Spring 2020

EL 589  Readings in English Literature

Instructor: Başak Demirhan

Syllabus: EL 589.01 Course Syllabus

Course Description: This is a noncredit course designed to teach research techniques and writing different kinds of texts that the students will need to produce during their academic careers. In this leg of the course, students practice making longer-term plans for their academic careers by preparing a statement of purpose, a grant proposal, and a sample syllabus.

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EL 592  Special Topics: Literary Theory II

Instructor: Matthew Gumpert

Syllabus: EL 592.01 Course Syllabus

Course Description: The second part of a three-semester sequence on the history of literary theory and criticism in the West.  Our subject this spring: the dominant critical methodologies of the twentieth century.   Two competing tendencies are evident: on the one hand, theoretical approaches committed, in different ways, to the dethroning of the author and the decentering of the subject, as is the case in formalism, structuralism, new criticism, deconstruction, and post-structuralism; on the other hand, those which attempt to read literature as the expression of a subject understood as a cultural or historical entity, including Marxist criticism, psychoanalytic criticism, feminism, queer theory, black criticism, post-colonial criticism, and cultural studies.

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EL  593: Special Topics: English Novel: Women at the Crossroads: Multiculturalism in Women’s Fiction 

Instructor: Naz Bulamur

Syllabus: EL 593.01 Course Syllabus

Course Description: This course aims to examine women’s fiction that challenges fixed and static categories of race, nationality, sexuality, and gender, and envisions identity as hybrid, ambivalent, and slippery. For example, whereas Florence Marryat’s The Blood of the Vampire imagines an interracial and multispecies female identity in Victorian England, the novels of Virginia Woolf and A. S. Byatt problematize unity of time and space as they connect Istanbul and England. The texts of Gloria Anzaldua, Trinh Minh-ha, Jamaica Kincaid, Toni Morrison, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, on the other hand, investigate the borderlands between diverse cultural, national, and ethnic groups in the United States. The transnational, multilingual, metafictional, and experimental novels are themselves at the crossroads as they merge traditional forms of genres (autobiography, fiction, history, and poetry). Essays on feminism, orientalism, multiculturalism, and nationalism will compliment and enrich our discussions of the novels from the fin de siècle to present.

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EL 594 Advanced Topics in English Literature

Instructors (one instructor for each section): 

Course Description: This course is designed to focus on a specific literary movement or text or author/poet/dramatist for a detailed analysis. Topics vary from year to year.

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Fall 2019

EL 579 Graduate Seminar

Instructor: Başak Demirhan

Course Description:  This course is designed to help graduate students practice some research techniques and academic writing genres, which they will be expected to produce during their academic careers. In this leg of the course, the students will write a conference abstract and a literature review. These will be circulated before the meeting and they will give each other feedback for revision. We will also discuss approaches to research and different aspects of academic writing such as thinking framing the main argument in scholarship, rephrasing others’ arguments, and articulating the stakes of a research project.

Syllabus: EL 579.01 Course Syllabus

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EL 588 Sp. Top. Studies in Modern English Poetry

Instructor: Kim Fortuny

Course Description:  This seminar will begin with a focus on some fundamental notions that inform ecopoetical discourse.  We will then re-visit selections from nineteenth-century poetry in the English and North American canon that inspired the early movement, poets such as Wordsworth, Shelley and Whitman. We will continue with current critical texts in Ecopoetics that take the field in directions that further challenge human-centered aesthetics and ethics.  And finally, we will explore the work of various twentieth-century poets from an ecocritical perspective including selections from contemporary American Indian and African-American poetry.

Syllabus: EL 588.01 Course Syllabus

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EL 590 Sp. Top. Studies in Modern English Drama 

“Framing the Modern: Theatre and Community”

Instructor: Emine Fişek

Course Description: References to community are as flexible as they are ubiquitous in twenty-first-century public discourse. For some, community indicates a social grouping organized around a particular identity or locality; for others, it signals their desire for a grouping yet to come. More often than not, community is evoked as a moral imperative and a necessary strategy for enduring modern life, itself synonymous with the figure of the overly bureaucratized and alienated individual. Yet this “warmly persuasive word” (Raymond Williams, Keywords) has had a complicated theoretical trajectory in the modern period, from its associations with political movements premised on violent communal identification to its partnership with global capitalism. In this course, we will take the term “community” as a framing device for thinking about cultural politics in the modern period and trace its reflections in dramatic literature from the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Throughout, our goal will be to think through the history as well as the complexity of the modern Western association of theatre and community.

Syllabus: EL 590.01 Course Syllabus

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EL 591 Literary Theory I

Instructor: Matthew Gumpert

Course Description: 

The first part of a two-semester survey of the history of literary theory and criticism in the West.  Introduction to Literary Theory I, like its companion course next semester, assumes there is no such thing as “simply” reading a literary text, outside of theory.  It also assumes that modern theoretical approaches to literature, even when they claim to constitute a break with the practices of the past, are inescapably rooted in those prior practices.  Such approaches represent distinct ways in which meaning in the text has been located or defined.  We will examine these strategies for pursuing or framing meaning as historically and culturally determined methodologies.  Literary Theory I offers the advanced student of literature an introduction to literary theory and criticism from classical antiquity to the beginning of the 20th century, from Plato to Freud.  The material covered in this class thus constitutes the foundation of modern critical theory.

Syllabus: EL 591.01 Course Syllabus

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Spring 2019

EL 595 Contemporary Trends in Critical Theory / Posthumanisms: Bodies, Things, Animals and Cyborgs

Instructor: Matthew Gumpert

Course Description: After the linguistic turn that radically reshaped critical and literary studies, is it now the time for things to have their turn?  This course will discuss recent currents in critical and literary theory, all of which aim to interrogate the concept of the human, and to move beyond the traditional humanism which has dominated thinking in the West.  Students in this course will be introduced to new object-oriented schools of thought, from thing theory to new materialism, from affect theory to animal studies, that seek to challenge the hegemony of the human as a static and sovereign category.

Spring 2018

EL 592  Special Topics: Literary Theory II

Instructor: Ethan Guagliardo

Syllabus: EL 592.01 Course Syllabus

Course Description: The second half of a two semester survey of the history of literary theory and criticism in the West. The work of writers such as Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche and Freud made available new approaches to literature in the 21st century that elevated texts above authors and in general “de-centered” the “liberal humanist subject.” Yet the subject never really went away, as new critical theories–including psychoanalytic theory, feminism, critical race studies, queer theory, and post-colonial theory–revised and reinterpreted it as a cultural and historical artifact. Most recently, however, the fate of the subject has undergone a new turn under the banner of new critical idioms such as affect theory, ecocriticism, animal studies, thing theory, actor-network theory, and new materialism. With the fate of the “humanist subject” at its thematic core, this course will survey these movements. But throughout we will return again and again to the question of theory’s value for literary studies, theory’s relationship to the self-definition of the profession, and how it enables better and more sophisticated practices of reading. Hence we begin with Heidegger’s seminal critique of humanism, paired alongside Rita Felski’s recent critique of critique itself. From there we survey literary theory’s major movements, alongside readings of ​King Lear​that put these movements into practice. Each student will offer a class presentation on one of these readings; here, the goal is not to present on the content of the article or ins and outs of its specific interpretation of ​King Lear​,but on how the theoretical material is applied to the literary subject matter. We are interested in ​kinds​ of readings, their rhetorical form and function.

 

EL  593: Special Topics: English Novel: Women at the Crossroads: Multiculturalism in Women’s Fiction 

Instructor: Naz Bulamur

Syllabus: EL 593.01 Course Syllabus

Course Description: This course aims to examine women’s fiction that challenges fixed and static categories of race, nationality, sexuality, and gender, and envisions identity as hybrid, ambivalent, and slippery. For example, whereas Florence Marryat’s The Blood of the Vampire imagines an interracial and multispecies female identity in Victorian England, the novels of Virginia Woolf and A. S. Byatt problematize unity of time and space as they connect Istanbul and England. The texts of Gloria Anzaldua, Trinh Minh-ha, Jamaica Kincaid, Toni Morrison, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, on the other hand, investigate the borderlands between diverse cultural, national, and ethnic groups in the United States. The transnational, multilingual, metafictional, and experimental novels are themselves at the crossroads as they merge traditional forms of genres (autobiography, fiction, history, and poetry). Essays on feminism, orientalism, multiculturalism, and nationalism will compliment and enrich our discussions of the novels from the fin de siècle to present.

 

EL 594 Advanced Topics in English Literature

Instructors (one instructor for each section): Aylin Alkaç, Başak Demirhan, Emine Fişek, Matthew Gumpert, Jameson Kısmet Bell, Özlem Öğüt, Aslı Tekinay, Cihan Yurdaün

Course Description: This course is designed to focus on a specific literary movement or text or author/poet/dramatist for a detailed analysis. Topics vary from year to year.

 

EL 589  Readings in English Literature

Instructor: Basak Demirhan

Syllabus: EL 589.01 Course Syllabus

Course Description: This is a noncredit course designed to teach research techniques and writing different kinds of texts that the students will need to produce during their academic careers. In this leg of the course, students practice making longer-term plans for their academic careers by preparing a statement of purpose, a grant proposal, and a sample syllabus.