S Living On the Waterfront: Regionalism and Liminality in Representations of East Anglia and the Fens

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!!!THIS COURSE IS CURRENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION!!!

COURSE OUTLINE

3.02.130: S Living On the Waterfront: Regionalism and Liminality in Representations of East Anglia and the Fens

  • [Module] ang613 - Regional Literatures and Cultures
  • [Credits] 6 KP
  • [Instructor] Dr. Christian Lassen
  • [Time] Wednesday, 12-1 pm: weekly chat (via "Meetings" on our Stud.IP page); Wednesday, 1-2 pm: video conference for presentation groups, designed to discuss the presentation scheduled for the following week
  • [Room] online; until further notice: weekly chat; video conferences for presentation groups (via "Meetings")
  • [Description] Reclaimed from the sea through draining, the Fens, not unlike the Frisian region, mark a liminal space where the boundaries between the land and the sea, the earth and the sky are constantly blurred. Situated along England's largest bay, the Wash, and stretching into Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire, the Fen Country and its flat, coastal marshland have thus been prone to literary and cultural landscape constructions that highlight often uncanny notions of the in-between – where nothing is ever stable or permanent and where narratives have been fabricated to resist the constant flux of growth and decay, becoming and passing, even as they succumb to it. As a consequence, the Fens as well as other wetland regions of East Anglia have traditionally inspired three supposedly very different genre traditions: nature writing, the ghost story, and historiographic metafiction. The literary interaction between these genres, however, has shaped the idea of the Fens as a haunted country for a long time and moreover, it continues to produce ever new varieties of this regional literature, among them stories of the weird, the English eerie, new folk horror, or memoirs in which the identities of people and places are in fact inextricably intertwined.
  • [Office Hours] see Stud.IP; until further notice, office hours will be held via video conference. Please sign up for a time slot on my Stud.IP profile ("Sprechstunden") and you will receive a link to the virtual conference room.


PRIMARY TEXTS (MANDATORY READING)

  • James, M.R. "'Oh , Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad.'" 1903. Collected Ghost Stories. Oxford: OUP, 2013. 76-93. Print.
  • James, M.R. "The Fenstanton Witch." (unpublished) [available online, see below]
  • Malden, R.H. "Between Sunset and Moonrise." Nine Ghosts. London: Edward Arnold, 1943. n. pag. [available online, see below]
  • Johnson, Daisy. Fen. London: Vintage, 2016. Print. [selected short stories]
  • McGregor, Jon. This Isn't the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You. 2012. London: 4th Estate, 2017. Print. [selected short stories]
  • Swift, Graham. Waterland. 1983. London: Picador, 2010. Print.
  • Parnell, Edward. Ghostland: In Search of a Haunted Country. London: William Collins, 2019. Print. [selected chapters; paperback edition available in October]


FURTHER TEXTS (RECOMMENDED READING)

  • Sebald, W.G. Die Ringe des Saturn. 1995. Frankfurt a.M.: Eichborn, 2008. Print.


ASSIGNMENTS

  • [Prüfungsleistung] (Gruppen-)Referat (max. 2 Personen; 45-60 min.) mit Schriftlicher Ausarbeitung (10 Seiten) [oder in Ausnahmefällen: Hausarbeit (15 Seiten)]
  • [Aktive Teilnahme] 4 Abstracts, jeweils inklusive Thema, Forschungsstand, These und Outline des Arguments (je 1 Seite insgesamt)

Please note that written assignments (abstracts, short term papers, long term papers) need to be composed according to the style sheet ("Leitfaden")of the University of Oldenburg, which can be accessed via the 'Institutswiki'-page of the English department. The style sheet not only provides relevant information on how to write a correct bibliography but it may also help you to structure your work according to academic standards.

Please make sure to sign the "Erklärung zum 'Plagiat'" and to attach it to your research papers.

  • [Abgabefrist] 15. März 2020.




Session One, October 21, Introduction

Organisational Matters

  • Assignments

Assignments are graded and mandatory. In order to obtain 6 credits (KP), you will have to give a (group) presentation (Referat, 45-60 min.) on one of the presentation topics specified in the syllabus. In addition to that, you will have to hand in a short term paper (Ausarbeitung, 10 Seiten) by the end of term (March, 15). In exceptional cases, you may hand in a long term paper (Hausarbeit, 15 Seiten) instead of the above. However, an exception is only granted upon consultation.

  • Presentation Topics, Presentation Groups, Video Conferences for Presentation Groups

Presentation Topics are specified on your syllabus. In order to prepare your presentations, please pick a topic, get together in groups (see below) and write up a power-point presentation. Add your audio commentary to the presentation, save the file and send it on to me so that we can discuss your presentation in the video conference for presentation groups (see below). After that, you make your file available on Stud.IP on the Friday before your presentation so that all participants can read/ watch the presentation in time, i.e. before the session/ weekly chat.

Requests regarding your choice of presentation topics can be send to me via e-mail, starting on Monday, October 12. I will sign you in in the order of the requests' arrival. Please check this page regularly to see if your requests have been met.

Video Conferences for presentations take place in the second part of the weekly sessions, i.e. Wednesday 1-2 pm. Please make sure that you attend the video conference the week before your presentation is due.

  • Active Participation

Active Participation is ungraded but mandatory. In order to fulfil the requirements, you will have to write four abstracts, each including a topic, a state of research, a thesis statement, and a brief outline of your argument (approx. 1 page), in the course of the seminar. You can choose your own topic; however: all abstracts have to address different primary texts. In other words, your abstracts will have to cover four out of five primary materials. They are due by the end of the week (i.e. Friday) that marks the ending of the respective sections, i.e. due date Ghost Stories: November, 13; due date Fen: November, 27; due date This Isn't the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You: December, 11; due date Waterland: January 15; due date Ghostland: January 29.

  • Weekly Chat

In order to discuss the presentations and related topics, I will be in the chatroom Weekly Chat ("Meetings" on our Stud.IP page) during the first part of each session, i.e. Wednesday 12-1 pm. Please make sure to read/ watch the presentations before you join the chat. The second part of each session, i.e. Wednesday 1-2 pm, is booked for the respective presentation groups (see video conference for presentation groups)

  • Seminarapparat

Relevant secondary material will be made available on Stud.IP. Please note that, additionally, the syllabus includes an extensive bibliography that may be helpful with regard to your presentations and written assignments (abstracts; short/ long term papers).

   Summary: Presentations

1. Pick a presentation topic and contact me via e-mail (starting October, 12). Check below for available places. Presentation groups may consist of a maximum of 2 people. (This number may change, depending on the number of participants.)

2. Contact the other members of your group and prepare your presentation, i.e. power-point presentation with audio commentary.

3. Send me your presentation 8 days before your presentation is scheduled.

4. Discuss your presentation with me in a video conference 7 days, i.e week, before your presentation is scheduled. Video conferences take place on Wednesday, 1-2 pm.

5. Upload your file on the Friday before your presentation is scheduled.

6. Join the weekly chat and be ready to answer questions on the day of your presentation. Weekly chats take place on Wednesday, 12-1 pm.

Session Two, October 28: Theory Session - Regionalism

Theory Texts

  • Hart, Matthew. "Regionalism in English Fiction Between the Wars." The Cambridge Companion to the Twentieth-Century English Novel. Ed. Robert L. Caserio. Cambridge: CUP, 2009. 89-101. Print. [especially 89-93]
  • Head, Dominic. "Mapping Rural and Regional Identities." The Cambridge Companion to British Fiction since 1945. Ed. David James. Cambridge: CUP, 2015. 13-27. Print.

Guiding Questions

  • TBA

Session Three, November 4: Theory Session - Liminality

Theory Texts

  • TBA

Guiding Questions

  • TBA

Video Conference

  • Video Conference Group:

Session Four, November 11: Regionalism and Liminality in Ghost Stories from East Anglia and the Fens

Primary Material

Secondary Material

  • TBA

Presentation

  • TBA
  • Presentation Group:

Video Conference

  • Video Conference Group:
   November, 13: Abstract Ghost Story due

Session Five, November 18: Exploring Genres - New Folk Horror

Primary Material

  • Johnson, Daisy. "Blood Rites." Fen. London: Vintage, 2016. 15-26. Print.
  • Johnson, Daisy. "Language." Fen. London: Vintage, 2016. 72-90. Print.

Secondary Material

  • Cox, Alisa. "Liminal Territory in the Fenland Stories of Jon McGregor and Daisy Johnson." Borders and Border Crossings in the Contemporary British Short Story. Eds. Barbara Korte and Laura Ma Lojo-Rodríguez. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019. 225-43. Print. [esp. 233-43]
  • Gearey, Mary, Andrew Church and Neil Ravenscroft. "Wetlands as Literary Spaces: Off Kilter, Off Grid, Off the Wall." English Wetlands: Spaces of Nature, Culture, Imagination. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020. 91-118. Print.

Presentation

  • Uncanny Incorporations, or: the Language of Horror and the Horror of Language in Fen
  • Presentation Group:

Video Conference

  • Video Conference Group:

Session Six, November 25: Exploring Identity - Devolution, Anthropomorphosis, and Re-writing the Female

Primary Material

  • Johnson, Daisy. "Starver." Fen. London: Vintage, 2016. 3-14. Print.
  • Johnson, Daisy. "A Heavy Devotion." Fen. London: Vintage, 2016. 105-17. Print.
  • Johnson, Daisy. "Birthing Stones." Fen. London: Vintage, 2016. 155-66. Print.

Secondary Material

  • Packham, Jimmy. "The gothic coast: Boundaries, belonging, and coastal community in contemporary British fiction." Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 60.2 (2019): 205-221.
  • Gearey, Mary, Andrew Church and Neil Ravenscroft. "Wetlands as Literary Spaces: Off Kilter, Off Grid, Off the Wall." English Wetlands: Spaces of Nature, Culture, Imagination. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020. 91-118. Print.

Presentation

  • Becoming Eel, or: Devolution, Anthropomorphosis, and Female Identity in Fen
  • Presentation Group:

Video Conference

  • Video Conference Group:
   November, 27: Abstract Fen due

Session Seven, December 02: Exploring Form - Genre, Hybridity, and (Meta-)Poetics

Primary Material

  • McGregor, Jon. "In Winter the Sky." This Isn't the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You. 2012. London: 4th Estate, 2017. 5-35. Print.
  • McGregor, Jon. "Wires." This Isn't the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You. 2012. London: 4th Estate, 2017. 160-75. Print.

Secondary Material

  • Cox, Alisa. "Liminal Territory in the Fenland Stories of Jon McGregor and Daisy Johnson." Borders and Border Crossings in the Contemporary British Short Story. Eds. Barbara Korte and Laura Ma Lojo-Rodríguez. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019. 225-43. Print. [esp. 26-33]

Presentation

  • Hybrid Aesthetics, or: The Function of Genres, Maps, and Poetics in This Isn't the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You
  • Presentation Group:

Video Conference

  • Video Conference Group:

Session Eight, December 09: Exploring Landscapes - Speculative Fiction, Climate Fiction ("Cli-Fi"), and Eco Fiction

Primary Material

  • McGregor, Jon. "Supplementary Notes to the Testimony of Appellants B & E." This Isn't the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You. 2012. London: 4th Estate, 2017. 147-56. Print.
  • McGregor, Jon. "I Remember There Was a Hill" This Isn't the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You. 2012. London: 4th Estate, 2017. 147-56. 215-7. Print.

Secondary Material

  • Cox, Alisa. "Liminal Territory in the Fenland Stories of Jon McGregor and Daisy Johnson." Borders and Border Crossings in the Contemporary British Short Story. Eds. Barbara Korte and Laura Ma Lojo-Rodríguez. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019. 225-43. Print. [esp. 26-33]

Presentation

  • Dystopian Landscapes, or: Representing Environmental Issues in This Isn't the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You
  • Presentation Group:

Video Conference

  • Video Conference Group:
   December, 11: Abstract This Isn't the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You due

Session Nine, December 16: TBA

Primary Material

  • Swift, Graham. Waterland. 1983. London: Picador, 2010. Print.

Secondary Material

  • TBA

Presentation

  • TBA
  • Presentation Group:

Video Conference

  • Video Conference Group:

Session Ten, January 06: TBA

Primary Material

  • Swift, Graham. Waterland. 1983. London: Picador, 2010. Print.

Secondary Material

  • TBA

Presentation

  • TBA
  • Presentation Group:

Video Conference

  • Video Conference Group:

Session Eleven, January 13: TBA

Primary Material

  • Swift, Graham. Waterland. 1983. London: Picador, 2010. Print.

Secondary Material

  • TBA

Presentation

  • TBA
  • Presentation Group:

Video Conference

  • Video Conference Group:
   January, 15: Abstract Waterland due

Session Twelve, January 20: TBA

Primary Material

  • Parnell, Edward. Ghostland: In Search of a Haunted Country. London: William Collins, 2019. Print. [selected chapters]

Secondary Material

  • TBA

Presentation

  • TBA
  • Presentation Group:

Video Conference

  • Video Conference Group:

Session Thirteen, January 27: TBA

Primary Material

  • Parnell, Edward. Ghostland: In Search of a Haunted Country. London: William Collins, 2019. Print. [selected chapters]

Secondary Material

  • TBA

Presentation

  • TBA
  • Presentation Group:
   January, 29: Abstract Ghostland due

Session Fourteen, July, 14: RPO Session

Guidelines for finding your RPO topic:

Your RPO topic needs to be related to at least one of the primary texts

   March, 15: Term Paper due