Spring 2013 Courses
SPRING 2013 COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
ENG 601-001 Essay Creative Nonfiction: The Essay
ENG/LIN/FR 612-001 Structure/Stylistics of French
The course will be taught in three parts. The first part will present a brief overview of the history and branches of Linguistics. The second part will focus on the structure of French in its various linguistic forms (including phonetics – sound and syntax of intonation patterns for instance - phonology, morpho-syntax and lexicology). The last third of the semester will be devoted to issues relating to socio-linguistics, register, lexicon frequency, "norm" versus "dialect" and "substandard", and written versus oral forms of the French language. Upon completion of this course, students should be able to comprehend and explain the origins and the evolution of the French language, demonstrate a thorough understanding of stylistics and structural differences of standard French and other dialects of French, analyze the social, political, and economic factors underlying the role of national versus minority languages, and apply their new knowledge to upgrade their written and oral language skills in French.
ENG 653-001 Studies in African American Literature Since 1900: Diasporic Literature
The July 17, 1952, weekly issue of the African American Jet Magazine featured the article “Why Passing is Passing Out” with the subtitle: “Negroes Refuse to Pass.” Literary critic Gayle Wald terms this a “post-passing narrative” (Crossing, 2000) since apparently there was a hopeful period during the civil rights movement, as Jet explains, when “an increase in better race relations” lead to “a corresponding decrease in the number of Negroes forsaking their race to become white” (10). However, a proliferation of memoirs and biographies written some 40-50 years later reveal that light-skinned blacks such as the New York Times reviewer Anatole Broyard still passed. This seminar then is a meditation on a tradition: racial passing in American culture and literature.
This course will examine both the fictional (e.g., drama, film, novels) and factual (memoir, history, news) narratives by contemporary American authors who are substantially concerned with depicting the experiences or effects of racial passing after the period of legal segregation. Such narratives may include Patricia Jones’ novel Passing (1999), the documentary series Black. White (2006), Bliss Broyard’s autobiography One Drop (2007), the Wayans’ film White Chicks (2004), the musical Passing Strange (2009), and Daniel Sharftein’s history “The Invisible Line” (2011).
Seminarians will grapple with questions such as the one raised by critics, Thadious Davis and Mae Henderson, in their treatments of Larsen’s classic novel, Passing (1929): ‘Why does passing still exist’? And why is it of popular cultural and literary interest? Thus this is a cultural studies course that examines the aesthetic, literary, and social together.
Students will be responsible for:
(5) An oral presentation on a classic “passing narrative” (19th or early 20th century)
(6) Co-lead one class discussion either with the instructor or another seminarian
(7) Weekly response papers in the form of critical queries of 1.5-2 pages
(8) A seminar paper no shorter than 15 prose pages
ENG 660-001 Modern Critical Theory: Psychoanalytic Subjects
Psychoanalysts tell a story of human subjectivity that continues to resonate for scholars of literature and film. The vicissitudes of attachment, separation, and loss, the ways in which feeling can become dissociated from experience, the ever-tenuous balance between love and hate—psychoanalytic understandings of these phenomena still hold explanatory power for us. This course will introduce students to what remain some of the fundamental convictions of psychoanalytic thought: the dominance of the unconscious; the formative importance of childhood; the centrality of sexual difference. We will review several key debates in psychoanalytic theory, including conflict vs. deficit models of the psyche, Freudian, object relations, and intersubjective approaches, the ongoing controversies around gender and sexuality, as well as how psychoanalysts engage (or don’t) cultural and racial difference. Readings include: Sigmund Freud, Melanie Klein, Jacques Lacan, D. W. Winnicott, Thomas Ogden, Jean Laplanche, Slavoj Zizek, Judith Butler, and others.
ENG 681 Studies in Film
This graduate seminar will focus on the way that the cultural memory of World War I was negotiated through cinema from 1914 until World War II. Films will include The Battle of the Somme, Hearts of the World, Shoulder Arms, The Big Parade, Wings, All Quiet on the Western Front, Sergeant York, The Public Enemy, The Roaring Twenties, and more. We will work to develop methodological tools for considering war as an instance of historical trauma and how such events are represented and "remembered" collectively. Requirements include: attendance and active participation, class presentations, and a research paper.
ENG 738-001 Seminar in Victorian Lit
Cultural studies was a dominant approach to the Victorian novel before there was an official approach called Cultural Studies, in part because of the rich archive the period has bequeathed us and in part because of the Victorian novel’s privileged role in public discourse. This course will concentrate on that fruitful intersection with the aim of opening original avenues of research for graduate students. We will begin by reading key documents in the development of modern cultural studies to arrive at an understanding of its history and method. Then we’ll read some Victorian novels in conjunction with relevant scholarship to see how critics have used the approach (and, of course, to read the novels). Where, how, and why does it work well? What are its limitations or weaknesses? Which of our critical readings seem strongest to you, and which seem least helpful or insightful in interpreting the novels? Which novels open up most productively to this approach, and why?
For the remaining weeks of the class, each student will pursue an individual project in order to produce a seminar paper of publishable quality. Extensive holdings in Victorian social/political/imperial history in UK’s libraries will support these projects. You will review recent issues of key journals to see what kind of work is current and what has probably been tapped out; develop a purpose and direction with the guidance of the professor; and workshop drafts in small groups.
Probable novels: Dickens, Our Mutual Friend; Margaret Oliphant, Miss Marjoribanks; Trollope, Can You Forgive Her? Elizabeth Gaskell, Wives and Daughters.
Selected critical readings by Stuart Hall, Raymond Williams, Mary Poovey, Sharon Marcus, Catherine Gallagher, and others.
ENG 752-401 Seminar in American Lit: 1860-1900—Literature, Law, and Race in the US
In this seminar on literature and law, we will treat the law as a cultural quandary and narrative force in its own right, as well as an incitement to literary authors’ own efforts to think through social problems, to condense and clarify political thought, and to imagine alternative scenarios of power and justice.
The readings include novels, as well as works by literary critics and legal historians reflecting on key issues within the legal structure of racial difference.
Central problems of law that were reproduced and debated within imaginative literature, and which will occupy us, include: the legal conundrum of racial identity; the problem of civil rights after emancipation; the question of reparations for slavery, legal “colorblindness”, and the legal and social construction of the “family” and consequent wealth distribution.
Some legal theorists whom we will read include Adrienne Davis, Neil Gotanda, Cheryl Harris, Ian Haney Lopez, Ariela Gross, Rosemary J. Coombe, Alfred Brophy, and Patricia Williams.
Fiction that we will read includes Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables; Harriet Beecher Stowe, Dred; Herman Melville, “Benito Cereno”; Caroline Lee Hentz, The Planter’s Northern Bride; Albion Tourgee, Bricks Without Straw, Charles Chesnutt, The House Behind the Cedars; Hart Crane, “The Monster,” and Edward P. Jones, The Known World.
Grade to be determined by class participation and a final seminar paper.
ENG 771-001 Seminar in Special Topics: Developing "Equipment for Living": A Seminar in Kenneth Burke
Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally's assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress. (110-11)
---Kenneth Burke. The Philosophy of Literary Form: Studies in Symbolic Action. Berkeley: U of California P, 1973. 
Kenneth Burke is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important American thinkers of the 20th century. His attention to language as symbolic action provided an important underpinning for the “linguistic turn” in contemporary theory. As one of the fathers of modern rhetorical theory, Burke’s ideas and concepts have influenced scholars in many disciplines: Philosophy, Rhetoric, American letters, Communication, and Aesthetics among them. But Burke was not just a theorist and a Shakespeare lover, he was also an author of prose and fiction in his own right. While this seminar aims to introduce you to key concepts in his theoretical oeuvre, including but not limited to “identification, the dramatistic pentad, terministic screens,” students are welcome and invited to pursue research projects related to Burke’s literary interests and influence. We will read both primary materials by Burke and secondary works by rhetoricians, theorists, philosophers as well as communication and literary scholars. Coursework will likely include a conference style presentation (with an aim toward future presentation at the 2014 Triennial Conference of the Kenneth Burke Society), and a draft article for the The Kenneth Burke Journal or another relevant peer-reviewed venue. Please join the Burkean parlor here at UK this Spring, where together we will listen, put in our oars, and ideally develop some “equipment for living” in the process. Interested students should direct questions to Jan Fernheimer.
Possible Primary Texts
- Burke, Kenneth. Counter-Statement. 1931. Berkeley: U of California P, 1968.
- ---. Permanence and Change: An Anatomy of Purpose. 1935. 3rd edition. Berkeley: U of California P, 1984.
- ---. Attitudes Toward History . 1937. 3rd ed. Berkeley: U of California P, 1984.
- ---. The Philosophy of Literary Form. 1941. Berkeley: U of California P, 1974.
- ---. A Grammar of Motives. 1945. Berkeley: U of California P, 1969.
- ---. A Rhetoric of Motives. 1950. Berkeley: U of California P, 1969.
- ---. Language as Symbolic Action: Essays on Life, Literature, and Method. Berkeley: U of California P, 1966.
- ----. The Rhetoric of Religion: Studies in Logology.1961. University of California Press, 1970.
Possible Secondary Texts
- Anderson, Dana. Identity's Strategy: Rhetorical Selves in Conversion. University of South Carolina Press, 2008.
- Clark, Gregory. Rhetorical Landscapes in America: Variations on a Theme from Kenneth Burke .University of South Carolina Press, 2004.
- Crusius, Timothy. Kenneth Burke and the Conversation after Philosophy. Southern Illinois University Press, 1999.
- Crable, Brian. Ralph Ellison and Kenneth Burke: At the Roots of the Racial Divide. University of Viriginia Press, 2011.
- Hawhee, Debra. Moving Bodies: Kenneth Burke at the Edges of Language. University of South Carolina Press, 2009.
- Lentricchia, Frank. Criticism and Social Change.University of Chicago Press, 1984.
- Selzer, Jack. Kenneth Burke in Greenwich Village .University of Wisconsin Press, 1996.
- Selzer, Jack, and Ann George. Kenneth Burke in the 1930s .University of South Carolina Press, 2007.
- Selzer, Jack, and Robert Wess, Kenneth Burke and His Circles .Parlor Press, 2008.
- Smudde, Peter, ed. Humanistic Critique of Education. Parlor Press, 2010.
- Weiser, M. Elizabeth. Burke, War, Words: Rhetoricizing Dramatism .University of South Carolina Press, 2008.
- Wess, Robert. Kenneth Burke: Rhetoric, Subjectivity, Postmodernism .Cambridge University Press,1996.