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BA Seminar: Shakespeare's Wire

B.A. Seminar: Shakespeare’s Wire

Tuesday 16.15-18.00

Prof. Elisabeth Bronfen


(1.) 17 Sept - Introduction


(2.) 24 Sept – Critical Positions

-- David Simon, “Introduction” in: Alvarez, The Wire. Grove Press 2009. *

-- Slavoj Žižek, “The Wire, Or, What to Do in Non-Evental Times” *

-- Fredric Jameson, “Realism and Utopia in The Wire” *


(3.) 1 Oct – The Wire Season One: The Characters


(4.) 8 Oct – The Wire Season One: Politics and crime


(5.) 15 Oct – The Wire Season Three: Development of characters


(6.) 22 Oct – The Wire Season Three: Civil wars


(7.) 29 Oct – Interlude: Critical Responses to The Wire


(8.) 5 Nov – Shakespeare’s Henry VI.1


(9.) 12 Nov – Shakespeare’s Henry VI.2


(10.) 19 Nov – Shakespeare’s Henry VI.3


(11.) 26 Nov – The Wire Season Four: Final set of characters


(12.) 3 Dec – The Wire Season Four: Closures


(13.) 10 Dec – Richard III


(14.) 17 Dec – What you have learned


Please bear in mind: Coming to class without having done the reading (or viewing) makes little to no sense. You cannot fruitfully partake in class discussions if you have not prepared for them. All primary texts and films must, therefore, be read/viewed before the class session dealing with them. Copies of the films are in the library, but I recommend you buy your own copies just as you buy your own copies of the Shakespeare plays. By way of introduction I recommend The Norton Shakespeare, edited by Stephan Greenblatt.


Secondary Texts


* Alvarez, Rafael. The Wire. Truth be Told (with an Introduction by David Simon). New York: Grove Press, 2009.

Birke, Dorothee and Stella Butter. “The Politics of ‘Realism’: Analyzing Discourses on Contemporary Literature and TV.” Anglistentag 2011, Freiburg: Proceedings.
Ed. Monika Fludernik and Benjamin Kohlman. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2012. 385-96.

Blanchet, Robert, Kristina Köhler, Tereza Smid and Julia Zutavern (eds.). Serielle Formen: Von den frühen Film-Serials zu aktuellen Quality-TV- und Onlineserien. Marburg: Schüren, 2010.

Blanchet, Robert. “Politik mit den Mitteln der Fortsetzung: Neue Amerikanische TV-Serien.” Cinema 55 (2010), 84-100.

* Chaddha, Anmol and William Julius Wilson. “Way Down in the Hole”: Systemic Urban Inequality and The Wire,” Critical Inquiry 38.1 (2011), 164-233. Includes Critical Respones by Partick Jagoda, Kenneth w. Warren, Linda Williams and Chaddha/Wilson.

* Collins, Peter A. and David C. Brody (eds.). Crime and Justice in the City as Seen through The Wire. Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 2013.

* Cormier, Harvey. “Bringing Omar Back to Life.” Journal of Speculative Philosophy , 22:3 (2008), 205-13.

* Delorme, Stéphane et al. “Séries: Une passion américaine.” Cahiers du Cinema 658 (2010), 5-33.

Dreher, Christoph (ed.). Autorenserien: Die Neuerfindung des Fernsehens. Auteur Series: The Re-Invention of Television. Stuttgart: Merz Akademie, 2010.

Eschkötter, Daniel. The Wire. Zürich: Diaphanes, 2012.

* Hanson, Christopher. “‘A Man Must Have a Code’: The Many Languages of The Wire.” Quarterly Review of Film and Video 29:3 (2012), 203-12.

* Herbert, Daniel. “‘It Is What It Is’: The Wire and the Politics of Anti-Allegorical Television Drama. Quarterly Review of Film and Video 29:3 (2012), 191-202. 

* Jameson, Fredric. “Realism and Utopia in The Wire.“ Criticism, 52:3-4 (2010).

* Kelleter, Frank (ed.). Populäre Serialität: Narration – Evolution – Distinktion. Zum Seriellen Erzählen seit dem 19. Jahrhundert. Bielefeld: transcript, 2012.

Kennedy, Liam and Stephen Shapiro (eds.). The Wire: Race, Class, and Genre. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2012.

* Lerner, David. “Way down in the hole: Baltimore as location and representation in The Wire.” Quarterly Review of Film and Video 29:3 (2012), 213-224.

LeVertis Bell, Robert (ed.). Criticism 52:3-4 (2010). Special issue on The Wire. Contains essays by Fredric Jameson, Paul Allen Anderson, Paul M. Farber and others.

Lorrie Moore. “In the Life of ‘The Wire’.” The New York Review of Books. Oct. 14, 2010.

Paefgen, Elisabeth K. “‘Me an’ My Lonesome’: Subjektive Perspektiven in Fernsehserien des 21. Jahrhunderts.” Wilde Lektüren: Literatur und Leidenschaft. Ed. Wiebke Amthor. Almut Hille and Susanne Scharnowski. Bielefeld: Aisthesis, 2012. 347-62.

Potter, Tiffany and C. W. Marschall (eds.). The Wire. Urban Decay and American Television. New York, London: Continuum, 2009.

Ritzer, Ivo. Fernsehen wider die Tabus. Sex, Gewalt, Zensur und die neuen US-Serien. Berlin: Bertz + Fischer, 2011.

Rustad, Gry C. and Timotheus Vermeulen. “‘Did You Get Pears?’ Temporality and Temps Mortality in The Wire, Mad Men, and Arrested Development.” Time in Television Narrative: Exploring Temporality in Twenty-First-Century Programming. Ed. Melissa Ames. Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 2012. 153-64.

* Schaub, Joseph Christopher. “The Wire: Big Brother Is Not Watching you in Body-more, Murdaland. Journal of Popular Film and Television 38:3 (2010), 122-32.

* Schröter, Jens. “Die Fernsehserie, ihre Form und ihr Wissen: Ein kurzer Überblick. tv diskurs 62 16:4 (2012), 28-31. Includes bibliography.

Schröter, Jens. Verdrahtet: The Wire und der Kampf um die Medien. Berlin: Bertz + Fischer, 2012.

Talbot, Margaret. “Stealing Life: The Crusader Behind The Wire.” The New Yorker, Oct. 22, 2007.

* Žižek, Slavoj. The Year of Dreaming Dangerously. London: Verso, 2012.

Wood, Michael. “This is America, Man.” The London Review of Books. May 27, 2010.