AJ26272 Writing Coercive Confinement

Faculty of Arts
Spring 2019
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 12:00–13:40 G32
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: 2/20, 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 16 fields of study the course is directly associated with, display
Course objectives (in Czech)
This course sets out to analyse literary representations of institutions of confinement such as the prison, asylum and concentration camp in order to understand how these spaces have functioned as compositional material for writers.

The course starts with two representations of the London asylum which gave us the word ‘bedlam’. Next, we will examine the roles that gender and race play in literary representations of confinement before examining two texts which attempt in different ways to represent and remember what has often been termed the 'unrepresentable' event of the Holocaust. 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)
  • Week 1 Introducing confinement (before this class, please read Chapter 3 of Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, entitled 'Panopticism', which you will find in the IS Learning Materials folder)

    Writing the asylum
    Week 2 Thomas Dekker and Thomas Middleton, The Honest Whore
    Week 3 Samuel Beckett, Murphy

    Race, 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’
    Week 6 Austin Reed, The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict
    Remembering the Holocaust
    Week 7 Elie Wiesel, Night
    Week 8 W. G. Sebald, Austerlitz

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

    Week 12 Final paper presentation and discussion

    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 MLA style. Active participation in class discussion and the giving of a presentation is required in order to receive a credit for the course. Discussion questions will be sent out prior to class. Aside from week 1, each class will feature a short presentation (10–15 minutes) by members of the class. It is crucial that you bring the primary texts (in print or digital form) to class so we can discuss them each week.
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 2018, Spring 2020, Spring 2021.
  • Enrolment Statistics (Spring 2019, recent)
  • Permalink: https://is.muni.cz/course/phil/spring2019/AJ26272