English | Special Topics in Literary Study & Theory
L680 | 24174 | Elmer/Favret


L680  24174 ELMER/FAVRET (#3)
Special Topics in Literary Study and Theory

11:15a – 12:30p TR

TOPIC: ROMANTIC ATLANTICS

This course, to be team-taught by Mary Favret and Jonathan Elmer,
will consist of two semesters examining a range of texts and
problems related to what we will call the Romantic Atlantic.
Students can take either semester, or sign up for both.  We will
divide the class focus more or less chronologically, moving in the
fall from the era of the American Revolution and the rise of
antislavery discourse, through the era of the Napoleanic wars and
England’s second conflict with their former colony (called the War
of 1812 in the U.S.).  So, say 1776-1815.  (The second semester will
move enough forward in time to consider the “late” Romanticism
represented by antebellum American writers).  The luxury of having a
full year, and two of us, means that we can aspire both to provide a
survey of what has been achieved over the past ten to fifteen years
with a trans-Atlantic perspective, as well as highlight some of the
emerging archival opportunities and methodological innovations in
the field.  Although we are trained in British and American
literature and culture, respectively, we hope to incorporate other
Anglophone Atlantic culture hearths.  We are still some way from
fixing a reading list, but we know we will be looking past (but not
ignoring) the vast network of literary influences of the “Emerson
read Carlyle” variety, to consider the ways in which forces larger
than literary culture—transformations in spatial experience,
geopolitical upheavals like war or revolution or imperial expansion,
changes in the materialities of communication, manners and laws of
possession and self-possession—impinge upon, form and deform, the
expressive cultures of the Romantic Atlantic.   We are especially
interested, in other words, in approaches that change what we take
to be our primary objects of analysis, or the kind of arguments we
can make.

We have received a curricular development grant from IU that will
allow us to bring in several prominent scholars in the field, who
will be able both to reflect on what scholarship in this field has
accomplished, and where it might go next.  Each speaker will give a
public lecture and hold a seminar meeting with the class.

We conceive of this class as a laboratory for advanced graduate
work.  We would like to experiment with novel ways of approaching
collective and individual scholarship, as well as reconfigurations
of concepts of expertise and critical practice.  While we are still
thinking through requirements—and would be happy to receive
suggestions from interested students, or merely inquiries—we do
expect to ask students to engage in some independent investigation
of sources and archives not covered by our joint readings, as well
as some work for oral presentation.