Graduate Courses, Fall 2009

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 W 9-11 Major Works of U.S. Literary Criticism White
downAML 6027 T 6-8 Back to the Thirties Hegeman
downCRW 6130 T E1-E3 Graduate Fiction Workshop Ciment
downCRW 6130 T 6-8 Graduate Fiction Workshop Powell
downCRW 6331 T E1-E3 Graduate Poetry Workshop Hofmann
bulletENG 6075 R 3-5 Issues in Literary Theory Burt
bulletENG 6076 R E1-E3 Theorists: bell hooks Hedrick
downENG 6077 T 6-8 Posthumanities: The Animal & Human Exceptionalism Leavey
downENG 6077 W 6-8 Toward an Ethics of the Real: Reading Lacan with Badiou Wegner
downENG 6137 T 9-11
Screenings:
R E1-E3
Film Analysis Ray
downENG 6138 R 6-8
Screenings:
W E1-E3
Filmic Spaces: Camerawork, Architectures, & Landscapes Turim
downENL 6226 T 2-3, R 3 Shakespeare: Learning by Doing Homan
bulletENL 6256 W E1-E3 Victorian Liberalism & the Social Body Gilbert
downLAE 6947 T 9-11 Writing Theories & Practices Sanchez
button linkLIT 6236 T 3-5 Introduction to Postcolonial Theory Schueller
bullet linkLIT 6855 M 9-11 Childhood & Trauma Ulanowicz
bullet linkLIT 6856 F 6-8 Desperate Domesticity: American Literature & Culture in the 1950s Bryant
bullet linkLIT 6934 R 9-11 Black Body Politics: Theory & Practice Ongiri
downLIT 6934 M 3-5 Women & Gardens Page

AML 6017

Major Works of U.S. Literary Criticism

Ed White

We’ll spend the semester reading influential works of U.S. literary criticism from the last sixty-five years or so, reflecting on trends in theoretical work and canon formation. The syllabus may include: F.O. Matthiessen’s American Renaissance (1941), Lionel Trilling’s The Liberal Imagination (1950), Leslie Fiedler’s Love and Death in the American Novel (1960), Jane Tompkins’s Sensational Designs (1986), Walter Benn Michael’s The Gold Standard and the Logic of Naturalism (1988), Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s The Signifying Monkey (1989), and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s Epistemology of the Closet (1990), among other works. Please have ideas for texts you would like to read by the first class meeting.

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AML 6027

Back to the Thirties

Susan Hegeman

The recent global economic collapse has lately turned our attention back to the 1930s: are we headed for another Great Depression? Should we brace ourselves for double-digit unemployment? Will a new president offer us a new New Deal? Is John Maynard Keynes (1883–1946) a prophet for our time?

In the spirit of this mood of historical comparison, this course will also return to the 1930s and the scholarship it has inspired. We will survey critical treatments of the period from the postwar to the present. We will also consider a number of important themes in scholarship on the thirties, among them regionalism, race, homelessness and poverty, public works and modernization, consumerism and mass culture, and left cultural activism. The reading will consist of works of literature, criticism, and history. Film and documentary photography will also likely be considered.

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CRW 6130

Graduate Fiction Workshop

Jill Ciment

This class will explore fictional forms – point of view, voice, plot, scene, character, and structure. The semester will be divided between lectures and workshops. Each student will create a basic outline for a novel and then proceed to experiment with different approaches to that story, putting into practice all the elements of narrative. Reading will be assigned weekly.

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CRW 6130

Graduate Fiction Workshop

Padget 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

Michael Hofmann

The graduate poetry workshop, paired with close readings, narrowly focused. (The focus, though, yet to be determined: one possibility might be the collected poems of Hughes and Plath; another is Rainer Maria Rilke; a third Louis MacNeice.) The course is not least what you make it.

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ENG 6075

Issues in Literary Theory

Richard Burt

This course will be a survey of major works of literary theory read from the vantage point of the present. In the wake of literary theory’s abjection at the end of 1980s, literary studies incorporated New Historicism and cultural studies, while in the 1990s media theory came to see itself as literary theory’s replacement. A common shift in cultural studies and media theory to materialism has involved a neopositivism and empiricism that focuses on genre and objects, eschews close readings, and is not concerned with texts or even with textuality. This seminar will ask what materialism means in relation to historicism and spectrality by asking (again) what it means to read (misread, reread, unread) and what kind of object (material? spectral? fluid? solid?) is being read in the wake of digital media and what Donald Ault, taking up the blurred boundary between editing, emendation, and revision, calls revisionary textuality (“what was a text?” as much as “what is a text?”). We will focus on major writings by Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, and Paul de Man relating to the dynamics of print and electronic media writing machines, narrative, footnotes, and the archive (on and off line). Our point of departure will be the introduction to Catherine Gallagher and Stephen Greenblatt’s Practicing New Historicism and the rumored “death of historicism.” We will then proceed to read closely and discuss energetically the following texts and films not in terms of post-historicism but in relation to what it means to return to historicism, even if historicism were to take a spectral form. For more information, go to < http://www.clas.ufl.edu/~burt/FrenchConnections/>.

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ENG 6076

Theorists: bell hooks

Tace Hedrick

In this class, we will be reading many of the works of feminist, public intellectual, race theorist and cultural worker bell hooks. I envision this course as one which not only looks at the many concerns which hooks addresses (race, feminism, love, writing, teaching, cultural criticism), but also investigates certain ideas about how a black intellectual career is shaped over time: how a reader balances, and/or values, the varied moments of an intellectual career; what we think the terms “public” or “organic” intellectual mean; the presumed split between the intellectual and the public (“mind” and “body”); the role of influence; what it means to be a public feminist black woman; what “black cultural studies” might be; and others. We will also be doing some of what I call “reading around/with hooks”: looking at other writers who have influenced her work in one way or another.

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ENG 6077

Posthumanities: The Animal and Human Exceptionalism

John Leavey

The animal is a topic of significant import for posthumanities. This course will look at certain writers regarding the animal, animal rights, and the industry of the animal.

In order to establish some boundaries for this type of seminar, we will look at what are the constraints of and for animals and human exceptionalism. We will examine through theoretical and literary readings the topics of human and animal, queer and posthumanities, exceptionalism and politics in order to get some sort of handle on this thing called the animal.

Course requirements include:

Readings and Presentations will be drawn from texts such as the following:

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ENG 6077

Toward an Ethics of the Real: Reading Lacan with Badiou

Phillip Wegner

Lorenzo Chiesa concludes his outstanding 2007 book, Subjectivity and Otherness: A Philosophical Reading of Lacan, with this claim: “At the risk of oversimplifying an intricate issue which is only introduced here, I would go so far as to suggest that any possible political elaboration of the extreme ethics of the ex nihilo should rely on the equation between what is new and what is good.” The concept of the “ethics of the ex nihilo,” what Lacan first formulated as an “ethics of the Real,” is also at the center of the immense ongoing project of the French philosopher Alain Badiou. Badiou’s project has major implications for both an understanding of the past cultures of modernism and the development in the future of any original radical political culture. In our seminar, we will thus use this concept as the starting point for an investigation of some of the work of these two thinkers, much of which has only very recently been made available in translation. After reading Lacan’s own introductory text, My Teaching, we will focus in the first half of the semester on three of Lacan’s seminars: Seminar VII, The Ethics of Psychoanalysis (1959–60); Seminar XVII, The Other Side of Psychoanalysis (1969–70); and Seminar XXIII, Le Sinthome (1976–77). With this framework in hand, we will then turn to a reading of some of the central texts of Badiou from the late 1980s, 1990s, and the first decade of our new century; these will likely include his major work, Being and Event (1988), as well as Conditions (1992), Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil (1993), The Century (2005), and, if available, the “sequel” to Being and Event, Logics of Worlds (2006).

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ENG 6137

Film Analysis

Robert Ray

This seminar, a useful preparation for those interested in or already teaching ENG 2300, will involve exploring the implications of four remarks:

1. Conrad’s way of dealing with the terror of the rubber boom in the Congo was Heart of Darkness. There were three realities there: King Leopold’s, made out of intricate disguises and deceptions, Roger Casement’s studied realism [in his official reports], and Conrad’s, which fell midway between the other two, as he attempted to penetrate the veil and yet was anxious to retain its hallucinatory quality. This formulation is sharp and important: to penetrate the veil while retaining its hallucinatory quality.

Michael Taussig

Here is the proposition: the goal of a reinvented film studies should be to penetrate the movies’ veil while retaining their hallucinatory quality. The project is to invent a method of film analysis that will achieve this balance.

Readings for this section:

2. It was true to say that our considerations could not be scientific ones. . . . And we may not advance any kind of theory. There must not be anything hypothetical in our considerations. We must do away with all explanation, and description alone must take its place.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Here’s the question: why in the wake of May ’68 did the ideological semiotics of Screen-theory (named for the British film journal) drive out other critical modes? What can Wittgenstein teach us about Screen-theory’s ambitions to achieve a “scientific film criticism”? About the place of description in film analysis?

Readings for this section:

3. Everything we see could also be otherwise.
Everything we describe at all could also be otherwise.

Wittgenstein

Here is a starting place for film analysis: everything we see on the screen could also be otherwise. Can we use that proposition as a starting point for evaluating filmmakers’ choices?

Readings for this section:

4. And why was I drawn to these shots?. . . I thought they were gently mysterious, and that they were significant. They asked questions of me. As the film [Meet John Doe] continues, the memory of the shots kept returning. My instinct was that because these shots were like that they might give me a key to the whole film, and open it up in new and rewarding ways.

Andrew Klevan

Here’s a method: use a cinematic detail (a scene, a shot, an object, a gesture, an effect of light) that you find simultaneously intriguing and mysterious as a starting point for film analysis.

Readings for this section:

Grades based on the following:

We will often watch two movies a week, mostly classic Hollywood.

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ENG 6138

Filmic Spaces: Camerawork, Architectures, and Landscapes

Maureen Turim

Analyzing the treatment and representation of space in the images and sounds of film will be the focus of this course. This course will not only be of use to those who study and teach film, but also to those considering the representation of space in literature and the graphic novel. Theory students will also find that much of the reading will address theories of spatial understanding and cultural transformations of space. We will investigate how genres are linked to certain spaces, how characters move in space, how spatial elements affect the perception of time. Some of our concerns will have to do with film history and fabrication, as we look at the use of set design, location shooting, and special effects or digital graphics. Films will be quite diverse, including examples for the landscape genres of science fiction and the western, urban cityscape genres such as Film Noir, interior spaces of drama. We will certainly focus on filmmakers known for their treatment of space, such as John Ford, Michelangelo Antonioni, Mizoguchi Kenji, Zhang Yimou, Hou Hsiao-hsien, but there will be surprises that challenge this notion of the spatial cinema as the cinema of landscapes and long takes.

Active participation in seminar is essential. Assignments will lead to a major research project that will include a class presentation, a webpage display, and a final essay on the films or theories we explore over the semester.

Readings may include:

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ENL 6226

Shakespeare: Learning by Doing

Sidney Homan

The assumption in all my theatre courses is that the text of a play is not just what is written on the page but that text in performance, delivered by actors before an audience. This means the play’s text also includes gestures, movement, blocking (the stage picture), and sub-text (what the character is saying inwardly, beneath the lines delivered onstage, as well as the “history” for that character invented by the actor). In the theatre, we would further supplement this text with lighting, sound, set, costumes, props, and make-up. To be sure, one can approach a play in a thousand ways – as literature, as a repository for the thinking of an age, as the springboard for political or cultural issues. But, since I work both on campus and in the theatre, as an actor and director, and since the theatre itself is a unique medium with its own aesthetic principles, I approach the plays, with my students, and as a fellow “student,” as something meant to be performed by an actor and ratified by an audience. In the seminar, each student will have a scene partner with whom he or she stages several scenes each semester. Once a scene has been performed, the class and I, as co-directors, “work” that scene with the two actors, trying out options, rehearsing it. The emphasis, therefore, is on learning by doing, and I judge student work by intent, what goes into the performance – not by finesse. If there is finesse, that is considered a bonus.

In the seminar, we will thus consider A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, The Merchant of Venice, Henry IV, Part 1, Hamlet, Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew, Othello, Much Ado about Nothing, and Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, which, of course, offers a playwright’s reworking of Hamlet. At the end of the seminar, as group project, we will stage a performance of An Evening with William Shakespeare, at the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre, a collage of scenes from his plays.

A word of comfort: whether you have acted before or not, experience in the theatre is not a factor in the seminar. We use acting as a way of studying the text. Have no fears on this issue!

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ENL 6256

Victorian Liberalism and the Social Body

Pamela Gilbert

This course will examine key texts of Victorian liberalism, from forerunners Adam Smith and Malthus (not Victorians but influential in this period) through Eliot, Arnold and Mill and finally to the “New Liberals” (Green, Hobhouse) of the turn of the century. We will be examining one genealogy of the liberal vision of a unified social body in relation to key literary figures (e.g., Martineau, Eliot, Dickens), and its critiques (e.g., Engels, Spencer). Additionally, we will spend time reading and thinking about secondary works which interrogate and historicize our principal terms, such as Foucault, Poovey, Mehta, Habermas, etc.

Our goal will be to emerge with some sense of the history of liberalism and the “social body” in this period, and some ideas about how that history connects to theoretical debates today. Some of the questions we will engage include the following: What is the social? What is its history? How does it relate to the so-called public and private spheres? What are their origins? What forces and discourses construct them, and our understanding of them? How do they relate to nation, the state and the body? What is the place of subjectivity within or in relation to these constructs? Other terms which shall certainly demand attention as we progress are class, gender, race and empire. And you will bring other questions to connect the course issues to your own work and interests.

Having posed all these questions, I should add that the point of the class is not necessarily to emerge with the right answer(s). In fact, I suspect we shall discover how historically limited are the claims we can make not only in the response to, but in the posing of these questions. The class, as I envision it, should allow us to kick these terms around, allowing them to manifest all their rich confusion and ours – out of which, perhaps, we may emerge with some modestly workable strategies for thinking about the social body and the origins of late modern liberalism, and out of which, certainly, we shall emerge with a more productive understanding of and respect for the complexities of the material.

Tentative reading list: readings will be available at Goering’s, as handouts or online, except in the few cases where I ask you to find your own.

Requirements:

Requirements include attendance and participation, eight short (1–2 page) responses to the reading, one full length paper (21–25 pages) of which a draft is due several weeks before the end of term, and one turn preparing three discussion questions for the week. Late in the term, depending on the size of the class, you may informally present your paper argument for discussion.

Response papers are due each week to the class email list to be circulated and shared; you should post them at least 48 hours before class. (I will create an email list for the class, to which you may post papers, responses, questions, etc.) You may choose which eight weeks you will turn something in, but please do not turn them in late. You need not comment on the entire reading – you may comment on any portion of it. If you would like to tailor your final project for a particular purpose (dissertation chapter, for example), please let me know.

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LAE 6947

Theories and Practices of Writing

Raúl Sánchez

This course introduces you to perspectives on writing and the teaching of writing in colleges and universities. It aims to give you historical and theoretical contexts in which to place your emerging teaching career. Expect to do much writing and reading.

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LIT 6236

Introduction to Postcolonial Theory

Malini Johar Schueller

By the beginning of the twentieth century, a few European powers – mainly Britain and France – had colonized 80% of Asia and Africa. Nationalist movements during the latter half of the century led to territorial, but not necessarily cultural and intellectual, decolonization. The continuing cultural effects of colonialism, as well as neocolonialism and imperialism, constitute the field of postcolonial studies. This course will focus on the central concerns of postcolonial studies: the nature of colonial discourse, the articulation of revolutionary national consciousness, questions of subalternity and history, the relationship of postcolonial studies to gender studies, the vexing nature of settler colonialism (with the U.S. as example), and the continued conditions of inequality within neo-liberal globalization. There will also be a section on contemporary imperialism. I’m not sure about all the texts I’ll be using but I’ll probably use Patrick Williams’s and Laura Chrisman’s Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory, Menchu’s I, Rigoberta Menchu, Kunzru’s Transmission, Saadawi’s Woman at Point Zero and possibly some more. Additional critical readings will be available online.

Requirements: 6-8 position papers; one oral presentation; seminar paper.

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LIT 6855

Childhood & Trauma

Anastasia Ulanowicz

Since the late eighteenth century, childhood has come to be associated with innocence, bliss, and moral purity. However, even as contemporary Western notions of childhood undoubtedly have been shaped by the Romantic belief in the child’s utopian origins, they have been equally impacted by twentieth century formulations of trauma. Indeed, psychoanalytic theories of trauma have drawn heavily from Freud’s argument that childhood is in fact a profoundly turbulent period during which the infant must learn to repress her/his instinctual desires in order to comply with the project of socialization. Moreover, the figure of the child has been employed by various twentieth and twenty-first century literary and philosophical texts in order to investigate key moments of historical trauma. The purpose of this course, then, is to evaluate the dynamic relationship between late Western formulations of childhood and trauma. Our readings will include the critical and theoretical works of Freud, Lacan, Benjamin,Carolyn Steedman, Cathy Caruth, and Jacqueline Rose. We will consider literary texts – for example, those of Walter Benjamin, Anne Frank, Zlata Filipovic, Philip Roth, Jonathan Safran Foer, and Cormac McCarthy – that re-imagine moments of historical upheaval in relation to contemporary notions of childhood. The latter half of the semester will also involve a discussion of the filmic works of Francois Truffaut, Gillermo del Toro, and M. Night Shyamalan.

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LIT 6856

Desperate Domesticity: American Literature & Culture in the 1950s

Marsha Bryant

This course explores fraught constructions of domesticity in American literary and popular culture of the 1950s, focusing on the nuclear family, gender roles (especially the housewife and Organization Man), the rise of suburbia, and alternative domesticities. Our writers will include John Cheever, Gwendolyn Brooks, Flannery O’Connor, Tennessee Williams, Sloan Wilson, Vladimir Nabokov, Robert Lowell, Lorraine Hansberry, and Sylvia Plath. To enrich the cultural contexts of our discussions, we will work with the magazines Ebony, Ladies’ Home Journal, and The New Yorker. We’ll also explore the sitcoms The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and Leave It to Beaver, the film Rebel Without a Cause, and a recent cultural study of Tupperware. We’ll end with recent revisions of the 1950s in Desperate Housewives. Assignments include active participation in discussion, a short analysis of a 1950s magazine, a seminar paper proposal, an oral report, and a seminar paper.

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LIT 6934

Black Body Politics

Amy Ongiri

This class will examine the current cultural and theoretical discourse relating to the production and consumption of the Black body in literature, film and theory. We will consider the politics of representation in relationship to questions of masculinity, violence, the Black female body as spectacle, the body in relationship to constructions of urbanity, and the Black body in a transnational economy. Texts examined might include The Color Purple (film and novel), Gayl Jones’ Corregidora and Eva’s Man, Julie Dash’s Illusions and Daughters of the Dust, Fatima El Tayeb and Angelina Maccarone’s Everything Will Be Fine, Ngozi Onwurah’s The Body Beautiful and Coffee Colored Children, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Branwen Okpako’s Dirt Eater, Raoul Peck’s Profit and Nothing But and Lumumba, and Stephanie Black’s Life and Debt. The course will address recent theoretical positions articulated in African American, Literary, and Film Studies by scholars such as Saidiya Hartman, Phillip Brian Harper, Hamid Naficy, Elizabeth Alexander, Wahneema Lubiano, Kimberle Williams Crenshaw and Paul Gilroy

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LIT 6934

Secret Gardens: Women and Gardens in the Long 19th Century

Judith Page

This course will explore the tradition of women’s writing about gardening, botanical studies, and horticulture in the long 19th century. Women writers used the subject matter of gardens and plants to educate their readers, to enter into political and cultural debates, particularly around issues of gender and class, and to signal moments of intellectual and spiritual insight. Gardens are both real places and textual spaces to be read and interpreted for oneself and others. As more women became engaged in gardening and botanical pursuits, the meanings of their gardens became more complex. The garden became less a retreat from the world, as it had been in earlier eras, and more of a protected vantage point for engagement and expression of one’s status and aspirations to the world. Gardens were seen as transitional or liminal zones through which women could negotiate between domestic space and the larger world, as is evident in the range of women’s writing about the garden. We will read a variety of fiction, poetry, children’s literature, journals, gardening manuals, how-to books, and landscape theory. Some of the reading will be available on line and a few texts will be from the Rare Book and Baldwin collections at the Smathers Library. Since many of the texts are illustrated (and we will consider images in various media) students interested in text and image may want to consider this course. Students will give one oral presentation and write a 20-page seminar paper.

Possible primary readings for class and for individual projects:

Theoretical readings from Gaston Bachelard, Robert Pogue Harrison, John Dixon Hunt, Susan Stewart, and Yi-Fu Tuan; historical/contextual readings from Shirley Hibberd, John Claudius Loudon, Humphry Repton, and John Ruskin.

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