Graduate Programs

Graduate Courses 2019-2020

Department of English

FALL 2019

Graduate Course Offerings

Rev. (3/18/2019)


Dorothy Worden: Special Topics in Linguistics: Language & Culture

For override contact:


EN 500-001 / 45402

M 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm

This course focuses on the relationship between language and culture as it is conceptualized and studied in the field of linguistics. Topics will include the historical division of language and culture in linguistics; the relationship between language, culture, and cognition; the cultural underpinnings of lexis and grammar; the relationship between language, culture, and identity; and the role of culture in educational contexts, specifically language classrooms.



Jennifer Purvis: Women in Contemporary Society


EN 500-002 / 45679 (xl WS 525-001)

W 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Open to graduate students from all areas with an interest in feminist theory, this interdisciplinary approach to contemporary feminist theory explores the self-other paradigm established in Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1949) and its outgrowths, as well as how the third term—“mere flesh,” the inhuman other, the disposable, the abject—upsets the binary logic that has dominated our thinking about oppressions for more than half a century. From French Feminisms’ monstrous feminine to the present, alterity, the notion of radical otherness exposes systems of belonging that define citizens, subjects, nations, and regions and organize humanity along the lines of gender, race, sexuality, ability, and class. Yet those who are marginalized often resist associations with alterity. Authors Luce Irigaray, Barbara Creed, Hortense Spillers, Judith Butler, Rosi Braidotti, Alexander Weheliye, and others challenge us to think through and beyond the ways in which otherness and abjection are harmful; invite us to think outside the terms of normalcy, inclusion, and the human; question central binaries; and explore spaces of liminality. Drawing their insights from a variety of fields—including French Feminisms, queer theory, cultural studies, critical race theory, philosophy, post- and de-colonial theory, feminist art and film theory, monster studies, disability studies, and more—the authors in this course examine transgression, borders, leakiness, dirt, danger, zombies, vampires, the monstrous feminine, sexual deviants, zones of uninhabitability, the grotesque, the carnivalesque, the vagina dentate, and other terms associated with abjection and radical alterity that challenge an “us/them” world. (Prerequisites: none)




Gadsden Classes


EN 500-359—Gadsden

S 9:00 am — 5:00 pm


EN 500-361—Gadsden

S 9:00 am – 5:00 pm



Amber Buck: Computers & Writing


EN 512-001/47979

R 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

A survey of how computers can be used to help students improve their writing and to help teachers improve their writing instruction. This course provides an overview of computers and writing as a disciplinary field within rhetoric and composition, including historical trajectory and major and recent trends. This course will ask students to consider both the theoretical and pedagogical implications of digital writing technologies. Students will compose both print and digital projects in this course




Dilin Liu: Structure of English

For override contact:


EN 524-001/41605 (XL 424-001)

TR 12:30 pm – 1:45 pm         

This advanced grammar course examines the structure and usage of the English language, 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 systemic functional grammar. Through reading, 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 529: Directed Readings


            529 – 001 / 47980 James McNaughton: MA/PhD

            529—002 / 47981 Kellie Wells: MFA





EN 533: Practicum in Teaching College English 102 ______________________________________________________________________

Various Instructors

T R 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm

This is offered FALL semester ONLY and is required for all Graduate Assistants teaching EN 102 for the first time. Training is offered to reach EN 102 course goals and writing outcomes. Further instruction in teaching formal argumentation and advanced research techniques.


533 – 001        CRN#   Luke Niiler                534 – 101 / CRN#

533 – 002       CRN#   Jessica Kidd              534 –102 / CRN#

533 – 003       CRN#   Natalie Loper                       534 – 103 / CRN#

533 – 004       CRN#   Marni Presnall         534 – 104 / CRN#



Must simultaneously register for Thursday session with same lecture instructor.





Steve Tedeschi: Literary Criticism


EN 535-001/47982                                              

T 2– 4:30 pm

The course introduces and surveys the history of conceptions and practices of literary criticism in the western tradition from classical antiquity to the present. The primary objectives of the course are to understand these various perspectives, purposes, and practices both for their own sake and for the sake of reflecting critically upon contemporary critical practices. Readings will track lines of thought and dispute in the classical period (Plato, Aristotle), the Renaissance (Dante, Sidney), and the long eighteenth century (Kant, Wordsworth) before tracing the historical evolution of kinds of critical thought and practice, including varieties of Marxisms, psychoanalytical approaches, formalisms, structuralisms and poststructuralisms, gender and sexuality studies, historicisms, cultural studies, postcolonialisms, and/or hermeneutics




Michelle Dowd: Introduction to Graduate Studies


EN 537-001/42225                                              

M 10 am – 12:30 pm

This course is a study of selected bibliographical resources and of some of the important methodological approaches employed in literary study, including an introduction to critical approaches, scholarly writing, and issues in the profession.



Albert Pionke: Approaches to Teaching the Sophomore EN Survey


EN 539-001/43740 (609-002)

T 12:30 pm –1:30 pm

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 598: Non-Thesis Research



EN 598-001/ 43442                            All Literature/CRES/Strode                                               McNaughton, J


EN 598-002/ 43443                            All Creative Writing                                                               Wells, K


EN 598-003/ 45403                            All TESOL                                                                                        Liu



EN 599: Thesis Research



EN 599-001: 41205                            All Literature/CRES/Strode                                               McNaughton, J


EN 599-002: 41206                            All Creative Writing                                                               Wells, K


EN 599-003: 41207                            All TESOL                                                                                        Liu


Wendy Rawlings: Graduate Fiction Workshop


EN 601-001 /41124

W 2 pm — 4:30 pm

This course is a forum for students in the graduate creative writing program to work together with the goal of helping each other develop as writers and readers. Students will articulate through their discussions of their classmate’s work, through the application of literature and theory read in other classes, and especially through the fiction they write in this class, an awareness of the contemporary moment in literary practice, a reason for doing whatever they are doing in their own fiction, and a means to bring the two together.

Michael Martone: Cross Section Workshop


EN 601-002/49861

M 2 pm – 4:30 pm

Instead of looking at each piece individually and holistically as in the traditional workshop, the Cross-Section Workshop will look at all the pieces at the same time.  We will take “cuts” through each work, beginning with the title, then first line, then first paragraph, first page, etc. The discussion will be more about process instead of product, more strategic instead of tactical. The traditional “gag” rule where the writer of the work is asked to listen and not speak during the critique will be relaxed. In this workshop all of the writers will be asked to talk at all times, attempting to focus on the aesthetic choices and theories that operate behind and before the performance on the page.  We will attempt to look (in this microscopic way) twice during the semester with (perhaps—I haven’t tried this before) a flash prose hypoxic sprint session in between the two longer looks.  Lewis Hyde’s book, The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property will be the only required text.



Lamar Wilson: Graduate Poetry Workshop: First Words, Last Words


EN 603-001/43000

T 5 pm — 7:30 pm

This class is designed for students enrolled in the MFA Program in Creative Writing and will concentrate on the writing, reading, and workshopping of poetry. As students discuss their own poems, we will explore the prosody and themes in the first and last books published by noteworthy contemporary poets, including Chen Chen, Anaïs Duplan, Paul Guest, Justin Phillip Reed, Ruth Stone, and C.D. Wright.




Michael Martone: Forms: The Chapbook


EN 608-001/ 41125                                             

M 10:00 am — 12:30 pm

We will study and produce this hybrid book form known as a “chapbook.” The class will be conducted as a hypoxic workshop with writers contributing a poem, micro fiction or essay, or story or essay each week with the goal of creating a 14-25 page book.  Also we will read and talk about various examples of chapbooks published recently.




Kellie Wells: The Short Story in the 21st Century


EN 608-002/41129                                              

M 2 pm – 4:30 pm

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 reinvigoration, but ultimately languishing, say it’s 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 moment, 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 International 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 to see what writers have been doing to vitalize the form in the 21st century. Writers we’ll read might include Otessa Moshfegh, Carmen Maria Machado, Ted Chiang, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Zach Doss, Kristine Ong Muslim, and others.





Hali Felt: Revising Prose


EN 605-003 / 42319

T 2 pm – 4:30 pm

Does the mere mention of the word “revise” strike fear into your heart? Do you feel as if you are writing all the time, but never have finished work to show for it? Confused about what professors and editors mean when they ask for edits? In this course, you will read examples of prose before and after revision, read published authors talking about their revision processes, and have the chance to practice revising your own work. When thinking about whether this course is a good match for you, make sure that you have at least 20 pages of prose in need of extensive revisions (or will have pages by the start of the Fall 2019 semester).


Robin Behn: Forms of Poetry


EN 608-004/47983                                              

W 2 pm — 4:30 pm

Forms of Poetry This is a chance to get up close and personal with the substance and deployment of language in poetry. We’ll write in some traditional forms drawn from English and other languages, including contemporary iterations and mutations of those forms. We’ll also spend plenty of time on free verse. We’ll develop our ears and eyes, becoming more fluent with meter, many types of rhyme, figures of speech, phonemes, sound patterns, repetition, uses of punctuation and other symbols, uses of the “page,” large and small rhetorical patterns, and what Jack Gilbert called “the form of the invisible.” We’ll find new ways to make the mind move. We’ll become conscious of these elements and experiment with what they can do, the effects they can have. Then, through practice, quite unconscious again, so that they’ll always be “there” at our disposal as we write. The course is about poetry, but prose writers are most welcome; no prior experience is needed. In past years, prose writers have found that the course ends up enriching their practice of prose as well as emboldening them in the realm of poetry.





Joel Brouwer: Classics for Contemporaries


EN 608-005/47984

R 2 — 4:30 pm

Of Bodies Changed to other forms I tell: Classics for Contemporaries In this class we’ll read about the rage of Achilles, the Sirens’ song, the Trojan horse, Orpheus’s descent into the underworld to retrieve Eurydice, and scores of other stories that have shaped Western culture over the last 2,500 years (give or take). We will also make additional contributions to that culture by completing a variety of imaginative writing projects inspired by our reading. Texts: Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid, and Metamorphoses, along with some supplementary / contextual / critical material. Open to MFA students in any major genre; writing assignments will be genre-neutral.


Heidi Staples: Hope is the Thing


EN 608-006 / 47042

F 1pm – 3:30 pm

Hope is the Thing: “Hope is the thing with feathers,” Emily Dickinson famously wrote. In this class, we will pursue hopefulness and enchantment as psychological states from which to draw writing inspiration by considering birds. We will examine and attempt representations of birds as familiar cultural tropes articulating the numinous, and we will pursue and reflect upon encounters with birds as fragile fellow creatures scaling the Anthropocene. We will bird-watch in published writings, in our own efforts, and in our very airs. Excursions will include a bird-watching event with the Birmingham Audubon Society and the EcoLit Arts Lab annual trip to Dauphin Island, where we will write while walking through the Audubon Bird Sanctuary on Dauphin Island, a recognized site of global significance for birds. Other texts may include Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems about Birds, edited by Billy Collins; The Genius of Birds (nonfiction), Jennifer Ackerman; The Book of Dead Birds, by Gayle Brandeis (novel), White Bird: A Wonder Story (YA graphic novel), R.J. Pallacio.


Heidi Staples: Form Theory Practice


EN 609-001/ 43613

M 12:30 pm – 1:20 pm

This is a course designed to support first-time teachers of EN 200, Introduction to Creative Writing, with a communal space to discuss strategies for effective teaching and creative writing pedagogy.





Albert Pionke: Form Theory Practice


EN 609-002/44569 (539-001)

T 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm

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.



Michael Martone: CW Pedagogy


EN 609-003/44567


This is a course designed to support first-time teachers of EN 200, Introduction to Creative Writing, with a communal space to discuss strategies for effective teaching and creative writing pedagogy.



Wendy Rawlings: Forms of Creative Writing: The Second Person

______                                                          ____________________________________________________________________         

EN 609-320 / 44176 (43444)

W 5:00 pm – 5:50 pm

You want to write in the second person, but why? The second person is strange; it’s exotic — maybe even revolutionary! But is it? Maybe second person point of view is just plain irritating, a gimmick. Fine. Skip it! Still, wouldn’t you like to spend an hour a week discussing and experimenting with some of the most interesting examples of second person POV with other writers? Sure you do. Go ahead. Give it a crack.




Robert Poole: Topics in Applied Linguistics

For override contact:


EN 612-001/44570

W 2:00 – 4:30 pm

This graduate seminar explores theory and pedagogical application of various technologies for second/foreign language teaching and learning. The course will survey research in computer-assisted language learning (CALL) and technology-enhanced language learning (TELL) with a particular focus on corpus-aided approaches, digital gaming, telecollaboration and computer-mediated communication (CMC), and social media.                        




Dilin Liu: Second Language Development

For override contact:


EN 613-001/42321

T 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm                                                                                                                               

This course explores issues and theories about second language development. It focuses on the study of learner language; language learning process; biological, psychological, and social factors affecting the process; and the role of formal instruction in second language development. Where relevant, first, third, and fourth language development issues will also be addressed.





Robert Poole: English Linguistics

For override contact:


EN 620—001 / 43743

T R 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm

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 (syntax, phonology and phonetics, semantics, morphology, and pragmatics) as well as subfields such as language variation, language change, and language and the brain. Students will learn to apply the tools and techniques of language analysis through hands-on activities and projects.






Cindy Tekobbe: Feminist Rhetoric


EN 639-001/ 45406

T 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm

This seminar will investigate feminist rhetorical texts along multiple trajectories. We will examine feminist rhetoric from a historical perspective, we will explore feminist research methodologies, and we will interrogate contemporary rhetorical feminisms, including Royster, Kirsch, Rhodes, and more. In this course, you should develop an understanding of the various feminist voices in rhetoric and composition and recognize their influences on the shaping of the field today. Assignments include weekly readings, case studies, and a seminar paper. Creative options are available.




Heather White: American Modernist Poetry


EN 643-001 /47985

R 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm

The focus of this course will be three pivotal figures in modernist American poetry: Robert Frost, Marianne Moore, and Wallace Stevens. The primary goal of our work will be developing a deep familiarity with each poet’s canon. In order to better understand their work and its significance to American poetry, we will also read among their forerunners and inheritors: Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, Elizabeth Bishop, John Ashbery, and others.




Amy Dayton: Politics of Teaching Writing


EN 651-001 /49808                                                                           

R 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm

This course begins with this assumption: that teaching and learning are inherently political acts, taking place in complex institutional, economic, and cultural contexts. We will address the political aspects of composition studies, beginning with a discussion of the value of teaching writing and the uses of the humanities in twenty-first century America. We will then turn to an examination of critical pedagogy, its adaptation in US college classrooms, and its critics and alternatives. We will look at specific axes of difference in the classroom—race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, and social class. We will discuss the forces outside the classroom—institutional, cultural, and economic—that impact our work. Finally, at the end of the semester, we will return to an initial question—what does it mean to teach writing, as Shari Stenberg puts it, in a “neoliberal age?”





Brad Tuggle: The Problem of the Human in Renaissance English Literature


EN 663 – 001/47250

T R 8 am – 9:15 am

Primarily, this course is an opportunity to read the poetry and prose of Philip Sidney and Edmund Spenser. We will read lyric poetry (Astrophil and Stella, Amoretti, Epithalamion) pastoral romance (The “Old” Arcadia), literary criticism (The Defence of Poesy and the Letter to Raleigh), and epic romance (Books I, III, and IV of The Faerie Queene). We will direct our conversations and research projects around two sets of problems associated with the category of the human, one ontological, the other ethical. The first set concerns how we define and understand this category. For example, we will explore whether post humanists are right to see, even in the Renaissance, a radical undermining of the “Great Chain of Being” that privileges humans above other kinds of entities. The second set of problems concerns interpersonal ethics. How do we humanely interact with others? Much of the poetry and prose we read this semester suggests, I think, an acknowledgment of the inscrutability of other minds, a respectful attitude of trust as a counterweight to skepticism and jealousy. Or at least that is one hypothesis with which I may ask you to wrestle. Graded Assignments / Research Article 20-25 pages / Research Prospectus 10 pages





Albert Pionke: Seminar Victorian Literature


EN 685-001/47987                                              

W 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

Fictions of (Il) Legitimacy According to literary historian Michael McKeon, the novel as we understand it emerged in the seventeenth century in response to “the curse of modernity,” identified as the “sociohistorical condition of status inconsistency.” Things did not become less uncertain with the passage of time. In fact, the roughly 60,000 novels published during the reign of Victoria continued to encode within themselves an only increasing anxiety about who should enjoy social precedence over whom and about how to legitimate those who deserved it. Orphans, bastards, con artists, agitators, parvenus, and other socially questionable figures loom large in period fiction, each offering a case for testing the limits of inherited forms of status hierarchy. This course will follow a few of them on their largely failed aspirations for social legitimacy, and will examine the novels in which they appear for signs that the genre itself was being stretched by their actions. It is, after all, novelists who have the most to gain and to lose in the creation of characters who do not live up to standards set by the society that buys or does not buy the books in which those characters and their misadventures appear.



James McNaughton: Modern British Literature


EN 690-001/47988

T R 9:30 am – 10:45 am

Late modernism, Samuel Beckett, and the politics of non-identity In this seminar, we read works by Samuel Beckett alongside works by others to ask how literature might contend with specific historical urgencies: the rise of authoritarianism in the 30s; postwar reckoning with French collaboration and with genocide; and 1950s torture debates. Sometimes we’ll approach this task contextually, by familiarizing ourselves with specific history that changes how we interpret works we thought we knew. With Christopher Isherwood, Virginia Woolf, and Victor Klemperer, we’ll examine how fascist propaganda functions and whether literature can possibly respond. We’ll consider how Gertrude Stein captures the Phoney War and Beckett’s _Godot_ refutes the mythology of French Resistance. On torture, we will read Henri Alleg’s _The Question_ and Jean Améry’s _At the Minds Limits_. Other times we’ll approach the task theoretically, reading Theodor Adorno, Elaine Scarry, and Gorgio Agamben, among others. But again and again we will return to Beckett’s work because with unrivaled integrity his writing asks difficult and pertinent questions: how can literature respond to genocide without normalizing it? Should the atrocities of WWII be understood separately from the history of colonialism? What value is there in eschewing identity politics, pathos, sincerity, and redemptive humanism for a starker confrontation with non-identity, disgust, laughter, and failure? We will track the advances by which Beckett reworks the formal conventions of Western imaginative art—from the sentence to the stage set—as he confronts contemporaneous culture with its blind spots. Students can expect to write a research paper and give a presentation.



Emily Wittman: Seminar in Postcolonial Literature and Theory


EN 693-001/47989

T R 11:00 am -12:15 pm

World Literature What on earth is “world literature?” It is a difficult and perhaps impossible category or genre to define, particularly in a country where approximately 3% of books published annually are translated. In this course, we will investigate this contested genre, the assumptions that gave birth to it, and its persistence. What does it mean to take a course in world literature? Where does the world begin? Is the category of world literature geographically determined or is it more of a stylistic and aesthetic category? Furthermore, how are the foreign-language works published in the United States deemed meritorious? Why are some books translated into English while others are not? There has perhaps never been a time when issues of nationality, language, and translation have been more important or more troubling. In this course, we will investigate how literature arrives on the global stage with particular attention to translation, cultural capital, and the avenues for literary consecration. We will explore the important role of international literary prizes (including controversies). As we read six contemporary novels from a diverse selection of authors, we will supplement our reading with theoretical work by a number of scholars of both world literature and translation, including Pascale Casanova, Lawrence Venuti, Gideon Toury, André Lefevere, and Christopher Prendergast. Possible novelists we read might include J. M. Coetzee, Jenny Erpenbeck, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ismail Kadare, Ornela orpsi, Kawabata Yasanuri, Lázló Krasznahorkai, Elfriede Jelinek, Mohsin Hamid, and Mario Vargas Llosa.