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Graduate Courses in British Studies

This page contains a list of some of the courses being taught in British Studies in Columbia during the 2010-11 academic year. If you would like your course to be listed, please contact us.

Fall 2012


The Modern State in Theory and Practice

Prof. Susan Pedersen

Friday 11am - 12:50pm
With the recent attention to empire, ?the state? has tended to recede from view. But the modern state was the vehicle of power and domination for much of the modern period. This course attempts to get a handle on the nature of the modern state ? its emergence, variations, and functions. We begin by reviewing some conceptual and theoretical accounts of state formation and state function ? Weberian, Marxist, and Foucauldian ? that have strongly influenced historical writing. We then turn first to varied processes of state formation, from the early modern period to the present and to what states ?do?, attending to its role allocating resources, managing risk, and reconciling interests.


ENGL W4501 James Joyce

Prof. Sarah Cole

TR 2:40p - 3:55p
(Lecture). This is a course primarily on James Joyce's great novel Ulysses. We will spend the first third of the course on Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, to be followed by two months to read and discuss Ulysses. In addition to two lectures per week, there will also be a required weekly discussion section, led by a teaching assistant. There is no extra reading or written work required for the discussion sections.

ENGL W4502 Late Modernism

Prof. Matthew Hart

MW 2:40p - 3:55p
(Lecture). The term "modernism" is unusual in that refers simultaneously to a style, an idea, and a period. Critics often argue about the beginning of the modernist period, some joining Virginia Woolf in dating it from "on or about 1910" (when "human character changed"), others pushing it back to 1890 or earlier. There is even more debate about when - or if - modernism ends. In the 1980s, critical theorists such as Fredric Jameson posited the existence of a decisive break between modernism and so-called postmodernism. More recently, scholars have become interested in the longevity and temporal unevenness of modernism as an aesthetic and social phenomenon. Inspired by such scholarship, this lecture class examines the evidence for a concept of "late modernism." We will examine late modernism in a number of guises: as an extension of modernist aesthetics into the late twentieth century; as an elegiac, negative, or inward turn within the modernist avant-garde; and as a symptom of an unevenly globalized modernity. Literary readings by the likes of W. H. Auden, Djuna Barnes, Samuel Beckett, Basil Bunting, T. S. Eliot, B. S. Johnson, Ann Quin, Jean Rhys, and Virginia Woolf. Critical and theoretical readings will come from figures such as T. W. Adorno, Clement Greenberg, Fredric Jameson, and Edward Said.

ENGL G6706 Gothic

Prof. Nicole Horejsi

M 4:10-6:00pm
The end of the eighteenth century saw the birth of the literary gothic, a subgenre of romance that registered a backlash against the prescriptive realism favored by critics earlier in the century. In addition to indulging flights of sensationalistic fancy, the gothic was also an outsider's genre, dramatizing the frightening nature of everyday life, of social institutions too often taken for granted: persecuting villains stand in for tyrannical husbands, and corrupt churches for patriarchal failure; transgressive desires reveal the stifling nature of traditional gender roles and heteronormative expectations. At the same time, the gothic confronts monsters from without, for the popularity of the genre mirrors the rise of the British Empire. This seminar will explore the origins and development of the gothic (1764-1820), as well as the ways in which eighteenth and early nineteenth-century writers used gothic tropes to reflect on their society. In the eighteenth century, these authors will include, among others, the progenitors of the form, Horace Walpole (The Castle of Otranto) and Clara Reeve (The Old English Baron), continuing through Anne Radcliffe (The Mysteries of Udolpho) and Matthew Lewis (The Monk), as well as Jane Austen's satire on the gothic novel, Northanger Abbey. Early nineteenth-century texts will also include Charlotte Dacre's Zofloya and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Undergraduate requirements: one short passage explication, to be revised, a brief final paper prospectus, and a final paper of approximately 10-12 pages.

ENGL G6401 Victorian Literature (Seminar)

Prof. Sharon Marcus

W 4:10-6:00pm

CLEN G6400 Romanticism as Method

Prof. Anahid Nersessian

T 4:10pm-6:00pm.
(Seminar). This course is designed as a laboratory in different critical methodologies. While the literature of the British Romantic period (with additional readings from French, German, and American traditions) will ground our discussion, the class is meant to attract students from all historical fields or areas of specialization who are interested in becoming acquainted with, practicing, revising, and devising alternatives to two modes of literary interpretation: historicism and formalism. By presuming that Romanticism itself is really a method, rather than simply a historical field, we will experiment with its different applications across time and across forms, genres, and themes. Alongside key works from the Romantic canon including those by the "big six" poets Blake, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, and Keats, we will read simultaneously and in their entirety four books that have shaped not only the field of Romanticism as it currently stands, but important trends in literary criticism over the last several decades: Paul de Man's 'The Rhetoric of Romanticism,' James Chandler's 'England in 1819,' Anne-Lise François' 'Open Secrets,' and Mary Favret's 'War at a Distance.' Additional readings will include Romantic prose and minor poetry, and recent scholarly articles.