Spring 2013

PSP 760 000:  "Introduction to Psychoanalytic Studies"
W 4:00-7:00 PM

Content: This course is an introduction to psychoanalytic theory. Students will learn the key concepts of psychoanalysis as articulated by Sigmund Freud and subsequent theorists. The goals of this course are twofold: (1) to expose students to the vast terrain of psychoanalytic theory; and (2) to emphasize the links between theory and clinical practice.

[Crosslisted with 790 005]

PSP 789 00P:  "The Writings of Sigmund Freud"
Tu 10:15-11:45 AM  

Content: An in-depth immersion in the writings of Sigmund Freud, 1895 – 1937.  The development of Freud’s clinical, technical, and theoretical ideas will be elucidated through close readings of many of his major texts as well as of some of his lesser known essays.  

This is the first part of a year long seminar. The second part will be offered next semester. Students can choose to attend either the yearlong seminar or only half of it. Each semester will count for 2 credit hours. Students will only be admitted with the permission of the instructor. Students should contact Dr. Paul to secure his permission.

[Cross listed with ILA 790]

PSP 789 02P: "Body History: Posture, Health, and Disability"
T 2:15-5:15 PM

Content: This is a two-semester research seminar for graduate students.  The intent is to read critical texts the first term and prepare a topic for a special issue of a journal.  The second term is for the preparation of the essays.

[Crosslisted with ILA 190]

PSP 789: "Drama, Justice and Theatrical Performance: Between Theater and Trials"
M 4:00-7:00 PM

Content: This course will study literary (and sometimes historical, and cinematic) courtroom dramas, in reflecting on the relation between the legal stage and the theatrical stage. Legal trials share with theatrical plays the fact that they are social spectacles of living confrontations, embodying conflicts and disputes that are enacted on a stage, address an audience, follow ceremonial practices and rituals, and use dialogue and actors (or performers) who play designated roles. This course will ask: What is the reason for modern theater’s increasing emphasis on trials? What can trials teach us about theater?  And conversely, what can the theater teach us about trials?  What is the role of trials – as spectacular crises of truth – in the theater of history and of cultural memory? Observing how courtroom dramas (in culture, and in literature) take place as exchanges between events, acts, bodies, words, ritual, ceremony, and testimony, we will ask: What does it mean to be a player (in life, and in the world)? We will view the stage as a space of intersection between the private and the public, between the individual and the collective, between the sacred and the secular, as well as a space of exchange between illusion and reality, reason and madness, consciousness and the unconsciousness

[Cross listed with CPLT 751, ILA 790, ENG 780R]

PSP 789 03P: "Queer Theory"
Th 10:00 AM-1:00 PM

Content: This course is an introduction to key concepts and debates in queer theory. The course will begin with a brief history of the emergence of queer in academic and activist contexts, and will be framed by Sedgwick’s first four Axioms from Epistemology of the Closet. This introduction will highlight the contentious nature of queer, even for its most ardent practitioners. The methodological foundations of queer theory will be investigated in the work of two decisive figures in twentieth century theories of sexuality: Freud and Foucault.  What major contributions do they make to thinking queerly, and how can the infamous tension between their theories of sexuality be managed?  We will then examine a number of current debates in the field: What relationships can there be between analyses of gender and those of sexuality?  What essentialisms and theories of embodiment can be put into question by queer theory? What are the sexual politics of normativity?  This course will provide students with frameworks for researching and thinking queerly that can be used in a variety of interdisciplinary contexts.  Strong emphasis will be placed on close argumentation of queer principles.

Texts: No set text. 

Requirements: Course grades will be based on class participation and three short papers.

[Crosslisted with WGS 752R 00P]


CPLT 751 005:  "Contemporary Film Theory"
MWF 9:35-10:25 AM (Lectures); T 8:00-10:00 PM (Screenings)

Content: This course considers key methodological approaches that have shaped contemporary thinking about film and media. These include semiotics, narratology, psychoanalysis, feminist and critical theory.

Objectives: By the end of this class you will be able to:  identify and describe key trends of Western film theory and criticism written after 1960, and use and critique the methods of semiology, narratology, psychoanalysis, critical and cultural theory as ways of understanding contemporary film and media.

Texts: Roland Barthes, Image/Music/Text (Noonday Press, 1978); Stanley Cavell, The World Viewed (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1980); Christian Metz, Film Language: A Semiotics of the Cinema (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1991); The Imaginary Signifier: Psychoanalysis and the Cinema (Bloomington: Indian UP, 1977); Robert Stam et al. New Vocabularies in Film Semiotics: Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, and Beyond (London: Routledge, 1992). All other texts will be on electronic reserve or on book reserve

Particulars: Mandatory film screenings, short paper (5-7-page), final exam.

[Cross listed with FILM 582]

WGS 585:  "Butler: From Performativity to Ethics"
Th 1:00-4:00 PM

Content: This seminar will explore the work of the philosopher and feminist theorist Judith Butler. Beginning with Butler’s work on the French reception of Hegel, Subjects of Desire (1987), the course will offer an overview of Butler's major works, including Gender Trouble (1990), Bodies That Matter (1993), The Psychic Life of Power (1997), Undoing Gender (2004), Precarious Life (2004), Giving an Account of Oneself (2005), Frames of War (2009), and Parting Ways (2012). Moving chronologically through the various stages of Butler's thinking, we will examine her shift from gender performativity and sexual subversion to questions of precarity and an ethics of the other. We will ask about Butler's relation to other thinkers, especially Foucault, Derrida, Freud, Arendt, and Levinas, and will explore the implications of her ethics for contemporary politics. The course will focus on close reading as a mode of philosophical analysis, and will include questions of method as they relate to Butler’s influence on contemporary theory.

Readings will be made available in electronic form via Blackboard and Reserves Direct. Course requirements include two papers and active participation in seminar discussions.
Prerequisites: at least one course in feminist or queer theory and permission of the instructor.

[Cross listed with CPLT 751 and Phil 789]

WGS 751R:  "Feminist Theory"
W 1:00-4:00 PM

Content: This is an advanced course designed to offer doctoral students with prior training in feminist theory a chance to revisit critical debates in the field of Western feminist theory. It is primarily organized around a set of acknowledged “classics” in the field that address some of the most contentious concepts feminists have worked with over the past several decades, including woman, gender, patriarchy, domination, oppression, voice, consciousness, essentialism, identity, difference, intersectionality, agency, subjectivity, representation, embodiment, discourse, power, performativity, sexuality, and heteronormativity. The last part of the course includes some more recent texts that have already proven influential. The readings also reflect a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, epistemologies, methodologies, and discursive styles that will offer us a chance to explore the methods, metaphors, and politics of feminist inquiry.

NOTE: This course is by permission only. Women’s Studies Certificate students and other graduate students with training in feminist theory should contact Dr. Sparks via email (hsparks@emory.edu) to request permission. Please describe your training in theory, including what feminist theory courses you have had, where you took them, and what major feminist theoretical works you have already read. Please include copies of syllabi if possible.

Particulars: Active participation in seminar discussions, six article critiques, and a final seminar paper.

ENG 789 R: "Special Topics in Literature: Thick Love: Birthing the Death-Bound-Subject"
Th 4:00-7:00 PM

Content: Building on Orlando Patterson’s notion of “social death” and my own definition of the “death-bound-subject,” this course will examine (mostly) black feminist neo-slave and Jim Crow narratives that are concerned with the “birthing” of the death-bound-subject. We will focus on the aporetic predicament of the black (slave) mother whose “gift of life” can be and often was immediately appropriated via the “threat of death.” Premised on the notion that the threat of death is the most fundamental mode of coercion, the course will examine how that threat is deployed for the purposes of coercion and how it is deployed as a mode of resistance. We will explore the “impossible” imbrication of life and death that lies at the heart of slavery as well as the transformation, via the agency of death, of subjects into subject-commodities. Methodologically, we will approach these issues from Marxian, psychoanalytic, phenomenological, and feminist viewpoints. Theoretically, I am particularly interested in interrogating how death is deployed in the “reproduction of the relations of production,” in the process of “primitive accumulation,” and in the implications of these for the maternal site. However, the novels to be studied are extremely rich and their articulation of the coercion and resistance that attend the slave maternal subject-position can be read from many different vantage points.

Primary texts will include Octavia Butler’s Kindred and “Bloodchild,” Gayl Jones’ Corregidora, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Alice Walker’s Third Life of Grange Copeland, Sherley Ann Williams’ Dessa Rose, and Richard Wright’s The Long Dream.

Secondary Texts will include substantive portions of Lisa Guenther’s The Gift of the Other: Levinas and the Politics of Reproduction and Abdul JanMohamed’s The Death-Bound-Subject. These will be posted on the blackboard along with a host of articles and book chapters on life, death, mourning & melancholia, motherhood, the politics of reproduction (biological, cultural, and material), gift theory, slavery as a source of primitive accumulation, ideology and hegemony, etc., etc., 

Particulars: Each student will be asked to present two oral reports and write one or more papers totaling between 20 and 30 pages.
(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment)

ENG 789R: "Special Topics in Literature: Critical Disabilities Studies"
Tu 2:00-5:00 PM

Content: This graduate seminar will focus on the emerging body of critical and primary work in critical disability studies. Our purpose is to engage this body of work thoughtfully and critically, both as individual critics and as an intellectual community. We will engage intersectional workings and multiple subject positions such as gender, race, sexuality, ethnicity, and class along with disability. Disability studies is an interdisciplinary academic field of inquiry that expands health science perspectives by examining understandings of disability from cultural perspectives such as:  civil and human rights issues minority identity group, social justice issue, sociological formation, historic community, diversity category, category of critical analysis, subject of the arts.

Text book: Davis, Lennard (2010). Disability Studies Reader, 3rd ed., Routledge.
(Written permission of DGS required prior to enrollment)

[Crosslisted with  WGS 589, ILA 790]