Benjamin Graves

Assistant Professor in English and American Literatures

 
 work(802) 443-5884
 Spring Term: Monday 9:00-10:30 & Tuesday 1:00-2:30 and by appointment
 Axinn Center at Starr Library 302

Ben Graves holds an A.B. from Brown University and a Ph.D from the University of California, Berkeley. His teaching and research interests include: 20th and 21st century literature, migrant and refugee narratives, human rights, imperialism, globalization, and gay and lesbian literature and theory. His current research involves a recurring link in black and Asian British literature between the caring functions of the state (housing, welfare provision, the National Health Service, etc.), the achievement of literary sensibility, and the making of emotional or “affective” subjects fit for British citizenship. 

 

Courses

Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

CMLT 0700 - Senior Thesis      

Senior Thesis
A senior thesis is normally completed over two semesters. During Fall and Winter terms, or Winter and Spring terms, students will write a 35-page (article length) comparative essay, firmly situated in literary analysis. Students are responsible for identifying and arranging to work with their primary language and secondary language readers, and consulting with the program director before completing the CMLT Thesis Declaration form. (Approval required.)

Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Winter 2018

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CRWR 0560 - Special Project: Writing      

Special Project: Creative Writing
Approval Required.

Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020

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CRWR 0701 - Senior Thesis:Creative Writing      

Senior Thesis: Creative Writing
Discussions, workshops, tutorials for those undertaking one-term projects in the writing of fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction.

Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020

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ENAM 0103 - Reading Literature      

Reading Literature
Please refer to each section for specific course descriptions. CW LIT

Spring 2016, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019

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ENAM 0230 - Human Rights &World Literature      

Human Rights and World Literature
In this course we will explore the idiom of human rights in law, literature, and political culture. We will place literary representations of human rights violations (genocide, torture, detention and forced labor, environmental devastation, police violence) in dialogue with official human rights treaties and declarations in order to historicize and critique the assumptions of human rights discourse. Who qualifies as a “human” deserving of humanitarian intervention? How do human rights rehearse a colonial dynamic based on racial and geo-political privilege? To answer these questions we will turn to some of the most controversial voices in global fiction and poetry. 3 hrs. lect. (Diversity)/ CMP LIT SOC

Fall 2015

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ENAM 0248 / CMLT 0248 - Human Rights &World Literature      

Human Rights and World Literature
In this course we will explore the idiom of human rights in law, literature, and political culture. We will place literary representations of human rights violations (genocide, torture, detention and forced labor, environmental devastation, police violence) in dialogue with official human rights treaties and declarations in order to historicize and critique the assumptions of human rights discourse. Who qualifies as a “human” deserving of humanitarian intervention? How do human rights rehearse a colonial dynamic based on racial and geo-political privilege? To answer these questions we will turn to some of the most controversial voices in global fiction and poetry. 3 hrs. lect. (not open to students who have taken ENAM 0230)
(Diversity)/ CMP LIT SOC

Fall 2018

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ENAM 0267 - Kazuo Ishiguro      

Kazuo Ishiguro
Winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature, Kazuo Ishiguro is among the most influential and celebrated of contemporary writers. In novels like Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, Ishiguro gives shape to today’s most pressing questions: about work and workers, the difficulties of intimacy and caring, the political consequences of historical perspective, and the ethical dilemmas facing scientists and educators. Moving between Europe and Asia, his novels also address the complex negotiation of cultural difference in a globalized world. We will explore his major works in great depth, supplementing our literary investigation with materials from other disciplines. (Diversity) CMP EUR LIT WTR

Winter 2019

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ENAM 0275 - Multi-Ethnic British Lit      

Multi-Ethnic British Literatures
"My name is Karim Amir," announces the protagonist of a Hanif Kureishi novel, "and I am an Englishman born and bred, almost." In this course we will investigate the complex subject of ethnic and national identity in the writing of British authors of Asian, African, and Caribbean descent. We will trace the shifting meanings of "black" and "British" as we move from 1950s migrant fictions to more recent reckonings with British multiculturalism. Topics to be considered will include diaspora and the work of memory; race and religion after 9/11; the representation of urban space; and the experience of asylum-seekers and refugees. 3 hrs. lect./disc. (Diversity)/ CMP EUR LIT

Spring 2015, Spring 2017

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ENAM 0460 - Affect, Emotion, Feeling      

Affect, Emotion, and Structures of Feeling
What is the role of emotion in the shaping of identities, communities, and political cultures? How have narratives of shame, love, melancholy, anger, and “muddle” allowed writers to address experiences of injury and stigmatization? In this seminar we will explore the growing body of interdisciplinary scholarship on affect. Readings will include theoretical approaches (Deleuze, Berlant, Ngai, Hardt/Negri, Williams, Love) and literary works drawn mostly from queer and postcolonial archives. Topics considered will include affective citizenship; embodiment and touch; antisocial behavior; empathy, hospitality, and conviviality; care-giving and affective labor; and the recent embrace of tragedy in postcolonial studies. 3 hrs. sem. LIT SOC

Fall 2017

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ENAM 0471 - Afro-Asian Encounters      

Afro-Asian Encounters
Scholars have recently uncovered a rich history of black and Asian solidarity against racism. Yet the Los Angeles uprisings of 1992 provided a painful reminder of the antagonisms between black and Asian diasporic groups. This course will explore how Asian American and African American identities have historically been constructed in relation to one another. We will foreground key sites in the making and undermining of Afro-Asian intimacies, from the racial formation of coolie laborers to the cross-racial imagination of Kung-Fu and Hip Hop. Authors will include Richard Wright, Chang-Rae Lee, Vijay Prashad, Frank Chin, Das Racist, Mira Nair, and W.E.B. Dubois. (Diversity) 3 hrs. sem. AAL CMP HIS LIT NOA

Spring 2019

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ENAM 0500 - Special Project: Lit      

Special Project: Literature
Approval Required.

Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020

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ENAM 0700 - Senior Thesis:Critical Writing      

Senior Thesis: Critical Writing
Individual guidance and seminar (discussions, workshops, tutorials) for those undertaking one-term projects in literary criticism or analysis. All critical thesis writers also take the Senior Thesis Workshop (ENAM 700Z) in either Fall or Spring Term.

Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020

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FYSE 1316 - The Work of Art      

The Work of Art: Labor in Contemporary Literature and Visual Culture
In this seminar we will examine imaginative accounts of work and workers in recent literature, art, and film. Garment workers, miners, computer programmers, taxi drivers, teachers, and sex workers will take center stage as we consider the shifting meanings of paid and unpaid labor in contemporary culture. Class materials will consist of an international mix of novels, poems, photographs, performance pieces, theoretical texts, documentaries, and feature films. Topics to be considered include women’s work, labor migrations, the rise of service work and other forms of “affective” labor, and the representation of the body at work. 3 hrs. sem. ART CMP CW

Fall 2016

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FYSE 1514 - Refugee Stories      

Refugee Stories
“Stories are just things we fabricate,” says a character in Viet Nguyen’s The Refugees. “We search for them in a world besides our own, then leave them here to be found, garments shed by ghosts.” In this course students will find stories by and about a paradigmatic modern figure: the displaced refugee seeking asylum in unfamiliar lands. Highlighting literary and visual representations, we will also draw from history, sociology, anthropology, environmental studies, and feminist critique. Beginning with the Syrian refugee crisis, we will circle back to the Vietnam War and the lingering questions it poses to today’s social justice movement. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT

Fall 2017, Fall 2018

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FYSE 1551 - Dub: From Reggae to Remix      

From Reggae to Remix: Dub Soundscapes and Black Diasporic Aesthetics
Beginning in the dancehalls of Jamaica, dub music became a key cultural form within black communities in postcolonial Britain. Improvising lyrics over manipulated reggae instrumental tracks, dub deejays operated at the intersection of the musical, the literary, and the technological while anticipating the “remix” culture of established postmodern forms. Dub sound systems broadcast news about the pressing circumstances confronting black Britons (“sus” laws, unemployment, and anti-black violence). The music also spawned a vernacular literary culture encompassing poets such as Linton Kwesi Johnson, Jean Binta Breeze, and Mutabaruka. Students will consider dub as art but also as a register of social tensions in British culture and elsewhere. 3 hrs. sem. ART CMP CW

Fall 2019

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INTD 1135 - British Popular Culture      

British Popular Culture
George Orwell once described the English in terms of their fondness for “the pub, the football match, the back garden, the fireside, and the ‘nice cup of tea'." But what would he have made of the Sex Pistols or Amy Winehouse? In this course we will trace a particular arc through post-1945 British popular culture in order to ask how we got from Orwell to The Office, from the Rolling Stones to Radiohead. We will ask how film, music, and TV prepared the ground for important episodes in British history: the “special relationship” with the United States, the modernization of sexuality, the transformation from welfare state to free market capitalism, the slow passage toward a multicultural society. ART EUR SOC WTR

Winter 2017

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Department of English & American Literatures

Axinn Center at Starr Library
15 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753