AJ26272 Writing Coercive Confinement

Faculty of Arts
Spring 2018
Extent and Intensity
0/2/0. 2 credit(s) (plus 3 credits for an exam). Recommended Type of Completion: zk (examination). Other types of completion: z (credit).
James Joseph Little, M.Phil., Ph.D. (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
doc. PhDr. Jana Chamonikolasová, Ph.D.
Department of English and American Studies - Faculty of Arts
Contact Person: Tomáš Hanzálek
Supplier department: Department of English and American Studies - Faculty of Arts
Wed 14:10–15:45 G31
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is also offered to the students of the fields other than those the course is directly associated with.
The capacity limit for the course is 20 student(s).
Current registration and enrolment status: enrolled: 0/20, only registered: 0/20, only registered with preference (fields directly associated with the programme): 0/20
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
there are 9 fields of study the course is directly associated with, display
Course objectives (in Czech)
From state investigations into Magdalene laundries to public outrage over detention centres such as Guantanamo Bay, the administration and representation of coercive confinement is a pressing issue in contemporary culture. This course sets out to analyse literary representations of institutions of confinement such as the prison and the asylum in order to understand how these spaces have functioned as compositional material for various writers.

The course starts with two representations of the London asylum which gave us the word ‘bedlam’. Next, we will examine how confinement help shape conceptions of freedom in the United States and Ireland before dealing with four key writers of confinement in translation. Questions surrounding the ethics of translating an inmate’s experience into art will govern our analysis of the three texts in the final section of the course.
Syllabus (in Czech)
  • Writing the asylum
    Week 1 Introduction
    Week 2 Thomas Dekker and Thomas Middleton, The Honest Whore
    Week 3 Samuel Beckett, Murphy

    Gender and confinement
    Week 4 Mary Rowlandson, The Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson 
    Week 5 Oscar Wilde, ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol’

    Translating confinement
    Week 6 Primo Levi, If This is a Man
    Week 7 Czesław Miłosz, ‘Campo dei Fiori’; Seamus Heaney ‘Secular and Millennial Milosz’
    Week 8 Samuel Beckett, Catastrophe; Václav Havel, Mistake

    Ethics and aesthetics
    Week 9 Brendan Behan, The Quare Fellow
    Week 10 J. M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians
    Week 11 Emma Donoghue, Room

    Additional reading
    Davies, Ioan, Writers in Prison (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1990)
    Foucault, Michel, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, trans. by Alan Sheridan (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979)
    ———, Madness and Civilization, trans. by Richard Howard (London: Routledge, 2001)
    McDonald, Peter, The Literature Police: Apartheid Censorship and Its Cultural Consequences (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009)
    Porter, Roy, Madness: A Brief History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002)
    Ricoeur, Paul, Memory, History, Forgetting, trans. by Kathleen Blamey and David Pellauer (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006)
    Smith, Caleb, The Prison and the American Imagination (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009)
Assessment methods (in Czech)
Students will be assessed on an end-of-term essay of 2,500 words, written according to a recognised style guide of their choice. (The MHRA Style Guide is available here: www.mhra.org.uk/pdf/MHRA-Style-Guide-3rd-Edn.pdf.) Active participation in class discussion required in order to receive a credit for the course. It is crucial that you bring the primary texts (in print or digital form) to class so we can discuss them each week. Course reading can be found on the Masaryk University Information System (go to Study Materials —> Learning Materials).
Language of instruction
Further comments (probably available only in Czech)
Study Materials
Information on course enrolment limitations: Předmět si nemohou zapsat studenti Bc. studia AJ
The course is also listed under the following terms Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021.
  • Enrolment Statistics (Spring 2018, recent)
  • Permalink: https://is.muni.cz/course/phil/spring2018/AJ26272