Vincent B. Leitch                                                               University of Oklahoma

English 5313                                                                                             Spring 2013






Examining several dozen key figures and texts in the history of theory and criticism, this student-oriented survey focuses on five topics of pressing concern in contemporary times: (1) modernity and postmodernity; (2) ideology and hegemonic systems; (3) subjectivity, subjection, and the body; (4) interpretation, reception, critique; plus (5) historiography and literary history. Among the figures read are Schleiermacher, Hegel, Marx, Lukács, Freud, Bakhtin, Lacan, Althusser, R. Williams, Barthes, Foucault, Habermas, Bourdieu, Derrida, Jameson, Said, Ngugi, Rich, Spivak, P. G. Allen, Haraway, Butler, Moretti, Berlant and Warner, Halberstam, plus Hardt and Negri. Among contemporary schools and movements discussed are cultural studies, structuralism, poststructuralism, feminism, Marxism, psychoanalysis, postcolonial studies, formalism, hermeneutics, historicism, race and ethnicity studies, and queer theory.    




Vincent B. Leitch, gen. ed., Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, 2nd ed.




The discussions in class are central to the work of the course.  Each participant is required to attend regularly and to be prepared to analyze and critique the assigned readings on the days scheduled.


There will be a required fifteen-minute in-class critique of one of the assigned readings. A written version of it must be turned in on the day of presentation.


In addition, there will be a research paper due on the last day of class. The paper should be approximately 5,000 words on a topic of interest to you, related to course issues, and approved by the instructor.


The course grade derives from your participation, presentation, and paper.




Office: 130 Gittinger Hall

Office Phone: 325-6218.  You can leave a message.

Office Hours: TBA. And by arrangement.

Home Phone: 447-9827. Feel free to call between 11 AM-10 PM. Leave a message.

e-mail: vbleitch@ou.edu

Web site: http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/L/Vincent.B.Leitch-1/home.html


                                               COURSE SCHEDULE


Session 1                     Syllabus Review and Critiques Scheduled

                                     Introduction to Theory and Criticism (NATC2 Intro)


                        I.  Modernity and Postmodernity


Session 2                      Marx and Engels, Communist Manifesto

                                      Foucault, Discipline and Punish, “The Carceral”

                                      Habermas, “Modernity--An Incomplete Project”

                                      Bourdieu, Rules of Art


Session 3                    Jameson, “Postmodernism and Consumer Society”




Session 4                    Adunis

 Hardt and Negri

 Derrida, Specters of Marx


                                 II.  Ideology and Hegemonic Systems


Session 5                    Marx, Preface to A Contribution to . . .                




Session 6                    Said, Orientalism, Introduction




Session 7                    Rubin

                                    Berlant and Warner


Guidelines for Writing Research Papers


 III.  Subjectivity, Subjection, and the Body


Session 8                    Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, “Master-Slave Dialectic”

                                    Lacan, “Mirror Stage”



Session 9                    Butler



Session 10                  Rich





    IV. Interpretation, Reception, Critique


Session 11                  Schleiermacher

                                    Freud, Interpretation of Dreams

                                    Plato, Phaedrus

                                    Derrida, “Plato’s Pharmacy”


Session 12                  P. G. Allen


                                    Jameson, The Political Unconscious

Leitch, “The Tasks of Critical Reading Today”


  V. Historiography: Literary History


Session 13                  Lukács



Session 14                  Wimsatt and Beardsley, “Intentional Fallacy”

Barthes, “Death of the Author”


Gilbert and Gubar


Session 15                  White

Ngugi et al






ENGL 5353   Native American Poetry   Geary Hobson          Spring 2013


Course Description:


The class will be conducted in the traditional seminar fashion. Students will read the assigned texts and be required to discuss the works in class. The instructor will keep his lecturing as minimal as possible. There will be two papers: one, 4-5 pages; and the second, 8-10 pages. The first paper’s topic will evolve from the readings/discussions of the books by four major poets under examination (James Welch, Simon J. Ortiz, Carter Revard, and Gladys Cardiff); the second paper will center of poetes and their work in the Bruchac anthology, Songs From This Earth on Turtle’s Back. Students will be encouraged to make oral reports on their work in-progress. Periodically, there will be brief lectures on matters tangential to Native American literature, history, and cultures, and the craft of poetry.




ENGL 5403   Issues in CRL                        Kathleen Welch      Spring 2013


   Issues in C/R/L will present the dominant (and frequently competing) issues and ways of knowing that comprise the field of composition-rhetoric (as well as literacy studies within composition-rhetoric).  The course will proceed by reading and responding  to representative  writers, texts, and  ideologies in the reformulations of writing theory, rhetorics, and literacy issues  as they have been challenged by recent and historical research.  The course will demonstrate and explore important theoretical systems in composition-rhetoric studies; help prepare students in all concentrations for the M.A. thesis; act as one basis for the M.A. and Ph.D. examinations in C/R/L; and provide direct theoretical bases for the everyday theorized teaching of writing.


   Our centers of concern will include feminist composition-rhetoric theories; issues concerning constructions (or not constructions) of race and other kinds of identities (including issues of white identity);  empirical research;  and  computers  and writing-rhetoric.   In addition, we will work on the idea of multiples literacies.  For example, how can the teaching of writing make a graduate student a better writer? 


Our texts:




Jacqueline Royster, Traces of a Stream: Literacy and Social Change among African-American Women

Andrea Lunsford and Lisa S. Ede, Singular Texts/Plural Authors

Lev Vygotsky,  trans. Hanfmann and Vakar, Thought and Language

Laura J. Gurak, Cyberliteracy

Gail E. Hawisher and Cynthia L. Selfe, eds. Global Literacies and the World-Wide Web (excerpts)

Kenneth Burke,  A Rhetoric of Motives

Sharon Crowley, The Methodical Memory: Invention in Current-Traditional Rhetoric

Krista Ratcliffe, Rhetorical Listening: Identification, Gender, Whiteness

Juanita Rodgers Comfort, “Becoming a Writerly Self: College Writers Engaging Black

            Feminist Essays”

Pamphlet, NCTE, “Guidelines for Gender-Fair Use of Language” (available via electronic reserve, ncte.org,  and via print course pack)

Gesa Kirsch and Patricia Sullivan, eds., Methods and Methodology in Composition

Research  (excerpts)

Course pack (CP) print and electronic



Recommended (not required):


Susan Miller, ed., The Norton Book of Composition Studies

Gail Hawisher, et al., Computers and the Teaching of Writing…

Mary Field Belenky et al., Women’s Ways of Knowing

J. Frederick Reynolds, ed., Rhetorical Memory and Delivery

Jacqueline Jones Royster and Ann Marie Mann Simpkins, eds.,  Calling Cards: Theory and Practice   in the Study of Race, Gender, and Culture

Welch, Kathleen E., Electric Rhetoric

Websites such as Compile and the CCC Online Bibliography




ENGL 5523: Seminar--Medieval Language and Literature: Medieval Authorship                         Joyce Coleman


This course will explore how literature worked in an era of diffused authorship, fluid texts, and niche audiences—that is, the supposedly "pre-modern" Middle Ages. We will consider how such factors affected the kind of literature written in the late Middle Ages and the ways in which authors, patrons, and audiences understood that literature, and each other. Most readings will be in Middle English, but no previous knowledge of medieval literature or Middle English is required. All non-English texts will be read in modern translation. Students of later periods of literature are welcome and can, if they wish, devise paper topics applying similar considerations to literature in their period of study.




ENGL 5533               Shakespeare:  Between Renaissance and Reformation                   David Anderson


This class will examine Shakespeare’s dramas against their intellectual context, reading them alongside the great texts of the Renaissance and the Reformation.  Those two movements, which changed Europe forever, are of such complexity as to defy simplistic definitions.  One involved the recovery of classical texts and traditions and inaugurated the intellectual phenomenon of humanism.  The other was a religious revolt against the established church, which broke the common culture of Europe into pieces, inaugurating new churches and new ways of seeing God, the self, and the society.  That Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies and histories were produced in this cultural ferment is no accident.  Each week we will read one of Shakespeare’s plays alongside one of these authors.  Some weeks we may find much common ground between the two; others we may find mostly divergence.  By the end of the term we will have come closer to a better understanding of Shakespeare and the extraordinary era in which he lived. 


Besides Shakespeare prospective authors may include Pico, Ficino, Luther, Calvin, Bacon, Machiavelli, Erasmus and Montaigne.  



English 5713                        Upward Mobility in Nineteenth Century American Literary Culture                   Francesca Sawaya              W. 5:30-8:30

The Horatio Alger narrative of self-help and upward mobility, canonized in the latter half of nineteenth century, has long been seen as central to American culture.  In recent years, historians and critics have again returned to this foundational fiction, generating insights about the ways in which it narrates both fantasies about and realities of capitalism.  For example, Scott Sandage in Born Losers:  A History of Failure in America has shown the way the narrative of upward mobility has hidden what is in plain sight—that narratives of failure are far more visible in and characteristic of American capitalism.  From a different angle, Bruce Robbins has recently proposed in Upward Mobility:  Towards a History of the Welfare State what he calls the “counterintuitive” thesis that nineteenth- and twentieth-century self-help narratives which seem to confirm the myths of the autonomous individual of liberal capitalism are usually expressions of an emergent (albeit imperfectly realized) welfare state.  This class seeks to explore significant literary narratives of the nineteenth century from a range of subject positions that rely on and revise the Horatio Alger narrative.  In the varieties of ways novelists and intellectuals use, modify, satirize, and criticize the narrative, we find fascinating and rich representations of American capitalism.   Aiming to appeal to both students specializing in American literature and those working outside the field, the class seeks to provide a broad survey of nineteenth century American literature, while also using the narrative of upward mobility to think about the culture of capitalism.

Among the writers we may read are Jane Addams, Horatio Alger, Abraham Cahan, Andrew Carnegie, Stephen Crane, Charles Chesnutt, Theodore Dreiser, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sutton Griggs, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Frances Harper, Pauline Hopkins, William Dean Howells, Henry James, Frank Norris, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Herbert Spencer, William Graham Sumner, Mark Twain, Susan Warner, Booker T. Washington, and Edith Wharton



ENGL 6103               Research Methods in CRL                                    Chris Carter


This course addresses research methods in Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy from the 1980s to the present. Course participants perform close examinations of qualitative and quantitative studies, considering how various critical theories inform research design and reporting. Those examinations aim not toward achieving an ideal methodology, but toward shaping scholarly practices that are appropriate to our chosen topics as well as the material and social circumstances of our investigations. We attend to how method at once enables and constrains what we learn from each study, and how our choice of analytical terms makes certain insights available while obscuring others. Key areas of inquiry include writing pedagogy, the history of rhetoric, digital communications, family and community literacies, and writing in the workplace, though weekly activities will accommodate the particular interests of class participants. As we discuss those interests, we also review methodological interventions by feminists, theorists of race relations, and teacher-scholars working in transnational contexts.


Those interventions appear at various points in our course readings, which consist of Peter Smagorinsky’s Research on Composition, Lee Nickoson et al’s Writing Studies Research in Practice, Cindy Johanek’s Composing Research, Alexis E. Ramsey et al’s Working in the Archives, Heidi McKee and Danielle DeVoss’s Digital Writing Research, and Jacqueline Jones Royster and Gesa E. Kirsch’s Feminist Rhetorical Practices. As we explore those texts we take on two major writing tasks, the first of which is to describe an area of debate within the conversation about research methods and make a brief contribution (9-10 pages) to that discourse. The second task is to formulate a research study that articulates a pressing concern, reviews literature relevant to that concern, and presents a detailed proposal for examining the issue using qualitative and/or quantitative techniques. With careful planning, the first project can fit seamlessly with the second, though such continuity is not necessary to your success in the class.




English 6013             The Materiality of Rhetoric                                   Susan Kates


In this research seminar, we will consider the rhetoricity of “things.”  To explore this concept, we will examine works by Kenneth Burke, Maureen Daly Goggin, Carol Mattingly, Malea Powell, Beth Fowkes Tobin and others whose research incorporates social and historical approaches to examine quilts, ancient Cherokee baskets and beading, as well as clothing and memorial sites that espouse meaning, not just as cultural artifacts, but as live, active sites for heritage and memory-making, storytelling, and communicating. In this course, we examine a material turn in scholarship—a turn of attention to material objects and practices in a field that has traditionally focused almost solely on texts. Over the past two decades, researchers in cultural studies and composition, rhetoric and literacy studies have turned to material culture to explore the significance of material artifacts for understanding history, culture, race, gender, politics, and economics.  We will work to examine the ways that material culture can be read as a text—and to explore the rhetoricity of a wide range of material objects.