“A Confusion of Tongues”: Enchantment, Sexuality and Death in Ethnography and Literature
Alabama Upstairs University, Homewood Campus
150 General Smedley Butler Hall
6:30 – 10:00PM
First Session: September 7, 2010
Instructor: Llewellyn Bonerston-Smythe, M.A., M.A., M.A., M.A., Ph.D. (Narthwestern) StarBeatz! Karaoke of Homewood Honorary Endowed Post-Postdoctoral Fellow in Pansexual Orientalisms, Department of European Cultural Studies
Office Hours: Monday, 1:00-3:00 p.m. and by appointment, Make-A-Java Coffee House, 12 Main St. (table beneath Tournée du Chat Noire poster unless someone is already sitting there). Note that Make-A-Java will not let you sit without a drink, small Café Americano is the cheapest ($1.15), do not get a to go cup, the portions are much larger in the mugs.
This course focuses on the craft of rigorous expository writing. An introduction to the masterworks of pre-postmodern European literature, supplemented with empirical social science from 1880 to the present, this course leads students to the richest bowers of intellectual and literary thought of the pre-World War II world. Therein the students shall linger in a stupor of languorous desire, their pliant limbs entwined, their breath exhaled in panting gasps of ecstatic passion; the intercourse shall be of the mind and soul and intellect, rather than the generative organs, but I promise that the experience will be no less memorable and pleasurable than the typical, furtive sophomoric grapplings that seem to occupy the attention of most of AUU’s students.
Unlike other scholars at Alabama Upstairs University (Linda Fiorucci-Mackintosh) I will never talk down to you or attempt to spare your real or imaginary petit bourgeois sensibilities. Expect this course to shock you, and to burn away the rank growth of your customary ways of thinking and writing. The ashy stubble that this course will leave upon your mind will prove fallow and fecund beyond your wildest dreaming.
My mentor, Professor Chet Manford, has encouraged me to remind you that this course satisfies both the writing and expository argument requirements set forth in the Student Handbook. Should you require some banal administrative adjustment—an alteration of your credits, a confirmation of your enrolled status, some soothing platitude for you to carry to your advisor—I ask you to consult a slug-minded pedagogic drone, since I have no interest in such matters. If you feel that this might affect your evaluation of my abilities at the end of the course please notify me immediately by calling my cell phone (any time, day or night!); I feel sure that we will be able to resolve the issue over a hearty dinner or lunch, my treat.
Requirements and Assignments:
You must attend all sessions, unless you are exceptionally attractive. If you are unsure whether you qualify as exceptionally attractive then you may safely conclude that you do not.
Monthly summary reports.
Weekly reading responses.
Daily email updates (I am very lonely and enjoy even banal email pleasantries—feel free to tell me about your day!)
Midterm and final essays (the details will be revealed to you through dreams and portents or through the AUU REGSERV course website).
Two in-class tests on which I will include hilarious “joke” questions, because I fervently hope that I will be able to collect your responses and turn them into an email forward and then get some kind of book contract or deal with Comedy Central so I can escape this endless nightmare.
Midterm paper: 25%
Final paper: 50%
Response papers: 30%
Class participation and attendance: 20%
Comportment: 15% (Gentlemen—a smooth-shaven student achieves more accolades than a stubbly brute!)
One of the core conditions of post-postmodernism is that the very idea of originality is inscribed within a hegemonic system in which the elites perpetuate their mastery over the subaltern, and in which originality itself is produced through a system of social inequalities that recreates petit-bourgeois social divisions and grinds continually the boot of oppression into the face of the global other. Rebelling against this inherently prejudiced system is clearly the most hegemonic petit-bourgeois form of all; the pose of equanimity contorts the soul into the most repulsive knot imaginable. Penalties for plagiarism will therefore be extremely harsh and arbitrary—a student whose psyche has not yet been thoroughly deadened by iPods and reality television will realize that knowing the rules that I will enforce is no more than pacing out the dimensions of one’s cage. I therefore ask you to expect prosecution for intellectual dishonesty to fall amongst you like a Jovian lightning-bolt; be never easy at your desks, students, look always skyward for divine and inexplicable wrath.
I do not believe in providing electronic forms of the course readings—for me, reading has always been an intensely sensual experience. I remember distinctly the spring of my senior year of high school, when I would curl up in my bed with a well-thumbed copy of Ivanhoe, inhaling the scent of papery decay, my fingertips aching with the minute web of wrinkles that stretched across the paperback’s creased spine.
But the mean, spiritually stunted accountants of the AUU administration have mandated that all readings be made available through AUU REGSERV, and that no course text cost more than $250.00. I have therefore bid farewell to the requirement for all students to obtain a first or at the very least blackletter edition of The Romance of the Shoe-Fancyiere; surrendering myself wholesale to this slouch towards digital Bethelehem I have in fact foresworn all required texts, and have induced a series of office dogsbodies to “scan” all required readings into REGSERV. Their ill cheer at this task surely reflects a sensibility affronted by the gross crudity of digital reproduction. I overheard one of them saying that he would like to “fucking kill” the person who required him to scan all 718 pages of The Turd-Burgler, his Wyfe, and the Foote-Cobblre. Direct your brickbats at Dean Vargas-Gibson, young churl! (Note that I have since eliminated The Turd-Burgler from the reading list—a blow against the impassive, granite face of digital oppression!)
I assure you, students, that I suffer at least as badly in reading these responses as you do in writing them. Experience has taught me that no instruction, no matter how precise, will stem the tide of banality and idiocy that will weekly swamp my desk, leaving me choking with rage rather than insufflated water. I beg you, therefore, merely to keep your responses brief. Let no more than one mewling, half-aborted thought drop from your febrile mind onto the grease-crusted keys of your Dell laptop. Confine yourself to a single inanity; think of yourself as some sadly deformed circus freak who must restrain his grotesqueries so that he may perform all night.
You are required to use the International Journal of Erotic Footwear Studies format for all citations. IJEFS format is simple and the rules can be found on the journal’s website. Some examples:
19-- PCS. In N. Pp. 177-82. New York: Book-Type Printing.
19-- Dildeaux. In ARQ. Pp. 177-82. New York: Book-Type Printing.
(above is for a journal article)
“It is at work everywhere, functioning smoothly at times, at other times in fits and starts. It breathes, it heats, it eats. It shits and fucks. What a mistake to have ever said the id. Everywhere it is machines—real ones, not figurative ones: machines driving other machines, machines being driven by other machines, with all the necessary couplings and connections.”
—Deleuze and Guattari, L’Anti-Œdipe
ALL READINGS TO BE DETERMINED—LBS, 9 September 2010