Papers and this week

Those of you who requested the automatic extension for Paper 4: the paper will now be due on December 17 by 9 p.m. (via email).

Even if you gave me a paper copy in class, could you also send an electronic copy so that I will have it? The reason: each year the English Department calls for instructors to submit entries to its Graduate Student Essay Contest, and I would like to have copies on hand for that.

I’ll be in on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for meetings this week, so if you’d like to stop by, just let me know.


Today and Next Week

Today for our discussion of journal publication, we have a special guest, Heloise Abtahi, the managing editor of ESQ.  She’ll be with us for the first half hour or so.

Next week, we will have our in-class conference in the Bundy Reading Room.

Conference papers should be 15 minutes long, or about 7-8 pages. This paper, which is a short version of your longer paper, is sent to your respondent. You don’t have to send it to me.

Respondents will prepare a 3-5 minute commentary (can be bullet points) discussing strengths, areas for more development, and future directions.

The full version of the paper is due to me on 12/10, unless you take the extension.

Conference Panels:

Panel I.

  1. “Sex and power in Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’urbervilles”
    Jordan Engleke
    Respondent: Kara Falknor
  2. The Fixing of Women in McTeague
    Kara Falknor
    Respondent: Amy Goldman
  3. “Paper 2 on The Monster”
    Amy Goldman
    Respondent: Jordan Engelke

Panel II.

  1. “Beyond Sex and Greed: Obsession with Ideological Representations of Gender Economy in Frank Norris’ McTeague”
    Curtis Harty
    Respondent: Allyson Herkowski
  2. “Romanticism vs. Naturalism: Naturalism’s Fight for Independence”
    Allyson Herkowski
    Respondent: Amy May
  3. “Solidarity in Viewing the Commodified Female Body Confined: Emilio Pardo Bazan’s ‘Piña’ and Maria Christina Mena’s ‘The Gold Vanity Set'”
    Amy May
    Respondent: Curtis Harty

Panel III.

  1. “The Sympathetic Brute in L’Assommoir, McTeague, and Of Mice and Men”
    Lissa Scott
    Respondent: Richard Snyder
  2. “Zola’s Cybernetic City: Experimental Space in L’Assommoir
    Richard Snyder
    Respondent: Cyn Zavala
  3. “Instinct vs Institution: Gender and Sexual Determinism in McTeague and The Awakening
    Cyn Zavala
    Respondent: Lissa Scott




A Few Sample Proposals

Some of you had asked about seeing sample proposals responding to calls for papers.

Here are some for papers on Edith Wharton that were accepted and will be given at MLA 2016: https://edithwhartonsociety.wordpress.com/2015/11/30/mla-2016-ews-panel-and-abstracts/

These and the panel proposals that you can see at https://call-for-papers.sas.upenn.edu/ and elsewhere have the characteristics of proposals that we talked about in class:

  • Briefly identify the critical context for your proposed paper: the controversies or arguments surrounding it, the critics who’ve addressed it, etc.
  • As part of this context, you may want to address the theme or topic of the panel or conference.
  • Explain how your paper will address some issue raised in this critical conversation.
  • Provide enough of your argument to show the direction that the paper will take.
  • Indicate the conclusions you will probably draw.

Article Overview of Heather Hicks’ “’This Strange Communion”: Surveillance and Spectatorship in Ann Petry’s The Street”

Heather Hicks argues that “a central concern in The Street has never been addressed: namely, the dynamics of spectatorship and surveillance that animate the racist social formation of Harlem” (21). She states, “Petry…produces a distinctive view…between spectatorship and surveillance” (22). Hicks foregrounds her argument by offering a brief overview of the British art historian Griselda Pollock’s essay “Feminism/Foucault—Surveillance/Sexuality.” Hicks discusses Pollock’s assertion that there is a “key distinction between ‘fascinated looking’ and ‘disciplinary investigation” (23). According to Hicks, Pollack “connect[s]” fascinated looking with “’the mechanism and processes associated with the unconscious’” and its “drives” which are “’unpredictable and destabilizing plays of fascination, curiosity, dread, desire, and horror’ complicate—or ‘furrow’—the will to know and the resultant relations of power’” (23).

Hicks asserts the following:
• “Petry’s novel constructs a picture of social relations…in which two distinct, but interdependent, modes of looking are in operation…spectatorship and speculation” (24).
• There are two characters through which Petry demonstrates modes of looking. (These modes are “distinct” from one another.)
o The “Super”
 “fascinated looking”
• which “Pollock associates” with sexual desire
• and “Psychoanalytic theory treats as male gaze” (24
o Mrs. Hedges (who runs a whorehouse in the building)
 Who “embodies a mode of controlling surveillance”
• While Mrs. Hedges sees Lutie’s body as a “sexual object,” she does so because she views Lutie’s body as “saleable” (27)
• She is engaged in “tireless surveillance” for Junto
o Junto is the white controller of the “large prostitution ring” Mrs. Hedges runs

Hicks admits Junto is also a type of “watcher” in the novel, but due to limitations of “space” in the essay, she chooses not to focus on him. However, Hicks asserts that Junto is, as Marjorie Pryse argues that Junto is, “not one man but a figure for a power that feeds on the color line but not reducible to it” (28). He is according to Hicks, also, as “Wurst put it, ‘invisible, invincible, and omnipresent” (28).

Hicks asserts that what makes the gaze of Hedge’s (“as the eyes of Junto”—though a gaze that is separate from Junto’s) and the Super’s important in the text is the way they each “represent a sexualized, fascinated looking, respectively” at Lutie’s body—for their own purposes (30).

Finally, Hicks states the hope that the argument she’s presented establishes “Petry’s novel is a subtle mediation on the relays and intersections between fascinated, sexualized looking and a regulatory gaze of surveillance that serves as a racist system of power” (33).

My thoughts on the article: Hicks presents an interesting and compelling argument in her reading of Petry’s The Street. Her use of Griselda Pollock’s essay works as a fitting underpinning to her assertion that Petry’s The Street exposes two important types of gaze that Lutie, as an African American woman is subjected to; and, through Lutie’s fictional situation, Petry is exposing a real world issue for African Americans, and African American women in particular.
How can we apply these two types of looking to other naturalists’ works we’ve read this semester?

Article Expert: Kara Falknor

Dear all–

Due to a mixup on the syllabus (I thought Kara had an article choice, and she thought, rightly, that I was going to post something to Blackboard), the article is posted late to Blackboard, and it is one of mine since that’s all I had in .pdf form. Here’s the citation:

“Women Writers and Naturalism.”The Oxford Handbook of American Literary Naturalism, ed. Keith Newlin. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. 223-241. Print.