Martin W Kevorkian
Affiliate Faculty — Ph.D., 2000, University of California Los Angeles
Fellow of Iris Howard Regents Professorship in English Literature #2/Professor, English
American Renaissance, technology and race
Martin Kevorkian earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in English from UCLA. He is the author of “Color Monitors: The Black Face of Technology in America” (Cornell Univ. Press, 2006) and articles on Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Herman Melville, Samuel Beckett, and John Ashbery. Kevorkian is currently completing a book on the literary and spiritual aftermath of the American Renaissance, and he also maintains research interests in cultural representations of technology.
LAH 350 • American Novel Before 1920
29390 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CAL 221
(also listed as E 340)
E 340 l The American Novel before 1920-HONORS
Instructor: Kevorkian, M
Unique #: 34465
Semester: Fall 2015
Cross-lists: LAH 350
Restrictions: English Honors; Liberal Arts Honors
Computer Instruction: No
Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.
Description: In our readings of earlier American novels, we will pay attention to religion as a thematic element as well as a structuring principle. For example, while reading early instances of the sentimental, the gothic, and the picaresque, we will conduct a speculative inquiry into how these novelistic genres might express some of the tendencies of conversion morphologies, including Puritan-approved and antinomian varieties. The tradition of the captivity narrative, which often overlaps with conversion narrative, will also play a part in our account. Although the question of religion as such will not command our entire focus, we will attempt to sustain a consistent concern with the interplay between narrative, genre, and conversion.
Texts: Brown, The Power of Sympathy (online and in dual Penguin Classics edition with Foster, below) • Foster, The Coquette (0140434682) • Brown, Wieland (0140390790) • Melville, Typee (0140434887) • Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (0312256930; Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism, 2nd ed., used) • Fern, Ruth Hall (0140436405)
Recommended secondary text:
Cathy N. Davidson, Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America (0195148231; Expanded Edition, 2004)
[supplementary readings – “selections” on the schedule – will be handed out in class during the semester, and/or made available online]
Requirements & Grading: Two short (4-5 page) papers and one slightly longer (6-8 page) term paper will make up the bulk of the final grade. At least one of these papers (the third) will include research drawn from secondary sources (such as articles to be found using the MLA International Bibliography). Papers will be graded on a “portfolio” basis to afford opportunity and incentive for revisions. Attendance is mandatory; repeated unexcused absences and tardiness will affect your grade. Brief focused response writings will be a regular feature of the course, to be used as catalysts for discussion and the generation of essay ideas; the response writings will be due in class each Tuesday, except during weeks when a formal essay falls due. Also, on some occasions you may be asked to facilitate discussion be preparing a “question of the day / word of the day.”
Attendance and participation, 30%; paper 1, 20%; paper 2, 20%; paper 3, 30%
Papers are due in class no later than the date listed on the syllabus. Late papers will be penalized at a rate of one letter grade per class meeting.
LAH 350 • Dante Alighieri
30100 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM CAL 21
(also listed as E 349S)
Instructor: Kevorkian, M Areas: I / H
Unique #: 35820 Flags: Writing
Semester: Fall 2013 Restrictions: English Honors, Plan I Honors
Cross-lists: LAH 350 Computer Instruction: n/a
Prerequisites: Six semester hours of upper-division coursework in English.
Description: This course offers an opportunity to read the major poetic works of Dante Alighieri, and focuses upon American attempts, from the nineteenth century to the present, to render these literary achievements into English poetry. From Emerson and Longfellow to Pinsky and Merwin, we will consider (and compare) the efforts of noted poets to translate Dante’s own daringly living language into their own vernaculars. While the primary focus will be on the poetry, we will consider also the importance of Dante in establishing and sustaining the academic study and teaching of modern languages.
Texts: Required: Vita Nuova, Trans. Ralph Waldo Emerson; Vita Nuova,Trans. Barbara Reynolds; The Divine Comedy, Trans. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; Inferno, Trans. Robert Pinsky; Puurgatorio, Trans. W.S. Merwin; Paradiso, Trans. Anthony Esolen.
Optional: Dante: The Poetics of Conversion, John Freccero.
Requirements & Grading: Three essays (5-6 pages each, at 250 words per page) will make up the bulk of the final grade. Papers will be graded on a “portfolio” basis to afford opportunity for revisions. Peer feedback will assist in the revision process, and the attention that you offer to your peers’ writing should help you to become a better editor of your own work as well.
Attendance is mandatory; repeated unexcused absences and tardiness will affect your grade. Weekly brief focused response writings (due each Tuesday on weeks when no formal essay falls due), to be supplemented by reading quizzes, will be a regular feature of the course, to be used as catalysts for discussion and the development of paper topics. Also, you may be asked to take a turn in facilitating class discussion.
Attendance and participation, 25 %; paper 1, 25 %; paper 2, 25 %; paper 3, 25 %.
E 395M • Melville And Earlier Amer Lit
35875 • Spring 2013
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM CAL 21
Melville and Earlier American Literature
Michael Davitt Bell has argued that "to dismiss detailed examination of the trajectories of individual careers as somehow irrelevant to 'culture' is to leave 'culture' itself precisely nowhere. It is not that 'culture' is located in the individuals themselves; it exists in, rather (and is sustained and transformed by), the structures of relation and interaction that make individual careers possible, that allow them to take their distinctive shapes."
We will take the distinctive shape of Melville's career as the organizing principle of our inquiry, which will consider Melville's relation to existing American literary structures. A chronological reading of some of Melville's major works will thus provide the backbone for selected readings from the seventeenth to the early nineteenth century. The course title, “Melville and Earlier American Literature,” though naming a reverse chronology in terms of the literature to be studied, in another sense gives a true sequence of the reception of these works within the academy. That is, The Melville Revival precedes the institutionalization of the study of American Literature, as, to adapt Paul Lauter’s formulation, Melville climbed the canon before most earlier works managed to do so; to read Melville as a gateway to his predecessors is in some sense to recapitulate one early history of the field.
- Rowlandson, “Narrative of the Captivity”
- Child, Hobomok
- “Hawthorne and His Mosses”
- Irving (selections)
- The Piazza Tales
- Sedgwick (selections)
- Cooper,The Red Rover
- Israel Potter
- Franklin (selections)
- Mather, C. (selections)
We will read selected scholarship on most of the primary texts; on the Melville side, we will pay particular attention to scholars who have attempted to account for how Melville became Melville.
In addition to (and usually on the way to) producing a term paper, each seminar participant will be asked to introduce one class meeting with a conference-style paper. Presenters should make this paper (approx. 8 pp double-spaced) available to the seminar no later than five p.m. on the day before the presentation. Blackboard (courses.utexas.edu) provides a simple means of email distribution.
Also, each student should bring to the attention of the seminar one bibliographic “wild card”: some secondary or primary text useful to the aims of the course.
E 372L • The American Renaissance
35630 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 304
Instructor: Kevorkian, M Areas: II / F
Unique #: 35630 Flags: Writing
Semester: Fall 2012 Restrictions: n/a
Cross-lists: n/a Computer Instruction: No
Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.
Description: In the 1830s, Ralph Waldo Emerson began issuing his proclamation that "the need was never greater of new revelation than now." Emerson called upon his audiences to declare themselves “newborn bard[s] of the Holy Ghost"--to produce American scriptures for the nineteenth century. In the body of antebellum texts that has come to be known as the "American Renaissance," authors including Fuller, Hawthorne, Melville, Stowe, Thoreau, and Douglass variously answered a call to prophecy--whether Emerson's or their own. Predominantly focusing on what might more properly be called a "New England Renaissance," our course will nevertheless attend to prophetic voices, and American needs for prophecy, arising both inside and outside of Concord.
Texts: Self-Reliance and other Essays, Ralph Waldo Emerson; also, please see www.rwe.org; Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass; Woman in the Nineteenth Century, Margaret Fuller; The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne; Moby-Dick, Herman Melville; Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe; Walden, Henry David Thoreau.
[Supplementary readings will be handed out in class during the semester.]
Requirements & Grading: Two short (5-6 page) papers and one slightly longer (6-8 page) term paper will make up the bulk of the final grade. Papers will be graded on a “portfolio” basis to afford opportunity for revisions.
Attendance is mandatory; repeated unexcused absences will affect your grade. Weekly brief focused response writings, to be supplemented by reading quizzes, will be a regular feature of the course, to be used as catalysts for discussion and the development of paper topics. Also, you may be asked to take a turn in facilitating class discussion.
Attendance and participation, 30%; Paper 1, 20%; Paper 2, 20%; Paper 3, 30%.
Papers are due in class no later than the date listed on the syllabus. Late papers will be penalized at a rate of one letter grade per class meeting. Plagiarism = Failure. For guidelines, see <http://deanofstudents.utexas.edu/sjs/academicintegrity.html#plagiarism>.
E 679HA • Honors Tutorial Course
34920 • Fall 2010
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM PAR 105
Course Description: According to the Honors Thesis Manual, a thesis is “a sustained examination of a central idea or question, developed in a professional and mature manner under the guidance of a faculty supervisor and a second reader.” That sounds easy enough, but how does one get there from here? This course offers something of a roadmap. Over the course of the term we will examine literary criticism from the “inside out” and hone skills essential to a successful honors thesis. Along the way, we will address a number of questions, both practical—How do I use the MLA Bibliography? How do I produce annotated bibliographies that will be useful for writing the thesis?—and theoretical—What does it mean to make an argument about literature? How does a scholar enter into an existing critical conversation?
Course Objectives: This course will: first and foremost prepare students to write an honors thesis; interrogate methods of literary and cultural interpretation; consider what it means to make literary arguments and conduct literary research; help students to improve their research, critical thinking, reading, and writing skills.
Course Requirements and Evaluation Method
Participation (15% of final grade)
Needless to say, students are expected to be active participants in both class discussions and thesis reading group meetings. (This is, after all, an honors seminar.) Attendance is mandatory; please let us know in advance if you need to miss a class meeting.
Bibliographies, Annotations, and Critical Review (30% of final grade)
One of the most important functions of this course will be to introduce you to the scholarly conversation that attends your thesis topic. Over the course of the term you will: produce three bibliographies of secondary texts useful to your thesis (totaling at least 30 references); provide annotations for at least 10 of these texts; and write a 3 to 5-page review of the text that seems most useful for helping you to position your own project within.
Thesis Prospectus (25% of final grade)
In early November you will submit to your reading group, thesis director, second reader, and tutorial professors a 4 to 6-page thesis prospectus.
Symposium Presentation (30% of final grade)
This course will culminate in a day-long symposium at which you will make a fifteen- to twenty-minute presentation (i.e., 6-8 double-spaced pages) from your thesis-in-progress. The first part of the presentation (i.e., ~ 250 words) will be a précis of your thesis project. The pages used in the presentation should be selected from a 15-20 page chapter of your thesis. A 45-60 page thesis will typically consist of about three chapters of 15-20 pages each. Thus, one expectation of the course will be to produce a draft of at least one such major segment of your thesis, to be submitted to your director. As a successful thesis will be a revised thesis, you should plan to continue producing such segments on a regular basis once the course ends (winter “break” is prime writing time!) so that you will have a complete draft to show to your director well in advance of the April defense. Two chapters drafted by January, and three chapters by February, would good targets for progress towards a successful revised and defensible thesis by April and polished final version by May.
Required Core Texts
William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream. Russ McDonald, A.R. Braunmuller, Stephen Orgel, eds. (Penguin Classics, 2000)
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein. J. Paul Hunter, ed. (W.W. Norton, 1996)
Required Secondary Texts
Wayne Booth, et al, The Craft of Research (Third Edition) (University Of Chicago Press, 2008)
Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing (Norton, 2005)
Marjorie Garber, A Manifesto for Literary Studies (University of Washington Press, 2003)
Eviatar Zerubavel,The Clockwork Muse: A Practical Guide to Writing Theses, Dissertations, and Books (Harvard, 1999)
All additional materials will be placed on our course Blackboard site (Bb).