Literature Courses

Fall 2024 Courses

001 In Person
W | 5:00PM - 7:30PM
Instructor: Lee Medovoi

Capitalism, we are told, is the only viable framework we have ever developed for modern human life. It has steadily enveloped more of the world and insinuated itself ever more deeply into our everyday existence from the sixteenth century onward. And yet, capitalism has always been accompanied by a palpable sense of impending social, political, economic and environmental crisis. On what basis can we critically examine the forms of life and the historical trajectories of sociality, culture and subjectivity that capitalism continuously creates and recreates? This class will work through the marxist tradition for approaching these questions. As arguably the richest and more sophisticated tradition of critical thought we have for thinking about capitalist modernity, marxist insights and approaches have been engaged by critical scholars working in disciplines across the humanities and social sciences. What are the marxist tradition's key strengths and weaknesses? How has marxism been thought and rethought as a means of investigating the predicaments of capitalist modernity?

We will begin with a detailed examination of Karl Marx’s own work, including his conceptions of historical materialism, the mode of production, capital and labor, the state and civil society, ideology, base and superstructure, the commodity-form, world history, alienation and expropriation. From there, we will skip ahead to various recent (i.e. late twentieth-century and early twenty-first century) revisions and challenges to his modes of analysis. Along the way we may explore Marxism’s intersections with the study of race/racism, postcolonial theory, feminism, immaterial labor, art and culture, ideology/common sense, and nature/environment. Authors whose work we will read include Lous Althusser, Moishe Postone, Sylvia Federici, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Cedric Robinson, Slavoj Zizek, Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall, Jason Moore, Fredric Jameson, and others.

001 In Person 
M/W 3:30-4:45 PM 
Instructor: Steph Brown

In 1948, the Empire-Windrush sailed from Jamaica to England, carrying the first members of an entire generation of emigrants from Britain’s colonial empire who would revitalize and irrevocably change the course of post-war literature in England. This course will consider a group of authors writing from 1948 to the present whose work has shaped the landscape of writing in Britain. They’ve done so by exploring the entanglement of race and empire, aesthetics and politics, English and other languages, a range of emigrant experiences, colonial and post-independence histories, Brexit and its significance for contemporary Black British writers, among other themes. These writers experiment with a variety of new fictional and poetic forms, and imagine into being new forms of citizenship, art, and community.

While we will begin with the Caribbean and the Windrush trajectory, we will move forward chronologically and outward geographically to read authors from a variety of national and colonial backgrounds from around the (former) British empire; this will give us a sense of the sheer breadth of post-Windrush and post-empire literary product (and will include brief excursions into the visual arts, broadcasting, and music).

Note: The description will be slightly updated at a later date with specific details for graduate students

001 In Person 
Th 3:00-5:30 PM 
Instructor: Lynda Zwinger

This is a course in reading doorstop novels. Nearly all of your hours of work for the class will be spent reading. The first step in training yourself to teach and/or research the novel is to read as many of them (and of all kinds) as you can (this is the fun part). Being graduate students, you may quail at the prospect of finding the time. This course will try to help with that. You will read the texts on your own, of course. But we will also spend time in class reading the passages that will be discussed in that meeting. During classes we will also reflect in general on reading itself and what in these big fat prose objects keeps us doing it. We will also have student-led reflection classes, collaborative discussions of what strikes you as "teachable" (to your future students), talks/reviews by students on a film adaptation of one of the novels, and frequent reflective journaling posts on D2L.

Novels will include Don Quixote (Putnam translation--read this over the summer if you can), Moll Flanders, The Monk, Emma, Vanity Fair, Wuthering Heights, Bleak House, Middlemarch, The Wings of the Dove......

Note: this list is a work in progress (except for Don Q--that's firm), so please check with me before you start reading ahead.

001 In Person 
F 10:00-11:50 AM 
Instructor: John Melillo

“How to graduate-student.” This colloquium meets every other week, and it is a requirement for first year students. Our meetings will include information about the program, an introduction to the profession, and tips on navigating graduate student life.

002 In Person 
F 10:00-10:50 PM 
Instructor: John Melillo

This workshop meets every other week. We will discuss career paths and goals, prepare application materials, and learn about different approaches to the process of going “on the market.”

005 In Person
Time TBD
Instructor: John Melillo

This writing workshop is for students who are ABD and who are at any stage of their dissertation writing. Whether you are working on your initial proposal or your final chapter, we will meet once a week to discuss writing strategies, workshop chapters or sections, and create accountability for your writing goals.