ENG 822/LIT822. Writing Is Thinking. This course aims to teach graduate students at any level, from first-year students to dissertation writers, how to write well and with enjoyment, and how to make writing a part of their daily life as creative intellectuals. We will cover questions of style, voice, and audience, and learn to read academic prose as writers. We will also focus on how to move from note-taking to writing, and develop an understanding of different academic genres. The course will be writing intensive.

*NEW* GERMAN 790: Frankfurt School Critical Theory

Wed 4:40-7:10

This course serves as an introduction to the “Frankfurt School” and Critical Theory with particular emphasis upon rationality/epistemology, social philosophy, cultural criticism and aesthetics. Through close readings of key texts by members of the school (Horkheimer, Benjamin, Adorno, Habermas) we will work toward a critical understanding of the analytical tools they developed and consider their validity.

Knowledge of German is desirable, but all readings and discussion are in English.

Taught by Professor Henry Pickford

*NEW* 590S-03.01 Auditory Cultures: Sound and Double Consciousness.

Tues 4:40-7:10

The English Department is delighted to welcome Dr. Tsitsi Jaji to our department as an Associate Research Professor. Dr. Jaji comes to us with a great deal of experience teaching global black literatures,
cinema, and music. She received a BA from Oberlin College and a PhD from Cornell University, and she taught for seven years at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Jaji’s courses explore African American, African and Caribbean expressive cultures and exchanges among them and other parts of the African diaspora, and her research often focuses on representations of sound, music and listening, and engages feminist methods and theory. In Fall 2015, she will be teaching a course entitled “Auditory Cultures: Sound and Double Consciousness.”

Class Description: W.E.B. Du Bois published The Souls of Black Folk in 1903 using musical incipits from the sorrow songs to begin each chapter, laying a template for theorizing the lived experience of race in the U.S. in sonic terms. In the next decades writers continued to foreground sound in debates about the link between cultural forms and identity, and particularly the uses of the vernacular. For scholars like James W. Johnson, Alain Locke, and Zora Neale Hurston anthologizing and interpreting African American cultural production involved tracing auditory forms of music, sermons, and folklore alongside literature. This class will take their approach as a starting point, to examine the role of sound in primary works by key figures working around and across the Black Atlantic from 1890-1939, with some context before and after this period. Authors studied will include Paul Laurence Dunbar, Sol Plaatje, John and Nokutela Dube, Langston Hughes, Shirley Graham Du Bois, Nicolás Guillén, Claude McKay, and Leon Gontran Damas along with composers Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Florence Price, and performers Paul Robeson, Marian Anderson, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday. These primary texts will be read in conversation with theoretical works that foreground auditory sensibilities by thinkers including Theodor Adorno, Jacques Attali, Josh Kun, Angela Davis, Farah Jasmine Griffin and others. We will also draw on recent special issues of American Quarterly (September 2011) and Social Text (Spring 2010) devoted to sound.

Taught by Professor Titsi Jaji.

ENG 890S: Modernism & the Recovery of Tradition: T. S. Eliot’s Spiritual Poetics

Monday 6:15pm-8:45pm

With the ongoing publication of Eliot’s complete prose writings, we are at long last also in possession of Eliot’s wide-ranging engagement of issues and debates in theology, philosophy, literature, and social thought. Our seminar will draw on a number of Eliot’s prose writings in relation to his canonical poetry, both of which we shall put in conversation with some of his most valued poetic precursors. Overall, the course will be divided into three sections: Part I will explore a number of Eliot’s essays and his early, high-Modernist poetry and from 1914-1922, culminating in The Waste Land. Part II will focus on Eliot’s concept of “tradition” and his increasingly wide-ranging engagement of poetic and religious interlocutors (Dante, Bramhall, Pascal, the Metaphysical Poets) during the years 1922-1935. Part III will mainly explore writings between 1935 and 1945. Here we will focus on Eliot’s contemplative poetry and poetic drama (Murder in the Cathedral), his critique of contemporary secular culture (After Strange Gods; The Idea of a Christian Society; Notes toward a Definition of Culture, et al.). Our discussion will conclude with a careful reading of Four Quartets (1936-1943), the last section of which (“Little Gidding,” 1943) we will read in close conjunction with Julian of Norwich’s A Revelation of Love. Download full course description: Eliot_Fall2016-Seminar

Taught by Professor Thomas Pfau.

RST 790S.01 Topics in Romance Studies: The Novel

Wednesday 1:25-3:55pm

“Historism” was the term used for the first time in 1881 by Karl Werner to name, in Giambattista Vico als Philosoph und gelehrter Forscher, the specific character of Vico’s understanding of history. From Eric Auerbach (“Vico and Aesthetic Historism”) to Roberto Esposito (Pensiero vivente. Origine e attualità della filosofia italiana), the historicist tradition has often been studied as a specific answer to the problems emerging from the Enlightenment: universality and individuality; reason and empiricism; law and fact; science and art. This course looks at the dialogue between such historicist tradition and the development of the novel as a specific genre and problem in European historiography. Download full course description: novel course description

 Taught by Professors Roberto Dainotto and David Bell.



Coming in the Spring 2016:

  • LIT 264S/ARTHIST 253S – “The Symbolist Movement in the Arts and European Thought” – Taught by Neil McWilliam