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EN122 Syllabus and Lecture List, 2019-20

Term 1

Week 1: Introduction to the course (Myka Tucker-Abramson)

Unit I: Narrative

*** Text to read over the summer for this unit, Chris Kraus I Love Dick (1997)

Week 2: Viktor Shklovsky, “Art, as Device” (1917) and Ferdinand de Saussure, "The Object of Linguistics" and "Nature of the Linguistic Sign" and "Linguistic Value" in Course in General Linguistics (1916; trans. Wade Baskin) (Daniel Katz)

Week 3: Karl Marx, excerpt from The German Ideology (1845) (Nick Lawrence)

Week 4: Sigmund Freud “The Method of Interpreting Dreams: An Analysis of a Specimen Dream" (1899) and Louis Althusser “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (excerpted)” (1970) (Myka Tucker-Abramson)

Week 5: Helene Cixous, "Laugh of the Medusa" (1976) (Rashmi Varma)
(and a visit from our subject librarian, Kate Courage)


Unit II: Poetics

Week 7 Comparative Poetry: Mahmood Darwish "Sonnet V"; W.B. Yeats "No Second Troy"; Lorna Goodison "Mother, the Great Stones Got To Move"
Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren, "Poetry as a Way of Saying," in Understanding Poetry (1938) (Jonathan Skinner)

Week 8 Comparative Poetics: Adonis, "Poetics and Modernity" in An Introduction to Arab Poetics (1984) [update: a PDF is now available here]; Édouard Glissant “For Opacity" (1990); Audre Lorde “Poetry is Not a Luxury” (1984) (Jonathan Skinner)

Week 9 Contemporary Poetics I: M. NourbeSe Philip, Zong plus the "Notanda" (Wesleyan Press, 2008)
Evie Shockley, "Is 'Zong!' conceptual poetry? Yes, it isn't." (2013) (Christine Okoth)

Week 10 Contemporary Poetics II: Janelle Monae, The ArchAndroid (2010) and selected poems
Donna Haraway, "A Cyborg Manifesto" (1985) (Emma Mason)
[Note: for "A Cyborg Manifesto, please focus on the following sections. 1/ Page 8 (from "The cyborg is a creature in a postgender world') to page 10 ("Their fathers, after all, are inessential.") 2/ Page 33 (from "Communications technologies and biotechnologies are the crucial tools recrafing our bodies.") to page 34 ("The fundamentals of this technology can be condensed into the metaphor C3 I, command-control-communication-intelligence, the military’s symbol for its operations theory.")]


Term 2

Unit III: Performance

*** Text to be read alongside material for weeks 1-3: Saadallah Wannous, Soiree for the 5th of June (1967)

Update (2 January 2020): Please see the attached an excellent overview of the play, "Critique After the 1967 Defeat" by Elizabeth Suzanne Kassab, the also provides an introduction to both the author’s work as well as the larger context (namely, the June 1967 war).

Week 1: Ric Knowles, "Chapter 2: Theatre" from How Theatre Means (2014) (Stephen Purcell)

Week 2: Antonin Artaud "The Theatre of Cruelty: First Manifesto" in The Theatre and Its Double (1938) (Matt Franks)

Week 3: Augusto Boal, "Preface to the 1974 Edition" and "Poetics of the Oppressed" in Theatre of the Oppressed (1970) (Stephen Purcell)

Week 4: To read: Judith Butler "Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory" Theatre Journal (1988) and Sylvia Federici "Wages Against Housework" (1975)
To watch: Martha Rosler Semiotics of the Kitchen (1975) (Myka Tucker-Abramson)

Week 5: To listen to: Childish Gambino “This is America” (2018)
To look at: Carrie Mae Weems "The Louisiana Project" (2003) and Kara Walker "A Subtlety, or the Marvellous Sugar Baby" (2014) and " An Historical Romance of a Civil War as It Occurred b'tween the Dusky Thighs of One Young Negress and Her Heart" (1995),
To read: Frantz Fanon "The Fact of Blackness" Black Skin White Masks (1952) (Christine Okoth)


Unit IV: Image

Week 7 Photography: To read: Walter Benjamin "A Short History of Photography" (1931).
To look at: August Sander’s portraits and Eugene Atget’s images of Paris.

If you have time, also look at Walter Benjamin's "The Work of Art in the Age of its Technical Reproducibility" [aka The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’] (especially §§II-IV, VI) (1939) and "On Some Motifs in Baudelaire" (1940), which are useful background reading.

Week 8 Spectacle: To watch: Xin Xin “” (excerpt, 2015) and ipod ads and ipod ads culturejammed
To read: Guy Debord "Separation Perfected" Society of the Spectacle (1967) (Caitlin Vandertop)

Week 9 Graphic: Alison Bechdel, Fun Home (2006)
Eve Kosovsky Sedgewick, “Queer and NowTendencies (1993) (Jonathan Schroeder)

Week 10 Digital: To read: Richard Seymour "Introduction" The Twittering Machine (2019) (Myka Tucker-Abramson)