This course explores fraught constructions of domesticity in American literary and popular culture of the 1950s, including the nuclear family, gender roles, consumerism, the rise of suburbia, the civil rights movement, and alternative domesticities. Our writers will include John Cheever, Gwendolyn Brooks, Flannery O’Connor, James Baldwin, Ray Bradbury, Patricia Highsmith, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Lowell, and Sylvia Plath. We’ll explore fifties family sitcoms plus the teen rebellion films Rebel Without a Cause and Blackboard Jungle. We will end with retrospective images of the American 1950s in contemporary culture, considering how the fifties shapes responses to pandemic domesticity in the U.S. Students in both classes will read critical essays about key texts and contexts. Students in the graduate seminar will also read/view Beatriz Colomina’s Domesticity at War. In addition to a presentation and a paper, graduate seminar assignments will include a shared activity about home design with Architecture professor Charlie Hailey’s class. In addition to a presentation and a paper, undergraduate assignments will include a project with UF Yearbooks from the 1950s.
Modernism’s mantra was make it new. This hybrid seminar-workshop will proceed from experience and experiment, drawing on Anglo-American modernist texts, academic essays about teaching, and campus resources to create new pedagogies. Instead of writing a seminar paper, students will do a series of short assignments throughout the semester. We’ll connect with cross-campus colleagues from Architecture, Art History, the Harn Museum of Art, and UF Libraries Special Collections. We’ll lead a pedagogy roundtable for the EGO conference and team-teach a class as an ensemble. In addition, you’ll design Beta Assignments for undergraduate students that respond to these prompts: Manifesto, Cities, Domesticity, University Archives, Love Poems. You’ll leave this course with practical and creative strategies for teaching modernist texts in a variety of contexts.
- Key Archives: University Archives, Harn Museum of Art
- Campus Collaborations: Harn Museum of Art, Professor Rachel Silveri‘s Art History course, School of Architecture
- Public Outreach: Instructional Resource Pages for the Harn Museum’s website (forthcoming)
This course has two key components: (1) a medley of poems by Robert Frost, Gertrude Stein, T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Allen Ginsberg; (2) collaborations with Professor C. Hailey’s & D. Cohen’s Design Studio students in UF’s School of Architecture. We’ll consider the poets’ lives and cultural contexts, the aesthetics of city poems, the creative process, repurposing, and maker spaces. We’ll each make a trip to The Repurpose Project to see the Design Studio students build their Maker Space. And we’ll read some work on design and spatiality.
- Key Archives: Materials at The Repurpose Project
- Campus Collaborations: Linked assignments with Professor Charlie Hailey’s Design/Build class (School of Architecture)
- Public Outreach: Repurposing Slides using objects from The Repurpose Project, blog post ArchiTextures
This seminar will explore poetry, fiction, film, television, and popular music that emerged alongside major cultural shifts in the U.K. during the 1980s. It was a time of “Iron Lady” Margaret Thatcher, the new social identity “Black British,” and the New Wave. In the wake of Johnny Rotten’s declaration of No Future, Derek Jarman proclaimed The Last of England. The emergent discipline of cultural studies assessed the social meanings of style, and Bloodaxe Books marketed “poetry with an edge.” We will work across artistic and popular media to map key cultural intersections of the British 80s, considering how they seem to be reconfiguring in the wake of Brexit. Our writers include Angela Carter, Julian Barnes, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Martin Amis, Carol Ann Duffy, and our UF colleague Michael Hofmann. We’ll read critical books by Dick Hebdige and Paul Gilroy, and several pieces from the journal Popular Music and Society. We’ll discuss films by Jarman, Stephen Frears, and Neil Jordan and also consider episodes of the TV shows The Young Ones and Red Dwarf. And we’ll report on Gainesville’s annual punk rock festival (The FEST).
- Key Archives: The FEST
- Campus Collaboration: Team-taught session with Michael Hofmann
- Public Outreach: “inFESTation” collective collage editorial about FEST 15 for Punknews.org, Parts 1 & 2
This team-taught interdisciplinary course draws from faculty in Materials Science and Engineering, Anthropology, Classics, English, History, and Sociology. We look at how materials — such as ceramics, concrete, precious metals, glass, steel, plastics and semiconductors — contributed to the development of technologies and social structures worldwide. We investigate cutting-edge materials and discuss their future impact on medicine, transportation, clean energy, sports, and more. We learn how cultural variables like gender, race, power/authority, religious beliefs, and politics shape the development of materials. From ancient cities and Roman baths, steel foundries and Tupperware parties, to virtual communities and nanomedicine, we examine case studies from the past to imagine the future social impacts of new materials. This course has been funded by UF, Materials Research Society, and The National Science Foundation.
- Campus Collaboration: Interdisciplinary team coordinated through Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere
- Public Outreach: IMOS videos (see Gallery for Polymers video); piece for The Conversation; Wisconsin Public Radio interview
Offering a six-pack of key poets from across the century, this course provides in-depth analysis of W.B. Yeats, Wilfred Owen, W.H. Auden, Stevie Smith, Philip Larkin, and Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. We’ll look at their poems, lives, and cultural contexts. You will do analytical, interactive, and creative work for this class: assess a poem, present in a panel discussion, compose a sonnet, and assess a poet’s current image in the press. Our work together will sharpen your skills in research and literary analysis, and will offer strategies for communicating more clearly and persuasively.
- Key Archives: LexisNexis Academic
- Campus Collaborations: session with Mitchell Stecker, UF School of Music
- Public Outreach: blog post Sonnet Ascent!
Team-taught with Mary Ann Eaverly (UF Classics), this course challenges students to examine women and Classical myth through ancient and modern materials: including poetry, literary criticism, art, and film. We give equal weight to our respective academic fields and their connectivity, focusing on legendary characters such as Athena, Pandora, Helen, and Penelope. By linking Hesiod and Homer with former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove and contemporary novelist Margaret Atwood, we learn how the Classical tradition challenges and sustains women writers. Because this rich source material is visual as well as literary, we will include materials from UF’s Harn Museum of Art through our custom gallery for this course, Classical Convergences: Traditions and Inventions. Texts will include Homer’s epic poems, Atwood’s The Penelopiad, Dove’s Mother Love, Powell’s Classical Myth, and the NBC miniseries The Odyssey, and our UF colleague Ange Mlinko’s Marvelous Things Overheard. This course was sponsored by UF’s Honors College and Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere.
- Campus Collaborations: UF Classics, Harn Museum of Art
- Public Outreach: Classical Convergences exhibit at the Harn Museum (see Gallery)
By the time she was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Artists and Entertainers of the Century in 1998, Sylvia Plath had become a preeminent poet—and literary culture’s ultimate commodity. From her photo-shoot in the Cambridge Varsity during her Fulbright years to Christine Jeffs’s film Sylvia, Plath enters the cultural imagination as text and image, writer and celebrity, historical and mythic figure. This course will explore Plath’s literary career and her cultural afterlife through close study of her poems, her novel and short stories, her journals, and her critical reception on the web (including the online journal Plath Profiles). We will also study key ways that biographers plot Plath’s life and career, as well as her contemporary status in the media. The latter perspective is especially fitting in this 50th anniversary of The Bell Jar and Plath’s death. Our work together will sharpen your skills in literary, critical, and cultural analysis, as well as hone your abilities to write and speak professionally.
- Key Archives: Plath biographies, LexisNexis Academic, Sylvia Plath Info Blog
- Public Outreach: Plath Profiles publication on parodies featuring student work
House Beautiful, “Kitchens of the 1950s” (2008).
Still from Manhatta (1921), by Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler.
Lissandra Dyer, Repurposing Slide with Door Hinge (detail). 2018.
Close-up of DVD case for Derek Jarman’s Jubilee (1978).
Design inspired by marble relief of The Pensive Athena, Acropolis Museum Store.
Impact of Materials on Society (IMOS) logo.