English 6352: Topics in Major Figures in Modern Rhetorical Theory: “The Bakhtinian Circle”: Bakhtin, Vološinov, Medvedev

Fall 2003

M 6:00 p.m.-8:50 p.m.

201 Carlisle Hall


Professor Kevin Porter

417 Carlisle Hall

Office Phone: 817-272-3112

Email: kporter1@uta.edu

Office Hours: M 1-3 and by appointment


Course Description


This course will concentrate on intensive readings of the major works of Mikhail Bakhtin and his colleagues, V. N. Vološinov and P. N. Medvedev, whose work on “dialogism” is of still growing importance to researchers in English studies broadly conceived. The course will also provide some context for the work of the members of the so-called “Bakhtinian Circle” by reading through some of texts of their precursors and contemporaries. We will also explore some of the recent explications and applications of dialogism by contemporary literary theorists, rhetoricians, compositionists, and discourse analysts.


Required Texts


Bakhtin, M. M. (2002). The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays (M. Holquist, Ed.; C. Emerson & M. Holquist, Trans.). Austin: University of Texas Press. (ISBN: 0-292-71534-x; paperback)

Bakhtin, M. M. (1996). Speech Genres and Other Late Essays (C. Emerson & M. Holquist, Eds.; V. W. McGee, Trans.). Austin: University of Texas Press. (ISBN: 0-292-77560-1; paperback)

Bakhtin, M.M., & Medvedev, P. N. (1991). The Formal Method in Literary Scholarship: A Critical Introduction to Sociological Poetics (A. J. Wehrle, Trans.). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. (ISBN: 0-8018-4318-9; paperback)

Croce, Bernedetto. (1995). Ćsthetic as Science of Expression and General Linguistic (D. Ainslie, Trans.). New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. (ISBN: 1-56000-818-0; paperback)

Farmer, Frank. (Ed.). (1998). Landmark Essays on Bakhtin, Rhetoric, and Writing. Mahwah, NJ: Hermagoras Press/Lawrence Erlbaum. (ISBN: 1-880393-31-X; paperback)

Felch, Susan, & Contino, Paul. (2001). Bakhtin and Religion: A Feeling for Faith. Chicago: Northwestern University Press. (ISBN: 0-8101-1825-4; paperback)

Gardiner, Michael E., & Bell, Michael M. (1998). Bakhtin and the Human Sciences: No Last Words. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. (ISBN: 0761955305; paperback)

Halasek, Kay. (1999). A Pedagogy of Possibility: Bakhtinian Perspectives on Composition Studies. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. (ISBN: 0-8093-2227-7; paperback)

Vološinov, V. N. (2000). Marxism and the Philosophy of Language (L. Matejka & I. R. Titunik, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (ISBN: 0-674-55098-6; paperback)


Recommended Texts


Holquist, Michael. (2002). Dialogism: Bakhtin and His World (2nd ed.). London: Routledge. (ISBN: 0415280087; paperback)




Assignments for the course: a discussion facilitation, a 15-20 minute oral presentation, 1 critical review based on the oral presentation, and a seminar paper of publishable length.




                Discussion Facilitation                                   10%

                Oral Presentation                                             20%

                Short Paper 1                                                     30%

                Seminar Paper                                                   40%


Not completing any of these assignments constitutes grounds for failing the course.




This is a graduate level course: Attendance is mandatory, and active participation is expected.


Drop Policy


UTA instructors cannot drop students for any reason. You may choose to drop the course with a “W” by November 14th.


Schedule of Assignments


Note: I reserve the right to modify, as necessary, the readings and other assignments listed on this syllabus.


8/25        Introduction to course


9/1          Labor Day Holiday


9/8          Croce, Part I of Aesthetic as Science of Expression and General Linguistic


9/15        Saussure, Course in General Linguistics


9/22        ***           Thomas, The Linguistic Theories of N. Ja. Marr, Chapters IV-Conclusion

                ***           Gray, “Totalitarian Logic: Stalin on Linguistics”


9/29        Bakhtin/Medvedev, The Formal Method in Literary Scholarship


10/6        Vološinov, Marxism and the Philosophy of Language


10/13     Bakhtin, “Epic and Novel,” “From the Prehistory of Novelistic Discourse,” and “Discourse in the Novel,” from The Dialogic Imagination


10/20     Bakhtin, “Forms of Time and of the Chronotope in the Novel,” from The Dialogic Imagination.

                ****         Schryer, “Genre Space/Time: Chronotopic Strategies of the Experimental Article.”


10/27     Bakhtin, Speech Genres and Other Essays


11/3        Open date: Seminar Paper proposals due


11/10     Bell & Gardiner, eds. Bakhtin and the Human Sciences


11/17     Felch & Contino, eds. Bakhtin and Religion


11/24     Farmer, ed. Landmark Essays on Bakhtin, Rhetoric, and Writing (selections):

                Schuster, “Mikhail Bakhtin as Rhetorical Theorist.”

                Harris, “Bakhtin, Phaedrus, and the Geometry of Rhetoric.”

                Kent, “Hermeneutics and Genre.”

                Cooper, “Dialogic Learning Across Disciplines.”

                Bialostosky, “Liberal Education, Writing, and the Dialogic Self.”

                Welch, “One Student’s Many Voices: Reading, Writing, and Responding with Bakhtin.”

                Ewald, “Waiting for Answerability: Bakhtin and Composition Studies.”


12/1        Halasek, A Pedagogy of Possibility


12/8        Final course papers due by 12:00 p.m.


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