Fall 1994--Literary Studies: An Institutional History
Ms. Ho (Tu 2-4:50 A202) Office: C2-424 Hours: Th 2-4

In this course we will observe how scholars reflect upon the history and premises of their own academic discipline as it goes through various transformations in keeping with contextual fluctuations. The approach will be both historical and critical. Topics to be covered include the historical institutionalization of literary studies, the formation and politics of canon(s), transformation of disciplinary operations in the field, discourse of change and crisis, pedagogical questions of literary education, etc.. Students are expected to keep up with the readings, work on a class project (see below), make two in-class presentations, and turn in a 7-10 page final paper on a research topic individually negotiated with the instructor (due Jan. 10 in my mailbox).

  • Baldick, Chris. The Social Mission of English Criticism. London: Oxford, 1983.
  • Bergonzi, Bernard. Exploding English: Criticism, Theory, Culture. New York: Oxford UP, 1990.
  • Berman, Paul, ed. Debating P.C.: The Controversy over Political Correctness on College Campuses. New York: Dell, 1992.
  • Berube, Michael. Public Access: Literary Theory and American Cultural Politics. New York: Verso, 1994.
  • Cain, William E. The Crisis in Criticism: Theory, Literature and Reform in English Studies. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins UP, 1984.
  • Culler, Jonathan. Framing the Sign: Criticism and Its Institutions. Oxford: Blackwell, 1988.
  • Eagleton, Terry. The Function of Criticism: From the Spectator to Post-Structuralism. London: Verso, 1984.
    ---. Literary Theory: An Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell, 1983.
  • Engell, James & David Perkins, eds. Teaching Literature: What is Needed Now. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1988.
  • Gibaldi, Joseph (ed.) Introduction to Scholarship in Modern Languages and Literature. 2nd Ed. New York: MLA, 1992.
  • Graff, Gerald. Literature Against Itself: Literary Ideas in Modern Society. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1979.
    ---. Professing Literature: An Institutional History. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1987.
  • Graff, Gerald & Reginald Gibbons, eds. Criticism in the University. Evanston: Northwestern UP, 1985.
  • Graff, Gerald & Michael Warner, eds. The Origins of Literary Studies in America: A Documentary Anthology. London: Routledge, 1989.
  • Greenblatt, Stephen & Giles Gunn, eds. Redrawing the Boundaries: The Transformation of English and American Literary Studies. New York: MLA, 1992.
  • Gubar, Susan & Jonathan Kamholtz, eds. English Inside and Out: The Places of Literary Criticism. New York: Routledge, 1993.
  • Kampf, Louis & Paul Lauter, eds. The Politics of Literature: Dissenting Essays on The Teaching of English. New York: Vintage, 1970.
  • Kecht, Maria-Regina, ed. Pedagogy is Politics: Literary Theory and Critical Teaching. Champagne, IL: U of Illinois P, 1992.
  • Lauter, Paul. Canons and Contexts. London: Oxford, 1991.
  • Leitch, Vincent. American Literary Criticism from the 30s to the 80s. New York: Columbia UP, 1988.
  • Lentricchia, Frank & Thomas McLaughlin (eds.) Critical Terms for Literary Study. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1990.
  • Lindenberger, Herbert. The History in Literature: On Value, Genre, Institutions. New York: Columbia UP, 1990.
  • Ohmann, Richard. Politics of Letters. Middletown, CN: Wesleyan UP, 1987.
  • Palmer, D. J. The Rise of English Studies. London: Oxford, 1965.
  • von Hallberg, Robert, ed. Canons. Chicago: U of Chicago, 1983.


I have scheduled certain select readings for each unit. These pieces are to be read in relation to/contrast with one another. In class, we will examine how these narratives constitute our perception of the issues at hand. Feel free to add to the list.

Sept 13 [Introduction to the Course] What is it that we do when we study literature? How do we come to do what we do when we study literature? What institutional forces make up our field of literary studies?
Sept 27 & Oct 4--[History]
  • Terry Eagleton, The Function of Criticism & "The Rise of English" in Eagleton @(Literary Theory) 17-53
  • Graff & Warner, "Introduction" in Graff & Warner 1-14
  • Wallace Douglas, "Accidental Institution: On the Origin of Modern Language Study" in Graff & Gibbons 35-61
  • Paul Lauter, "Society and the Profession, 1958-83" in Lauter 3-21
  • William Cain, "Introduction" 1-14
  • Josephine Ho, "The Rise and Fall of Comparative Literature" (Chinese Handout)
Oct 11 & Oct 18--[Shapes of the Discipline]
  • Kampf & Lauter, "Introduction" in Kampf & Lauter 1-54
  • Paul Lauter, "Retrenchment" in Lauter 175-197
  • Richard Ohmann, "The Function of English at the Present Time" in Ohmann 3-17
  • Gerald Graff, "English in America" in Graff (Literature) 103-27
  • J. Hillis Miller, "The Function of Rhetorical Study at the Present Time" in Engell & Perkins 87-109
  • Jonathan Culler, "Literary Criticism and the American University" &"The Humanities Tomorrow" in Culler 3-56
  • Susan R. Horton, "Let's get 'Literate'" in Kecht 132-52
  • Josephine Ho, "Orality and Literacy: A Theoretical Reconsideration" (Chinese Handout)
Nov 1 & Nov 8--[Pedagogical Reflections]
  • Ellen Cantarow, "Why Teach Literature" in Kampf & Lauter 57-100
  • Bruce Franklin, "The Teaching of Literature in the Highest Academies of the Empire " in Kampf & Lauter 101-29
  • Martin Ryle, "Long Live Literature?" (Handout) David Laurence, "Editorial Note" (Handout) Bernard Bergonzi, "Theory Among the English" in Bergonzi 95-128
  • David Shumway, "Integrating Theory in the Curriculum as Theorizing" in Kecht 93-110
  • Josephine Ho, "The Open Literature Classroom" (Chinese Handout)
Nov 15--[Canon Formation]
  • Henry Louis Gates, Jr. "Whose Canon Is It, Anyway?" in Berman190-200
  • Lindenberger, "The Normality of Canon Change" & "On the Sacrality of Reading Lists: The Western Culture Debate at Stanford University" 131-62
  • Richard Ohmann, "The Shaping of a Canon: US Fiction, 1960-1975" in von Hallberg 377-401
  • Paul Lauter, "Reconstructing American Literature" in Lauter 97- 113
  • Graff, "Modern Literature in the University: 1940-1960" in Graff (Professing) 195-225
Nov 22 & Nov 29--[Enter The Other]
  • Myra Jehlen, "Gender" in Lentricchia & McLaughlin 263-73
  • Gerald Graff, "Feminist Criticism in the University" in Graff & Gibbons (eds.) 111-23
  • Naomi Schor, "Feminist and Gender Studies" in Gibaldi 262-87
  • Kwame Anthony Appiah, "Race" in Lentricchia & McLaughlin 274-87
  • Henry Louis Gates, Jr., "'Ethnic and Minority' Studies" in Gibaldi 288-302
  • Paula Gunn Allen, "'Border' Studies: The Intersection of Gender and Color" in Gibaldi 303-19
  • Jane Gallop, "The Instituutionalization of Feminist Criticism" in Gubar and Kamholtz 61-67
  • Josephine Ho, "The Dead-End Alley of Feminist Criticism" (Chinese Handout)
Dec 6--[Mapping the Field] What professional journals are in the field? What do the editorial policies say about transformations in the field? Recurring terms and names in titles of articles
Dec 13--Presentation of Research Projects Students will present a 10-minute talk on their proposed research project and expect questions from both the instructor and the other students.
Dec 20--[Mapping the Field-Part II] A study of Chung-Wai Literary Monthly and Tamkang Review
Dec 27--Whatever is leftover