Graduate Courses, Fall 2013

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
AML 6027 W 6-8 Sylvia Plath & Her Cultural Afterlife Bryant
CRW 6130 T 6-8 Graduate Fiction Workshop Powell
CRW 6331 M E1-E3 Graduate Poetry Workshop Hofmann
ENG 6075 R 3-5 Deconstruction & New Media Theory Burt
ENG 6075 T 9-11 Introduction to Critical Theory Hedrick
ENG 6137 T 9-11
W E1-E3
Problems for Film Analysis Ray
ENG 6138 R 9-11
M E1-E3
Weimar Cinema
(Cross-listed with GET 6295)
ENL 6256 T E1-E3 Class & the Victorian Novel Gilbert
LAE 6947 R 9-11 Writing Theories & Practices Gries
LIT 6236 T 6-8 Panama Silver, Asian Gold: Migration, Money, & the Making of the Modern Caribbean Rosenberg
LIT 6236 W 3-5 Postcolonial Theory Schueller
LIT 6357 M 9-11 Black Women Writers & Black Nationalism
(Cross-listed with WST 6295)
LIT 6855 F 3-5 Cultural Studies Hegeman
LIT 6855 M 6-8 Children's Literature & Cultural Studies: Reading the YA Romance Ulanowicz
LIT 6934 M 3-5 Media Ecology/Ecomedia Dobrin
LIT 6934 M 9-11 Shakespeare & Latin Antiquity Shoaf
LIT 6934 T 3-5 Secret Gardens: Women & Gardens in the Long Nineteenth Century and Beyond Page

AML 6027

Sylvia Plath & Her Cultural Afterlife

Marsha Bryant

By the time she was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Artists and Entertainers of the Century in 1998, Sylvia Plath had become literary culture’s ultimate commodity. From her photo-shoot in the Cambridge Varsity during her Fulbright years to Christine Jeff’s film Sylvia, Plath enters the cultural imagination as text and image, a person and a mythic figure. We see this especially in this year’s media attention to the 50th anniversary of the poet’s death. This course will explore Plath’s literary career and her cultural afterlife through close study of her poems, her novel, her journals, and her critical reception. We will also consider Plath in the context of her emergence in the 1950s, the popular and literary magazines that first published her poetry, and her contemporary status in the media. Our texts will include Collected Poems, The Bell Jar, Ariel Restored, Unabridged Journals, a recent biography, a critical study, and the online journal Plath Profiles. We will also study Ted Hughes’s Birthday Letters. Assignments will include a professional profile, a seminar report, a paper proposal, a seminar paper, and engaged participation.


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.


CRW 6331

Graduate Poetry Workshop

Michael Hofmann

The semester’s MFA workshop will be themed on “the poet in the world.” We will read the Selected Louis MacNeice and Robert Lowell’s Notebook. A grappling hook into the present moment will be thrown by Christopher Reid’s Katerina Brac and Karen Solie’s Pigeon. That’s an Englishman, an Irishman, a Canadian, and an American. Looking forward to worldly – not cosmic – poems.


ENG 6075

Deconstruction & New Media Theory

Richard Burt

This course will survey some of the central text written by Jacques Derrida, particularly those that bear on new media, in relation to some of the major works in new media theory. The premise of this course is that books are random access machines that both resist and seduce their readers.  As we read Derrida’s texts, we will also read work in book history, focusing on the ways in which distinction between scroll and codex is reappears in new media  (scrolling functions, keyboards, pdfs). The notion that the book has a “history” will be under constant philosophical pressure about what a book is, what a machine is, what it means to read and to reconstitute a reading, the fate or the chances of reading, and what Derrida “calls “unreadability.” We will consider the book on paper and online as a more or less resistant random access machine. Three short papers and weekly written questions on the reading. For more information, please go to


ENG 6075

Introduction to Critical Theory

Tace Hedrick

This course will serve as a very broad, general introduction to theory, through basic primary-source readings in structuralism, poststructuralism, feminism, crtical race theory, phenomenology, psychoanalysis, cultural studies, postcolonial studies, queer theory, animal and post-human studies.

Across this broad philosophical-theoretical field we will be interrogating what the term “theory” means, how it functions for us as scholars, and how it can work in a broader, extra-academic context. We will be using Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan’s Literary Theory: A Reader as well as other readings on course reserve.


ENG 6137

Problems for Film Analysis

Robert Ray

This course, designed to provide helpful preparation for those interested in teaching ENG 2300, will focus on particular problems:

     1. Cinematic acting, especially star performance.  We will concentrate on Garbo, Stanwyck, Astaire, and Crosby.
     2. The issue of realism, especially as it involves the relation between chance and control.  We will look at one documentary, but also films by Renoir and Rossellini.
     3. The notion of what V.F. Perkins calls “moments of choice,” those filmmaking decisions, often unnoticed, that affect the viewer’s experience of a movie.
     4. The musical, a topic that will overlap with star performances, especially those of Astaire and Crosby.

Assignments: (1) bi-weekly two-page papers analyzing a scene or moment; (2) one final 10-page paper on a topic selected from possibilities that I will provide.


ENG 6138

Weimar Cinema

Barbara Mennel

This course covers the classic cinema of the Weimar Republic organized around the tensions of modernity. We will address the origins of genre, such as science fiction, melodrama, mountain film, and the city film, while paying particular attention to gender and sexuality in such films as Pandora’s Box, Different from the Others, Joyless Street, The Blue Angel, and Girls in Uniform. Urban space will feature as a central topic in discussions of Berlin: Symphony of a City, The Last Laugh, Asphalt, and People on Sunday. A postcolonial approach to cinematic orientalism will guide our discussion of Prince Ahmed and The Indian Tomb. While the course offers a survey of canonical films of the period, such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Nosferatu, The Golem, and M, it also opens up debates about avantgarde film and marginal genres, such as advertising and the interactive "rebus" films. Addressing aesthetic, institutional, and socio-political concerns, we will emphasize early, contemporary, and very recent approaches to Weimar Cinema. Authors include Béla Balázs, Walter Benjamin, Lotte Eisner, Thomas Elsaesser, Sabine Hake, Miriam Hansen, Anton Kaes, and Siegfried Kracauer. Knowledge of German is not required for this course.


ENL 6256

Class & the Victorian Novel

Pamela Gilbert

Class identities as we understand them today came to exist, in large part, in the late eighteenth century and early Victorian period. It is a period obsessed both with the possibility of abolishing differences of caste and class and with the attempt to fix them as essential identity categories. This course will be an opportunity to think about class in the Victorian period, and earlier systems underlying and informing it. We will focus on the novel as the privileged literary locus of the elaboration of middle class subjectivity and also as a site wherein the role of class in a newly mobile, industrial and imperial society was explored. We will read a number of Victorian novels and other texts from the period, and will also spend time reading and thinking about works which interrogate and historicize our principal terms.

Reading may include work by some of the following, for example:

• Henry Mayhew
• George W. M. Reynolds
• Elizabeth Gaskell
• George Eliot
• Mrs. Henry Wood
• Charles Dickens
• Karl Marx
• Freidrich Engels
• Anthony Trollope
• Margaret Oliphant
• George Gissing
• Mary Augusta Ward
• George and Weedon Grossmith
• T.H. Marshall
• Dror Wahrman
• Patrick Joyce
• Nancy Armstrong
• Gareth Stedman Jones
• Pierre Bourdieu
• Catherine Gallagher
• Nancy Hartsock
• E.P. Thompson
• Heidi Hartman
• Anthony Giddens
• Raymond Williams

Requirements include regular attendance and participation, eight short (1–2 page) responses to the reading, posted to the class email list, substantial contributions to discussion, one full length paper (approx. 20–25 pages), and one turn preparing three discussion questions.


LAE 6947

Writing Theories & Practices

Laurie Gries

This course introduces you to perspectives on writing and the teaching of writing in colleges and universities. It aims to help you imagine and invent different ways of teaching writing (in relation to reading and theory) across teaching contexts. We will explore, in other words, what we can learn about writing and teaching writing from rhetorical theories, posthuman theories, literary-critical theories, media theories, etc. This course also aims to help you develop different pedagogical approaches for teaching writing in relation to invention, production, and distribution of knowledge. Students can expect to walk away with theories to inform their pedagogical rationales but also research and invention skills to put those theories into practice in the classroom. To assist in this learning, students will build a pedagogical archive, embark on their own pedagogical research projects, and gain experience teaching in multiple areas and at multiple levels of English education.


LIT 6236

Panama Silver, Asian Gold: Migration, Money, & the Making of the Modern Caribbean

Leah Rosenberg

This interdisciplinary, digital humanities course examines the intersecting material and cultural history of two mass migrations that fundamentally transformed the Caribbean and Latin America in the post-emancipation period: the immigration of indentured laborers from India and China into the British West Indies to sustain its plantation economies and the emigration of Afro-Caribbean workers to mainland Latin America to build the Panama Canal (and work on United Fruit Company plantations). Both groups worked under difficult conditions for exploitative wages. However, both used their savings to bankroll their entry into the educated middle class, thereby fostering the conditions that produced the first generation of nationalist politicians, as well as the first generation of Caribbean writers to achieve international acclaim. Exploring the intersections of migration, gender, labor, race, and culture, this course is a critical study of colonial archival sources, of how historians and creative writers have employed them, and of the current effort to migrate those materials from the colonial to the digital archive. Students will learn to integrate traditional historical research methods into literary analysis as well as the skills to produce original, interdisciplinary digital humanities projects. Students outside of the English department may fashion projects to meet the needs of their own discipline.

This course is also a pilot course for inter-collegiate collaborative learning and instruction in digital humanities. It will be taught in collaboration with Professor Rhonda Cobham-Sander at Amherst College and Dr. Donette Francis at the University of Miami and we will be assisted by librarians at each institution. The course makes extensive use of the Digital Library of the Caribbean, which open-access digital archive of Caribbean materials, whose technical hub is at UF. Students will have an opportunity to add their annotations to the finding aids in the DLOC collection; some class discussions will be held via video conference; and some assignments will be researched collaboratively or posted online. We hope our initial experiment will sow the seed for future collaborative courses involving students at other institutions, in the United States and abroad. We are counting on the resources you help us develop module to ground such future collaborations. Your level of commitment and participation will matter for students beyond this class. So be prepared to complete a significant amount of the work through independent research and in cross campus collaboration.

To register (if you are not in the English department), send an email with your name and UF ID to


LIT 6236

Postcolonial Theory

Malini Schueller

By the beginning of the twentieth century, a few European powers had colonized 80% of Asia and Africa. Nationalist movements during the latter half of the century led to territorial, but not necessarily economic, cultural and intellectual decolonization. The continuing cultural, political, and economic effects of colonialism, as well as new forms of colonialism and imperialism sanctioned on the global South constitute the field of postcolonial studies. We will study the ways in which postcolonial theory has intersected with and impacted diverse areas of inquiry such as feminism, historiography, ethnography, political science, and literature. At the same time, this course will stress the importance of historicizing postcoloniality. The 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, and the politics of contemporary colonialism. We will read the works of major revolutionaries and theorists and the debates and arguments about these works. Although the course will cover writings from and about the major parts of the world affected by imperialism, there will be a particular focus on forms of settler colonialism such as in North America and Palestine.

Possible Texts:

Requirements: An oral presentation, a seminar paper, 7-8 reading responses


LIT 6357

Black Women Writers & Black Nationalism

Debra King

This course explores the challenges, voices, and place of Black women in the discourses of the Black Nationalist and Black Arts Movements of the 1960s—70s with some review of more recent political and social writings. Using Madhu Dubey’s Black Women Novelists & the Nationalist Aesthetic and Patricia Hill Collin’s From Black Power to Hi Hop: Racism, Nationalism and Feminism as points of departure, we will read, discuss, and analyze materials representing both the theory and praxis of the Black Arts Movement and Black Nationalism. The class will address questions such as: what direction did black women writers choose to take within the movement? What was their relationship to the concept of a black aesthetic? How did they negotiate the popular black and feminist sociological and psychological discourses of the time and currently? Was/is there a black feminist aesthetic? If so how was/is it defined and by whom? If not, why not?

Assignments: 25%: Each student will be asked to participate in a Panel Presentation. These fifteen minute presentations are individual papers that focus on the assigned texts and will be presented using a conference format. I expect extensive research and contemplation on the part of each panel member. The focus of these papers is up to panel members, but each paper must address the reading material and the unit topic in some way. This is not a group project therefore students are not asked to coordinate their papers beyond an attempt to avoid repetition. 75%: Seminar Paper. The content of this twenty-five page paper should emphasize some aspect of the course focus and objectives, using any of the required texts. Students may develop their panel papers.


LIT 6855

Cultural Studies

Susan Hegeman

This course is predicated on a definition of cultural studies as the study of totality, the whole “way of life” of a given group of people. There are of course competing views of the matter and challenges to such a definition, and students will have a chance to explore them, and to place this idea in the context of the history of the field more generally. But the main focus will be to consider this particular version of cultural studies and its relationship to various literary theories and methods of reading. We will consider different kinds of cultural totalities—of space, time, and scale. We will ask such questions as: what can the methods of cultural studies teach literary scholars? What can the methods of literary interpretation offer to our understanding of culture? How is literature cultural? How is culture textual? Readings will consist of a mix of canonical works of theory and intellectual history, as well as some newer titles. Students will have the option to write either a long research paper or a series of shorter interpretive-response papers.


LIT 6855

Children's Literature & Cultural Studies: Reading the YA Romance

Anastasia Ulanowicz

In this course, we will study the structure, content, history, and ideological significance of the YA romance novel, paying particularly close attention to its indebtedness to such earlier forms as nineteenth-century sensational fiction, Gothic fiction, the magazine novel, and the nineteenth-century problem novel. Drawing on Walter Benjamin’s contention that works of children’s literature and culture are culled from aesthetic objects and forms that have been cast off by previous generations, we will consider how the YA romance repurposes older forms toward both conservative and radical ends. In doing so, we will analyze the political and ideological implications of the contemporary YA romance, taking into account how this form addresses sexual liberation, desire, constructions of race and class, and adult-adolescent power dynamics. Finally, we will consider the literary and cultural standards according to which works of YA romance fiction have been judged.

The reading list for this course will primarily include critical and theoretical texts such as Roberta Seelinger Trites’s Disturbing the Universe, Janice Radway’s Reading the Romance, Amy Pattee’s Reading the Adolescent Romance, and Catherine Belsey’s Desire, among others. Students will have the opportunity to place these texts into dialogue with specific works of YA fiction through seminar presentations, position papers, and a final (20-page) seminar paper.

This course is open not only to graduate students who work in the field of children’s/YA fiction but also to those who are interested in women’s studies, queer theory, Victorian literature, psychoanalysis, reception theory, and narratology.


LIT 6934

Media Ecology/Ecomedia

Sid Dobrin

Tags: Media ecology, ecomedia, ecocinema, information, code, orality, literacy, electracy, semiotics, systems theories, complex ecology, posthumanism, technology, image, image/text, visual rhetoric, digital environments, virtual worlds, new media, old media, production, ecosee, technoculture.

Broadly speaking media ecology refers to the study of media environments and the role media and media technologies play in human lives. The idea of media ecology dates back to Marshall McLuhan (1964) and Neil Postman (1968) and addresses the roles of information and code, orality and literacy, grammar and rhetoric, semiotics and systems theories, and histories and philosophies of technology. As Neil Postman has put it, “Media ecology looks into the matter of how media of communication affect human perception, understanding, feeling, and value; and how our interactions with media facilitates or impedes our chance of survival.”

Ecomedia studies began to emerge in 2009 as an interdisciplinary study of the role non-print media and media technologies play in ecocritical and ecocompositional inquiry. Unlike media ecology which asks questions regarding the relationship between media and human affairs, ecomedia turns its gaze upon media’s roles in human/nature relationships. In particular, ecomedia studies have taken up ecocinema as a central aspect of its project.

This course brings media ecology into conversation with ecomedia to consider complex media systems and evolving ecological media cultures (what the University of Vermont blog Immanence has dubbed e2mc). At the fore, this course will consider the inevitable question of what is or what can be a media ecology of ecomedia. Subsequently, the course will consider non-print media from a number of theoretical avenues. Likewise, the course will take a two-fold approach: studying non-print media through media ecology and ecomedia and actively producing and using non-print media.


LIT 6934

Shakespeare & Latin Antiquity

Al Shoaf

This course will consider the Latin sources that we now think Shakespeare was far more conversant with than used to be conceded. Chief amongst these sources in this particular course will be Lucretius and Ovid.

The notable Shakespearean Stanley Wells has written, “[t]he plays, not to put too fine a point on it, reek of sexuality.” This statement is hardly disputable. But Shakespeare’s Latinity will help us understand better why the position is unassailable—why, to borrow from King Lear, “… you smell a fault … it smells of mortality.”

I should make clear immediately that the course does not require, explicitly or implicitly, a knowledge of Latin and that the course is not a throwback to venerable Einfluss-Studien. We will be studying Shakespeare as a reader, a highly literate man, not as an “erudite.” To be sure, there will be times when we need the ipsissima verba, and on those occasions we will find them through the Internet or through other means that I will make available. But primarily our work will be research on the topics of invention that Shakespeare encountered in the Latin writers who were most influential in his career. Thus, to give a quick but salient example, in the early narrative poem, “Venus and Adonis,” Shakespeare responds to Lucretius on various occasions primarily by way of Lucretius’s famous celebration of Venus that begins in book 1 and continues throughout the De rerum natura. Such Latin topicality enables investigations of Shakespeare’s texts which return often surprising results. If Shakespeare is not as “erudite” as his great contemporary Ben Jonson, it turns out that he is nonetheless a very literate poet. It is this literacy that we will be most interested in examining so as to appreciate Shakespeare’s contribution to English poetry.

Requirements for the course will be participation in the seminar as we discuss the details of Shakespeare’s rhetoric and literacy and two essays prepared outside of class in which students undertake an analysis of a particular example of Shakespeare’s rhetoric and literacy. These essays need not necessarily be lengthy nor, at least in the first instance, do they need to comport large (“bone-breaking”) bibliographies. First and foremost, they must engage with the way that Shakespeare transforms sources: he is the most original writer in our tradition who deliberately re-scripts sources not his own, not original with him—almost as if others’ inventions of topics liberated him to invent English poetry. This is the simple proposition of the course. We will test this proposition to learn how it may help us to understand the rhetoric with which Shakespeare composes poetry as he transforms English, language and culture.


LIT 6934

Secret Gardens: Women & Gardens in the Long Nineteenth Century and Beyond

Judith W. Page

In February of 1913, suffragettes attacked the Orchid House and burned down the Tea Pavillion at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. The Journal of Horticulture and Home Farmer reported on the second incident in this way: “For the second time within a fortnight female vandals have visited Kew Gardens with direful consequences. The picturesque tea pavilion was razed to the ground by fire. Happily the perpetrators were captured and are unlikely to resume their insane campaign for some time to come.” No longer content to be hothouse plants themselves, these early feminists apparently viewed Kew, with its vast collections of plants from around the world, as a bastion of masculine and imperialist power. Considered by the establishment as insane for wanting to destroy such beautiful and treasured places, the women saw the garden as a contested space and put their political agenda before aesthetic appreciation.

This course will explore the various dimensions of women’s engagement with gardening, botanical studies, and horticulture in England during the long 19th century—from the early educational treatises to such radical political acts. Representations of the garden and landscape—and women’s place in them--are often central to women’s literature. In the earlier part of the period, 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 were viewed as 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.

In looking toward the twentieth century, we see an increasing interest in what Virginia Woolf famously termed “Professions for Women.” The garden is no longer merely the woman’s domesticated landscape but it is the site of professional advancement and identity. Women such as Beatrix Potter became important environmental advocates and farmers. As horticultural colleges opened their doors to women and some were founded specifically for women, women began to write about their new opportunities. The first chapter of Frances Wolseley’s Gardening for Women (1908) is not accidently called “Gardening as a Profession for Women.” Professional “lady gardeners” were important in the response to the war effort in World War I, when estates were encouraged to give over some of their pleasure grounds to useful crops and women became part of a “land army” at work for the good of Britain and the war effort, a more socially acceptable way to demonstrate their competence than burning down tea rooms.

We will read a variety of fiction, poetry, children’s literature, and literary journals and memoirs; we will also read gardening manuals, theoretical texts, and how-to books. 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. We will view botanical prints by women artists such as Priscilla Susan Bury and Jane Loudon in the print collection at the Harn Museum of Art. In addition, we will consider the actual gardens designed by women during this period, such as Vita Sackville-West’s Sissinghurst, Gertrude Jekyll’s Munstead Wood, and Frances Wollseley’s College Garden at Glynde. 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.

Possible Texts:

Possible theoretical, historical, and critical readings from Gaston Bachelard, Robert Pogue Harrison, Elizabeth Helsinger, John Dixon Hunt, Gertrude Jekyll, Linda McDowell, Laura L. Moore, William Robinson, Gillian Rose, Stephanie Ross, Ann B. Shteir, Yi-Fu Tuan, Mary Wollstonecraft, and others.