Reading List for PhD Minor Exam in Postmodern Theory

In June 2010, I will take my three PhD exams in the Kent State University English Literature PhD program.  For these exams, I convened a committee of trusted professors, each administering one exam. I choose to take my exams in these areas: 20th Century American Literature (administered by Kevin Floyd), Postmodern Theory (administered by Tammy Clewell), and the Philip K. Dick Canon (administered by Donald “Mack” Hassler). Below, I have included my Postmodern Theory reading list. Go here to read my 20th century American literature exam list, and here to read my Philip K. Dick exam list.

PhD Minor Exam Area:  Postmodern Theory

Director:  Tammy Clewell


  1. Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulation.
  2. Berman, Marshall. All That Is Solid Melts Into Air.
  3. Bertens, Hans. The Idea of the Postmodern:  A History.
  4. Broderick, Damien. Reading by Starlight: Postmodern Science Fiction.
  5. Bukatman, Scott. Terminal Identity:  The Virtual Subject in Postmodern Science Fiction.
  6. Butler, Judith. Bodies That Matter.
  7. de Certeau, Michel. The Practice of Everyday Life.
  8. Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus:  Capitalism and Schizophrenia.
  9. Derrida, Jacques. Of Grammatology.
  10. Eagleton, Terry. The Illusions of Postmodernism.
  11. Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality Volume 1:  An Introduction.
  12. Habermas, Jürgen.  “Modernity: An Incomplete Project.”
  13. Haraway, Donna. Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium.FemaleMan©Meets_OncoMouse™: Feminism and Technoscience.
  14. —. Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature.
  15. Harvey, David. The Condition of Postmodernity.
  16. Hassan, Ihab. The Postmodern Turn.
  17. Hayles, N. Katherine. How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics.
  18. Huyssen, Andreas. After the Great Divide.
  19. Hutcheon, Linda. A Poetics of Postmodernism: History, Theory, Fiction.
  20. Jameson, Fredric. Postmodernism:  Or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism.
  21. —. Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions.
  22. Latour, Bruno. We Have Never Been Modern.
  23. Lyotard, Jean-François. The Postmodern Condition:  A Report on Knowledge.
  24. McHale, Brian. Postmodernist Fiction.
  25. Norris, Christopher. What’s Wrong with Postmodernism?
  26. Perryman, Mark ed. Altered States: Postmodernism, Politics, Culture.
  27. Poster, Mark. The Information Subject.
  28. Vattimo, Gianni. The Transparent Society.
  29. Wilde, Alan. Horizons of Assent: Modernism, Postmodernism, and the Ironic Imagination

Reading List for PhD Major Exam on 20th Century American Literature

In June 2010, I will take my three PhD exams in the Kent State University English Literature PhD program.  For these exams, I convened a committee of trusted professors, each administering one exam. I choose to take my exams in these areas: 20th Century American Literature (administered by Kevin Floyd), Postmodern Theory (administered by Tammy Clewell), and the Philip K. Dick Canon (administered by Donald “Mack” Hassler). Below, I have included my 20th Century American Literature reading list. Go here to read my Postmodern Theory exam list, and here to read my Philip K. Dick exam list.

PhD Major Exam Area:  Twentieth-Century American Literature

Director:  Kevin Floyd



  1. Chopin, Kate. The Awakening (1899).
  2. Cather, Willa. O Pioneers! (1913).
  3. Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. “The Yellow Wallpaper”
  4. TS Eliot: “The Waste Land,” “The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock”
  5. Anderson, Sherwood. Winesburg, Ohio (1919).
  6. William, Carlos Williams. Spring and All (1923).
  7. Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby (1925).
  8. Faulkner, William. The Sound and the Fury (1929).
  9. Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying (1930).
  10. Langston Hughes: “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”; “Epilogue”; “Harlem”; “Same in Blues”; “Theme for English B”; “Mother to Son”; “Song for a Dark Girl.”
  11. Countee Cullen: “Yet Do I Marvel”; “Heritage”; “Incident.”
  12. Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms (1929).
  13. Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937).
  14. Dos Passos, John. The Big Money (1936).
  15. Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath (1939).
  16. Hemingway, Ernest. For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940).
  17. Wright, Richard. Native Son (1940).
  18. Williams, Tennessee. A Streetcar Named Desire (1947).
  19. Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman (1949).
  20. Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye (1951).
  21. Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man (1952).
  22. Baldwin, James. The Fire Next Time.
  23. Edward Albee, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf
  24. Eugene O’Neill, Long Days Journey Into Night
  25. Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
  26. Ginsberg, Allen. “Howl” and “Kaddish.”
  27. Kerouac, Jack. On the Road (1957)
  28. Burroughs, William S. Naked Lunch (1959).
  29. Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun (1959).
  30. Kesey, Ken. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962).
  31. Plath, Sylvia. Ariel.
  32. Pynchon, Thomas. V. (1963).
  33. Sam Shepard, True West
  34. LeRoi Jones, Dutchman (1964)
  35. O’Connor, Flannery. “A good man is hard to find”; “everything that rises must converge”; “revelation”; “good country people”
  36. Le Guin, Ursula K. The Left Hand of Darkness (1969).
  37. Reed, Ishmael. Mumbo Jumbo (1972).
  38. Delany, Samuel R. Dhalgren (1975).
  39. Silko, Leslie Marmon. Ceremony (1977).
  40. Gibson, William. Neuromancer (1984)
  41. DeLillo, Don. White Noise (1985).
  42. Morrison, Toni. Beloved (1987).
  43. Gloria Naylor, Linden Hills
  44. Roth, Philip. American Pastoral (1997).
  45. Updike, John.  Rabbit, Run
  46. Butler, Octavia. Kindred (1979).
  47. Eugenides, Jeffrey. Middlesex (2002).
  48. Vonnegut, Jr., Kurt. Slaughterhouse-Five (1969).


  1. Asimov, Isaac. I, Robot (1950).
  2. Bradbury, Ray. The Martian Chronicles (1950).
  3. Kornbluth, Cyril M. and Fredrick Pohl. The Space Merchants (1953).
  4. Ellison, Harlan.  “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” (1967).
  5. Tiptree, James Jr. (Alice B. Sheldon), “The Girl Who Was Plugged In” (1973).
  6. Delany, Samuel R. Tales of Nevèrÿon (1979)
  7. Sterling, Bruce ed. Mirrorshades:  The Cyberpunk Anthology (1986).
  8. Stephenson, Neal. Snow Crash (1992).
  9. Powers, Richard. Galatea 2.2 (1995).
  10. Di Filippo, Paul. Ribofunk (1996).
  11. Cunningham, Michael. Specimen Days (2005).

More PhD Exam Reading List Progress

Despite having two classes to teach right now and daily life concerns, like getting my Toyota Corolla’s oil changed today, I made a noticeable impact on my PhD exam reading list. I followed up some poems by Countee Cullen and Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God with three Philip K. Dick novels this weekend: Martian Time-Slip, Dr. Bloodmoney, and Now Wait For Last Year. It should be noted that Yufang’s excellent cooking significantly improved my productivity. Tomorrow, I’ll cook her ginger chicken after I am done teaching.

20th Century American PhD Exam List Updated

Following a meeting and some negotiations by email, Kevin and I have finalized my 20th Century American qualifying exam reading list. He suggested that we break the list into two segments: Canonical and Non-Canonical. This division, for lack of a better terminology, gets the point across about the broad acceptance of these texts in the academy. Nevertheless, all of the works fit into my over all research interests: identity, bodies, and technology. I have posted the leaner, more focused, and more encompassing list on the PhD Exam page.

Major Exam Reading List Reconstruction

I’m working on a new draft of my 20th century American literature major exam reading list. I met with Kevin last week, and he sent me some suggestions for the list. His changes are taking me in a better direction for whittling the content while forcing me to consider the way each text fits together into a whole, at least as far as my research interests lie. I will link to the PhD exam list when I have a more finalized version of the list. It will be leaner and meaner.

PhD Reading List, Reflecting on July 2009

Today, Yufang and I ran into Dave at Last Exit Books, and he and I discussed our PhD reading lists. He asked me how my reading was going, and I realized that I hadn’t thought that much about my progress even though I was keeping track of it on my PhD Exams page here. I could see what I had read, but I hadn’t taken much time to consider how much material I had read since I began in ernest at the beginning of July after we moved into our new place across the street from Kent State.

Looking over my reading list and excluding anything that I read during Spring 2009, I have read 10 novels, 1 theory article, and 4 theory books since the beginning of July 2009. On average, that’s about 1 book every two days. I have had other things going on this month that I have taken time away from my reading, and I have to spend more time reading theory than novels to be sure. Additionally, I have to keep notes on everything that I read so that I can continually refresh my memory over the next two semesters prior to my exams.

What I’ve learned is that I do need to pick up my reading and note taking pace. Also, I need to improve the quality of my notes so that when I type them the process will take much less time. For example, I spent nearly half a day or more working on my notes for Ihab Hassan’s The Postmodern Turn. Obviously, I can’t spend that much premium time on one work particularly after I’ve spent considerable time meticulously reading through it.

I’m learning that the PhD exam process is itself a lesson besides all of the things that you take in and learn for the exams themselves. I have to learn how to prepare for the exams in an efficient, methodical, and effective way. I’m building on that now, and I hope to know how to prepare for PhD exams very well by the time that I’m ready to actually take the exams next Spring. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), those lessons of how to learn won’t be needed for another exam, but at least I will carry them forward as I do my professional work in the field during and beyond the dissertation.

Added Page for PhD Exam Reading Lists

I added a “PhD Exams” page to the top of that includes the reading lists for my three PhD exams, which I will take at the end of Spring 2010.  I’ve enabled comments on the page, so please let me know if there is something absolutely critical that I should add to the list, or something that you believe should be removed.  Currently, nothing is marked as being read, but I will work on that later tonight.

Back to reading.