Graduate Course Offerings
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ENGL 5301: Old English Language
Dr. Brian McFadden
MWF 12:00-12:50 PM (ONST)
This course will introduce students to the grammar, syntax, vocabulary, phonology, and morphology of Old English and examine its relationship to the language we speak today. Our primary focus will be to develop a reading knowledge of Old English for the study of basic Old English prose and poetic texts, as well as preparing students to begin reading Beowulf in the Spring 2017 semester (note that for any student contemplating taking Beowulf in Spring 2019, this course is a prerequisite). Course requirements: daily translations; midterm exam, periodic quizzes, and one final translation/transcription project. Texts: Moore, Knott, and Hulbert, The Elements of Old English; Mitchell and Robinson, A Guide to Old English, 8th ed.; Clark Hall, A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary; supplemental materials delivered via Dropbox.
Requirements fulfilled: Early British; High Proficiency language requirement; Medieval and Renaissance Studies Certificate.
English 5304: Renaissance Drama: Staging the Social in Early Modern Drama
Dr. Matthew Hunter
Thursdays 2:00-4:50 PM (ONST)
Renaissance London was a city of changing social relations. The city was expanding at a rapid rate, hierarchies of class and signs of status were in flux, and new professions and social types were emerging. Public spaces like Paul's Churchyard and the Royal Exchange facilitated novel interactions among these types. So too did city's many theaters, where audiences of all social classes converged to watch plays about the brave new world in which they found themselves. Emphasizing the “public” in public theater, this seminar considers how early modern drama facilitates, depicts, and invites audiences to practice for themselves some of the many social relations that were coming to define public urban life.
The aspirations of our meetings will be literary, historical, and theoretical. First, readings will provide students with advanced knowledge of early modern plays—both the canonical (Hamlet, The Spanish Tragedy) and the neglected (Every Man Out of His Humour). Along the way, non-dramatic readings like poems, satires, prose pamphlets, and printed commonplace books will deepen our understanding of the period, illuminating practices of performance, the flourishing print marketplace, emergent forms of cultural distinction, anxieties of urban living, and the rise of new social networks. Finally, as a course designed to inquire into the meaning of “the social”—what it means for Shakespeare's moment, what it means for ours—we will draw upon some of the key thinkers in critical social theory, from Norbert Elias (The Civilizing Process) and Erving Goffman, to Pierre Bourdieu (Distinction, The Logic of Practice) and Jürgen Habermas (The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere), to Bruno Latour (Reassembling the Social) and Niklas Luhmann (Love as Passion). The question of what it means to be social, we will see, is a question that drama is uniquely suited to answer.
Requirements fulfilled: Early British; Drama; Medieval and Renaissance Studies Certificate.
English 5309.001: Studies in Nineteenth-Century British Literature: Romanticism and Social Justice
Dr. Marjean D. Purinton
Tuesdays 2:00-4:50 PM (ONST)
There were many reasons for people living during the Romantic period (1780-1830) to feel insecure, to crave social justice in diverse manifestations. William Blake's 1794 poem “London” from Songs of Experience expresses public despair with social injustices:
I wander thro' each charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow.
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.
In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg'd manacles I hear[.]
Corrupt leadership in the face of political unrest and regime changes dominated national and international concerns. Economic uncertainties generated increased activities in speculation, gambling, forgery. Class and gender destabilizations registered in the activities associated with consumption and commodification—prostitution, robbery, slavery, colonization. A crime-breeding environment was created by industrialization and urbanization taxed an infrastructure incapable of handling these changes. London had expanded into a metropolitan city of diverse people, living and working in unclean, crowded, urban spaces. Laborers were displaced by machinery. Maimed and unemployed soldiers flooded cities following the Napoleonic Wars. Orphans roamed the streets. Homelessness increased. Poverty prevailed. Human rights abuses abounded. Air and water pollution intensified. Food shortages occurred. Enclosure limited public spaces for shelter and food. Contagion and disease were commonplace. And in the midst of these political, economic, social pressures, individuals were concerned about how to live safely, daily, in local communities in which crime against person and property was a constant threat.
The very fabric of society was being ripped apart and rewoven with new threads, reform programs, restructurings, and justice initiatives. The literature of this turbulent and revolutionary period reflects these social concerns and contributed to the ways in which the British sought to respond to the challenges accompanying so many changes. We will explore a broad range of literary engagements with social justice, but you are invited to pursue in greater depth an issue that interests you, bringing extra-literary materials to bear upon literary analysis. Our activities will include a series of short primary-source essays, an annotated bibliography, a social justice discovery project, a brief presentation, a final critical essay, and ample provocative discussion.
Even if you do not teach or write about British Romanticism, you need to be familiar with the period's major texts and cultural shifts because they have significantly shaped modern and post-modern literary expressions. We have inherited the foundations of social justice initiated by those living in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Britain, and you will be amazed at the connections between Romanticism and contemporary writing, both critical and creative.
Because my scholarship and pedagogy are informed by feminist theory, you will encounter a learning environment with de-centralized authority and an invitation to participate in your own learning/discovery process.
Requirements fulfilled: British Literature; Non-fiction; LSJE
ENGL 5323 Studies in Nineteenth-Century American Literature: “Poetic Forms in the Nineteenth-Century United States”
Dr. Elissa Zellinger
Tuesdays 9:30 AM-12:20 PM (ONST)
Is it possible to understand the meaning of nineteenth-century poetic genres? Many literary critics are pessimistic about the prospect of such an endeavor. According to Cristanne Miller, “to read a genre historically in relation to a particular poet's work . . . requires knowing when we retroproject contemporary genre, or other, expectations for reading upon earlier norms and how our norms differ from those of, say, the mid-nineteenth century in the United States” (Reading in Time, 19). More optimistic critics maintain the possibility of recovering what Michael Cohen calls poems' “social life and sociality” (The Social Lives of Poems in Nineteenth-Century America, 9). By closely investigating the (sometimes hidden) social utility of nineteenth-century poetic genres, this course will help us identify the retroprojection of contemporary critical expectations onto the poetry of the past. Our readings and discussions will demonstrate the interanimation of not only social and political contexts, but, importantly, how the nineteenth-century literary marketplace—publication, circulation, and celebrity—comes to impact the social function of poetic genres.
This course will consider how current scholarship in nineteenth-century US poetry historicizes the communicative function of nineteenth-century poetic genres. Alongside such criticism, we will examine specific verse forms and contexts in order to recover the history of poetic communication as it changes over time. We will consider nineteenth-century poets such as Emily Dickinson, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Edwin Arlington Robinson, and Walt Whitman alongside contemporary scholarship such as the aforementioned critics as well as Jonathan Culler, Virginia Jackson, Meredith McGill, and Eliza Richards, to name a few.
Requirements fulfilled: American Literature; Poetry; LSJE.
ENGL 5325: Studies in American Fiction: Twain, Cather, and Modernism
Dr. John Samson
Mondays 2:00-4:50 PM (ONST)
In this course we will explore the beginnings of modernism in the American novel by examining Mark Twain's later (1885-1905) novels and Willa Cather's earlier (1913-25) novels. Though their approaches are very different, they share Ezra Pound's modernist dictum to “Make it new,” incorporating new literary forms in novels that diverge significantly from the realism out of which and against which they emerge. Twain and Cather also share an important influence: the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, who, according to historian Peter Gay, “more than anyone else . . . provided his world with a climate for modernism.” Nietzsche's critical, individualistic, subversive, and deconstructive ideas will provide a framework from which we can assess more clearly Twain's and Cather's achievement. Texts: Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson and the Comedy of Those Extraordinary Twins, No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger; Cather, O Pioneers!, The Song of the Lark, My Antonía, The Professor's House; and Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits.
Requirements fulfilled: American Literature; Fiction.
English 5337: Studies in Linguistics: Structure of Sign Languages
Dr. Aaron Braver
MW 3:00-4:20 PM (ONST)
(No prior experience with sign languages is expected or required)
There are over 100 sign languages in use around the world today, from American Sign Language and Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language to Zambian Sign Language and Zimbabwe Sign Language.
In this course, we will examine the differences—and striking similarities—between sign languages and spoken languages. We'll see how it's possible for a silent language to have syllables, and examine the unique syntactic properties that are made possible in a visual medium. The course will look at the structure, social context, and acquisition of signed languages, as well as Deaf arts and culture.
A major goal of the course will be to investigate (and disprove) many of the false assumptions people hold about sign languages—that signed languages use only your hands, are less expressive than spoken languages, and that ASL is just a visual version of English.
This course will be relevant to anyone who is curious about sign language, the structure of language in general, or arts and culture in the Deaf world.
Requirements fulfilled: Linguistics Certificate; Methods; Language.
ENGL 5340: Research Methods
Dr. Ryan Hackenbracht
Fridays 9:00-11:50 AM (ONST)
This seminar introduces graduate students to the vast array of digital, material, and archival resources available for their research. Over the term, students will develop a research project (20 p.) of their choosing in their selected area of specialization. In addition to learning about the publication process, conferences, and job market, we will have regular visits from diverse faculty in English and will hear about their own research projects and strategies.
Requirements fulfilled: Foundation course
ENGL 5342: Critical Methods (Distance)
Dr. Dan Hutchins
Tuesdays 6:00-8:50 PM (ONLN)
The course provides an introduction to the interpretation and analysis of language and of literature. Specifically, this class will familiarize you with the fundamentals of literary and cultural criticism: its basic notions, terminologies, methods, tools, schools, and resources. We will explore and test out a range of approaches in literary-cultural criticism, studying and trying our hands at various interpretative methods from the more traditional ones to the most innovative. As we will notice, some critical approaches address primarily certain elements such as the context of the text (the historical ambiance of literary production, for example), while others focus on the author (the message's “sender”), or on the text itself (the message) and its style. Depending on what these approaches insist upon, we should be able to differentiate among distinct interpretive models such as psychoanalysis, formalism and its various schools, structuralism and poststructuralism, New Historicism, cultural and identity studies, and so on. These both dispute each other's claims and share significant premises and concerns, which is why the distinctions among them are not always clear-cut. Nonetheless, by the end of the class you will know a) what they are, b) how they work, and c) how to use them—where their limitations lie and how to step across them.
Requirements Fulfilled: Foundation course
ENGL 5342: Critical Methods
Dr. Yuan Shu
Tuesdays 2:00-4:50 PM (ONST)
This course investigates critical theories that have informed and reshaped English studies since the 1980s. We begin by raising a rhetorical question, “Who killed Shakespeare?” and examine the status quo of English studies in the context of the declining humanities and the changing environment for higher education in the twenty-first century. We then explore diachronically formalism, structuralism, deconstruction, post-structuralism, Marxism, and feminism. The focus of our course will be on (anti-) globalization theory, eco-criticism, new media studies, and new modes of reading in theory and practice. We conclude by reflecting upon another rhetorical question, “What happens after post-history and post-theory?”
- Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan, Literary Theory: An Anthology
- Michael Ryan, Literary Theory: A Practical Introduction
- Paul Jay, Global Matters and the Transnational Turn in Literary Studies
- Franco Moretti, Graphs, Maps, Trees
- A collection of essays will be available on Blackboard 9
Students are expected to write five short response papers (4-5 pages) to the required critical texts, lead discussion on essays and book chapters in class, present a portion of the final paper at the mini conference, and finish the research paper during the final exam week.
Requirements Fulfilled: Foundation course
ENGL 5343: Studies in Literary Criticism: Comparative Literature and Science (Hybrid)
Dr. Bruce Clarke
Wednesdays 6:00-8:50 PM (HYB)
The focus of this seminar on Comparative Literature and Science will be Astrobiology and the Anthropocene. Our introduction to these scientific topics will be David Grinspoon's Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet's Future (2016). While astrobiology, “the scientific study of life in the universe” (Grinspoon ix), points beyond our world, the concept of the Anthropocene is pointed at the Earth per se, with regard to how the rapidly accelerating accumulation of the products of human activities on this planet have shifted the Earth system into a regime that may constitute a new geological epoch. Within this nexus of scientific and environmental concerns we will read four major works of science fiction, the celebrated Polish author Stanislaw Lem's last novel Fiasco (1986), the Chinese author Liu Cixin's The Three-Body Problem (2006), and two works by American authors, Joan Slonczewski's The Highest Frontier (2011) and Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora (2015). The aim of the seminar is to impart comparative and interdisciplinary scholarly knowledge and foster critical habits conducive to publishable research. Students will leave the seminar with a dossier from which intellectually sophisticated graduate theses, conference papers, and journal articles may be developed. Assignments will be open-ended so that their precise details can be worked out individually. Formal course work will consist of several class presentations and writing assignments culminating in a midterm essay and a final essay.
- Liu Cixin, The Three-Body Problem
- David Grinspoon, Earth in Human Hands
- Stanislaw Lem, Fiasco
- Kim Stanley Robinson, Aurora
- Joan Slonczewski, The Highest Frontier
Secondary Texts. Selected readings from:
- Christophe Bonneuil and Jean-Baptiste Fressoz, The Shock of the Anthropocene: The Earth, History and Us
- Bruce Clarke, Partial Earth: Systems Theory and the Evolution of Gaia Discourse (ms.)
- Steven J. Dick, ed., The Impact of Discovering Life beyond Earth
- Stanislaw Lem, Summa Technologiae
- Jason W. Moore, ed., Anthropocene or Capitalocene? Nature, History, and the Crisis of Capitalism
- Paul R. Samson and David Pitt, eds., The Biosphere and Noosphere Reader
Requirements Fulfilled: CLGT, Methods, Fiction
ENGL 5346: Digital Humanities (Hybrid)
Dr. Marta Kvande
Thursdays 9:30 AM-12:20 PM (HYB)
What is digital humanities, and what is it good for? Is it the way forward for the humanities? Is it a neoliberal tool that undermines the values of the humanities? Is it something in between? Does it serve to cement old canons and power structures, or can it be used to move toward greater equity and justice? This course will begin with a consideration of the various debates about the nature of the field itself. We'll then survey various DH tools and projects with a critical eye, seeking to understand not only what these tools make possible but also their limitations. Assignments will include position papers, critical study of existing DH projects, and DH project proposals.
Requirements Fulfilled: Book History Digital Humanities Certificate; Methods
ENGL 5351: Studies in Film and Literature: “After New Latin American Cinema”
Dr. Scott Baugh
Mondays 6:00-8:50 PM (ONST)
Between 1967 and 1987, the “New Latin American Cinema” maintained anti-establishment agendas in political arts, highlighted by counter-cultural radicalism and brandishing “militant” rhetoric and strategy to battle cultural imperialism. The role of cinema-culture apparatuses like manifestos, magazines, and festivals for establishing and promoting this relatively unified movement is remarkable. Most scholarship recognizes that NLAC's unity splintered by the late 1980s. But why, and what does its splintering mean? Did the NLAC merely fade away or grow into something new? Has the “militant” rhetoric and theme been less useful since the 1990s and, if so, why? And how have the original activist agendas realigned with comparable causes and social mechanisms by a younger generation of media artists in the turn to the 21st century—especially with their predominance of progressive ecological concerns and de-colonizing worldviews?
In this seminar, we will consider what happened after the NLAC and its broader political arts culture. We will begin with a “crash course” introduction to film/media studies and discursive-methodological strategies most applicable to our seminar topic and to potential term research projects. (Students who have an interest in but no previous experience with film studies are certainly welcome!) With a sharp learning curve, we will survey notable film, manifesto and film-culture examples from the “New Latin American Cinema.” We will focus in the last half of the course to exploring Latin American political media arts from the 1990s to today—especially surrounding emerging technologies and media (including internet-based media, progressive information-communication technologies [ICTs], mobile telephony, and more), and given developmentalist economic theories, globalization, transnational cultural trends, “digital divides,” and neoliberal policies. By the term's end, and according to seminar participants' individual research interests, we will reframe the topic to consider a broader range of contemporary American media arts and politics.
Readings may include:
Primary texts/movies: The Hour of the Furnaces (1965-1968); Memories of Underdevelopment (1968); En el Balcón Vacío (1961); Barren Lives (1963); Black God and White Devil (1964); The Guns (1964); Reed: Mexico Insurgente (1970); The Courage of the People (1971); The Traitors (1973); The Official Story (1984); Solanas' Sur (1988); community-based videos 1987-present sponsored by Vídeo nas Aldeias/Video in the Villages (VNA); ChasquiNet community-based videos (1998-present).
Solanas and Getino's “Towards a Third Cinema”; Fernando Birri's “Cinema and Underdevelopment” (1967); Julio García Espinosa's “For an Imperfect Cinema” (1970); Glauber Rocha's “The Aesthetics of Hunger” (1965) and “Down with Populism” (1965); El Grupo de Nuevo Cine's 1961 untitled manifesto; the Chilean collective Unidad Popular & Miguel Littin's “Filmmakers and the Popular Government” (1970); El Grupo Cine de la Base's “Nota” (1973); the collective Ukamau (Aymara for “the way it is”) & Jorge Sanjinés' “Problems of Form and Content in Revolutionary Cinema” (1979); Tomás Gutierrez Alea's “The Viewer's Dialectic” (1982); Sanjinés' “The Integral Sequence Shot” (1989); Los Superocheros group, including Sergio García's argument for a “Fourth Cinema” (1973) and the collaborative manifesto “8mm Versus 8 Million”(1972); Birri's “For a Filmmaker of Three Worlds in the Year 2000” (1986); CEFREC-CAIB's “La Otra Mirada Vídeo” (2000); Video nas Aldeias/Video in the Villages' Um Olhar Indígena / Through Indian Eyes (1987-2006); Chasquinet's “State of the Art” (2005).
Textbook/primer: Margo Kasdan, Christine Saxton, and Susan Tavernetti's The Critical Eye (3/e, Kendall-Hunt, 2002 or newer).
Secondary sources: on electronic reserve. Articles by Zuzana Pick, Patricia Aufderheide, Julianne Burton, Robert Stam, John King, Ana López, B. Ruby Rich, Michael Chanan, and more.
Course requirements: assigned readings and screenings; one short (approx. 5 pp.) critical essay; class presentation of that short essay; one article-length research essay; and a creative multi-media project.
Requirements fulfilled: Film and Media Studies, Methods
ENGL 5370: Creative Writing Workshop: Poetry
Dr. John Poch
Tuesdays 6:00-8:50 PM (ONST)
This class is a traditional graduate poetry workshop. Traditional in T.S. Eliot's sense, graduate in the sense that what is expected of you is more informed intellectual thinking based on having read hundreds of major and minor poets through the ages, poetry in the sense that a poem is at the same time a work of art and a complex language construct, workshop meaning a room where we work together and alone to build our poems. We'll write on average a poem a week. I expect students in this course to give a great deal of time outside of class to the writing of poems and to the assigned readings. Students must be able to receive and process criticism as well as praise and do constructive work with both.
Requirements fulfilled: Workshop; Poetry
ENGL 5370: Creative Writing Workshop: Fiction
Dr. Jill Patterson
Mondays 6:00-8:50 PM (ONST)
English 5390: Writing for Publication
Dr. D. Gilson
Wednesdays 2:00-4:50 PM (ONST)
Publishing is a core objective for writers both inside and outside the academy. This course trains master's and doctoral students focusing on creative writing in the mores of creative publishing. Our semester will have three objectives: 1) to revise, polish, and submit previously drafted creative work for publication after researching appropriate literary venues; 2) to produce and revise a range of professional documents crucial to our role as working writers, including CVs, conference applications, and book reviews; and 3) to Skype with working writers and publishers through a generous grant provided by the Department of English.