ENGL 5300:002

Tim Morris

Theory & Practice Fall 2007

6-9 PM Tuesday 304 Preston Hall

office hours: 420 Carlisle Hall 9-noon Wed


office phone: 817.272.0466

office mailbox 203 Carlisle Hall

mailing address Box 19035, UTA 76019

to the schedule of readings and assignments

prerequisites: good standing in MA or PhD program

required texts: The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism (Vincent B. Leitch [Editor]); Aguecheek's Beef, Belch's Hiccup, and Other Gastronomic Interjections: Literature, Culture, and Food Among the Early Moderns (Robert Appelbaum).

syllabus: This syllabus may be updated as the semester goes on. I may post updated versions that indicate readings, discussion plans, and reference materials. However, every component of your grade is shown here at the beginning. Please refer to the date and time of printing (at the bottom of each page) to see when the version you are holding was printed. For continuous updates look on line at http://www.uta.edu/english/tim/courses/5300f04/5300index.html

I don't want theory. I just want facts. (former student in 5300)

course description: This course introduces beginning graduate students to how knowledge is produced in the discipline of English.

course objectives: Students who successfully complete this course will have some exposure to the institutional and intellectual systems that produce and constitute knowledge in English departments. They will have read some key texts in the theory that informs contemporary scholarship in English, and considered how that theory might inform their own scholarly writing.

I don't have to practice! I'm real good! (Art Carney, as Ed Norton)

assignments: Thirteen short theoretical papers; thirteen short practical assignments; one exam (quasi-diagnostic).

grading: The grading system is a little odd, but far from arbitrary, so read (listen) carefully.

academic dishonesty policy: It is the philosophy of The University of Texas at Arlington that academic dishonesty is a completely unacceptable mode of conduct and will not be tolerated in any form. All persons involved in academic dishonesty will be disciplined in accordance with University regulations and procedures. Discipline may include suspension or expulsion from the University. "Scholastic dishonesty includes but is not limited to cheating, plagiarism, collusion, the submission for credit of any work or materials that are attributable in whole or in part to another person, any act designed to give unfair advantage to a student or the attempt to commit such acts." [Regents' Rules and Regulations, Part One, Chapter Vi, Section 3, Subsection 3.2, Subdivision 3.22]

disability policy: The University of Texas at Arlington is on record as being committed to both the spirit and letter of federal equal opportunity legislation; reference Public Law 93112--The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended. With the passage of new federal legislation entitled Americans with Disabilities Act - (ADA), pursuant to section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, there is renewed focus on providing this population with the same opportunities enjoyed by all citizens. As a faculty member, I am required by law to provide "reasonable accommodation" to students with disabilities, so as not to discriminate on the basis of that disability. Student responsibility primarily rests with informing faculty at the beginning of the semester and in providing authorized documentation through designated administrative channels.

student success: The University of Texas at Arlington supports a variety of student success programs to help you connect with the University and achieve academic success. They include learning assistance, developmental education, advising and mentoring, admission and transition, and federally funded programs. Students requiring assistance academically, personally, or socially should contact the Office of Student Success Programs at 817-272-6107 for more information and appropriate referrals.

library: Noel Anderson is the Librarian for the English Department. He can be reached at 817 272 3000, ext. 7428, and by email at noel@uta.edu You will find online databases for English among the Arts & Humanities databases at http://www2.uta.edu/library/subjguides/dbEnglish.asp

In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is. (Yogi Berra)

Note on central texts: each student will choose a central text to use as a touchstone for assignments. That central text must be a fairly standard and fairly canonical literary work, for instance a Shakespeare play or a widely-studied novel. This choice is somewhat artificial, you should understand; it's "academic." Scholars in English, we will learn, do not work exclusively on canonical works from the standard belletristic genres. But there's nothing quite like a canonical work to help anchor the reading of literary and cultural theory in our field.

Note on rubrics: I cannot say this loudly enough. The rubrics below are for convenience in grouping, and provide a heuristic for juxtaposing provocative combinations of theoretical texts. They are NOT, NOT, NOT shorthand for "schools" or "isms." They are not arranged chronologically. They are not conventional. Most people who would put Wordsworth's Preface to "Lyrical Ballads" in a set of readings called "Sex and Text" should have their head examined. Perhaps I should have my head examined. But the method in the madness here is to get you thinking about particular ways of reading particular texts. There is absolutely no substitute for or shortcut past reading particular texts, whether "primary" or "secondary." Knowing a sound-bite to attach to an author's name will not help. Knowing what "ism" someone represents will not help. You are about to read tiny excerpts from the most prolific and influential theorists of Western criticism, each of them from about 5 to 20 pages long. That is nothing. These tiny excerpts do not stand for entire schools of thought, even for their own individual authors, even for the single books they come from. The point in reading each of these excerpts is to read the excerpt itself and let its actual words work on the way you think about texts.

Note on format: Every paper you submit (except for Theoretical 1, which can be handwritten in journal format) must be in MLA style. All papers must include citations of sources used.

schedule of assignments and readings:

Note: All page numbers in parentheses are from Leitch, Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism.

28 August: Syllabus, introductions, exam

4 September: Applebaum, Aguecheek's Beef.
Theoretical Assignment 1: Keep a reading notebook as you go through Aguecheek's Beef. List phrases, terms, approaches, and important secondary and/or theoretical texts and authors that you should know more about to enter the discourse of the book more fully.
Practical Assignment 1: You will be assigned an American state. Using the World Wide Web, "visit" three English departments in that state: the most prestigious research university offering a PhD in English (whether public or private), a comprehensive state university that offers at least the MA in English, and a small liberal arts college that offers the BA in English (or possibly in some "umbrella" department like Language and Literature). Write briefly on the similarities and differences among these three English departments, in terms of faculty numbers and areas of interest, curriculum, degree program types and structures.

11 September: Leitch, Introduction (1-28); Aristotle, Poetics (90-117)
Theoretical Assignment 2: Write a short essay on how the Poetics can help you think about your central text -- despite its distance from that text in time, language, and subject matter.
Practical Assignment 2: Find at least three CVs of faculty members in English -- perhaps from the websites you visited in Practical 1, perhaps from surfing or Googling. Try to find a range of research-oriented, fully-detailed CVs from faculty in different stages of their careers. Write briefly on what English faculty do, how their careers move and advance, what kinds of work counts as professional activity for them.

18 September: Rubric: The Verbal Artwork: Corneille, "Unities" (367-379); Poe, "Philosophy of Composition" (742-750); Brooks, "Heresy of Paraphrase" (1353-1366); Barthes, "From Work to Text" (1470-1476)
Theoretical Assignment 3: And this will be the same for the next eleven assignments. Write a brief exploratory essay, anywhere from four substantial paragraphs to four pages long, that considers how each of tonight's readings can be used to investigate your central text, or the scholarship on that central text, or indeed how the theoretical reading has caused you to re-evaluate what you've written in previous Theoretical Assignments.
Practical Assignment 3: Locate at least three full-text theses or dissertations (from American universities) on your central text (or a closely related subject): at least one must be an MA thesis and at least one must be a dissertation. Write briefly on the formal features, content, and rhetorical stance of the three items.

25 September: Rubric: The Verbal Artist: Young, "Conjectures" (427-438); Emerson, "The Poet" (724-739); Wimsatt & Beardsley, "The Intentional Fallacy" (1374-1387); Foucault, "What Is an Author?" (1622-1636)
Theoretical Assignment 4
Practical Assignment 4: Locate a recent conference program for an academic meeting on your central text, or its author or period or genre, or some related subject. (Most such programs have only titles of papers; some include abstracts.) Write briefly on how the conference produces and organizes knowledge. What kind of people present papers at these conferences? What kind of organization sponsors them?

2 October: Rubric: The Reader: Wimsatt & Beardsley, "The Affective Fallacy" (1387-1403); Iser, "Interaction" (1673-1682); Hirsch, "Objective Interpretation" (1684-1709); Fish, "Interpreting the Variorum" (2071-2089)
Theoretical Assignment 5
Practical Assignment 5: Locate the website of a professional organization -- one devoted to the author of your central text, for instance, or another reasonably focussed group on a related subject or field; possibly the organization that sponsored the conference you wrote about last week. Write briefly on the activities, scope, publications, meetings, and other significant features of the organization.

9 October: Rubric: Intertext: Eliot, "Tradition & the Individual Talent" (1092-1098); Bakhtin, from Discourse in the Novel (1190-1220); Bloom, "Anxiety" (1797-1806); Gilbert & Gubar, "Infection" (2023-2035)
Theoretical Assignment 6
Practical Assignment 6: Locate an academic journal on your central text's author, period, genre, or nearby area of study. Write briefly about the most recent issue of that journal: its formal features, contents, approaches, the kinds of knowledge it produces and archives.

16 October: Rubric: Sex & Text: Wordsworth, "Preface" to Lyrical Ballads" (648-668); Mulvey, "Visual Pleasure" (2181-2193); Sedgwick, "Axiomatic" (2438-2445); Butler, "Subversive Bodily Acts" (2490-2501)
Theoretical Assignment 7
Practical Assignment 7: Locate current catalogs, or catalog sections in the field of your central text, from at least three academic publishers (university presses, or academic divisions of trade publishers). Write briefly on the lists and the trends in current academic work that they indicate.

23 October: Rubric: Text & Society I: Arnold, "Culture & Anarchy" (825-833; Lukács, "Realism" (1033-1058); Benjamin, "Work of Art / Mechanical Reproduction" (1166-1186); Fanon, "On National Culture" (1587-1593)
Theoretical Assignment 8
Practical Assignment 8: Locate a print or Web bibliography of secondary sources on your central text or its author; locate as well a reference book in the field (or electronic version thereof). Write briefly about the format, features, usefulness, and content of the two items.

30 October: Rubric: The Linguistic Turn I: Saussure (960-977); Freud, "The Dream Work" (923-929); Jakobson, "Metaphor / Metonym" (1265-1269); Lacan, "Agency of the Letter" (1290-1302)
Theoretical Assignment 9
Practical Assignment 9: Locate a website that treats your central text, author, or corresponding field. Search for the most useful and informative site, regardless of affiliation or function. Write briefly on the design, content, academic authority, and innovative features (if any!) of the site.

6 November: Rubric: Reception: Jauss, "Literary History / Literary Theory" (1550-1565); Bourdieu, "Distinction" (1809-1815); Ohmann, "Shaping" (1880-1895); Eagleton, "Rise of English" (2243-2250)
Theoretical Assignment 10
Practical Assignment 10: Locate the most authoritative biography of the author of your central text; alternatively, locate the most recent revisionist biography thereof. Write briefly on the content, academic conventions, and interpretive stance of that biography.

13 November: Rubric: Text & Society II: Williams, "Literature" (1567-1575); White, "Historical Text / Literary Artifact" (1712-1729); Hall, "Cultural Studies" (1898-1910); Said, "Orientalism" (1991-2012)
Theoretical Assignment 11
Practical Assignment 11: Locate a reception history, or study of the reputation of, or alternatively a "longitudinal" collection of essays on, your central text or its author. Write briefly on patterns in the evolution of commentary or scholarship on your text or author.

20 November: Rubric: The Linguistic Turn II: de Man, "Semiology & Rhetoric" (1514-1527); Deleuze & Guattari, "Rhizome" (1601-1609); Derrida, "The Exorbitant" (1824-1830); Kristeva, "Semiotic & Symbolic" (2169-2179)
Theoretical Assignment 12
Practical Assignment 12: Prepare an annotated bibliography of the ten most recent secondary works on your central text. Include academic articles, book chapters, or books; do not include shorter reviews or notes.

27 November: Rubric: The Critic: Wilde, "Critic as Artist" (900-913); Burke, "Kinds of Criticism" (1272-1278); Smith, "Contingencies" (1913-1932); Knapp & Michaels, "Against Theory" (2460-2475)
Theoretical Assignment 13
Practical Assignment 13: Prepare an annotated primary bibliography of important editions of your central text. Comment on textual history and the role of editors.

4 December: Course evaluations

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