then turn our attention to a short book by one of the great dialectical thinkers of the middle part of the twentieth century, Theodor Adorno, and his Hegel: Three Studies (1963). With this framework in hand, we will then look at early re-imaginings of the dialectical tradition and method by our three thinkers: Jameson’s Marxism and Form: Twentieth Century Dialectical Theories of Literature (1971), and perhaps Late Marxism; Adorno, or, the Persistence of the Dialectic (1990); Butler’s Subjects of Desire; and Zizek’s Tarrying with the Negative: Kant, Hegel, and the Critique of Ideology (1993). Finally, we will explore the persistence of these commitments in some of the most recent work of these three thinkers. Although the final list has yet to be settled, I am considering Butler’s Antigone’s Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death (2000), and/or essays from Undoing Gender (2004); Zizek’s Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism: Five Interventions in the (Mis)use of a Notion (2001), or “Lenin’s Choice” in Revolution at the Gates (2002); and Jameson’s just released Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions (2005). An additional question we will consider is whether the rise to prominence in the 1990s of these thinkers – this is, of course, especially true in the case of Butler and Zizek – has anything to tell us about the 1990s as a distinct cultural period.

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ENG 6137

The Untaught Canon

Robert Ray

In 1949, André Bazin organized what cinematic history would recognize as a crucial event, the Festival du Film Maudit [the Festival of Cursed Films]. Staged in Biarritz (the Atlantic version of Cannes) and presided over by Jean Cocteau, the conference screened movies that already seemed to be slipping into oblivion: Bresson’s Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne, Vigo’s L’Atalante, Welles’s Lady from Shanghai, Tati’s Jour de Fête. The event, which included a near-fist-fight between producer Louis Daquin and writer/filmmaker Alexandre Astruc, energized the French movie scene, initiating the debates about the canon that would lead to the New Wave.

This seminar will examine canonical movies that while not “cursed,” rarely get taught at Florida. The course will run primarily on its screenings (two movies per week) and on two questions: (1) Why have academic curricula “lost” these films? (2) How would we go about teaching them? Assignments will involve preparing lesson plans for teaching at least three of the course movies, which will include some of the following:

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ENG 6137

The Language of Film

Greg Ulmer

Lev Manovich, in The Language of New Media, sets the topic for our project. Manovich notes a certain site of resistance/opportunity in the development of the contemporary apparatus (electracy). The opportunities are that cinema (cinematography and its narrative application in Entertainment) has emerged as a potential general cultural interface, available for the organization of any body (database) of information. At the same time, the avant-garde aesthetic of collage-montage has been adapted as the primary interface for the software tools of new media authoring (cut and paste). The resistance is that neither interface has been formulated as a practice of general education that would allow the public to internalize them as the basis for a new “common sense” of information storage and retrieval. The goal of our course, using the methodologies of grammatology and heuretics, is to design and test a practice or practices (production performances) that address this situation.

It is not possible to develop an authoring practice in the abstract. The work of the semester will be focused on a specific informational task important to the emerging media apparatus--the process by which certain events are transformed into icons, and used as commonplaces to make sense of contemporary problems (disasters). The icons play an important role in the public sphere, influencing the politics and policies formulated to address social problems. The prototypical icon to be used as a relay for our own work is the sinking of the “Titanic.” The semester project will be to develop a practice, based on entertainment cinema and avant-garde poetics, designed to help the general public participate in the formation of cultural icons. Assignments include the composition of 2 substantial Websites (the course is taught in the Networked Writing Environment). No previous experience with Web design is required. Possible readings include: Steven Biel, Down With The Old Canoe: The Cultural History Of The “Titanic” Disaster; Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok, The Wolf Man’s Magic Word, foreword by Jacques Derrida, (“Fors”); and Susan Griffin, A Chorus Of Stones.

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ENG 6137

Cultures of Performance

Nora Alter

This course we will examine performance across several different media: film, theatre, opera, dance, music, performance art and video. How does a medium affect and direct performance? To what extent does genre limit the parameters of “performance?” How are the terms “performance,” “theatricality,” “acting” related and different? We will trace a history of performance from the early theories of acting as articulated by Diderot through to Artaud and Genet, ending with contemporary theories of performativity as found in the writings of Patrice Pavis, Helene Cixous, Judith Butler, Diana Taylor, Margorie Garber, and Anne Tyler. How is individual subjectivity constructed through performance? We will examine how roles of race, gender, and sexual identity are played out. In addition, constructions of national, and cultural identity will be examined in tandem with readings in post-colonialism and nationalism. Part of this course will be team taught with visiting Professor Diedrich Diederichsen an internationally renowned film, theatre, art and music critic.

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ENL 6226

Studies in the Renaissance: 17th-Century Poetry

Ira Clark

In this course we will be reading Paradise Lost plus what are often regarded as the greatest lyrics in English. We will attend first to understanding the poems, and second, to establishing contexts within which and approaches from which to read poetry and write about it.

Students will be responsible for delivering two 20-minute class reports with attendant two-page analyses-outlines on an assigned critical approach and leading class discussions about both (each worth 20% of the grade). They will also be responsible for writing three tightly argued and fully exemplified, persuasively styled papers of approximately 2,500 words each (each worth 20% of the grade). The first will be on Paradise Lost; the second will interpret a single or several related secular lyrics of the era not covered in class; the third will interpret a single or several related sacred lyrics of the era not covered in class. The syllabus is on line.

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ENL 6256

Wilde, Beardsley, and the Aestheticization of Late-Victorian Sexual Politics

Chris Snodgrass

This course will have two central focuses: (1) to investigate how some of the key myths, movements, and figurations in late-Victorian culture – particularly various narratives of Degeneration/Decadence, Aestheticism, the Religion of Art, and the rhetoric of the grotesque – transfigured and “naturalized” concepts of “masculine” and “feminine” (and of heterosocial and homosocial relationships) by paradoxically “aestheticizing” them; and (2) to investigate the ways in which texts in two different media (written language and visual art) carried out these paradoxical naturalizing/aestheticizing transfigurations. It is by now a commonplace that traditional Victorian gender definitions – such as the presumed natural transition of males from Public-School athleticism to roles as managers of Empire and exemplars of nationhood; and the “proper” role of females as “Angels of the House” and exemplars of the Feminine Ideal – were problematized by both traditional homosexual “dalliances,” Gentleman’s-Club refuges, and the institution of prostitution, on the one hand, and the increasing focus on the New Woman and the Woman Question, on the other.

Since it is generally agreed that Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley were the two most iconic figures of the Victorian fin de siècle, Wilde’s texts and Beardsley’s images will constitute the core sources for our investigations, although we will also examine the works of many other figures. The reading includes Victorian articles about the pressing social and cultural issues of the time, contemporary (Victorian) aesthetic criticism on art and aesthetics, influential paintings, short fiction by key New Women writers, Beardsley’s pictures, Beardsley’s unfinished semi-pornographic novella, Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray and his major plays (Salome, Lady Windermere’s Fan, A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband, and The Importance of Being Earnest), as well as some twentieth-century scholarship. While most of the weekly assignments do not explicitly include twentieth-century critical theory – and a sophisticated knowledge of literary theory is in no way a prerequisite – you will be encouraged to employ whatever theoretical perspectives you know to help illuminate the issues under study.

The course will try specifically to organize your efforts toward the end of producing a publishable professional article. Approximately 50% of the final grade will depend on the term paper and the supporting bibliographical work and scholarship. The other 50% will be based on the quality of weekly reading notes, as well as the degree of preparation for and participation in the discussions of the scheduled course material.

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ENL 6276

Twentieth-Century British Literature

Brandon Kershner

This course will survey the twentieth-century British (and Irish) novel through the present day. In the first half of the course we will stress the emergence of modernism in the novel, with particular emphasis on formal concerns of the novelists, and the effects of literary impressionism. The second part of the course will be addressed particularly to works by women and to the exploration of an alternative canon. Thus we will miss some works conventionally taught in a course like this (by Greene, Waugh, Orwell, Huxley, or Carey, for instance) in favor of works by writers like Murdoch and Byatt. At the same time, we will investigate the vexed question of the relations of modernism and postmodernism in the British novel. Books may include:

The course will combine social and formal concerns: we will begin by emphasizing an evolution in the form of the novel and otherwise generally review the New Critical approach to modernist texts (while simultaneously putting it into question). Then, mostly through the idea of dialogism, we will attempt a bridge into questions of social context and ideology. Contemporary critical modes will be invoked, especially those in which poststructuralist insights are embedded in a social analysis: Bakhtin and Foucault should be especially useful, and we will pay particular attention to the possibilities of cultural studies.

Requirements include a ten-page paper due around midterm and a fifteen-page paper due near the course’s conclusion; a fifteen-minute oral presentation; and, depending on class preparedness, the possibility of a final exam.

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LIT 6037

H.D. and Modernist Studies

Marsha Bryant

This course examines a key figure not only in early modernism, but also in the field of modernist studies. Because of H.D.’s involvement with avant-garde movements, an in-depth look at her career allows us to assess a variety of literary, visual, and intellectual experiments. With Ezra Pound and Richard Aldington she founded the Imagist movement, which sought to break free from traditional poetic form. H.D. was photographed by Man Ray, and participated in the Close-Up cinema group; the latter published the first English-language film journal, for which H.D. contributed reviews. By witnessing and writing about the Tutankhamen excavations, H. D. engaged debates about cultural origins in the field of Egyptology. She also engaged with emergent psychoanalytic theories through writing about her extensive analysis with Sigmund Freud. We will read H.D.’s poems, her film reviews, her story about ancient Egypt, her memoir of Freud, and her autobiographical novel The Gift. In exploring her last major work, Helen in Egypt, we will compare H.D.’s portrayals with cinematic depictions of the Helen myth. Other modernist materials will include Ray’s Paris photographs, Carl Dreyer’s film La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc, and Georg Wilhem Pabst’s Joyless Street . We will also examine H.D.’s presence in the Modernist Studies Association, a recent institution that featured the poet prominently in its inaugural conference. The MSA-affiliated journal Modernism/modernity will supply us with additional course texts.

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LIT 6358

Theoretical Approaches to Black Popular Culture

Amy Abugo Ongiri

This course will explore the place of popular culture in African American critical and cultural practices. We will draw on popular cultural movements and moments as diverse as Slam poetry festivals, Black action film, Black popular music forms and The Chappelle Show in order to examine the place of Black popular culture in articulating the specificity of “Black experience” while helping to contribute to hegemony American popular culture throughout the world. This examination will be informed by considerations of Black popular culture in the work of Coco Fusco, Mark Anthony Neal, Wahneema Lubiano, Phillip Brian Harper, Mark A. Reid, Valerie Smith, Robin D. G. Kelley, Aldon Neilsen, Manning Marable, Elizabeth Alexander, Paul Gilroy, Fred Moten, and Jacqueline Stewart among others.

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LIT 6855

Tourism, the Caribbean and Literature

Leah Rosenberg

Documenting the devastating effects of globalization and tourism on the Jamaican economy and autonomy, Stephanie Black’s 2001 film Life and Debt sets in sharp relief the contrast between tourists’ vision of Jamaica and that of Jamaicans in the late 20th century. It reveals the most recent developments in a long cultural and economic history. From Shakespeare’s The Tempest to Terry McMillan’s How Stella Got her Groove back and Walt Disney’s The Pirates of the Caribbean, travel and tourism to the Caribbean have been surprisingly prominent and spectacular in European and U.S. culture. This strong and changing image of the Caribbean has in large part been a consequence of the economic position of the Caribbean vis-à-vis first world nations – first a wondrous new world, then a site of slave and sugar factories, now a pleasure destination. Not surprisingly, Caribbean writers have also given a significant place to tourism and travel in their work, often exposing the sharp disjunction between Caribbeans’ experiences and those of tourists. Recently this distinction has been complicated by the many Caribbeans living outside the region who visit their homelands as tourists for carnival and other events like Reggae Sunsplash. This course examines the economic and literary history of tourism in the Caribbean through an analysis of theoretical and literary texts which will likely include works by Shakespeare, Jamaica Kincaid, V.S. Naipaul, Anthony Trollope, Anthony Winkler, Paule Marshall, Terry Mcmillan, Colin Channer, Dean MacCannell, Cynthia Enloe, James Clifford and Kamala Kempadoo.

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LIT 6856

African Literature in English: The Aesthetics of Crisis

Apollo Amoko

This course turns on a foundational question in literary studies: what is the relationship between the realm of art – aesthetics – and the politics of everyday life – the lebenwelt. In an attempt to answer this question, we will undertake a genealogy of the contemporary literatures of Africa. As such critics as V. Y. Mudimbe and Simon Gikandi have contended, modern African literature first emerged in the late nineteen fifties and early sixties as a discourse designed to liberate African subjects from the colonial order of things. Written in the context of triumphant or, at any rate optimistic, anti-colonial nationalism, this literature predominantly deployed the aesthetics of realism. In hindsight, this deployment does not seem either accidental or co-incidental. These, it would seem, were literatures of radical possibility and profound optimism. Diverse critics such as Fredric Jameson, Kwame Anthony Appiah and Benedict Anderson all argue that realism is the preeminent aesthetic mode of nationalism. Both the nation and the realist novel are narratives of linear progress across time. Anderson appears to suggest that the novel (along with the newspaper) was central to the possibility of imagining the modern nation. The aesthetic of the novel made it possible to think and narrate the nation in “homogeneous empty time.” To what extent are the founding texts of modern African literature causally linked to the discourses of African nationalism? If the first generation of modern African emerged in the context of triumphant anti-colonial nationalism, then, succeeding generations have been written in the wake of what has come to be known as the Africa crisis. From the late nineteen sixties onwards, the promise of postcolonial plentiude give way to pessimism and despair as everyday African life came increasingly to be characterized by abject poverty, horrific violence, endemic corruption, repressive governance, crumbling infrastructure, extreme deprivation and other forms of mass misery. From one perspective, the African postcolony has come to be defined by an interminable, if not terminal, crisis. What has the aesthetic dimension of this crisis been? To what extent have Afro-modernism, magical realism and other forms of anti-realism displaced realism in the realm of African art? To what extent can these non/anti-realist modes been seen as symptomatic of a continent in crisis? Is it possible to trace one to one correspondence, if not a causal relationship, between the dominant forms of African art and the politics of everyday African life? Authors to be studied may include such writers as Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Yambo Ouloguem, Ben Okri, Sony Labou Tansi, Calixthe Beyala, Bessie Head, Nadine Gordimer, Nurridin Frarrh, J. M. Coetzee, and Cyl Cheney Coker.

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LIT 6934

Shakespeare: Rhetoric

R. Allen Shoaf

This course will test the postulate that synéciosis (Latin conciliatio) — famously denominated the “cross-cople” by Puttenham in The Art of English Poesie — offers a critical discourse for analysis of Shakespeare’s writing that explains many of his writing’s most distinctive features as reflexes of the one crux, coupling: its saturation with sex, its repudiation of narcissism, its articulation of early modern scepticism, its avowal of temporality in all mortal affairs, its recourse to the uncanny, and its endlessly inventive recovery of the sacramentality of nature.

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LIT 6934

Studies in Children’s Culture(s)

John Cech

This seminar will explore the intricate interweaving of subjects that are represented in the cultures of childhood, past and present, American and international. Literature, film, music, television, the internet, toys, games, folklore, comics, the arts are among the many threads that the seminar will be following. A central purpose of the seminar will be to offer a variety of ways for participants to develop their research into forms (e.g., commentaries, reviews, sound essays, stories, interviews, and autobiographical and historical notes) that can be aired, through the daily public radio program about the cultures of childhood, “Recess!” which is produced in Gainesville and distributed nationally. In essence, this seminar will provide its participants with direct experience in the practice of moving their scholarly work directly into the realm of the public intellectual.

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