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


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.