Course Descriptions Fall 2023
X-listed with EN 466
Advanced Studies In Linguistic: Global Englishes
This course introduces students to the varieties of English and the implications of these varieties for using, learning, and teaching English in various socio-educational contexts. The course also examines the linguistic, social, and political impact of the global spread of English around the world, and where, when, why, and how new forms of English have emerged. It places specific emphasis on the set of implications for English teachers and learners in a superdiverse world.
X-listed with WS 525
W 2:00- 4:30pm
Feminist Theory and…
This course examines four key moments or themes in feminist theory: Meat, Bodies, Pleasures, and The Future. Each theme generates new resources and methodologies, new modes of gendered subjectivity, new discourses, and new lines of inquiry that promote structural transformation and gender justice. For example, the early work by Carol Adams analyzes the sexual politics of meat and develops a feminist critical discourse, which is then taken up in the study of issues of meat and materiality, including objectification, women as meat, those considered “mere flesh,” an ethics of fleshy bodies, and various forms of deviance and monstrosity tied to flesh, blood, and the abject. Newer work connects meat to transnational circuits of power/ideology and the histories and legacies of colonialism, ableism, and sexism. We investigate queer and transgender issues and politics as we shift from Meat to Bodies and Power. We examine feminist interrogations of the mind/body split and explore the connections between Foucault and Feminism and the possibilities that emerge from philosophies of corporeality in feminist theory. Next, we shift our attention to pleasure in Foucault and the work of feminist theorists, such as Ladelle McWhorter and others, who investigate the workings of discourse and the machinations of heteronormativity, the power of the erotic asserted by Audre Lorde, and sexualities beyond a pleasure/danger binary, including radical theories by Black feminists, such as Jennifer C. Nash, and queer of color theorists, such as José Esteban Muñoz. Finally, we examine feminist responses to the problems of reproductive futurism articulated by Lee Edelman and other queer theorists, and locate transformative resources in alternative temporalities, including so-called “women’s time,” trans temporalities, affective futurity, and the intrinsically utopian elements of feminist theory itself. What are the feminist possibilities that lie beyond closed categories of Meat, Bodies, Pleasures, and The Future? Students will emerge with a solid background in feminist theory, a more complex understanding of sex, gender, race, and other dimensions of embodied existence, as well as an array of interdisciplinary resources and strategies. (Prerequisites: None)
The History of English
No course description provided
X-Listed with EN 424
Modern English Grammar
This advanced grammar course examines the structure and usage of English, including morphology (word formation/structure), syntax (the patterns of sentences), and discourse (the context in which utterances are patterned and made meaningful). We will review both traditional and contemporary approaches to English grammar, such as cognitive grammar, construction grammar, lexico-grammar, pattern grammar, and functional grammar. Through readings, research projects, and discussion, students will attain a solid understanding of the English language’s structure and usage. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course. EN 524 is a required course for first year students in the MA-TESOL program. Thus, students from this program are guaranteed enrollment in the course. Students from other programs in English and beyond are welcome, but space is limited.
EN 529 -001/004/005
Does not meet
X-listed with EN 432
CRES new hire
TR 9:30- 10:45am
Approaches to Teaching Composition
This course is designed to introduce students to rhetoric and composition as a field of study. We will look broadly at theory, methodology, and practice, focusing on topics including (but not limited to): approaches to teaching writing, an overview of rhetoric and its relationship to writing instruction, and discussion of professional issues in English Studies (such as the role of the humanities, the purpose of the English major, and the rise of digital humanities).
EN 533 – 001/002/003
TR 12:30 – 1:30 pm
Practicum in Teaching College English 101
Fall semester only. Required of all graduate assistants teaching EN 101 for the first time. Teachers must have 18 graduate hours in English. Training in reaching EN 101 student learning outcomes. Further instruction in issues related to the professional development of composition teachers. Course is designed to mentor and support GTA teachers. Please note: EN 533 begins with required orientation workshops and an intensive multi-day orientation session immediately prior to the start of the fall semester. Orientation attendance is mandatory for retaining a graduate assistantship.
Introduction to Graduate Studies
This course is designed to introduce students to the field of literary studies from a practical and methodological standpoint. The seminar will include a hands-on introduction to research methods, scholarly writing, and issues in the profession. Intended as an introductory course for new English literature MA students, EN 537 takes a broad focus in order to facilitate engagement with the material, theoretical, and practical aspects of literary studies. Along the way, we will consider topics related to the current state of the field and the profession. Target Audience: 1st year MA students in the Literature and Strode Programs.
200 Level Teaching Practicum
This course is required for all GTAs assigned to teach a 200-level EN survey for the first time. It may be taken concurrently with or in advance of teaching one’s first literature survey, and is typically taken by Ph.D. students in their second year of coursework and by MFA students in their third year of coursework. We will divide our time among logistical topics like syllabus design, daily lesson plans, and appropriate writing prompts; while also devoting our collective energies to unraveling the daily mysteries of those concurrently teaching literature for the first time. Sympathetic identification, sage advice, and esprit de corps, hopefully with a minimum of sententiousness, awaits. A grade of “pass” is required for students to teach literature courses in the department of English.
EN 601 – 001
R 2:00 – 4:30 pm
This class is intended for students enrolled in the MFA Program in Creative Writing and will concentrate on the writing, reading, and workshopping of fiction.
EN 603 – 001
W10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Graduate Poetry Workshop
This course will support the reading and writing of poetry. The focus will be on the discussion of original student writing. Participants will engage in collaborative workshop discussions and explore various elements of poetic craft. This course will be open first to MFA students.
M 10 – 12:30pm
Graduate Nonfiction Workshop: Political Narratives
Is all writing–all art, as Toni Morrison suggested–political? In this class we’ll be examining living memoirists working around themes of disability, sexuality, race, class, and environment. Students need not be memoirists as we’ll also examine the role of research in nonfiction and personal writing.
Forms Special Topics
Peak TV (Screenplay Writing): With the debut of The Sopranos in 1999, the television landscape changed forever, sparking a renaissance in serialized storytelling that over twenty years later shows no signs of abating. From one hour dramas like Breaking Bad or Yellowstone, to 30-minute dramedies like Atlanta or Flea Bag, to limited and anthology series such as The Queen’s Gambit or The White Lotus, prestige televistion has set a high bar—in terms of writing quality and cinematic production values—and now hundreds of original programs across a range of genres chase after critical acclaim and viewer devotion. More shows air on more platforms than any one person could watch, and the appetite for content and the writers who create it has never been greater, despite a more risk-averse environment where streaming services are under increasing pressure to turn a profit. In this class you will conceive, plan, and write a pilot for an original series. We will study the form and business of writing for television, and examine in depth the structure and arc of how an entire season is constructed across a season of episodes. You will end this course with improved screenwriting and longform storytelling skills, but also more highly tuned critical skills and a knowledgebase that will allow you to better appreciate all the shows you watch. This course will be opened to all graduate students, by permission, after MFAs have registered.
Forms Special Topics
REITERATION. We’ll engage a number of imaginative texts that somehow reflect or respond to earlier texts, and write some such texts ourselves. Along the way, we’ll discuss the ways in which these reiterations—the ones you’ll read and the ones you’ll write—might be considered “original,” the ways in which they’re not “original,” and what it means to be “original” anyhow. We’ll talk about influence, pastiche, revision, parody, remakes, adaptation, sampling, archetypes, updates, sequels, and other related topics, techniques, anxieties, and pleasures that come into play when a text—consciously or unconsciously—reiterates an earlier text. Student writing will react to texts from the reading list in a variety of parasitic modes, including collage, homage, and frottage. Possible authors: Jean Rhys, Jack Spicer, Tyehimba Jess, Noah Eli Gordon, Grandmaster Flash, Anthony Mann, John Ford, Roland Barthes, John Barth, Vladimir Nabokov, Muriel Rukeyser, Oscar Wilde, Guy de Maupassant, Louise Gluck, Anne Carson, Suzan-Lori Parks, Ivan Turgenev, Italo Calvino, Jean-Luc Godard, DJ Spooky, Jonathan Lethem, Richard Prince, Sherry Levine, Amy Heckerling, Lucie Brock-Broido, Kathleen Ossip, Homer. This is a genre-agnostic zone; MFA candidates of any proclivity are welcome.
Forms of Creative Writing
Varieties of Prose Narrative: In this course we’ll study and be inspired by books that trouble or expand our definition and understanding of genre conventions. Some of the questions we’ll ask include: What are the defining characteristics of a genre? How do writers bend readers’ expectations in order to explore ways of thinking or being that traditional narratives perhaps don’t allow for? How do these books challenge our reading practices? Why have so many contemporary writers felt compelled to redefine, expand, or push the boundaries of genre? In our own writing this semester, we’ll privilege trying, experimenting, risking, failing, remixing, and trying again. POSSIBLE texts include works by Jean Toomer, Rebecca Solnit, Matthew Specktor, David Shields, Ross Gay, Olivia Laing, & Wayne Koestenbaum. This course is open first to MFA students. If there are remaining slots, please contact me before registering.
21st Century Short Fiction
At any given moment in time, the short story is either being pronounced critically ill and not expected to live much longer or robust of constitution and in a state of renaissance, forever shuttling between its death throes and ain’t-over-yet revitalization, but ultimately languishing, say its most tepidly enthused critics, in the long shadow of the novel. In writing programs, where countless short stories get authored and anatomized every semester, this diagnosis rests, anxiously, on the question of the story collection’s commercial potential, which, feast or famine, appears to be eternally dismal, or so we’re often told. In 2014, however, the short story was said to be having a moooment, as evidenced by the fact that George Saunders’ Tenth of December won that year the inaugural Folio Prize, and Lydia Davis won the rival Man Booker Inter-national Prize the previous year. In recent years, when the short story has been on the ascendant, it is our ever diminishing attention spans that have been snidely credited with the uptick in interest, a notion that reduces the flashiest of fictions (like, say, those that Lydia Davis writes) to literary clickbait. But perhaps it’s actually the form of the short story itself that is evolving, slipping nimbly between genres, growing more expansive, inclusive, daring, and in so doing is attracting a growing fan base. In this class we’ll read stories and collections published in the last two decades (and change) to see what writers have been doing to invigorate the form in the 21st century. This course is open to students enrolled in the graduate writing program.
This course is the practicum for new teachers of 200-level creative writing courses.
Second Language Development
Teacher-learners in this course will explore the complex and fascinating world of (first and second) language acquisition/development and raise and address questions including but not limited to the following: “what does it mean to learn/acquire a language?”, “who is considered a good language learner?”, “how do individual differences affect second language acquisition”, “how has our understanding of this language learning process developed through research and practice?”, and “how does SLA research influence classroom instruction?”. Through inquiry, readings, and in-class and online discussions, we will critically examine foundational theories and research perspectives from linguistic, psycholinguistic, sociolinguistic, and sociocultural traditions in the field of SLA and will constantly seek connections to educational contexts.
EN 620 – 001
R 2:00 – 4:30pm
EN 620 is a graduate-level introductory linguistics course with relevance for students in the Applied Linguistics/TESOL, literature, composition and rhetoric, and MFA programs. The class explores the core elements of linguistics (phonetics and phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics) as well as subfields such as language variation, language change, and discourse analysis. Students will learn to apply the tools and techniques of language analysis through hands-on activities and projects.
M 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
First invented—as a word, “la sociologie,” and an intellectual discipline with theories and methods distinct from those of history, law, philosophy, political economy, and other nascent social sciences—in French intellectual Auguste Comte’s Cours de philosophie positive (1830-42), sociology was adapted into a method for reading literature less than thirty years later and only six years after Comte’s death in 1857, courtesy of French positivist critic and historian Hippolyte Taine. In History of English Literature (1863), Taine proposed the still well-known triad of race, milieu, and moment as elements of the overdetermining “underworld” that governs each individual literary work, which he argued was “not a mere play of imagination, a solitary caprice of a heated brain, but a transcript of contemporary manners, a type of a certain kind of mind.” By 1929, sociological criticism had become so widespread that then-MLA President William Albert Nitze railed against it in his annual address to members, complaining that literary criticism had yet to “achieve great things” and was either “groping for a principle of order” or motivated by “an axe to grind that is sociological or journalese rather than literary.” However, Nitze’s pejorative dismissal came far too late to stop an interpenetration of literature and sociology that has continued to this day. This graduate seminar will reconstruct the diverse and productive history of socio-literary criticism, from Taine; through the early-twentieth-century triad of Émile Durkheim, Georg Simmel, and Max Weber; mid-twentieth-century theories of Robert Escarpit, Georg Lukács, and Lucien Goldmann; and the more recent cultural, material, and digital turns identified with the work of Pierre Bourdieu, Leah Price, Franco Moretti, and others. This course is open to all students in the English graduate program, and will be of particular value to those interested in interdisciplinary approaches to literature regardless of nationality or era.
Special Topics Rhetoric and Composition
Found texts: Literacy, Rhetoric, Ephemera This class will consider the rhetorical goals and meaning of the kinds of writing that are sometimes viewed as mundane, private, or unimportant– lists, scrapbooks, graffiti, text messages, diaries, letters, how to manuals, and more– focusing on the writing of women and marginalized people. We will consider ephemera or found texts in relation to traditional definitions of what counts as rhetoric. How do people find ways to write themselves into public spaces that have historically excluded them? How can we read (rhetorically speaking) texts that don’t fit traditional definitions or genres? This course may be of interest to students in composition-rhetoric, to those who would like to learn more about rhetoric and writing outside of classroom and institutional spaces, or those who would like to experiment with genre in their own scholarly work. Possible texts include: Glenn, Rhetoric Retold: Regendering the Tradition from Antiquity through the Renaissance; Damian and Matthieson, The Rhetoric of Typography; Barnett, Rhetoric, through Everyday Things; Klotz, Writing their Bodies: Restoring Rhetorical Relations at the Carlilse Indian School; Sohan, Lives, Letters, and Quilts: Women and Everyday Rhetorics of Resistance; Stenberg and Hogg, Persuasive Acts: Women’s Rhetoric in the 21st Century; Walden, Tasteful Domesticity: Women’s Rhetoric and the American Cookbook; Gruwell, Making Matters: Craft, Ethics, and New Materialist Rhetorics, Richardson, Stay Woke: The Language and Literacies of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement, Nunley, Keepin it Hushed: The Barbershop and African American Hush Harbor Rhetoric; Shipka, Toward a Composition Made Whole.
Spec Topics Seminar American Lit
Bad Romance: Queer Lives and the Subject of History Queer literature has had a complicated relationship, perhaps even a complicated love affair with history, from the pre-Stonewall days through the emergence of LGBTQ+ lives into more popular culture. This course will examine how queer authors approach historical imaginaries and even the subject of historiography itself, ranging from allegedly objective and fact-based to more affective modes. We’ll examine how authors use historical approaches to understand deep abiding love affairs and passing promiscuities, as well as all the diverse varieties of queer love and queer identifications that have long been part of the American literary scene. While religious, social, medical, and legal institutions across the U.S. for years decried any such romance as inherently “bad,” this course will examine novels, poetry, plays, and actual historical subcultures that presented gay, lesbian, and trans loves in a more exuberant, rich, and complicatedly celebratory light, sometimes extravagantly and sometimes only cautiously so. Taking into account the complexity of the U.S., we’ll examine works from a variety of regions, religions, races, and cultures, though we’ll largely take into account the literature and the history of the 20th and 21st centuries. Participants in this seminar must be willing to consider critically points of view with which they might not necessarily agree and settings that they might occasionally find offensive regardless of their own socio-political situation, but which nonetheless engage with vital strands in American literature and history. This course is open to all students in the English graduate program.
The Roots of American Racism, State-Sanctioned Violence and a Black Protest Tradition in Early (African) American Literature
This course is open to all students in the English Department and would appeal especially to students interested in early American literature, the Black diaspora, and transatlantic studies. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder on May 25, 2020, by Minneapolis police, Black leaders and news commentators filled the airwaves with pleas for people to protest ‘peacefully,’ propping up the idea that there are acceptable and unacceptable ways to protest. News coverage even homed in on peaceful protestors and castigated those caught looting and starting fires. But is there really a right way to protest? Social protests by design transgress; they disrupt the status quo, which makes protest an inherently violent act, an inherently disrespectful act. The rhetoric, especially when directed at Black protest movements, is embedded in a deeper impulse to police the behavior of Black Americans, to describe their behavior in terms of right and wrong – respectable versus disrespectable. In other words, we attach a moral judgement to forms of protest; it is a kind of respectability politics, the term used to describe a form of assimilation and self-policing that occurs when members of an oppressed group seek to model (and condemn those in the group who do not model) the cultural and social mores of a dominant group in order to illustrate their humanity and advocate for equality. Respectability politics has long circumscribed the Black American experience and the literature produced by Black communities. This seminar course will examine some of the earliest examples of that literature to understand where, how, and why protest emerged in African American literature as a strategy to combat American racism and state-sanctioned violence. We will look at how African American writers have engaged the oxymoronic impulse of protestation. Specifically, we will examine the protest tradition as a balancing act whereby black writers simultaneously protest American racism and state-sanctioned violence while also engaging discourses of respectability to pronounce their humanity.
History of Rhet/Comp II: U.S. Rhetorics at the Margins
This course will focus primarily on the rhetorical genres, positions, and tropes employed by Asian Americans in the nineteenth century through the present. We will consider the intersections of gender, sexuality, class, (dis)ability, language, and citizenship in the racialization of Asians in America. Texts will include historical and archival documents, literature, and film as well as scholarship in composition/rhetoric. This course will be open first to students in the CRES program, after which all students will have an opportunity to register.
W 2-4:30 PM
Seminar in Renaissance Literature III
John Milton. Nicknamed “The Lady of Christ’s College” at Cambridge. Wrote a mask about chastity before marriage whose main character is named “The Lady”. Married in his thirties to a sixteen-year old who promptly separated from him for three years. Tied romantically in some accounts (though admittedly, ones written by enemies who were also homophobes) to his friend Charles Diodati. We are unlikely to ever know much more about John Milton’s own sexuality, but he seems to have considerably less respect for the conventions of his time than most. This seminar will closely examine the ways in which he writes characters whose gender and sexual expressions seem distinctly queer, and the implications of such queerness on Milton’s understanding of matters like theology, temporality, and materiality. Assignments include leading part of a class discussion, and writing multiple short response papers, a book review, and a seminar paper.
Seminar in Victorian Literature
This seminar will explore the representation of Jews and Jewishness in nineteenth-century British literature and will focus on questions of race, embodiment, national identity, and empire. While they constituted only a small percentage of British society, Anglo-Jews were featured widely in nineteenth-century literature, theatre, and visual culture. Literary representations and cultural myths about Jews span centuries, but nineteenth-century Britain was particularly interested in thinking through the role Jews would play in the cultural and political life of the nation. By 1858 Jews would finally be able to sit in Parliament, and Benjamin Disraeli (born to Jewish parents but baptized by his father at the age of 13) even became Prime Minister. But Jews would continue to inhabit a liminal space in British society. They were neither seen as the cultural insiders, nor entirely as cultural outsiders like the colonial others spread across the globe as England’s empire expanded. Part of the justification for British expansion rested on an increasing acceptance of scientific racism and its hierarchy of racial superiority. Were the Jews folded into this colonial model of race and belonging, or did they inhabit a different racial imaginary? What role did writers imagine for the Jews in a century that saw the gradual enfranchisement and inclusion of a wider range of classes and religions into the national community? Would they be seen as a perpetual alien within or as part of a ‘nested nation’ in which Judaism was at the heart of British, Christian culture? We will be reading a wide range of texts, from Victorian prose, poetry, and fiction to twentieth and twenty-first century literary criticism and theory. Authors will/may include Maria Edgeworth, Walter Scott, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Anthony Trollope, Israel Zangwill, and Amy Levy. This course will be opened to all graduate students in the English department.
Modern British Literature
“Madness is terrific I can assure you, and not to be sniffed at; and in its lava I still find most of the things I write about. It shoots out of one everything shaped, final, not in mere driblets as sanity does.” —Virginia Woolf. In this course, we will look at modernist literature from the American, English, Caribbean, and European traditions, in order to understand the generative nature of “moods.” We will not be retroactively “diagnosing” the writers that we read, but rather trying to understand them from a more meta-level. Although moods will be our primary concern, we will devote considerable time to other related issues that come up in the books we read (race, class, nation, fascism, gender identity, and more), and understand why we read them as modernist texts. We must do our best while reading through these books to avoid romanticizing mental health issues, even as we discuss the way in which it manifests, often as great literature, but just as easily in tragedy.
Postcolonial Theory and Irish Writing
The Irish have been both objects and subjects of British colonialism, violently settled in the 16th and 17th centuries, their language, laws, and customs replaced, but also active participants within the British empire (Gibbons). In this course, we examine how writers and scholars contend with Irish postcoloniality from this “anomalous state” (Lloyd). Our core literary texts draw from writers of the revolutionary period and its unfinished aftermath: W.B. Yeats, Lady Gregory, James Joyce, Elizabeth Bowen, Samuel Beckett, and others. We also examine political texts from the same period, including Roger Casement’s report on colonial genocide in Congo (1904), and his Black Diaries (1903-1916). To frame the course, however, we begin with three classic imperialist discourses: Edmund Spenser, in his influential _A View of the Present State of Ireland_ (1598), argues that Irish barbarity justifies eradication of the populace through famine, and he introduces into humanism a racial split; Edmund Burke’s (1790) conservative polemic against the French revolution and imperialism in India carries rich implications from and for his native Ireland; and from the 19th century, Maria Edgeworth’s _Castle Rackrent_ worries the legitimacy of the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy, even as Matthew Arnold’s writing as well as political cartoons (1845-1890) persist in racially stereotyping the Irish. Framing the course this way helps us to understand the explosive literary and political revolution in the 20th century, as well as to decode the suppression of feminist, socialist, and artistic freedoms in the formation of the Irish Free State. Theoretical and secondary texts could include Joe Cleary, Clare Carroll, Gregory Dobbins, Luke Gibbons, David Lloyd, Edward Said, Karen Steele, Franz Fanon, Robert JC Young, and others. Evaluation for the course will include a short paper, a longer seminar paper, and a brief presentation. The course welcomes all graduate students.