Graduate Seminars

2021-2022

Fall 2021

 

Graduate Proseminar

English 200 / Prof. Sharpe
Mondays, 12:00pm – 2:50pm

The Graduate Proseminar is an introduction to the profession of literary studies. The course will cover a wide array of topics related to issues in the profession and professionalization, including (but not limited to): the structures and histories of the discipline; writing and publishing for scholarly and general audiences; scholarly organizations and conference presentations; building a CV and a resume; developing professional skills; understanding the academic job market; humanities careers; and critical and methodological approaches to literary studies.

[250 Title to come]

Restoration and 18th-Century Literature
English 250 / Prof. Kareem
Tuesdays, 9:00am – 11:50am

[Description to come]

Breadth:
Pre-1780 (2019 and earlier cohorts)
Pre-1800 (2020 and later cohorts)

The Latinx C19

American Literature to 1900
English 254 / Prof. López
Thursdays, 9:00am – 11:50am

In this seminar we will explore the intellectual challenge posed by the Latinx 19th century.  It radically alters our ideas of space, place, and nation as it forces us to reconsider the Anglocentrism of conventional periodization in C19 literary studies as well as foundational concepts like “America,” “ethnic,” and even the category of the “literary” itself. Readings will be multigeneric and in English, covering topics including: antebellum black-brown solidarities; the role of emerging print technologies in forging migrant, Latinx reading communities; the relationship between modernismo, vanguardismo, and hemispheric vs. transatlantic modernisms; cross-dressing, Confederate, Cuban émigrés and the queering of the Civil War; and the territorial politics of the testimonial vs. the novelistic “self” in the aftermath of the Mexican-American War.  We’ll explore these through contemporary, cutting-edge research and will dialog directly with the scholars currently shaping the field of C19 literary studies.  Seminar time will comprise discussion as well as hands-on, archival experience, and class work will include a mix of papers, flash presentations, and archival assessments designed to give specialists and non-specialists alike skill-building experiences applicable across academic and professional fields. Readings will include: Selected Writings (José Martí); Xicoténcatl (Anonymous); The Squatter and the Don (María Amparo Ruiz de Burton); The Woman in Battle (Loreta Velasquez); Blake (Martin Delaney); Selections from Azul and Profane Prose (Rubén Darío), and more!

Breadth:
Post-1780 (2019 and earlier cohorts)
Post-1800 (2020 and later cohorts)

Digital/Medieval: Resistant Archives

Methods and Tools for the Study of Literature and Culture
English 257 / Prof. Fisher
Mondays, 3:00pm – 5:50pm

English 257, “Digital/Medieval: Resistant Archives” will focus on the theoretical and practical complexities of contemporary archives, digitization and archival preservation practice, and medieval documents and books.

Working hands-on with UCLA’s collections of medieval manuscripts and early printed books, and also hands-on with some of the interoperable data available from various digital projects from around the world (including but not limited to IIIF, the Digital Mappa project, the Mapping Manuscript Migration project, and others), the seminar will offer students an opportunity to both encounter the practical difficulties of archival and digital work on medieval and renaissance books/texts, and also to situate those difficulties in theoretical discussions about archives, manuscripts, and book history more generally. Visiting speakers will make presentations to the class and.

 

This class is the annual CMRS LAMAR seminar (Late Antique, Medieval, and Renaissance) for 2021-22.

Breadth:
Genre/Methods/Theory (2020 and later cohorts)

[260 Title to come]

Studies in Literature and Its Relationship to Arts and Sciences
English 260 / Prof. R. Lee
Wednesdays, 9:00am – 11:50am

[Description to come]

Breadth:
Post-1780 (2019 and earlier cohorts)
Post-1800 (2020 and later cohorts)

Critical Fanonism: Franz Fanon and Postcolonial Discursivity

Issues and Developments in Critical Theory
English 270 / Prof. Behdad
Tuesdays, 3:00pm – 5:50pm

This seminar explores the works of anti-colonial theorist and activist Franz Fanon in the context of postcolonial discourse. We will read Fanon’s four major works, Black Skin, White Masks (1952), A Dying Colonialism (1959), Toward the African Revolution (1964), and The Wretched of the Earth (1961), along some of the most important critical engagements with and evaluations of these works by postcolonial scholars. Our discussions will be framed by a broad range of questions about the relevance of his theoretical articulations of colonial relations of power, race, and nationalism. As well, we will interrogate the term “postcolonialism” by considering the theoretical and political implications of using such an umbrella term to designate the ensemble of writings by those subjects whose identities and histories have been interpolated by colonial encounter.

Breadth:
Genre/Methods/Theory (2020 and later cohorts)

 

Winter 2022

 

Shakespeare and Accountability

Shakespeare
English 247 / Prof. Little

This seminar studies Shakespeare’s relationship to what I’m calling for the purposes of this seminar “theories of accountability,” theories that have articulated investments in social justice, possibly including critical race studies, disability studies, ecocriticism, Marxist criticism, queer studies, postcolonialism, etc. One of the seminar’s overarching questions is what does it mean to think about accountability within both institutional and critical frameworks. What does it mean to hold Shakespeare accountable? To hold us accountable as scholars in the humanities, as teachers etc.? Each week we will read a different Shakespeare play and take on a different theoretical model (via modest theoretical readings) and explore these and other questions. We will also, of course, welcome intersectional work among these and other theoretical models and will do our best to resist obvious pairings of plays and theories. Some possible plays include As You Like It, Merchant of Venice, Othello, Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, Twelfth Night. Expectations for seminarians will include one formal presentation, participation in an end-of-term symposium, and the submission of a final research paper.

Breadth:
Pre-1780 (2019 and earlier cohorts)
Pre-1800 (2020 and later cohorts)

[Modernism: A Reckoning]

20th and 21st Century Literatures in English
English 253 / Prof. Hornby

This seminar questions the critical purchase of modernism amid conflicting rumors of its obsolescence and whispers of its return. Modernism, after all, has been declared dead before. If it has died (again), are there mourners at its wake or shouts of good riddance? If it is revived, what is at stake in the reanimation of modernism? We will reckon with modernism’s perceived ends and the field’s own obsession with endings, nostalgia, death, and loss. Balancing on the knife’s edge of disaster and renewal, modernism insists on the exchange of old and new, and so we will consider the particular relationship of modernism to contemporary works and contemporary crises. In thinking about the shape of the field, we will look closely at the ways in which formalism as method emerged in the early part of the twentieth century and how it might inform the current conversations about the field.

Breadth:
Post-1780 (2019 and earlier cohorts)
Post-1800 (2020 and later cohorts)

[255 Title to come]

Topics in the Novel
English 255 / Prof. Grossman

[Description to come]

Breadth:
Post-1780 (2019 and earlier cohorts)
Post-1800 (2020 and later cohorts)

[M266 Title to come]

Cultural World Views of Native America
English M266 / Prof. Mo’e’hahne

[Description to come]

Breadth:
Post-1780 (2019 and earlier cohorts)
Post-1800 (2020 and later cohorts)

[270 Title to come]

Issues and Developments in Critical Theory
English 270 / Prof. Makdisi

[Description to come]

Breadth:
Genre/Methods/Theory (2020 and later cohorts)

 

Spring 2022

 

Poetry and the Police

20th and 21st Century Literatures in English
English 253 / Prof. Nersessian

“One cannot write poems about trees when the forest is full of police.” – Bertolt Brecht.

 

This seminar asks what kind of determinative relation might exist between contemporary poetry and poetics and the modern police state. In other words and in the simplest terms, how does the omnipresence of the police affect what poetry looks like, and is? We will be treating policing not just as a theme within twentieth- and twenty-first century poetry but rather attempting to develop a working theory of the impact of state violence—in both its ordinary and more extraordinary manifestations—on poetic form, language, and concepts. Readings will be many and varied, and will include work by Amiri Baraka, Sean Bonney, Gwendolyn Brooks, Aimé Césaire, Roque Dalton, Diane di Prima, Tongo Eisen-Martin, Mercedes Eng, Jean-Marie Gleize, Bhanu Kapil, Anna Mendelssohn, Justin Rovillos Monson, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Danez Smith, Juliana Spahr, and Wendy Trevino among several others, as well as works of literary and political theory and history.

Breadth:
Post-1780 (2019 and earlier cohorts)
Post-1800 (2020 and later cohorts)

[254 Title to come]

American Literature to 1900
English 254 / Prof. Silva

[Description to come]

Breadth:
Pre-1780 (2019 and earlier cohorts)
Pre-1800 (2020 and later cohorts

Latinx Writing Now: Seminar and Workshop

Studies in Chicana/Chicano Literature
English M261 / Prof. Torres

This will be both a seminar and an opportunity for students to workshop their own creative prose. For our seminar texts, we’ll look at Latinx literary production of the last five years. How would we define the “now” of Latinx literature, and how does that “now” imagine the future, revision the past, reflect and distort the contemporary? On the workshop side, students will have the chance to develop their own research interests in a creative direction, whether that’s thinking about new ways of engaging with the archive; writing fiction, poetry, or essays; or – in the great Anzaldúan tradition – hybridizing poetry and prose, personal narrative and theory, in order to create new forms.

Breadth:
Post-1780 (2019 and earlier cohorts)
Post-1800 (2020 and later cohorts)

Contemporary African American Literature

Studies in Afro-American Literature
English M262 / Prof. Goyal

This seminar examines key developments in contemporary African American literature, tracing lively debates about authenticity, identity, and tradition over the last four decades after the end of the Black Arts Movement. We explore the links between aesthetic and political worlds, the interplay of race, gender, class, sexuality, and region, and the innovative responses of writers to the ongoing contradictions of emerging racial formations, neither reducible to what came before, nor radically in breach from it. In what ways is contemporary African American literature a coherent entity? To what extent does resistance form a central problematic in the field today? How do contemporary writers open up restrictive ideas about racial identity and community and highlight the multiplicity of African American identities, interrogating notions of authenticity and the demands of representation? How do they make sense of the contradictions of historical developments over the last four decades, where advances in racial justice have been haunted by the persistence of pernicious forms of discrimination and dispossession? The writers and artists we study not only reckon with these developments, they shape our understanding of their impact on ordinary lives by chronicling the psychic and social architecture of lived experiences of racism. They also take up the question of how and why contemporary forms of discrimination relate to previous racial regimes, probing whether the new century inaugurated a new racial order or documented the persistence of old forms of injustice and precarity. Major topics include: the literature of protest and dissent; memory, history, and the legacy of slavery; literary experimentation and Afrofuturist speculation; satire, humor, and the search for new forms; the new African diaspora, migration, and displacement.

Breadth:
Post-1780 (2019 and earlier cohorts)
Post-1800 (2020 and later cohorts)

Rousseau and the Origins of Theory

Issues and Developments in Critical Theory
English 270 / Prof. Kaufman

This course will serve as a critical introduction to what is customarily called “theory,” or “French theory.”  While recent studies have usefully situated theory—and the questionable idea that it can be readily applied—as an invention of the Anglo-American academy, this course will explore the hypothesis that a wide range of groundbreaking works of “theory” had as their focal point critical considerations of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and especially his work in political theory.  What makes this work, and particularly Rousseau’s concept of origin, such an enabling frame of reference in the twentieth-century?  Thinkers considered include Lévi-Strauss, Starobinski, Derrida, de Man, Althusser, Foucault, Deleuze, Kofman, Lejeune, and Badiou.  We will also consider selections from Rousseau’s vast corpus alongside the critical works in question, and students are encouraged to read as much as they can of Rousseau’s Confessions, Discourse on the Origins of Inequality, The Social Contract, Emile, and Julie, or the New Heloise.

Breadth:
Genre/Methods/Theory (2020 and later cohorts)

Additional Courses

Publishing Academic Literary Article  (Spring 2022)

English 490 / Prof. Cohen

[Description to come]

Please note that the seminar may not be used to fulfill the 14-course requirement for the PhD in English.  S/U grading only.