Spring 2012 Syllabus: Professors Dawn Keetley and Scott Gordon


Course Description

This course introduces students to theories of literature and social justice. We will address the following broad (and frequently overlapping) questions: What is literature? What is social justice? How are literary forms (and literary criticism) distinctive in the ways in which they grapple with questions of social justice? How do literary forms reinforce or challenge dominant ideologies? In what ways does literature critique social injustice and imagine new models of more perfect human flourishing? How does literature generate varying emotions in its readers that might serve to promote (or prevent) social justice? While we recognize that much literature itself rather expressly takes on the goal of furthering some idea of a “better” society, the course mostly presumes that the project of “literature and social justice” is about particular reading strategies—strategies we will unearth, debate, and try on during the course of the semester. The majority of the reading will be works of theory and criticism, but we will read two primary works so that we will have some common ground on which we can test our theories.

Course Requirements
Class Participation 15%
CourseSite Postings (weekly) 15%
Seminar Paper (20pp.) 50%
Summaries/Analyses (4 total) 20%
Academic Integrity:

Lehigh University requires all professors to forward suspected cases of plagiarism to the University Committee on Discipline. Here is Lehigh University’s official statement on plagiarism:

Plagiarism is the unacknowledged appropriation of another’s work, words, or ideas in any essays, outlines, papers, reports, or computer programs. Specifically, (1) students who use the exact words of another must enclose those words in quotation marks or show through indentation or type style that the material is quoted and indicate the source, either within the text of their work or in a footnote; (2) students who take ideas from another person or written work, but who either paraphrase those ideas in their own words or else make a few mechanical alterations (rearrange sentences, find synonyms, alter prepositions, punctuation, conjunctions, and the like) must also indicate the source, either within the text of their work or in a series of footnotes clearly indicating the extent of the material paraphrased; (3) students may not turn in as their own work any materials written for them by another person or any commercially prepared materials, such as computer programs and term papers, purchased on or off campus.

There is more information about academic integrity at studentaffairs.lehigh.edu/content/academic-integrity-resources


Accommodations for Students with Disabilities:

If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting accommodations, please contact both your instructor and the Office of Academic Support Services, University Center C212 (610 758-4152) as early as possible in the semester.  You must have documentation from the Academic Support Services office before accommodations can be granted.

Monday, Jan 16
  • Introduction to course: what is social justice?
Wednesday, Jan 18
  • Ben Jackson, “The Conceptual History of Social Justice," Political Studies Review 3 (2005): 356-73.
  • Brian Barry, “Social Justice: The Basics,” from Why Social Justice Matters (Polity, 2005), 1-34.
Monday, Jan 23
  • Friedrich A. Hayek, “’Social’ or Distributive Justice,” from Law, Legislation and Liberty, Vol. 2, The Mirage of Social Justice (Chicago, 1976), 62-100.
  • Amartya Sen, “Introduction: An Approach to Justice,” from The Idea of Justice (Harvard, 2009), 1-29.
Wednesday, Jan 25
  • Raymond Williams, “Literature,” from Marxism and Literature (Oxford, 1977), 45-54.
  • Terry Eagleton, “What is Literature,” from Literary Theory: An Introduction (Minnesota, 1983), 1-16
  • Jonathan Culler, “What is Theory?" and “What is Literature and Does it Matter?” from Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford,1997), 1-42
  • Jonathan Culler, “What Is Literature Now?" New Literary History 38.1 (2007): 229-37. (Note: This special issue of New Literary History is devoted to the question, What Is Literature Now?)
Monday, Jan 30
  • Stephen Greenblatt, “Shakespeare Bewitched,” New Historical Literary Study, eds. Jeffrey Cox and Larry Reynolds (Princeton, 1993), 108-35.
  • Jane Tompkins, “Sentimental Power: Uncle Tom 's Cabin and the Politics of Literary History," The New Historicism Reader, ed. H. Aram Veeser (Routledge, 1994), 206-228.
  • Steven Justice, “Insurgent Literacies" and “Piers Plowman in the Rising,” from Writing and Rebellion: England in 1381 (California, 1994), 1-66, 102-39.
Wednesday, Feb 1
  • Anita Pacheco, “Royalism and Honor in Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko," SEL 34 (1994): 491-506.
  • Margaret Ferguson, “Juggling the Categories of Race, Class and Gender: Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko," Women's Studies 19 (1991): 159-81.
  • Liliane Weissberg, “Gothic Spaces: The Political Aesthetics of Toni Morrison’s Beloved," Modern Gothic: A Reader, eds. Victor Sage and Allan Lloyd Smith (Manchester, 1996), 104-20.
  • Dean Franco, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Beloved,” Modern Fiction Studies 52.2 (2006): 415-39.
Monday, Feb 6
  • Raymond Williams, from Marxism and Literature (Oxford 1977), 95-191.
Wednesday, Feb 8
  • Raymond Williams, from Country and the City (Oxford, 1973), l-127.
Monday, Feb 13
  • Frederic Jameson, “Preface” and “On Interpretation: Literature as a Socially Symbolic Act," from The Political Unconscious (Princeton:1981), 9-102
  • Frederic Jameson, “Cognitive Mapping,” in Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg, eds., Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture (Illinois, 1988), 347-60.
Wednesday, Feb 15
  • Iris Marion Young, “Displacing the Distributive Paradigm,“ and “The Scaling of Bodies and the Politics of Identity,” from Justice and the Politics of Difference (Princeton, 1990), 15-38 and 122-55.
  • Patricia Williams, “On Being the Object of Property,” from Alchemy of Race and Rights (Harvard, 1992).
Monday, Feb 20
  • Wai Chee Dimock, “Introduction: Justice and Commensurability,” and “Rights and Reason,“ from Residues of Justice: Literature, Law, Philosophy (Califomia, 1996), 1-10, 182-223.
  • Robin West, “Invisible Victims: Herman Melville’s ‘Bartleby the Scrivener’ and Susan Glaspell’s ‘Jury of Her Peers,“ from Caring for Justice (New York, 1997), 218-58.
Wednesday, Feb 22
  • Pierre Bourdieu, from Masculine Domination (Stanford, 1998), 1-80.
Monday, Feb 27
  • Nancy Fraser, “From Redistribution to Recognition? Dilemmas of Justice in a ‘Post-Socialist’ Age," New Left Review 212 (1995): 68-93.
  • Fraser, “Rethinking Recognition,“ New Left Review 3 (2000): 107-20.
Wednesday, Feb 29
  • Judith Butler, “Doing Justice to Someone: Sex Reassignment and Allegories of Transsexuality“ and “The Question of Social Transformation,“ from Undoing Gender (Routledge, 2004): 57-74, 204-231.
  • Heather Love, “Introduction” and “Spoiled Identity: Radclyffe Hall’s Unwanted Being,” from Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History (Harvard, 2009).
Monday, March 5
Wednesday, March 7
Monday, March 12
  • Howard McGary, “Race and Class Exploitation,” “The African-American Underclass and the Question of Values,“ “Morality and Collective Liability,“  Justice and Reparations,“ and “Racism, Social Justice, and Interracial Coalitions,” from Race and Social Justice (Wiley-Blackwell 1999), 27-42, 62-78, 81-109, 196-214.
  • Howard Winant, “Racial Dualism at Century’s End,” from New Politics of Race: Globalism, Difference, Justice (Minnesota, 2004), 166-87.
  • bell hooks, “Justice: Childhood Love Lessons,” from All About Love: New Visions (William Morrow, 2001), 15-30.
Wednesday, March 14
  • Henry Louis Gates, Jr. “Fade to Black: From Cultural Studies to Cultural Politics," from Tradition and the Black Atlantic: Critical Theory in the African Diaspora (Basic Civitas, 2010), 33-82.
  • Saidiya V. Hartman, “Introduction” and “Innocent Amusements: The Stage of Sufferance,“ from Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Sell-Making in Nineteenth-Century America (Oxford, 1997), 3-16, 17-48.
Monday, March 19
  • Lynn Hunt, “Paradoxical Origins of Human Rights,“ in Human Rights and Revolution, ed. Jeffery Wasserstrom, Lynn Hunt, and Marilyn Young (Rowman & Littlefield, 2000), 3-17.
  • Hunt, “Torrents of Emotion: Reading Novels and Imagining Equality,“ from Inventing Human Rights: A History (Norton, 2007), 35-69.
Wednesday, March 21
  • J. M. Coetzee, “The Lives of Animals“ and “The Poets and the Animals,” from The Lives of Animals (Princeton, 1999), 1-69.
Monday, March 27
  • Essays by Marjorie Garber, Peter Singer, Wendy Doniger, and Barbara Smuts, from The Lives of Animals, 73-120.
  • Martha Nussbaum, “Beyond ‘Compassion and Humanity’: Justice for Nonhuman Animals,” Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions (Oxford, 2005), 299-320.
  • Susan McHugh, “Literary Animal Agents,” PMLA 124.2 (2009): 564-75.
  • Cary Wolfe, "Human, All Too Human: 'Animal Studies' and the Humanitites," PMLA 124.2 (2009):  564-75.
Wednesday, March 29
  • Martha Nussbaum, Poetic Justice (Beacon Press, 1995).
Monday, April 2
  • Suzanne Keen, "A Theory of Narrative Empathy" Narrative 14.3 (2006): 207-36.
  • Keen, "Empathy in the Marketplace," from Empathy and the Novel (Oxford, 2007), 101-119.
Wednesday, April 4
  • John Johnson, et. al, "Hierarchy in the Library: Egalitarian Dynamics in Victorian Novels," Evolutionary Psychology 6 (2008): 715-38.
  • Robert Lane, "Self-Reliance and Empathy: The Enemies of Poverty and of the Poor," Political Psychology 22 (2001): 473-92.
  • Mark Bracher, "How to Teach for Social Justice: Lessons from Uncle Tom's Cabin and Cognitive Science," College English 71 (2009): 363-88.
Monday, April 9
  • Sianne Ngai, "Introduction," "Tone," and "Envy" from Ugly Feelings (Harvard, 2005), 1-88, 126-73.
Wednesday, April 11
  • Nancy Fraser, "Reframing Justice in a Globalizing World," New Left Review 36 (2005): 69-88.
  • Azar Nafisi, "Austen" and "Epilogue," from Reading Lolita in Tehran (Random House, 2008), 255-344.
Monday, April 16
  • Stanley Fish, from Save the World on Your Own Time (Oxford, 2008), 3-59, 168-78.
  • Mark Bracher, "Teaching for Social Justice: Reeducating the Emotions Through Literary Study," Journal of Advanced Composition 26.3-4 (2006): 463-512.
  • Elizabeth Ammons, "Postmodern Fundamentalism," from Brave New Words: How Literature Will Save the Planet (Iowa, 2010), 1-36.
  • Howard Winant, "Teaching Race and Racism in the 21st Century," from New Politics of Race: Globalism, Difference, Justice (Minnesota, 2004), 69-79.
Wednesday, April 18
  • Paolo Friere, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Continuum, 1968).
Monday, April 23
  • Donald E. Hall, The Academic Self (Ohio, 2002).
Wednesday, April 25
  • Social justice and university politics: adjuncts, the OCCUPY movement