Important Dates
Friday, March 3: Honors Thesis Due
Friday, April 7: Honors Exam
Wednesday, May 10: Honors Conference

January 31 / February 1
Parker, Introduction to How to Interpret Literature
Exam Workshop: “Dream of the Rood,” “The Collar,” and “Ode on a Grecian Urn”
Blog: Summary and reflection on feedback you received on your fall draft (if you haven’t done this already); be sure to read and comment on posts by members of your writing group.

February 7 / 8
Draft workshop
Exam workshop: Group 1 (two texts)
Blog: Presenters only

February 14 / 15
No class: Revision week and conferences
Blog: Make a list of tasks that will be important in your next round of revision–for example: come up with a new intro, working on orienting throughout, figure out what my thesis is, start with a new file and cut and paste into it, make sure citations follow the right format, include X passages from Y text, etc.

February 21 / 22
Exam Workshop: Groups 2 & 3 (two texts for each group)
Blog: Presenters only

February 28 / March 1
Draft workshop
Blog: Plans for final revisions; be sure to read and comment on posts by members of your writing group.

March 7 / 8
Theory workshop, Group 1: Bhabha, Introduction to The Location of Culture + Parker, Chapter 10: Postcolonial and Race Studies
Exam workshop: Group 3 (Tuesday: Zainab on “The Yellow Wallpaper” & Yazmin on “The Mark on the Wall”; Wednesday: Sarah on Fun Home & Zahava on “The Yellow Wallpaper”)
Blog: Presenters only

March 14 / 15
Snow day!

March 21 / 22
Theory workshop: Group 3: Cave, Selections from Thinking with Literature + Parker, Chapter 11: Reader Response
Exam workshop: Group 1 (Tuesday: Sumaria on The God of Small Things & Tracy on A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Wednesday: Asheka on Dickinson & Caitlin on “Leaves from the Mental Portfolio of an Eurasian”)
Blog: Presenters + Conference Ideas (everybody); comment on at least two posts about the conference, with questions, suggestions, or new ideas

March 28 / 29
Theory workshop, Group 2: Brennan, Introduction to The Transmission of Affect + Parker, Chapter 5: Psychoanalysis (pp. 111-130)  & Chapter 10: Historicism & Cultural Studies (pp. 274-283)

Exam workshops: All groups (Tuesday: Krystal on Dream on Monkey Mountain, Radheeka on The Buried Giant, & Brandon on The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; Wednesday: Sarah on “The Mark on the Wall,” Asheka on Dream on Monkey Mountain)
Blog: Presenters

April 4 / 5
Exam workshops: All groups (Tuesday: Sumaria on “Leaves from the Mental Portfolio of an Eurasian,” Zainab on Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, & Ikram on “Bartleby the Scrivener”; Wednesday: James on Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl)
Rescheduled workshops: Group 2 (Tuesday: Chani on The Importance of Being Earnest & Ikram on “A Modest Proposal”; Wednesday: Kelly on The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao & Michelle on “A Modest Proposal”)
Blog: Presenters only

April 11 / 12
No class: Spring Break

April 18 / 19
TBA (conference preparation)

April 25 / 26
Conference preparation: workshop on presentations + logistics
Blog: Reflect on your experience with public speaking; comment on at least two posts

May 2 / 3
Conference preparation: workshop on presentations + logistics

May 9 / 10
No class: Honors Conference



August 30 / 31
Lodge, Thinks… (2001)

Roth, “Rise of the Neuronovel”

Ortega & Vidal, “The Brain in Literature / Literature in the Brain”

Blog 1: OPTION 1: Reflect on Thinks… in relation to Roth’s or Ortega and Vidal’s argument. Does Lodge’s novel “capitulate” (in Roth’s terms) to reductive or deterministic ideas about the brain? Does it represent ambivlence about what Ortega and Vidal call “the cerebral subject”–the idea that personhood equals “brainhood”? Might it do something else altogether? OPTION 2: Write a response to one of Helen Reed’s thought experiment assignments–writing about what it’s like to be a bat or Mary the Color Scientist in the style of a novelist of your choice. 

Supplemental Readings: Johnson, “Consciousness as Content: Neuronarratives and the Redemption of Fiction”; Richardson, “Once upon a Mind: Literary and Narrative Studies in the Age of Cognitive Science”; Tougaw, “Touching Brains”; Gaedtke, “Cognitive Investigations: The Problems of Qualia and Style in the Contemporary Neuronovel”; Nagel, “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?”; Jackson, “Epiphenomenal Qualia”

September 6 / 7
Wachowskis, Sense8 (2015), Episodes 1 & 2

Farinella and Ros, Neurocomic (2013)

Poems: John Donne, “Present in Absence” & “The Funeral”; Dickinson, “The Brain Is Wider than the Sky” & “I Felt a Funeral in my Brain”; and Hahn, “Skull,” “Cherry Stems,” & “Brain Implant #3: Patterns” (from Brain Fever)

Starr, Feeling Beauty, Introduction: Aesthetics, Neuroaesthetics, and the Sister Arts
Workshop: Analyzing images

Blog 2: OPTION 1: Find grounds for comparison between two representations of the brain and reflect on what’s surprising about them. OPTION 2: Use Starr’s ideas about neuroaesthetics as a lens for interpreting one of the texts for this week. OPTION 3: Write about lyrical moments in one or more of the texts for this week. 

Supplemental Readings: Besser, “From the Neuron to the World and Back: The Poetics of the Neuromolecular Gaze in Bart Koubaa’s Het gebied van Nevski and James Cameron’s Avatar”; Vidal, “Brainhood”

September 13 / 14
Hustvedt, The Shaking Woman (2010)

Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper” (1892)

Hayot, The Elements of Academic Style, Chapter 3: 8 Strategies for Getting Writing Done

Harvey, “Elements of the Academic Essay”

Presentation: Francesca

Blog 3: OPTION 1: How might the historical contexts of hysteria Hustvedt chronicles help you interpret “The Yellow Wallpaper”? OPTION 2: How does Hustvedt challenge or complicate ideas represented in Farinella and Ros’s Neurocomic? OPTION 3: Write a hypothetical conversation between Gilman’s narrator and Hustvedt (set in a scenario  you devise). 

Supplemental Readings: Gilman, “Why I Wrote ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’,” Hustvedt, “I Wept Four Years and When I Stopped I Was Blind” (on conversion and hysteria); Eakin, Living Autobiographically (Chapter 1: The Rules of the Game); Eakin, From Living Autobiographicallly (Chapter 2: Autobiographical Consciousness: Body, Brain, Self, and Narrative); Stiles, “The Rest Cure, 1873 -1925,” Tougaw, “Brain Memoirs, Neuroscience, and the Self”

September 20 / 21
Damasio, The Feeling of What Happens (2000), Chapter 1 : Stepping into the LightSelf Comes to Mind (2010), Chapter 1: Awakening & Chapter 8: Building a Conscious Mind

Dehaene, Consciousness and the Brain (2010), Introduction + Chapter 5: Theorizing Consciousness

Blog 4: OPTION 1: Which ideas proposed by Damasio or Dehaene excite or perplex you? Do you notice any of those ideas at play in other texts we’ve read or viewed? OPTION 2: Compare Damasio’s and Dehaene’s use of one of Harvey’s elements. OPTION 3: What are some key differences between Damasio’s and Dehaene’s theories? What are some areas of overlap? 

Supplemental Readings:  Carter, Understanding Consciousness, Chapter 1: “The Old Steam Whistle Test” & Chapter 2: A Stream of Illusion; Noë, Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness; LeDoux, “Let’s Get Physical: The Consciousness Problem” (from Anxious: Using the Brain to Understand and Treat Fear and Anxiety)

September 27 / 28
Ellison, Invisible Man (1952)

Presentations: Krystal, Asheka

Blog 5: OPTION 1: Reflect on a passage from Invisible Man that’s an interesting representation of consciousness. What literary techniques does Ellison use to give readers a sense of his protagonist’s mental life? OPTION 2: Reflect on how Ellison blends and revises conventions of various genres or aesthetic modes–for example, the epic, the mock epic, satire, farce, stream of consciousness, surrealism, or expressivism–to explore relations between psychological experience and social structures. OPTION 3: How would you describe the voice of Ellison’s narrator? What qualities define it? What adjectives would you use to describe it? How do those qualities shape meaning in the novel?

Supplemental Readings: Lyne, “Ralph Ellison and the Limits of Double Consciousness,” Nguyen, “We Still Live in Ralph Ellison’s Moment,” Ellison, “Richard Wright’s Blues,” Spaulding, “Embracing Chaos in Narrative Form: The Bebop Aesthetic in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, Bourassa, “Affect, History, and Race in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man

Wednesday, October 5 (Tuesday class invited!)
Greenidge, We Love You, Charlie Freeman (2016)

DuBois, “Of Our Spiritual Strivings,” from The Souls of Black Folk (1903)

Presentation: Lisa

Blog 6: Make a connection between Greenidge’s novel or Du Bois’s chapter and one of our other course readings.

October 11 / 12: No class  
Wachowskis, Sense8 (2015) Episodes 3 – 7 [to be discussed later in the semester]

Tuesday, October 18
4:15: Tuesday students (Klapper 610)
Greenidge, We Love You, Charlie Freeman (2016)
DuBois, “Of Our Spiritual Strivings” from The Souls of Black Folk (1903)
Blog 6: Make a connection between Greenidge’s novel or Du Bois’s chapter and one of our other course readings. 

6:30: Kaitlyn Greenidge Reading (substitute for this week’s class meetings)

October 19
No regular class: Greenidge reading (see October 18 above)

October 25 / 26
Mukhopadhyay, How Can I Talk If My Lips Don’t Move? (2011)

Murray, Representing Autism, Introduction: Autism and NarrativeChapter 1, pp. 27 -44, & Chapter 4, pp. 142 – 153 (on Mukhopadhyay)

Mark Gaipa’s 8 Strategies for Critically Engaging Secondary Sources + Ballroom Diagrams

Presentations: Sumaria, Michelle

Blog 7: Choose one of Gaipa’s strategies used by Mukhopadhyay or Murray and explain what it helps him achieve in his writing.

Supplemental Readings: Grandin, from Thinking in Pictures; Walker, “Neurodiversity: Some Basic Terms and Definitions”; Joseph Straus, “Autism as Culture”; Savarese, “More than a Thing to Ignore: An Interview with Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay” 

November 1 / 2
Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Compendium of Reviews of The Curious Incident

Savarese and Zunshine, “The Critic as Neurocosmpolite”

Workshop: Sources & Stance

Presentations: Brandon, Ikram, Kelly

Blog 8: OPTION 1: Identify and reflect on a point of difference in two reviews The Curious Incident; OPTION 2: Write a dialogue between three authors of reviews of The Curious Incident

Supplemental Readings: Draaisma; “Generic Images of Autism”; Hacking, “Autism in Fiction”; Haddon, “Autism and Asperger’s”; Owren & Stenhammer, “Neurodivervisity: Accepting Autistic Difference”

November 8 / 9
Melville, Bartleby the Scrivener” (1853)

Alberto Ríos, “The Back of My Own Head in a Crowd” (2003)

Murray, Representing Autism, pp. 45 – 64

Hayot, The Elements of Academic Style, Chapter 8 & 9

Supplemental Readings: H. Porter Abbot, “Unreadable Minds”; Savarese, “Nervous Wrecks and Ginger Nuts: Bartleby at a Standstill”; Walser, “The Behaviorist Character: Action without Consciousness in Melville’s “Bartleby”;

Walk, “Motivating Moves” (in class)

Presentations: Radheeka, Zahava

Blog 9: OPTION 1; Reflect on Murray’s reading of “Bartleby” with a focus on the motivating moves he makes (Walk), the types of evidence he uses (Hayot), and the structure of his argument (Hayot); OPTION 2: Reflect on how Melville’s and Ríos’s stories complicate what Savarese and Zunshine call “mind reading.” 

November 15 / 16
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (ca. 14th century)

Proposal Workshop

Supplemental Readings: Bolen, “Face-Work and Ambiguous Feats in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; Woods, “Nature and the Inner Man in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; Dinshaw, “A Kiss Is Just a Kiss: Heterosexuality and Its Consolations in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Presentation: Chani

Blog 10: Learn something about the historical context of Sir Gawain and the Green Night from one of the supplementary readings in the Norton edition (or the ones listed above). Then, explain how your chosen historical source helps you understand the text in a new way.

November 22 / 23
Blog 11: Research Proposals

November 29 / 30
Ishiguro, The Buried Giant (2015)

Workshop: Annotated Bibliographies

Blog 12: Annotated Bibliography + Ballroom Diagram (by Friday, December 2)

Presentations: Yazmin, James

Supplemental Reading: Turner, “Liminality and Communitas”

December 6 / 7
Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (ca. 1590s)

Workshop: Introductions & Conclusions

Presentations: Zainab, Caitlin

Supplemental Readings: States, “Bizarreness in Dreams and Other Fictions”; Freud, from The Interpretation of Dreams; Hobson, from Dreaming; Hartmann, Dreams & Nightmares, Chapter 1: The Nature of Dreaming, Chapter 5: The Nets of the Mind, & Chapter 10: This View and Freud’s View; Kruger, from Dreaming in the Middle Ages

December 13 / 14
Wachowskis, Sense8 (2015), Episodes 8 – 11

Pitts-Taylor, The Brain’s Body, Introduction: The Social Brain and Corporeal Politics

Presentations: Tracy, Sarah

Screening: Sense8, Episode 12

Blog 13: What progress are you making with your research project? What’s exciting you? What’s frustrating you? What writing strategies or techniques (Gaipa, Walk, Hayot, etc.) can help you overcome the challenges you face? 

Supplemental Readings: Besser, “From the Neuron to the World and Back: The Poetics of the Neuromolecular Gaze”

Friday, December 16

December 20 / 21
Draft workshops (Tuesday: 1:45 – 3:45; Wednesday: 6:15 – 8:15)

Hayot, Chapters 9 – 13

Blog 14 (by December 23): Based on the feedback you’ve received, articulate your plans for revising your essay. How might Hayot’s advice help you with your revision strategy? 

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