Graduate Courses, Spring 2010

Times and locations of class meetings are subject to change. Consult the UF Schedule of Courses for an explanation of the class period abbreviations.

Course no. Time(s) Course title Instructor
downAML 6017 W 6-8 American Romanticism Smith
downCRW 6130 W E1-E3 Graduate Fiction Workshop Robison
downCRW 6166 T E1-E3 Verse Forms: The Forms of Translation Hofmann
downCRW 6331 M 6-8 Graduate Poetry Workshop Wade
bulletENC 6428 W 9-11 Inventing Internet Theory Ulmer
downENG 6016 M 9-11 Against Adaptation (Re-reading Lacan) Harpold
downENG 6137 W 6-8
Screenings:
R E1-E3
Film History & Historiography Nygren
downENG 6138 MW E1-E3 Video Production Beebe
downENG 6138 T 9-11
Screenings:
R 9-11
From National to Transnational Cinema: The German Case Mennel
bulletENL 6236 R 6-8 “The Rise of the Novel”? McCrea
downENL 6246 MW 4-5 Blake & Coleridge Ault
bulletENL 6256 R E1-E3 Wilde, Beardsley, & Late-Victorian Sexual Politics Snodgrass
bulletENL 6276 M 6-8 Joyce & Cultural Studies Kershner
downLIT 6358 W E1-E3 Afro-European Literature & Culture Reid
bullet linkLIT 6856 F 6-8 Fictions of Africa: Literatures of Crisis Amoko
downLIT 6934 T 6-8 The Child on Film Cech
button linkLIT 6934 W 9-11 Introduction to the Discipline of Medieval Studies Shoaf

AML 6017

American Romanticism

Stephanie Smith

Famously, Nathaniel Hawthorne understood much of his work, and in particular his novels, as “romances,”making this most explicit in the title of The Blithedale Romance. The period between the “second revolution” of the Jacksonian Era and the close of the Civil War in America saw the development of the nation-state by ordeal. It was an age of great westward expansion, of the increasing gravity of the slavery question, of an intensification of the spirit of embattled sectionalism in the South, and of a powerful impulse to reform in the North. It was also America’s first great creative period, a full flowering of the romantic impulse on American soil. Surviving from the Federalist Age were its three major literary figures: Bryant, Irving, and Cooper. Emerging as new writers of strength and creative power were Hawthorne, Melville, Stowe, Poe, Whittier, Holmes, Longfellow, Lowell, Dickinson, Whitman, Thoreau and Emerson. It was a period of great experimentation and idealism, and flourished in some of the same philosophic soil as British romanticism, but at the end of the Civil War a new nation had been born, and it was to demand a new literature less idealistic and more practical, less exalted and more earthy than that produced in a “romantic” age of enthusiasm and optimism.

This course will re-explore the idea of American Romanticism as it flourished in the 19th century with an eye toward thinking about what “romanticism” might mean in the 21st century.

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CRW 6130

Graduate Fiction Workshop

Mary Robison

This class is for those of you enrolled in the MFA program. We meet every week for a 3-hour session to discuss the work – short stories or novel excerpts. You’re expected to participate and to write a brief response to each story presented. A couple/few times during the semester you’ll be appointed Respondent, meaning you will lead the discussion. Note that your submissions – or some version of them – will likely be included in your thesis. They’re the stories you’re writing for your degree, and the examination of them, therefore, is a close and serious one. You’ll receive valuable editing suggestions as well! You also may be urged to familiarize yourself with the works of specific others. Another thing: most genre fiction is inappropriate for this class, as are stories written for children. However, stories that are experimental, or in some way non-traditional, are quite welcome.

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CRW 6166

Verse Forms: The Forms of Translation

Michael Hofmann

This course is always about getting a quart to go in a pint-pot: vast, industrial-remedial quantities of reading; intelligent discussion; and an atmosphere that fosters both in general and particular the pursuit of individual translation projects (though this is not a requirement, nor is the having a foreign language): all in three hours a week. Talking, in other words, will be accepted as a substitute for doing – though you may well want to get your hands dirty. (Be prepared for overtime?)

That crush or press is the first point of reference. The second is a reading list of literature in translation that goes, as German has it, from Pontius to Pilate – or, in this instance, from Adam to Zagajewski – and is half fiction, half poetry. I have in mind at present: Akhmatova, Machado de Assis, Bove, Chinese poetry, Enzensberger, Ginzburg, Koeppen, Konwicki, and Zagajewski. An author a fortnight, or an author a week. Their obscurity will be familiar to you; I vouch for their inspirational quality.

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CRW 6331

Graduate Poetry Workshop

Sidney Wade

This is a graduate poetry workshop in which we will examine the work of Sylvia Plath, Paul Violi, Anne Carson, and Frederick Seidel, and possibly others. We will analyze the work and write poems in response, discussing students’ work every week. Students will be asked to produce one poem per week, as well as to lead the discussion on one of the poems slated for analysis during the course of the semester.

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ENC 6428

Creating Internet Theory

Gregory Ulmer

Our concern this semester is not with the concept of the Internet, but with creating a concept for thinking philosophically in the cultural and technological conditions of the spectacle (or what Paul Virilio calls the dromosphere). Philosophy was invented in Plato’s Academy, as a mode of thought specific to literacy. A framing question for us is whether or in what way philosophical reason (critical thinking) may be sustained outside of the book as support, in a practice that does not rely on propositional logic or conventional argumentation. What part of theory survives in electracy, and what part disappears? This question is approached using heuretics (the logic of invention), with part of the purpose being to gain some experience with this generative methodology. The guiding theory for the experiment is Deleuze and Guattari, What Is Philosophy? In this, their final co-authored work, D&G reject the mode of propositional discourse invented by Aristotle and replace it with an alternative account: they invent a new concept and practice of “concept.” In the first part of the semester we will extract from What Is Philosophy? a poetics for inventing concepts. Our method for generating a poetics from this important text is generalizable to any work of original theory. In the second part we will test a specific collaboratively produced concept, to determine if it is as adequate to the Internet environment as Aristotle’s propositional discourse was to alphabetic writing of natural language. The semester project is composed as a blog, supplemented with basic photoshop. Written notes on the assigned readings (four or five books maximum) are required. Although specific texts other than What is Philosophy? have not been selected at this time, related ideas point in a likely direction: that the alternative to the proposition is the joke.

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ENG 6016

Against Adaptation (Re-reading Lacan)

Terry Harpold

The course title is taken from that of Philippe Van Haute’s masterful close reading of Jacques Lacan’s essay “The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of Desire in the Freudian Unconscious.” “Subversion” is one of most dense and challenging of the texts in Lacan’s 1966 collection, Écrits.

It is also one of the most significant. Based on Lacan’s Seminar V (“Les Formations de l’inconscient,” 1957–58), “Subversion” marks a turn in Lacan’s teaching, from his emphasis in the 1950s on orders of the imaginary, the symbolic, and the dependence of psychic structure on operations of language, to his development in the 1960s of the concepts of the objet petit a, the real, and the fantasy. At the centers of the Seminar and the essay are the famous (or infamous, if you prefer) Graphs of Desire. These strange, compelling loops and sigles represent the most elaborate of Lacan’s early attempts to codify and transmit his teachings via graphic and para-mathematical objects. “Subversion” is arguably the culmination of many of the theoretical trajectories sketched out in Écrits. We will rely on Van Haute’s lucid and insightful book to guide our way through the fascinating, sometimes baffling defiles of this evocative, essential essay.

Readings for the course will include an eclectic selection of essays from Bruce Fink’s 2006 translation of the entire Écrits; Van Haute’s Against Adaptation, and selections from Peter Gay’s edited collection, The Freud Reader (Norton, 1995). We will end the semester with Russell Grigg’s 2007 translation of Lacan’s Seminar XVII, The Other Side of Psychoanalysis (1969–70), in which Lacan develops the theory of the Four Discourses, which we will consider as an important elaboration/revision of “Subversion” and an extension of its logic into social and political spheres. Dylan Evans’s An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis will serve as an valuable guide to Lacan’s technical idiom.

Graded assignments include two 6–8-page précis/commentaries on readings for the course, two in-class presentations on the days those readings are discussed, and a final research paper (12–18 pages).

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ENG 6137

Film History & Historiography

Scott Nygren

This seminar will introduce film history in the context of historiographical questions about how narratives of history can be produced and thought. Film has been international since its invention, yet film history tends to be conceived in national terms. Increasingly since World War 2, a world cinema has emerged outside Eurocentric narratives of history that invite a reconsideration of what history is and how it can be conceived. Accordingly, this course is designed to work through theoretical problems involved with multiple and conflicting concepts of history, in order to prepare graduate students to teach film history and to develop productive dissertation projects.

The course will begin by planning how to survey a broad range of films that students need to know in order to become teachers and scholars in the field, and the question of how such surveys are assembled and organized. In order to approach this problem, the seminar will discuss models of historical writing that have emerged since 1945, especially those that are less recognized or under-utilized in the United States. Fernand Braudel’s emphasis on the longue durée as part of the Annales School, Georges Canghuilhem’s concern with conceptual transformation in the history of science (popularized by Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 1962), Michel Foucault’s strategies of archeology, epistemic break and genealogy of power, and Gilles Deleuze’s theories of image-time will be among the approaches considered.

Films will be screened and discussed insofar as they raise problems for historical contextualization and evaluative judgment. One group will be films that were censored or otherwise foreclosed, so that reception is delayed or offset from the time of production. After a week of exhibition, Louis Buñuel’s L’Age d’or was withdrawn from distribution for almost 50 years, so that a 1930 film effectively received its world premiere in 1980. Public screenings of Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin (USSR, 1925) were illegal in France until 1952. Five of Alfred Hitchcock’s films from the 1950s including Vertigo were unavailable for many years, until their re-release in the 1980s. How do these delays and offsets affect the films’ historical significance? How are diasporic and exilic cinemas today faced with similar exclusion today, and do such films anticipate a parallel historical reconsideration within a postnational framework?

Another group of films will engage the issue of transvaluation, or films that shift in significance as evaluative frameworks change. Buñuel’s Un chien Andalou (Fr, 1929) was widely acclaimed in the 1960s as the definitive surrealist film. However, Man Ray’s L’Étoile de mer (Fr, 1928) makes another kind of contribution to the possibility of surrealist film, but has not yet received the critical attention it deserves. Feminist writing in the 1980s then questioned why Germaine Dulac’s La coquille et le clergyman (Fr, 1927-28) had been dismissed, and reconsidered Dulac as having invented the strategy of allegorical psychoanalysis on which Buñuel’s film was based. Should these films then logically be screened in reverse chronological order, to suggest the unfolding of their historical significance?

Jean-François Lyotard argues that modern time is founded on the concept of an irreversible break between past and present. Is this principle tacitly assumed by film‘s framing of history after the invention of cinema in 1895? Should cinema be necessarily conceived in a larger cultural and historical context that includes the 19th century, the Renaissance, or classical Greece and Rome? Alternatively, should the idea of a break be located differently, as Nagisa Oshima argues when he insists on 1945 as the foundational break in the history of Japanese film? Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru (Jp, 1952) negotiates the traumatic break of the war by elaborately folding time back on itself to link 1950s Japan to the prewar moment of the 1920s, and to uncover a crucial postwar shift in Japanese identity and agency.

How is past time represented in cinema? All historically set films assume at least three moments in time that intersect: the period represented in the film, the time of the film’s production, and the moment of the film’s viewing. John Ford’s The Searchers (US, 1956) breaks with the Western genre’s past representations of Native Americans and reframes the settlement of the West in light of psychotic racism. Ford’s film was produced after the Supreme Court’s desegregation decision in Brown vs. the Board of Education (1953) and indirectly addresses racism in the 1950s, but this may not be immediately obvious to viewers today. Rossellini, in films like The Rise to Power of Louis XIV (Fr, 1966), proposes that historicall- set films should omit any information not known through historical records, and present a narratively flat image to represent the limits of knowledge. Godard specifically questions how events can be represented through film in Le gai savoir (Fr, 1968), and demands a rethinking of foundational assumptions.

After these multiple concerns, the seminar can also reconsider how a classical model of chronological sequence came to be the normative standard to which all film history is referred. To what extent is strict chronology a necessary convenience preliminary to other questions? How does the creation of standard time to organize train schedules relate to the 19th century emergence of historical methods? Is chronology in practice subordinate to assumptions of national cinema and a moment of origin? To what extent does a normative chronology assume a Eurocentric model of globalization? Is it possible or necessary to determine such a thing as a first film, or the first use of a technique? What motivates the search for an originary instance?

Books will include David Bordwell and Kristen Thompson’s Film History: An Introduction, Deleuze’s Image-Time, Foucault’s Archeology of Knowledge, and Lyotard’s The Differend. We will also read a selection of excerpts from books on film history on reserve, to survey alternative approaches and strategies. These will include Kyoko Hirano’s Mr. Smith Goes to Tokyo, Susan Hayward’s French National Cinema, John Sedgwich and Michael Pokorny’s An Economic History of Film, Patrice Petro’s Aftershocks of the New: Feminism and Film History, Jeffrey Skoller’s Shadows, Specters, Shards: Making History in Avant-Garde Film, and Frank Ukadike’s Black African Cinema.

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ENG 6138

Video Production

Roger Beebe

This course is designed at one level to be a simple soup-to-nuts introduction to the techniques and technologies of video production, including the whole process from shooting to editing.  However, at another level (and indeed perhaps a more fundamental level), the class will be an extended exploration of a more finite number of aesthetic and theoretical issues in experimental media.  Specifically, in this course we will explore the terrain often designated by the term “experimental documentary.”  We will be looking at the work of filmmakers who use experimental formal strategies as a way of engaging with the world.  This practice stands in opposition, on the one hand, to “pure” experimentation (in the form of simple abstraction, for instance) and on the other to more conventional uses of documentary form (talking heads, &c.).  Screenings will include work by Barbara Hammer, Alan Berliner, Santiago Alvarez, Craig Baldwin, Frederic Wiseman, Jem Cohen, and many others who have made forays into this territory. 

The class assumes no prior experience working with video, but we will attempt to move quickly through the technological to focus more centrally on the aesthetic/ethical/political issues associated with experimental documentary.  Those who do have extensive experience with video production should also not be concerned about the “introductory” nature of this course; it is structured in such a way that it can accommodate both novice and expert alike.

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ENG 6138

From National to Transnational Cinema: The German Case

Barbara Mennel

This course introduces students to the relationship of film to theories of the nation, transnationalism, and globalization through the case of German film. The goal of the course thus is two-fold: we will read foundational texts regarding nationhood and globalization (Benedict Anderson, Immanuel Wallerstein, Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri, Saskia Sassen), as well as the central texts of German film theory (Walter Benjamin, Siegfried Kracauer). The course concludes with current studies about German film in a transnational context (Katrin Sieg, Randall Halle). At the same time, the course will provide graduate students with an overview of German cinema organized around the tension of a national frame and transnational cinematic practices. Films may include but are not limited to: Metropolis, The Blue Angel, Ali: Fear Eats Soul, The Edge of Heaven, It Happened Just Before. Students do not need prior knowledge in film theory or German Studies. Topics for final papers are not limited to German film and can address questions of national cinema and transnational cinematic practices in relation to different national and transnational configurations of film and new media.

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ENL 6236

“The Rise of the Novel”?

Brian McCrea

This course will investigate relationships between the “old” 18th-century canon – Defoe, Fielding, Richardson – and the “new” – Behn, Haywood, Burney, and Inchbald. Particular attention will be given to the question of how (or whether) the novel ”rises” in 18th-century England and how 18th-century writers define the genre. We will study how the most influential critics of the 1980s – Michael McKeon and Nancy Armstrong – and successful critics of the 1990s – Claudia Johnson, Jill Campbell – respond to Ian Watt’s classic, but dated The Rise of the Novel (1957). We will conclude by discussing Clifford Siskin’s work on “the great forgetting” (by 19th and 20th-century critics) of 18th-century female novelists. Throughout the course, we will read short, popular fictions by female authors from the period 1680–1720. We will ask how these “novels” (“a small tale, generally of love” in Samuel Johnson’s definition) became “the” novel.

The course will open with Watt, then move on to subsequent critiques of him. Throughout the semester, we will consider the implications of Michael McKeon’s claim that the novel originates as part of an attempt to ameliorate both literary and social anxiety about “quality.” By studying eighteenth-century fictionalizations of kinship, we can see how deftly the writers of the period, even as they encourage subversive social attitudes, bring their readers back to the status quo, closing their stories by vindicating existing orders. We also will position ourselves to study differences (or lack thereof) in the versions of kinship offered by male and female authors.

Students will work toward a publishable essay. Besides participating in class discussions, students will comment upon a novel and a critical work they read “on their own.” (I will provide book lists for both.)

Books:

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ENL 6246

Blake & Coleridge

Donald Ault

This seminar will focus on Blake and Coleridge, with some readings in Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, and Keats, as well as selected literary theoretical texts. The work in the course will emphasize close reading of texts that present interpretive difficulties at the level of their material production (including variant editions, revisions, different versions, spatial layout of syntax, etc.), taking into account the tendency of Romantic texts to resist being “finished.” We will read these texts against the grain in order to explore interferences within their ideological and textual fields.

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ENL 6256

Wilde, Beardsley, and Late-Victorian Sexual Politics

Chris Snodgrass

This course will have two central focuses:

(1) Investigate some of the key myths, movements, and figurations in late-Victorian sexual politics – particularly various narratives of Degeneration/Decadence, Aestheticism, the grotesque, etc. – in relation to transfigured and “naturalized” concepts of “masculine” and “feminine” (and of heterosocial and homosocial relationships). We will examine how traditional Victorian gender definitions – such as males as the managers of Empire and exemplars of nationhood; and the “proper” role of females as exemplars of the Feminine Ideal, “Angels of the House” – were problematized by both traditional homosexual “dalliances,” Gentleman’s-Club refuges, and the institution of prostitution, on the one hand, and the increasing focus on the New Woman and the Woman Question, on the other.

(2) Read, discuss, and theorize most of the works of perhaps the two most iconic figures of the Victorian fin de siècle – Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley – as the primary means of illuminating the course’s other focus, although we will contextualize Wilde’s and Beardsley’s works by examining works and commentaries by a few other figures. The Wilde readings will include his poetry, short fiction (particularly the fairy tales he wrote allegedly for his two young children, but also “Pen, Pencil, and Poison” and “The Portrait of Mr. W.H.”), his major critical essays (such as “The Decay of Lying,” “The Critic as Artist,” and the “Truth of Masks”), his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, his major plays (Salome, Lady Windermere’s Fan, A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband, and The Importance of Being Earnest), and his landmark prison apologia De Profundis. The Beardsley works we’ll study will span all six distinct Beardsley styles and will include selected illustrations from his landmark Le Morte Darthur project, selected grotesques for the famous Bon-Mots series, the notorious Salome “illustrations” of Wilde’s play, numerous “scandalous” examples of the “Beardsley Woman,” his controversial illustrations for the major cultural journals of the period and various classics such as Mlle. du Maupin and Lysistrata, as well as Beardsley’s poems and unfinished semi-pornographic novella, Under the Hill.

While most of the weekly assignments do not explicitly include twentieth-century critical theory – and a sophisticated knowledge of literary theory is in no way a prerequisite – you will be encouraged to employ whatever theoretical perspectives you know to help illuminate the issues under study.

The course will try specifically to organize your efforts toward the end of producing a strong conference paper that can presumably be expanded into a publishable professional article. Approximately 50% of the final grade will depend on the term paper and the supporting bibliographical work and scholarship. The other 50% will be based on the quality of weekly reading notes, as well as the degree of preparation for and participation in the discussions of the scheduled course material.

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ENL 6276

Joyce & Cultural Studies

R. Brandon Kershner

The course will be an introduction both to James Joyce and to the broad field of cultural studies, using Joyce’s fiction as examples of literary texts with particularly rich cultural resonance – both representationally and as artifacts. We will read Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist, and Ulysses in conjunction with key concepts in cultural studies. Our emphases will include the areas of

Although the course obviously will engage with theory, the stress will be upon specific implications of the literary texts rather than upon the theory in and for itself. As an aid in reading Ulysses, we will use Blamires’s guide to that novel entitled The New Bloomsday Book. I will bring in copies of newspapers and advertisements of the time as well as some examples of the popular reading to which Joyce alludes, show slides of Eugen Sandow the bodybuilder and memorial photography of children, and discuss other examples of material culture from turn-of-the-century Ireland.

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LIT 6358

Afro-European Literature & Culture

Mark A. Reid

This seminar introduces students to the literature and visual culture by and about Afro-Europeans and Black American expatriates in Western Europe. Weekly readings will cover literature, film, political essays, and critical race theory that treat the socioeconomic and cultural experiences of the African Diaspora in Europe. This course understands the African Diaspora to include North African Arabs and Jews.

Requirements:

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LIT 6856

Fictions of Africa: Literatures of Crisis

Apollo Amoko

This course turns on a foundational question in literary studies: what is the relationship between the realm of art – aesthetics – and the politics of everyday life – the lebenwelt. In an attempt to answer this question, we will undertake a genealogy of the contemporary literatures of Africa. As such critics as V.Y. Mudimbe and Simon Gikandi have contended, modern African literature first emerged in the late nineteen fifties and early sixties as a discourse designed to liberate African subjects from the colonial order of things. Written in the context of triumphant or, at any rate optimistic, nationalism, this literature predominantly deployed the aesthetics of realism. In hindsight, this deployment does not seem either accidental or co-incidental. These, it would seem, were literatures of radical possibility and profound optimism. Diverse critics such as Fredric Jameson, Kwame Anthony Appiah and Benedict Anderson all argue that realism is the pre-dominant aesthetic mode of nationalism.

Both the nation and the realist novel are narratives of linear progress across time. Anderson appears to suggest that the novel (along with the newspaper) was central to the possibility of imagining the modern nation. The aesthetic of the novel made it possible to think and narrate the nation in “homogeneous empty time.” To what extent are the founding texts of modern African literature causally linked to the discourses of African nationalism? If the first generation of modern African emerged in the context of triumphant anti-colonial nationalism, then, succeeding generations have been written in the wake of what has come to be known as the Africa crisis. From the late nineteen sixties onwards, the promise of postcolonial plenitude give way to pessimism and despair as everyday African life came increasingly to be characterized by abject poverty, horrific violence, endemic corruption, repressive governance, crumbling infrastructure, extreme deprivation and other forms of mass misery. From one perspective, the African postcolony has come to be defined by an interminable, if not terminal, crisis. What has the aesthetic dimension of this crisis been? To what extent have Afro-modernism, magical realism and other forms of anti-realism displaced realism in the realm of African art? To what extent can these non/anti-realist modes been seen as symptomatic of a continent in crisis? Is it possible to trace one to one correspondence, if not a causal relationship, between the dominant forms of African art and the politics of everyday African life?

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LIT 6934

The Child on Film

John Cech

The purpose of this seminar is to investigate and, in a sense, map the kinds of depictions of the child as subject of an array of visual texts. The seminar will begin with early photography, such as the works of Jacques Henri Lartigue, Julia Margaret Cameron, Lewis Carroll, August Sander, and others. It will look at a number of silent movies in which children play important roles. The seminar will devote considerable time to the emergence of the child as an important film and photographic archetype during the 1930s -- from the movies of Shirley Temple to the WPA photographs of Dorothea Lang and others. The second half of the seminar will consider the highly textured portraits of children in the works of Truffaut, Fellini, Spielberg, and Babenco; the documentaries of Apted, Briski, and Burstein; and the experimental films of Madden and Gondry.

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LIT 6934

Introduction to the Discipline of Medieval Studies

Al Shoaf

This course serves as preparation for i) two courses that follow it (one in the medieval French tradition and the other in the tre corone of Italy) and ii) teaching survey courses at the sophomore and (occasionally) junior levels in college curricula around the US, especially schools with a strong emphasis on undergraduate teaching.

Students will be introduced to all the principal methods a medievalist employs, if only briefly, given their extent, and this introduction will flow in tandem with readings in the major Latin materials (late classical as well as medieval) that were of such vast influence during the period (all readings in translation). These materials will include both religious and secular writings, but the primary emphasis will be on the latter.

Students will compile a bibliography for mid-term evaluation and then write a moderate-length essay (15 pages) based on that bibliography for end-of-term evaluation.

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