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Fall 2015 


EL  689: Special Studies in English Literature: Bibliography

Instructor: Jameson Kısmet Bell

Course Description: 

This is a one-credit course designed to supplement the students’ coursework with exercises in research techniques and the production of academic texts such as annotated bibliography, conference abstract, book review, statement of purpose, grant proposal, and sample syllabus.


EL 68 A: Required Course: Pro-seminar 

Instructor: Jameson Kısmet Bell

Course Description: EL 68A Course Syllabus

This course serves as an introduction to doctoral level study for incoming students in the increasingly diverse field of English Literature. Its goal is to consider different ways of approaching the problems of advanced literary study, paying specific attention to methodology and composition. In this course, students will learn to develop their own research projects, identify appropriate theoretical strategies for answering those questions, familiarize themselves with relevant scholarly conversations in their “field” and learn to contextualize and frame literary texts. Additionally, the course will provide a broad overview of practical aspects of presenting research to diverse audiences, including but not limited to writing abstracts, book and literature reviews, conference presentations, bibliographies, and scholarly publications.


EL 68 B:  Special Topics: Postmodern Fictions

Instructor: Naz Bulamur

Syllabus:  EL68B Course Syllabus

Course Description: 

This course will examine postmodern fictions written in a period beginning in the 1960’s continuing to the present. We could also call such texts as ‘metafictions’–that is, texts which foreground, even insist, on their textual status. We will examine how experimental novels lay bare their own fictionality, challenge our traditional reading strategies, and also blur boundaries between story telling and truth telling. For example, the works of Kurt Vonnegut and Theresa Cha imply that history, like fiction, is not objective, and that both storytellers and historians narrate selective accounts of the past. Autobiography, story, theory, and history are merged in their experimental texts. The study of postmodern fictions will also enable us to explore how contemporary writers use innovative narrative techniques to reflect on ideologies of race and gender, and narrate historical events such as World War Two and the Japanese occupation of Korea. With Cha, Maso, and Morrison, we will consider whether women ‘do’ ‘postmodernism’ differently and discuss how they experiment with fiction. Essays from postmodern theorists—Roland Barthes, Jean Baudrillard, Susan Sontag, Hélène Cixous, Bell Hooks—will compliment and enrich our discussions of the novels. Required Texts:

Italo Calvino, If on a winter’s night a traveler
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five
Paul Auster, City of Glass
Lance Olsen, Girl Imagined by Chance
Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Dictee
Carole Maso, The Art Lover
Toni Morrison, Jazz


EL 68 C:  Special Topics: Storytelling in Verse: Narrative Poetry

Instructor: Özlem Görey

Syllabus: EL 68C Course Syllabus

Course Description:

Storytelling and construction of narratives is central to the way human beings think and make sense of the world. The term ‘narrative’ itself has been much used and abused and a consensus on a definition and the nature of narrative remains elusive. Even so, the theory of the narrative, or narratology, has become an important area of study for the last few decades as both the narrative and the narrative structure influence our perception and the ultimate creation of meaning.

Narrative poetry relates a series of events through the use of the voices of a narrator and specific characters. Similar to the construction of a short story or novel, narrative poetry usually contains the elements of plot, character, conflict and setting. Although the narratological approach has been widely applied to novels and short stories, poetry has remained out of its area of interest.

This course explores narrative poetry from the narratological point of view and how narrative voice impacts the narrative as a whole. Staring from Shakespeare’s ‘Venus and Adonis’ and ‘The Rape of Lucrece’, the project spans five hundred years and includes the works of Christopher Marlowe, Alexander Pope, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, Lord Byron, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Owen Meredith, Edgar Allen Poe, Edward Lear, Amy Lowell, Ted Hughes, and Vikram Seth. The aim is to investigate the “story” in poetry and the voice(s) that tell(s) it.


EL 68 D:  Special Topics: Evil, Violence and Trauma in Dramatic Literature

Instructor: Aslı Tekinay

Syllabus: EL 68D Course Syllabus

Course Description:

This course examines post-World War II British drama in the light of modern theories on violence and evil. The atrocities and horrors witnessed all over the world since WWII have found voice in various forms of literature, naturally including the most public literary genre of drama. The goal of this course is to analyse psychological and socio-political theories dealing with the nature and origins of human aggression, violence and evil in order to open up dramatic texts based on these themes. The texts to be studied span the six decades since the 1950s.

Spring 2016


EL 68 K: Special Topics: Ecocriticism and Pastoral Protest

Instructor: Kim Fortuny

Syllabus: EL 68K Course Syllabus

Course Description:

This seminar will offer a trans-historical look at the pastoral tradition.  We will focus on the ways in which land and land-use are politicized in pastoral texts both in terms of form and content with reference to readings in ecocritical theory. The primary readings will be in poetry and the essay as creative non-fiction.  Contemporary readings in the pastoral from an ecocritical perspective will accompany and inform the discussion on the literature. While our primary focus will be the political commentary on land use in the texts, the seminar will also refresh the participants’ general knowledge of the pastoral tradition in the Anglo-American canon.

Primary Readings will include selections from:

Greek and Latin pastoral poetry
Medieval nature allegory
Early Modern English poetry
18th-Century English and American poetry and non-fiction
19th-Century English Romantic poetry
19th-Century American non-fiction
Victorian landscape prose
20th-Century American creative non-fiction

Secondary Readings will include recent selections in ecocriticism.


EL 68 F:  Special Topics: Literature and Human Rights

Instructor: Eda Dedebaş

Syllabus:EL 68F Course Syllabus

Course Description:

With the emergence of popular human rights memoirs and movies such as Hotel Rwanda (2004), Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone (2007), and God Grew Tired of Us (2007), narratives portraying trauma and displacement as well as survival have become prolific and established a new canon in the past decade. Such narratives presented a possibility of “becoming” – to quote from Slaughter – by revealing success stories and capitalizing similar plots. This interdisciplinary seminar explores the relationship between human rights and literature and questions how efforts of humanitarianism function to cater to the Western reader. Moreover, it debates the role of literature and storytelling in reconciliation and efforts to bear witness. In this course, we will examine selected literary works from world literature from a variety of genres (memoirs, poems, novels, testimony, plays, and short stories) and discuss theoretical works. Our class discussions will include – but are not limited to – the act of narration, the concept of complicity, the power of literature as an art form, representation of victims and victimization, “consumption” of human right narratives, and coming-of-age narratives.


EL 68 G:  Special Topics: American Modernist Poetry and Poetics: 1910s to 1950

Instructor: Cihan Yurdaün

Course Description:

This course aims to discuss in the context of modernist literature a wide selection of poems by some of the major American poets of the first half of the 20th century exploring in depth how they have contributed by their individual styles to modernist poetry and modernist theory in general. Almost all of the poets whose poems are going to be under scrutiny are also well known theoreticians and practitioners of modernist literature. Therefore critical writings of these poets that expose connections with other literary movements and philosophical sources are also going to be a crucial part of the discussions on modernist poetry and poetics.

The main goal of this course can be summarized as to shed light onto modernist literature, in perhaps its both formative and prime years, with a special focus on poetry and poetics of the prominent American poets of that era. As the subject requires comparison of different poems and poetic styles under the umbrella theme modernist poetry, the course will be done in a comparative manner. The poets and the primary sources that are going to be used are listed below in the chronological order they will be handled during the course.

T. S. Eliot
— Collected Poems, Selected Essays
Ezra Pound
— Personae; Cantos (selectively); Selected essays
William Carlos Williams
— Collected Poems (selections); Paterson; Selected Essays
Marianne Moore
— Collected Poems, Selected Prose
Gertrude Stein
— Poems (Tender Buttons; portraits; Stanzas in Meditation); selected essays
Wallace Stevens
— Collected Poems; essays in The Necessary Angel


EL 68 H:  Special Topics: Literature and Psychoanalysis

Instructor: Aylin Alkaç

Syllabus: EL 68H Course Syllabus

Course Description:

Based on the analysis of the accounts of the analysand, psychoanalysis is not only a therapeutic strategy but a tool to deconstruct discourse and accounts re-framing experience. The seminar develops the capacity to use psychoanalysis as a way of interpreting fiction, poetry, and drama. We will use insights from psychoanalytic theory and practice to deepen our understanding of literary works from different historical and cultural periods. Specific concepts to be examined include law and transgression, desire and subjectivity, gender and identity, trauma and repression, phantasy and the unconscious, fetishism and perversion, the pleasure principle and the death drive.

Theoretical texts will include: Freud, Lacan, Kristeva, Irigaray, Fanon, Althusser, Zižek, Deleuze and Guattari.


EL 68 I:  Special Topics: Beyond the Thanatos Principle: A Post-Porn-Modern Aesthetics in Contemporary Culture 

Instructor: Işıl Baş

Course Description:

My proposed course concerns  the image of death in contemporary culture which I suggest is becoming extremely post-porn-modernist, a term that I borrow from Annie Sprinkle to describe a new aesthetics based on Freud’s ideas in Beyond The Pleasure Principle (1920). Presentation and re-presentation of death in literature (e.g novels of J. Ballard and K.Acker, in-yer-face-theatre), in art (e.g.  Body Worlds exhibition and Franko B.’s performances) and in film (new French extremism) challenge traditional discourses that mark death obscene by foregrounding images of unhealthy, foul  bodies and bringing to the foreground wounds, secretions, smells, organs looking beyond and behind the skin that also marks a symbolic frontier between the living and the dead, the healthy and the unhealthy. This new aesthetics is also beyond Freud’s Thanatos closer to what his blood-craving sisters Keres represent as the former is the God of non-violent death with his gentle touch while the latter are associated with violent and agonizing death and disease.

Throughout the course we will be referring extensively to the work of Nietzche, Bataille ,Lacan and  Kristeva to define the theoretical basis of the principles of post-porn-modern aesthetics and refer to examples from contemporary art and literature that display corporeal and semiotic violence.


EL 68 J:  Special Topics: Space and Nineteenth Century Literature 

Instructor: Hande Tekdemir

Course Description:

While providing a general background on theories of space, this class will focus on representations of space in 19th century culture and fiction (mostly British). My starting point is Michel Foucault’s claim that the nineteenth century was mostly dominated by a historical outlook, whereas he predicts that the twentieth century will perhaps be “l’époque de l’espace”. Indeed, as critics working on space theory note, there was a “spatial turn” in literary and cultural studies at the end of the twentieth century. Our goal in this class is threefold: 1. To discuss the recent ‘spatial turn’ in our field, and its significance 2. To have a general understanding of space theory 3. To interpret 19th century culture and fiction through the lenses of space theory. While we will examine a number of theoretical and literary texts, I’d like to make use of the 19th century newspaper archive online.

As a tentative schedule I have three options in mind: 1. To start by reading three primary novels (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone, a Dickens novel, and a late 19th century novel –could be Dracula, or a text by Oscar Wilde, or by Thomas Hardy) and discuss all three novels as we discuss a different theoretical text and focus each week. 2. To match certain theoretical texts with certain literary texts each week (excerpts or the whole work), or over a couple of weeks 3. I’d like students to get a solid background on the 19th century, but it is also possible to expand our scope to have examples from 20th century fiction, and include such weekly topics as “Digital Spaces” and “Postmodern Geographies”.

EL 68 P: The Experience of Nature in Early Modern England

Instructor: Ethan Guagliardo

Course Description:

When we talk about nature today, we often conjure upeverything that is non-human—the wilderness apart from human freedom, history, culture, and civilization. But as posthumanistcritics have pointed out, this absolute distinction between human freedom and nature is infected with anthropocentrism. It is the legacy of a Christian and later modern Cartesian account of human subjectivity as transcendent and even quasi-supernatural.For many early modern writers, however, the realm of history—or as they would put it, custom, use, and art—was decidedly ambiguous; human inventions and innovations were just as likely to corrupt nature as they were to aid in human flourishing.Moreover, the ideal of nature, and natural religion, was increasingly attractive in a world of religious conflict. At the same time, this ideal was problematic—was nature not corrupted by the Fall, and given over to human weakness and depravity? Did we not need art to restore nature to its divine beginnings?

In this course, we will look at how writers imagined the distinction between nature and art, and how they sought to capture the experience of nature in poetry. We will consider such questions as: were the passions a distraction from nature, or the best way to experience nature in its immediacy and spontaneity? Do we approach nature by stripping the veil of custom and prejudice, or is the concept of nature itself a product of custom and prejudice? How does the concept of nature play into the development of deism, skepticism, and early forms of liberalism and republicanism? We will also consider how early moderns turned to pre-Christian philosophies, such as skepticism, Epicureanism, and Stoicism to think about the difference between nature and artifice. Readings will include Sidney’sDefense, Montaigne’s Apology for Raymond Sebond, Shakespeare’s The Tempest and King Lear, Fulke Greville’sTreatise of Monarchy (selections), John Marston’s Dutch Courtesan, Thomas Carew’s masque Coelum Britannicum, John Milton’s Paradise Lost (selections), and some poems of Andrew Marvell. We will look at selection from many “non-literary” philosophical sources as well, including Sextus Empiricus,Lucretius, Seneca, Bacon, and Bruno. Expect response papers, a presentation, and long, article-length research paper due at the end of class.

Fall 2016


EL 68 E:  Special Topics: On the Sublime

Instructor: Matthew Gumpert

Syllabus: EL 68E Course Syllabus

Course Description:

What is the sublime, and how has it played an essential role in the structuring of the Western imagination: its fears, fantasies, and fictions?  The sublime is always a way of speaking about meaning as something transcendent, something beyond our cognitive powers and ethical notions.  Meanwhile, within the concept of the sublime always lurks its counterpart, its rival: the beautiful.  Why is it that certain historical periods or cultural moments privilege the sublime, while others favor the beautiful?  Why is it that today the sublime appears to have reasserted itself as a dominant cultural value? These are some of the questions we will be asking as we study the major statements on the sublime, from Longinus to Kant, from Hegel to Lyotard.


EL 68 L: Special Topics: Theories of Affect and the Sentimental Novel

Instructor: Başak Demirhan

Syllabus: EL 68L Course Syllabus

Course Description: 

This is a course on sentimentalism in nineteenth-century British and American novels. We will discuss theories and politics of emotions, and the use of sentimentalism as a mediator of issues like race, slavery, abolitionism, masculinity, middle-class charity, disability, and colonial relationships.

Harriet Beecher Stowe Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Leslie Sedgwick Hope Leslie
M. S. Cummins Lamplighter
Charles Dickens Nicholas Nickleby
Emily Bronte Wuthering Heights
George Eliot The Mill on the Floss
Elizabeth Gaskell Mary Barton
Ellen Wood East Lynne
E. M. Forster A Passage to India

Critical readings on theories of affect include:

Janet Todd.Sensibility: An Introduction  
ChristineLevecq.Slavery and Sentiment: The Politics of Feeling in Black Atlantic Antislavery
 Adela Finch.Strange Fits of Passion: Epistemologies of Emotion from Hume to Austen
Ann Cvetkovich.Mixed Feelings: Feminism, Mass Culture, And Victorian Sensationalism
Leela Gandhi.Affective Communities: Fin-de-Siècle Radicalism and Politics of Friendship 
Laurent Berlant.Compassion: Culture and Politics of an Emotion
Sienne Ngai.Ugly Feelings
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick.Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity
Lila Abu-Lughod and Lutz. Language and the Politics of Emotio


EL 68 M: Special Topics: Polyphony and Intertextuality in Modern and Contemporary Fiction 

Instructor: Özlem Öğüt

Course Description:

The course discusses novels spanning from Virginia Woolf’s The Waves (1931) to Zadie Smith’s NW (2012) in terms of their polyphonic structure (the multiplicity of narrative voices, perspectives and consciousnesses) and their intertextual links with other texts in various genres. The theoretical framework is constituted mainly by but by no means limited to Mikhail Bakhtin, Roland Barthes and Julia Kristeva’s works on heteroglossia, dialogism, and intertextuality, and Linda Hutcheon and Patricia Waugh’s works on self-reflexivity and metafiction. The course aims to demonstrate different ways in which these concepts and strategies emerge in the novels in question as a means of resistance to or subversion of monological and hierarchical discourses on narrative, history and subjectivity.

Reading List:

The Waves (1931), Virginia Woolf
Justine (1957), Lawrence Durrell
The Black Prince (1973), Iris Murdoch
Flaubert’s Parrot (1984), Julian Barnes
Money: A Suicide Note (1984) Martin Amis
Foe (1986), J.M. Coetzee
The Black Dogs (1992) Ian McEwan
The Passion (1997), Jeanette Winterson
Flight to Canada (1998), Ishmael Reed
The Accidental (2005) Ali Smith
NW (2012) Zadie Smith


EL 68 N: Special Topics: ‘And to define America’: Literature, Democracy and War 

Instructor: Louis Mazzari

Course Description:

“War is a realist,” Emerson wrote, “shatters everything flimsy & shifty, sets aside all false issues, & breaks through all that is not real as itself.” The Civil War presents a vivid way to introduce American literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and to serve as an entry into American Studies, by plumbing the sea of literary and artistic responses to the seminal event in American history, to the nation’s greatest crisis exploding at its moment of greatest expansion. The decades leading to the 1860s were those of literary and westward expansion, of American Renaissance and Manifest Destiny. And the war’s repercussions saw the development of realism, the Gilded Age, and the response of naturalism. The course focuses on literary responses to the crisis of slavery, questions of nationhood, and the postwar expansion of American industry and capital by combining an historiographical approach with close readings of the work of Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Melville, and Lincoln, of Stowe and Truth and Douglass, and of Twain, Crane, Bierce, and James.

Please let this serve as a tentative syllabus:

The first two or three weeks of the course would be an overview of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century American struggle between slavery and democracy with a related close reading of representative texts and primary source documents, from Jonathan Edwards to Thomas Jefferson.

Secondly, the course would read authors of the American Renaissance with a focus on the way specific works reflected the struggle over democratic ideals and the expansion of the westward movement. Authors would include Emerson, Whitman, Douglass, and Stowe.

Third, the course would sample the rich vein of war literature and consider ideas embedded in such works as Melville’s Battle Pieces, Whitman’s “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d,” and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Lastly, the course combines an overview of Reconstruction with the literary results of the war, by reading such works as Crane’s Red Badge of Courage, the journals of Mark Twain, and the early stories of Henry James.


EL 68 O: Special Topics: The Theatrical Body: From Ritual to Performance 

Instructor: Emine Fişek

Syllabus: EL 68O Course Syllabus

Course Description:

Theatre is an art form whose central medium is the human body. Yet throughout theatre history, references to corporeality have been as conceptual as they have been physical, tangled as they are with broader questions regarding human sensory capacity and experience, spectatorship, relationality, virtuosity and violence. In this course, we will trace the different ways that theatrical corporeality has been understood in a variety of theatre and performance traditions, with case studies ranging from Western Europe to the Middle East. Throughout, we will endeavor to historicize the unique ways in which these traditions have separated the conceptual and the physical (or the mind and the body), and place these discussions in conversation with what has been called a “turn to the body” in humanities and social science scholarship: an increased interested in the human body as a central location of experience and affect. Drawing on key historical, anthropological and philosophical texts on sexuality and propriety (Foucault, Elias), ritual and exchange (Mauss, Strathern), religious experience and embodiment (Bynum, Mahmood), the senses (Seremetakis, Hirschkind) and pain (Scarry), we will ask: what does the performing body reveal to us about the complex relationship between embodiment, experience and representation?