Thursday, November 3, 2011

New Spring 2012 MALAS Seminar | Voyeurism and Surveillance: American Panopticons

Voyeurism & Surveillance: 
American Panopticons
alternate title: American Panopticons: Voyeurism, Surveillance, and Televisual Subjectity in Literature, Film, Photography, and Art of the Americas

Spring 2012 | English 725 SEMINAR | Dr. William A. Nericcio, Professor, English & Comp Lit/Director, MALAS

In Spring 2011, my esteemed colleague, Professor Quentin Bailey, taught a memorable seminar for the English and Comparative Literature graduate program entitled "Police and Panopticons." It is in that vein, but with a decidedly different line-up of texts, that I now propose to teach a seminar on Voyeurism and Surveillance entitled "American Panopticons." Please don't tell Dr. Bailey that I stole his idea; he may set those aforementioned police on my tail. Seriously, when it comes to the dizzying mirror of the panopticon, invented by Brit polymath Jeremy Bentham in 1791, there is plenty of good material on both sides of the Atlantic, and so it is that in my first American Literature graduate seminar in ages, I turn my eye to Uncle Sam's mirror and to the cultural space of the United States with a course focused on seeing, subjectivity, television, film, art, and more.

The book, art, and film list is tentative, but should probably include Kenneth Anger's Hollywood Babylon, Robert Storr et al's Gary Panter, Ira Levin's The Stepford Wives, Oliver Mayer's The Hurt Business, yours truly's Tex[t]-Mex, Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49, Gilbert Hernandez's Human Diastrophism, David Lynch's Blue Velvet, Nathanael West's Day of the Locust, Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, Chris Ware's Acme Novely Library, Walker Percy's The Moviegoer, Hal Hartley's Flirt, John Kennedy Toole's Confederacy of Dunces, Klaus Honnef's Andy Warhol and Sophia Coppola's Somewhere. Photography by Diane Arbus, essays by Susan Sontag, Frantz Fanon, and Michel Foucault, and more will supplement our main readings/screenings/sightings.

Through all of these masterworks lurks a deep and abiding curiosity about screens, representations, subjectivity, simulacra, celebrity, and mimesis. The goal of our seminar will be to give ourselves over to a kind of intellectual scopophilia, a libidinally-laced "satisfaction derived principally from looking."


the working logo for the class syllabus...

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