- ENG6850HFPalestine/Israel; Israel/PalestineCourse DescriptionIn this course we will attempt some theoretical approaches to the question of the neighbour, the ‘other,’ mourning and melancholia through a focus on writings which deal with a highly contemporary situation: the conflict in Israel-Palestine. Although all our readings will engage to a greater or lesser extent with Palestine and Israel, the abstract philosophical questions we’ll discuss undoubtedly have a broad reach in theoretical and literary-critical analysis.The publication of Judith Butler’s Parting Ways. Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism in 2012 signals an increasing critical-theoretical interest in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Our discussions will begin with Hannah Arendt’s contentious book on the Eichmann trial, and we’ll read our way through Edward Said, Amos Oz and Jacqueline Rose to Butler’s engagements with Jewish and Arab thinkers and writers.As well as questions of neighbourliness and otherness, issues and concepts we’ll discuss in relation to our readings and viewings will include: literary and theoretical modes of representing contested and occupied territory; the ways in which one of the most intractable political situations of our time abuts on more abstract questions concerning ethics, violence, secularism and religion, as well as more literary questions concerning the representation and role of the intellectual; the impact of occupation on rhetoric, genre and style.In conjunction with our theoretical readings two comics and two films will provide the opportunity for us to discuss the narrativization and visualization of the Palestinian- Israeli conflict and its history, while our reading of Elias Khoury’s epic novel will permit us to reflect on how more ‘traditional’ modes of representation have engaged with the politics of dispossession and the numerous ethical challenges it presents for writers and thinkers.
- ENG5588HFCourse DescriptionIn May of 2012 President Obama publically announced his support for gay marriage, and two high-profile cases (challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act and to California's proposition eight) will be heard by the Supreme Court in March of 2013. Are marriage rights progressive rights or do we need to tell a more complicated story? Are we now witnessing the beginning of the end of marriage, as some studies would indicate, or will marriage continue to be a crucial social and symbolic form? How does the marriage contract relate to the social contract? Is the contractual relation a democratic ideal? What is the fantasy of contractualism and what continues to trouble this fantasy? This course will look at selected moments in American literary history from the American Revolution to the present. The emphasis of our inquiry will be theoretical rather than historical, as we will attempt to understand the contractual subject and articulate a political philosophy of marriage. Topics for discussion will include marriage and the state, radicalism in relationship to marriage and anti-marriage, the sovereignty of the individual, marriage and racial difference, and anthropological and deconstructive considerations of the contract and the gift...
Readings may include: Charles Brockden Brown, Alcuin and Ormond; James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans, Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance; Edith Wharton, Summer; Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady; Abraham Cahan, "The Imported Bridegroom;" Nella Larsen, Quicksand; Carson McCullers, The Ballad of the Sad Café; John Locke, Second Treatise of Civil Government; Carol Pateman, The Sexual Contract; Jacques Derrida, Given Time; Peggy Pascoe, What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and The Making of Race in America; Elizabeth Freeman, The Wedding Complex; Judith Butler, "Is Kinship Always Already Heterosexual?"
Class, Culture, and American Realism N. Dolan
Sociological inclusiveness – serious mimetic attention to the middle and lower classes – is one of the hallmarks of modern realist literature. But what is social class as a subject of literary representation? What, in particular, is social class in modern industrial-commercial liberal-democratic society as opposed to its agrarian feudal-aristocratic predecessor? Is class a form of collective self-identification or just an academic descriptor? Is a class akin to a culture? How, if at all, do different classes interrelate? How has the nature and experience of social class changed over time? And what are the motivations and the special difficulties involved when the highly literate members of the educated classes attempt to sympathetically represent the less literate members of less educated classes? Why do issues of “culture” come up so frequently in such works?
This course attempts to address such questions in relation to a selection of major works of American literary realism. In the first three weeks we will establish a set of shared conceptual reference points by recourse to some of the major sociological theorists of class, from Marx to Bourdieu. In all subsequent weeks the discussion will focus on a primary work of literature...
Update: A U of T English prof repudiates that "reprobate," Gilmour:
“David Gilmour is not a professor of literature,” Syme writes. “He’s someone who teaches a couple of courses on an odd assemblage of texts. David Gilmour does not talk or think like a professor of literature. He doesn’t say the sorts of things professors of literature tend to say. He doesn’t seem interested in the sorts of things professors of literature are interested in. David Gilmour is not my colleague.”You've read the theory-laden mumbo-jumbo of the three U of T English courses I've listed. That Gilmour doesn't think or speak like a typical professor of literature is to his credit, and like a breath of fresh air in the dank, dark corridors where Syme and his like-thinking, like-speaking colleagues dwell.