ELL3009S SEMINAR OUTLINES, 2014

   

ELL3009S.1 TWO CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN POETS: WILBUR AND NEMEROV

Lecturer: Rodney Edgecombe
A thematic and structural study of two "academic" poets
Prescribed texts:
Complete editions of Richard Wilbur and Howard Nemerov are on short loan. Students can assemble their own anthologies after receiving a list of set poems at the first tutorial.
If you cannot afford the collected works of each poet, please compile your own collections of Xeroxed lyrics. We shall work through as many of the poems listed below as we can comfortably cover.  Be sure to acquire copies of each and every one, and please read them all (at least once) before the relevant class.

Richard Wilbur
The page references below derive from Richard Wilbur, New and Collected Poems (London: Faber, 1989)
‘Grace” (384); ‘The Beautiful Changes’ (392); ‘Caserta Garden’ (389); ‘He Was’ (332); ‘Ceremony’ (334); ‘From the Lookout Rock’ (327); A Baroque Wall-Fountain in the Villa Sciarra’ (271); ‘Advice to a Prophet’ (182); ‘In the Field’ (131); ‘Objects’ (360)

Howard Nemerov
The page references below derive from Howard Nemerov, Collected Poems (Chicago: Univ.of Chicago Press, 1977):
‘Lives of Gulls and children’ (79); ‘Midsummer’s Day’ (94); ‘The Pond’ (98); ‘The Salt Garden’ (112)
Assessment:  Two class essays


ELL3009S.2 PATRICK WHITE

Lecturer: Rodney Edgecombe
Seminar Outline
This seminar will centre on a detailed structural and stylistic analysis of two novels by Patrick White, the Australian author who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1973.

Prescribed Texts:
Any editions of the following two titles will be acceptable:
White, Patrick. The Vivisector
______. The Eye of the Storm

Assessment: Two essays, equally weighted.


ELL3009S.3 CONTEMPORARY (POST-LIBERATION) SA POETRY

Lecturer: Kelwyn Sole
Seminar Outline:
This seminar will examine the major themes and poets of the years after 1990, in an attempt to gain a more adequate overview of the issues surrounding South African poetry since liberation.  Prevalent themes such as identity (especially as regards gender and race), the ‘everyday’, memory and reconciliation, and political praise and disillusionment will be examined, as well as the issue of language and the interface between ‘published’ and ‘spoken-word’ poetry.
This course will crucially debate aesthetics and evaluative criteria and influences in literature.  The influence of metropolitan poetry movements such as imagism, surrealism, ‘leaping poetry’ and a postmodern ‘poetry of witness’  on contemporary South African poetry will be highlighted, as well as the influence of African models such as praise poetry and the poetry of Black Consciousness.  This will lead into a discussion of how to place South African utterances in the paradigms of modernism and/or post-modernism.
Among the poets discussed in class will be Karen Press, Seitlhamo Motsapi, Lesego Rampolokeng, Joan Metelerkamp, Ari Sitas, Tatamkhulu Africa, Ingrid de Kok and others.  In addition, students will be required to complete a project wherein they have free choice to examine poets/poems of their own choosing.

Required reading:
There are no necessary book purchases for this course, as readings will be made available.  However, it is a good idea to page through one or the other book anthologies that deal with post-1990 South African poetry before the course starts.  Students eager to grapple with aesthetic issues could begin to look at some of the criticism appearing in the metropole at the moment which argues the relative worth of ‘postcolonial’ vs. ‘world’ vs. ‘transnational’ literature as categories and descriptors. I found Ramazani’s recent A Transnational Poetics especially illuminating.


ELL3009S.4 CREATIVE WRITING

Lecturer: Imraan Coovadia
Seminar Outline:
This seminar includes imaginative writing assignments, which involve literary devices and structures made prominent by modernist texts, as well as a reflective essay in which students consider the literary forms and conventions they have used in the course of the semester. The seminar involves intensive writing every week and requires participation in a workshop-type environment. There will be a number of reading assignments taken from modernist and modernist-influenced fiction and relating to the weekly assignments. 75% of the grade will be given for creative work, 25% for the critical paper. In the critical paper, students will use examples from the course reading to develop their own understanding of prose rhetoric.
Prescribed Texts:
Virginia Woolf, “Mrs Dalloway”.
Herman Melville, "Bartleby, the Scrivener." James Joyce, “The Dead.”
E.M. Forster, “A Passage to India”.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Great Gatsby”.


ELL3009S.5 QUEER THEORY AND CONTEMPORARY WRITING

Lecturer:  Derrrick Higginbotham
Seminar Outline:
What can queer theory teach us about the interpretation of contemporary literature and art?  To answer this question, we will study a variety of theoretical texts in conjunction with selected examples of contemporary writing and visual art produced in South Africa.  We specifically will consider a series of essays that exemplify key trends in queer theory, including influential work by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Judith Butler, JJ Halberstam, and Lee Edelman.  We will use these theoretical models to analyze an autobiographical essay by Zackie Ahmet, selected short stories from Queer Africa:  New and Collected Fiction (2013), K. Sello Duiker’s novel Thirteen Cents (2000) as well as John Greyson and Jack Lewis’ film Proteus (2003), the first gay film shot on South Africa after the end of Apartheid.  This class will stress the politics of representation and narration, with particular attention to how sexuality intersects with class, gender, race, and nation.  We also will concentrate on the kinds of stories that are told about sexuality and how different genres such as the novel, essay, and film frame sexuality in everyday, academic, and activist contexts.

Prescribed Texts:
Duiker, K. Sello.  Thirteen Cents.  Cape Town:  David Philip Publishers, 2011.
Martin, Karen and Makhosazana Xaba, eds.  Queer Africa:  New and Collected Fiction.  Braamfontein:  MaThoko Books, 2013.
A course reader with essays by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Heather Love, Judith Butler and other readings will be provided.

Assessment:
Attendance/Participation                                                          10%
Response Papers (5% each)                                                     10%
Essay 1 (2000 words)                                                              30%
Annotated Bibliography as preparation for Essay 2                 10%
Essay 2 (4000 words)                                                              40%               


ELL3009S.6 THE "NEW" DIASPORA IN CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN LITERATURE

Lecturer: Chris Ouma
Seminar Outline
IThe emergence of new writing from the postcolonial African diaspora has led to a re-configuration and re-examination of generations of African literature, as well as ways in which this “new Diaspora” is beginning to re-engage with recent waves of migration and displacement. This new writing allows us to begin to trace genealogies of African writing, while trying to evaluate what exactly defines this potentially new zeitgeist. One of the ways in which this writing defines itself is by engaging with a residual post-colonial experience through a post-modern consciousness – one which arguably constructs its own aesthetics of displacement and migration. The seminar will position us at the pulse of contemporary constructions of postcolonial African identities, while additionally allowing us a window into the evolutionary directions of African literature at the moment.

Primary Texts:
The Thing Around Your Neck – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Virgin of Flames – Chris Abani
One Day I will Write about this Place – Binyavanga Wainaina
A Life Elsewhere – Segun Afolabi
The Icarus Girl – Helen Oyeyemi

Assessment/Evaluation
Evaluation for this course will take the format of two sit-in tests (weighted at 25% each) and an essay (weighted at 50%)


ELL3009S.7 NEOLIBERALISM AND THE CONQUEST OF COOL

Lecturer: Eric Strand
Seminar Outline:
The United States owes many of its noblest political movements to the social energy of the 1960s.  At the same time, much of this rebellious energy was easily incorporated by multinational business, in a project of branding that made the counterculture everyone’s culture.  Through a detailed analysis of literature and selected films, we will explore the darker side of the counterculture’s divided legacy.  In particular, our readings will focus on the argument that as the counterculture evolved, it developed an “antistatist,” or “antigovernmental” ideology that actually lead to depoliticization instead of greater political awareness.  Although it may have had good intentions, this antistatist ideology inadvertently prepared the way for the emergence of neoliberalism, a right-wing political movement that attacked “big government” and social welfare programs in the name of free-market economics. 

The Sixties and its legacy not only shapes America’s contemporary cultural and political landscape, but also influences other nations, as we’ll discover when we end the course with a discussion of South African cyberpunk. 

Prescribed texts:
Novels
Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49
Bret Easton Ellis, Less than Zero
Lauren Beukes, Moxyland
Course Reader
Norman Mailer, “The White Negro”; Thomas Hayden et al, The Port Huron Statement (excerpt); Thomas Frank, “Why Johnny Can’t Dissent”; Joan Didion, “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”; Cornel West, “The Paradox of the African American Rebellion”; Pico Iyer, “Nepal: The Quest Becomes a Trek”

Films
Rebel Without a Cause, dir. Nicholas Ray
Easy Rider, dir. Dennis Hopper
Shaft (1971), dir. Gordon Parks
Star Wars, dir. George Lucas
Forrest Gump, dir. Robert Zemeckis
The Matrix, dir. The Wachowski Brothers

Assessment:
Attendance/Participation:  15%
Presentation:  15%
Response Papers:  20%
Final Essay:  50%


ELL3009S.8 NEOLIBERALISM AND THE CONQUEST OF COOL

Lecturer: Eric Strand
Seminar Outline:
ISame as above


ELL3009S.9 COETZEE'S LATEST FICTION

Lecturer: Carrol Clarkson
Seminar Outline:
In this seminar we read Coetzee’s latest fiction with a special focus on topics that include the following: subjectivity in language; animals; philosophy and literature; genre and Coetzee’s experiments with literary form; Coetzee and World Literature.

The primary texts for this course are:
Elizabeth Costello
Diary of a Bad Year
Summertime
The Childhood of Jesus

Strongly recommended further reading:
White Writing
Doubling the Point

 Assessment: two formal essays and a class presentation.


ELL3009S.10 COETZEE'S LATEST FICTION

Lecturer: Carrol Clarkson
Seminar Outline:
Same as above


ELL3009S.11 MONEY!

Lecturer: John Higgins
Seminar Outline:

This seminar asks how narrative forms can work to embody insights into capital and commodity fetishism in ways that throw light on the current global financial crisis.  What is capital, in the systemic sense?  How does the commodity fetishism it promotes affect our sense of self and relation to others?  These different fictions all articulate complex responses to these central questions of our time. 

Prescribed texts:
Don DeLillo Cosmopolis  (2003)
Sebastian Faulks A Week in November (2009)
Kazuo Ishiguro Never Let Me Go (2005)
Martin Scorsese The Wolf of Wall Street (2014)

Assessment:
50% QSheets
50% In-Class Examination


ELL3009S.12 MONEY!

Lecturer: John Higgins
Seminar Outline:

Same as above