James Comas - Home Page

This is the home page of a small site devoted to my work as a scholar and teacher in three overlapping areas: (1) rhetorical theory and its history, (2) the history of criticism, poetics, and literary theory, and (3) composition pedagogy and its history. I've focused much of my work on the ways in which people understand and present themselves as writers, teachers, and intellectuals within these areas. Below, you will find links to the major sections of the site, as well as links to a few specific pages that others have found useful (or so they tell me).

Image of ancient Greek vase painting of a dramatic chorus

"There are, perhaps, declarations which, for lack of anything better, ridiculously need an Attic chorus . . . ." -- Georges Bataille

Research - Main Page

Between Politics and Ethics: Toward a Vocative History of English Studies (Southern Illinois UP, Apr 2006)
For over 25 years, English Studies has shaped itself around two terms: politics and, more recently, ethics. Yet, in spite of the influence of these terms, little effort has been spent examining the institutional conditions of their emergence, development, and relationship. More . . .


Teaching - Main Page

Upcoming Classes (Fall 2011)

ENGL 6/7510 History of Rhetoric: Early-Modern to Contemporary
A historical survey of European rhetorical theory beginning with early-modern thought (Montaigne, Bacon, Descartes) and emphasizing rhetoric's roles in (1) the development of liberal-arts education, writing instruction, and philosophy of education, (2) the study of literature and culture, as well as (3) its role the development of epistemology, philosophy of language, and social philosophy.
ENGL 3000 Introduction to Literary Studies
An introduction to the study of literature, with special attention to the ethical and political dimensions of reading, as well as the basics of literary research. For English majors and minors.

Recent Classes

Resources - Main Page


Image: Sir John Beazley's drawing of an ancient Greek vase painting (London E467) depicting a chorus of men dancing to a pipes-player (c. 460 B.C.).

Quotation: Georges Bataille, “The Use Value of D. A. F. de Sade (An Open Letter to My Current Comrades),” trans. Allan Stoekl, Visions of Excess, ed. Allan Stoekl (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1985), 91. More . . .

Last update: 05-May-11

The contents of this page do not reflect any official positions of Middle Tennessee State University. The sole responsibility for these contents lies with the author:

Dr. James N. Comas (James.Comas@mtsu.edu)
Middle Tennessee State University
Department of English, Box 70
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Some pages on this site contain material from my classes taught in The Department of English at Middle Tennessee State University.

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