Monday, November 26, 2012

Dissertation Chapter Workshop: Dina Karageorgos

December 10th, 2012 - 4:10-5:30p, Room 3154 Angell Hall

Dina Karageorgos, "Richard Wright's Search for a Method"

Chapter One is organized around Richard Wright’s poetic revaluation of Marx. Opening with Wright’s provocative statement in which he professes his allegiance to “Marx as a poet” rather than political philosopher, this chapter uses Wright’s Delphic utterance—so far unexplored by critics—to construct a narrative account of his development of a non-objective Marxist aesthetic. The focus here is on the early stages of Wright’s development, beginning with his reading of Kenneth Burke, from whom he appropriates, virtually in name alone, the idea of a “poetic” Marx, to his deployment of this principle in his “poetic revision” of Native Son. Following these discussions, I will look backward. Both “Blueprint for Negro Writing,” (1937) Wright’s earliest articulation of Marx’s relationship to literary form, and “Between Laughter and Tears,” (1937) Wright’s rebuke of an African American literary folk sensibility, anticipate Wright’s development of a dialectical literary sensibility. Although they remain somewhat outside our primary narrative, they too are essential coordinates in our inquiry into the origins of Wright’s style.

Though the narrative does not always proceed chronologically, it reaches a definite historical end in 1946, the year in which Wright began work on The Outsider (1953). The logic here is to provide both the theoretical and empirical foundation necessary for an historical and stylistic reappraisal of Wright’s most misunderstood novel, the subject of Chapter Two.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Dissertation Chapter Workshop: Brian Matzke

November 15, 2012, 4:10p-5:30p, Room 3184 Angell Hall

Brian Matzke, dissertation chapter draft: "'Where's Your Control?': Arrowsmith and the Ownership of Knowledge"

Sinclair Lewis’s 1925 novel Arrowsmith follows the life of a Midwestern doctor and research scientist named Martin Arrowsmith. While most of Lewis’s novels have been interpreted as satire, critics typically see Arrowsmith as providing a less biting, more sentimental take on its subject. Contrary to these interpretations, this paper seeks to underscore the satirical elements of the novel, and argues that Lewis critiques his characters’ tendency to think about science in terms of a dichotomy between “pure” and “commercial” interests.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Article Workshop: Jamie Jones

October 18, 2012, 4:10-5:30p, Room: 3241 Angell Hall

Jamie Jones, journal article draft "Built-in Obsolescence: Moby Dick and the Limits of the Whaling Industry"

Abstract: The essay draft represents my first crack at converting a dissertation chapter into a free-standing article. My American Studies dissertation explored representations of the United States whaling industry from the period of its peak production in the mid-nineteenth century through its decline, obsolescence, and commemoration in the early twentieth century. Whale oil was the energy source that lit lamps and lubricated machinery in the rapidly-industrializing United States. In the 1850s and 60s, though, oil wells in Pennsylvania began providing a cheap and relatively accessible replacement for whale oil: petroleum. Although the whaling industry declined sharply by 1900, whaling persisted as a subject for a vast and diverse body of cultural production: novels, paintings, traveling exhibitions, journalistic accounts. My dissertation discusses the ways in which these cultural texts articulate and manage anxieties about labor, technology, and obsolescence. This essay reads Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick (1851) as a text that anticipates the imminent decline of the whaling industry and the cultural, social, and ethical consequences that attend that economic phenomenon. At the same time, Moby-Dick raises a different anxiety: the extinction of whale species. By pairing an obsolete hunting industry with a rapidly-vanishing quarry, the novel articulates the limits of capitalist and imperialist expansion in two dimensions. I welcome suggestions of all kinds for the essay, and I hope that the workshop can also discuss more broadly the project of converting a dissertation chapter into an article—a topic that I hope will be relevant to everyone present.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pre-Candidate Panel

October 11, 2012, 4:10-5:30p, 3154 Angell Hall

Logan Scherer, "'We are not sentimental girls': The Unsentimental Contemplation of Jewett's and Stowe's New England Histories"

Kathryne Bevilacqua, "'I am afraid I have told too much, [...] I am afraid I have told too little': Sounds and Silences in The Help as Oral Text"

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

Visiting Speaker: Amy Hungerford

January 20, 2012

Amy Hungerford (English, Yale): "The Making of McSweeney's"