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Literature and Theories of Time

Convenor: Christina Lupton

This is a course that aims to provide a set of theoretical tools for writing and thinking about the ways in which literature represents, deploys, spans, and competes for time. It aims to make connections between narrative and media theory, phenomenology, and political discourses about time and recent fiction. Students will be encouraged to engage with a wide range of readings around the theme of time that may be used in their own literary and creative projects in other courses. This course may, for instance, be profitably taken together with Poetics of Urban Modernism or Writing Times, Writing Places

In addition to the weekly readings below, students will read two novels in advance of the course as texts that will ground our discussions: Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy (1759-67) and Ali Smith’s The Accidental (2005). These will also form the basis of our introductory discussion in week 1.

Section One: Getting the Plot

week 2 Gerard Gentte, Narrative Discourse, Chapter 2 Paul Ricouer, Time and Narrative, (Chicago, 1984), Vol 3

Week 3: Reinhart Kosselleck, Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time (MIT Press, 1985) Cathy Gallagher, “Formalism and Time,” Modern Language Quarterly 61 (2000): 229-251 Fredric Jameson, “The End of Temporality,” Critical Inquiry, Vol 29. No 4 (Summer 2003)

Section Two: Non-Chronological Thinking

Week 4: Delueze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus (selections), Michel Serres and Bruno Latour, Conversations on Science, Culture, and Time. Trans. Roxanne Lapidus (Michigan 1995) Bakhtin, Forms of Time and of the Chronotope, Anand Pandian, “The Time of Anthropolgy: Notes from a Field of Contemporary Experience,” Cultural Anthropology, 27:4, 2012.

Week 5: David E. Wellbery, “Contingency,” in Neverending Stories: Toward a Critical Narratology, ed. Ingeborg Hoesterey, Ann Clark Fehn, Maria Tatar (Princeton, 1992), Mark Currie, About Time: Narrative, Fiction and the Philosophy of Time (Edinburgh, Univ. Press, 2007), Introduction and Ch. 4

Section Three: Time for Politics

Week 7: Peter Osborne, The Politics of Time: Modernity and Avant-Garde (Verso, 2010) (Part One) Rita Felski, Doing Time: Feminist Theory and Postmodernity, Chapter 3. Julia Kristeva, “Womens Time” Signs, Vol. 7:1 (Autumn, 1981), pp. 13-35

Week 8: E.P. Thompson, “Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism” Past and Present Vol. 38, 1967, 56-97; Kathi Weeks, The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics and Postwork Imaginaries (Duke, 2011), Chapters 4 and 5.

Section Four: Mediated Time

Week 9: Bernard Steigler, Technics and Time, Vol. 1 Mark B. N. Hansen. "Living (with) Technical Time: From Media Surrogacy to Distributed Cognition." Theory, Culture & Society 26 .2-3 (March/May, 2009): 294-315.

Week 10: M. Hansen. "Symbolizing Time: Kittler and 21st Century Media." Kittler Mediated: New Essays on Culture and Technology (Stanford, 2013), Andrew Piper, “Novel Devotions: Conversional Reading, Computational Modelling, and the Modern Novel,” forthcoming NLH, Spring 2015.