Benjamin Graves
Office
Axinn Center 302
Tel
(802) 443-5884
Email
benjaming@middlebury.edu
Office Hours
Fall 2022: Wednesday 9-12 and by appointment

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 Taught

Course Description

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.)

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Fall 2022

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Course Description

Special Project: Creative Writing
Approval Required.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

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Course Description

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

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

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Course Description

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

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020

Requirements

CW, LIT

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Course Description

Global English in the New Media Environment
Far from spelling the end of literature, the rise of new technologies of communication has continually energized Anglophone literary production. Reading literature through the lens of media theory (Stuart Hall, Friedrich Kittler, Gilles Deleuze, Rey Chow) , students in this course will explore how the global circulation of information, media, and images has transformed the literary imagination. While we will sample canonical modernist engagements with earlier transformations in print and visual culture, our main goal will be to bridge the gap between media studies and Anglophone postcolonial literature throughout the world. Readings will be selected from Benyamin, Jasmine Days; Chimamanda Ngozie Adihchie, Americanah; NoViolet Bulawayo, We Need New Names; Karen Tei Yamashita, Through the Arc of the Rainforest; Zadie Smith, Swing Time; David Mitchell, Ghostwritten; and the poems of Jean Binta Breeze and Linton Kwesi Johnson. 3 hrs. lect. (REC)

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

Requirements

LIT, SOC

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Course Description

Twentieth-Century English Novel
This course will explore the development of the novel in this century, with a primary focus on writers of the modernist period and later attention to more contemporary works. We will examine questions of formal experimentation, the development of character, uses of the narrator, and the problem of history, both personal and political, in a novelistic context. Readings will include novels by Conrad, Joyce, Forster, Woolf, and others. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

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) (Rec)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2021

Requirements

CMP, LIT, SOC

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Course Description

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) (Rec)

Terms Taught

Winter 2019, Winter 2022

Requirements

CMP, EUR, LIT, WTR

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Course Description

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) (Rec)

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Spring 2022

Requirements

CMP, EUR, LIT

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Course Description

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. 3 hrs. sem. (Diversity) (Rec)

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Fall 2020

Requirements

AAL, CMP, HIS, LIT, NOA

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Course Description

Special Project: Literature
Approval Required.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022

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Course Description

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.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

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Course Description

Reading Literature
Please refer to each section for specific course descriptions.(Formerly ENAM 0103)

Terms Taught

Fall 2022

Requirements

CW, LIT

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Course Description

Indigenous and Settler Colonial Fictions
The term “settler colonialism” has gained currency recently as a way of describing the unjust displacement of indigenous peoples, the theft of their lands and resources, and the negation of native epistemologies, cultures, and histories. This course foregrounds indigenous literary voices that challenge and present alternatives to settler colonial narratives. Students will adopt a comparative approach that identifies continuities and disparities between Native American/First Nations, Mexican, Pacific Islander, South African, Palestinian, Maori, and Hawaiian depictions of indigeneity. Authors will include Haunani-Kay Trask, Leslie Marmon Silko, Oscar Zeta Acosta, Craig Santos Perez, Joy Harjo, Maxine Hong Kingston, Rigoberta Menchu, Keri Hulme, Joe Sacco, and J.M Coetzee.

Terms Taught

Fall 2022

Requirements

CMP, HIS, LIT

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Course Description

Special Project: Literature
Approval Required. (Formerly ENAM 0500)

Terms Taught

Fall 2022, Spring 2023

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

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. (Formerly ENAM 0700)

Terms Taught

Fall 2022, Spring 2023

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Course Description

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.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

Requirements

CW, LIT

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Course Description

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.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019

Requirements

ART, CMP, CW

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Course Description

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.

Terms Taught

Winter 2020

Requirements

ART, EUR, SOC, WTR

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