ANTH 515J/GWS 590 

Performance Studies

Professor: Jane Desmond .
Meets: Tuesdays 2:00-4:50 pm
Room: TBA 
CRN: 39311   

Course Description: Drawing on the disciplines of anthropology, literary theory, film studies,  dance and theater studies, and Marxist, feminist, and poststructural  modes of analysis, this course will provide a framework for thinking about the ways in which cultural meanings are constructed, negotiated, and contested through embodied performative acts of representation.  This seminar will introduce students to a wide variety of writings in this area and provide them an opportunity to reflect on the current issues and methodologies animating this emerging field through the production of their own research project.

As an emergent area of specialization, “performance studies” focuses on the cultural analysis of live events,  and can include the activities of daily life, community practices, sports, theater ,music, rituals, festivals, religious practices, dance, performance art, political rallies, the conduct of war, and even extend to practices like cooking, shopping ,tourism, medical protocols, torture, labor, the imposition of colonial modes of the use of space, and modes of self-presentation including movement style and vocalization.

An emphasis on the body and enactment will ground our discussions. Specific attention will be paid to the historical and community specificity of semiotic production and reception in these arenas, and the ways that these elements resonate with intersecting categories of social differentiation including those of gender, racial or ethnic identity, national identity, sexuality, age, social class, and perceptions of bodily ability/disability. In addition to a final research paper, students will conduct observation exercises and attend live events outside of class, and be responsible for leading some discussions.  Readings will be augmented with film and video clips.

 Authors may include Lipsitz, Roman, Butler, Stoeltje, Goffman, Schechner, Phelan, Munoz, Johnson, de Loria, Lott, Foucault, Kirschenblatt-Gimblett, Slymovics, among others .   This course will be of particular interest to students with interests in gender and women’s studies, anthropology, cultural studies, cultural geography, communication studies, the arts, and social history. 


ANTH 523
Dynamic Embodiment: Performance and Performativity 

Professors: Brenda Farnell and Robert Wood.
Meets: Tuesdays 5:00pm-7:00pm
Room: 209 A Davenport Hall 
CRN: 51130  

Course Description: This course is unique in that it offers students an opportunity to explore and acquire new knowledge in both theoretical and experiential performed modes of understanding. Combining discussion with active studio work, it will be co- taught by Visiting Professor, Robert Wood, Artistic Director and Choreographer, Robert Wood Dance New York Inc.  "Performativity" has been hailed as a new critical idiom, with enquiries ranging from language philosophy, ritual and theater, to gender matters, marketing economics, the management of professional identities and a 'somatics of resistance'. We will systematically examine the work of theorists such as Austin, Butler, Bauman, Goffman, Schechner, Turner and others as well as artists such as Cage & Cunningham, Suzuki and Gomez-Peña to assess the value of this concept to embodied critical inquiry in socio-cultural and linguistic anthropology and related inter- disciplines, including theater, dance, music, film, media studies, communications, performance studies and cultural studies.  Students will develop multi-media and/or performance projects that explore/articulate tensions between the "ethnography of performance" and the "performance of ethnography." 


COMM 570
Popular Culture: New Directions in Cultural Studies 

Professor: James Hay, Institute of Communication Research 
CRN: 51678
Meets: T 5:30-8:30pm
Room: 336 Gregory Hall 

This seminar considers various kinds of projects that have represented Cultural Studies. The seminar is less interested in reconstructing an "intellectual tradition" or dwelling on the "legacy" of British Cultural Studies than considering the multiple contexts of Cultural Studies, with particular attention to recent directions. How much material we consider from before the 1990s therefore will depend upon the interests and needs of students enrolled in the course, but I hope to devote most of our attention to fairly recent work. At least two-thirds of the syllabus will be devoted to recent polemics, theories, and analyses. That the term "cultural studies" occurs across various academic disciplines, in various geographic contexts, and across the projects of both the Left and the Right will be one of the central issues for this seminar. The seminar also will consider how recent Cultural Studies projects have addressed issues concerning knowledge/power, criticism/critique, a "new empiricism," historiography, "post-Marxist" theory and analysis, spatial analytics (of the nation, globalization, cities, the domestic sphere), neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism, the new communitarianism, empire and imperialism, war and militarization, media/communication, technology, science and "science studies," economies (and analytics of new forms of consumption and labor), representation, reproduction, race, diaspora, gender, sexuality, forms of transport and mobility, education (at, and in conjunction with, the current university), activism, access and resources, rights and governmentality, citizenship, policy, everyday life, and culture (as a term implicated in all these subjects).

Students need not have any background in Cultural Studies. Although the seminar is taught from the Institute of Communication Research, the course will not emphasize the relation of Cultural Studies to Communication Studies. This relation has been part of Cultural Studies' history in the U.S. and therefore will be a consideration for the seminar, but the course's recognition that Cultural Studies is a province of "interdisciplinary" research, and of research that wrestles with disciplinarity, makes it necessary to avoid equating Cultural Studies with the study of popular media. I am very interested in making the course relevant to students from various departments and disciplines, and in using the course to introduce questions and issues not easily addressed by a particular disciplinary knowledge. 

Students will be expected to keep up with readings, to participate in class discussions, and to complete a final paper-project decided with me. 


COMM 580
Seminar on Advanced Interpretive Methods (Social Interaction) 

Professor: Denzin, N 
CRN: 35458 
Meets: W 12-2:50 pm
Room: 336 Gregory Hall 

This performance-based seminar will focus on the implications of decolonizing emancipatory discourses, and indigenous epistemologies for critical, interpretive inquiry.  The readings and assignments foreground localized critical theory,  critical personal narratives, ndigenous participatory theatre, interpretive inquiry as moral, political discourse. We will examine how the practices of critical inquiry can be used to imagine, write and perform a free democratic society. Traditional forms of qualitative inquiry are put into relief as we disrupt the notion of "business as usual" in the current interpretive social science community.  

COURSE PREREQUISITES: Previous coursework in qualitative research is desired. A background in critical pedagogy, critical race and  indigenous, decolonizing discourses will be useful. 

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Three performance-based texts grounded in epiphanic, racialized  personal experience and ne take-home exam.  Writing/film groups will lead discussions of films and the major texts in the course. Students will prepare manuscripts for publication and/or presentation at the Second International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, May 3-6, 2006. The class will co-participate in bringing food to the seminar. Each week a different performance group will stage a TEN minute scripted interpretation of the week's reading materials. 


ENGL 524

Romance, Novel, and the Work of Fiction in 
Britain 1550-1750 

Professor: Lori Newcomb 
Meets: W 3:00pm-4:50pm
Room: 123 English Building 
CRN: 30191  

This course engages pre- and non-novelistic prose fiction while eschewing the remarkably persistent ‘rise of the novel’ model that presupposes realism, masculine authority, and English identity as constitutive of the novel proper.  The supposed “Englishness” of the eighteenth-century novel is finally visible as an aberration from fiction as a form generated in cultural hybridity.   It’s time now to return to the range of earlier forms—romances, scandal and amatory fiction, novellas, topical ‘key’ novels-- with a fuller appreciation of their material, political, transnational, and gender-crossing social interventions.  We’ll survey a range of fiction forms produced in English from 1550 to 1750, many recently recovered for study by new critical work on fictional narratives’ ties to expository prose genres, on the history of gender and sexualities, on reader affect and demographics, and on print culture.  Our objective is to sketch a fuller collective picture of the prose fictions written, published, and read in early modern Britain, as they participate in transnational ‘romance’ webs of circulation (historically marked as female) as well as in the more specifically English phenomenon that elevated the middle-class novel (initially marked as male).  (For the sake of comparison, we will read a few women-authored French novellas in widely-read English translations of the period.)   Luckily, many of these works are short, and on-line texts offer new horizons for analyzing how they individually and collectively stake out fiction’s imaginable national, gender, and socioeconomic affinities.


ENGL 543

Problems in the New Modernist Studies

Professor: Matt Hart
Meets: M 1:00pm-2:50pm
Room: 113 English Building 

The last decade has seen a renaissance of scholarly work on early and mid-twentieth century literature, much of it done under the rubric of the "New Modernist Studies." But what if anything unites the disparate projects of this critical tendency? What is "new" about it? How has it changed the way we read and identify modernist texts? And are we able, ten years after the inaugural "New Modernisms" conference of the Modernist Studies Association, to describe its contributions and acknowledge its limits? 

Because we cannot hope to survey all or much of the field, the class will break down into four thematic clusters or nodes: "Modernism and its Markets," "Modernist Temporalities," "Modernist Geographies," and "Modernism as a Concept." In each section we will read literary texts with and against key examples of recent critical and theoretical practice. Canonical authors will include James Joyce, T. S. Eliot, and Virginia Woolf; lesser-known writers include Djuna Barnes, Kamau Brathwaite, Mina Loy, and Melvin Tolson. We will also enjoy visits by several members of Illinois' faculty in modernist literature and culture-scholars whose disparate research agendas and methodologies suggest the breadth of the current field. Students will be expected to write a critical essay, a short seminar paper, and a bibliographic research project.


FR 530 

Introduction to Research and Textual Analysis

Professor: Patrick Bray 
Meets: T 3:00pm-4:50pm
Room: 1024 Foreign Language Building 
CRN: 51102   

Introduction to late 20th-century French literary criticism and theory through the study of important writings by Barthes,  Derrida,  Foucault,  Girard,  Irigaray,  Kristeva,  Lacan,  Lévi-Strauss, Lyotard,  Saussure,  Starobinski, Deleuze, and Ranciere.  Taught in French. 



GER570: Modern Critical Theory: An Advanced Introduction

Professor: Laurie Johnson
Meets: Tuesdays, 7:30-9:00 p.m. (public lecture),
and Thursdays, 3:00-4:50 p.m. (meeting of GER 570 seminar)
CRN: 39732

This course provides a historical survey of the foundational thinkers, texts, and schools that orient contemporary work in the humanities, from Kant and Hegel to Cultural Studies, Queer Theory, and Postcolonial Theory. As an "advanced introduction," the course is intended primarily for beginning graduate students, but also for those who feel they have not covered the development of critical theory in a systematic way. The course will include significant discussion of figures such as: Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Adorno, Barthes, Levi- Strauss, Lacan, Derrida, Foucault, Kristeva, Williams, Hall, Said, Spivak, Bhabha, Zizek, and Butler. Among the topics we will certainly address are: history, aesthetics, the subject, value, power, language, ideology, materiality, gender, sexuality, race, and colonialism. The purpose of this course is to ensure that graduate students receive a rigorous introduction to critical theories and methodologies central to a variety of fields in the humanities and to provide the basis for interdisciplinary conversation and intellectual community among graduate students and faculty members from across the university. 

Modern Critical Theory has an unusual format. The course meets twice a week: once a week on Tuesday nights, in a public session that will include all interested graduate students, and once a week on Thursday afternoons, in a closed session limited to registered students. Drawing on the resources of the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory, guest experts from around campus and occasionally from off-campus will visit the public sessions of the seminar and lecture on particular topics throughout the semester. Public sessions include students from both sections of the course (Prof. Laurie Johnson's and Prof. Jim Hansen's), and all other interested students and faculty. 

Prerequisite: none. All readings and discussions are in English. 




       3 undergraduate hours, 4 graduate hours 


Professor: Schroeder, W.
CRNs: 39418/39419  U3/G4
Meets: 12:30 – 1:50,  T R                   
Room: 329 GH             


This course will offer an interpretation of Nietzsche's critical and constructive ethical theory, encourage critical thinking about Nietzsche's positions, and develop some implications of his views for contemporary philosophical ethics.  I hope to capture both the spirit and sweep of Nietzsche's ethical thought as well as its complexities and subtleties.  The main topics will be:  Nietzsche’s general theory of value, his favored virtues, his theory of self-perfection, his theory of culture and politics, his method of revaluation and its results, his critique of “morality”, and his moral psychology.  The arguments and rationale he offers to support his views will receive special attention, and various paradoxes and problems indicated by commentators will be addressed.  We will examine both his critique of existing moral codes and classical ethical positions and his positive steps toward a new ethic.  


The course will treat his early works will the same care as his later, "mature" works because the early works make dramatic contributions to his overall thinking in this area.  Some books or essays, such as Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Schopenhauer as Educator, will receive more extended treatment because they focus primarily on our topic.  The topic is sufficiently limited that students should be able to carefully examine most of the relevant passages from all the published works and thus should be able to achieve a fine-grained comprehension of Nietzsche's ideas (an extremely difficult task even for one area of Nietzsche’s thought).  The course will thus focus on reading Nietzsche carefully, not on secondary sources.  This is a reading-intensive course; students who enroll should be prepared to read a substantial number of pages each week.  


Requirements will include a term paper chosen from a selected list of topics, a cumulative final exam, and an early mid-term assignment.  The course will be primarily a lecture course, though there will some opportunities for class discussion.  Pre-requisite:  one course in philosophy.  


RLST 496: Religion of Reason from Kant to Derrida. 

Professor: Rosenstock, B. 
CRNs: 51219/ 51221  U3/G4
Meets: 10:00 - 12:30,  W                  
Room: 1022 FLB 

The "religion of reason" names what is perhaps the Enlightenment's foremost project, the construction of a rational, miracle-free Christitanity. This project dovetailed with the political project of reframing an estate-based society as a rights-based polity. The course will examine some key texts in the development of this politico-theological project from the Enlightenment to our "postsecular" age. Beginning with Kant's Religion within the bounds of Reason alone, we will read extended selections from Hegel's Spirit of Christianity and its Fate; Feuerbach's Essence of Christianity; Marx's On the Jewish Question; Herman Cohen's Religion of Reason from out the Sources of Judaism; Franz Rosenzweig's Star of Redemption; Henri Bergson's Two Sources of Morality and Religion; and Jacques Derrida's Gift of Death and "Faith and Knowledge" from Acts of Religion.  Students will prepare an essay on the interrelation of a text of their choosing with one or more of the themes of the works read in the course (providential history vs. redemptive eschatology; religion and the sublime/beautiful divide; religion and the critique of Kantian idealism; Judaism as politics vs. Judaism as revelation; the limits of reason and faith in postsecular thought.)