Graduate Seminars - Fall 2009
5060.001, 5060.002, and 5060.003 History and Theory of College CompositionKen Baake, Fred Kemp, and Rebecca Rickly
English 5060 provides an introduction to the history and contemporary theories of
composition and rhetoric studies. The course begins from the premise that good teachers
are reflective teachers, and good teachers of writing are reflective teachers of writing.
Students examine and reflect on the development of the field of composition over the
last 40 years, focusing on seminal articles that represent the discipline. Students
study readings about integrating basic writing, service-learning, online writing,
revision, research writing, proofreading and editing, portfolios, and assessment rubrics
within the context of composition in general and TTU's composition program specifically.
And just as the field of composition integrates new media tools in its construction,
presentation, and assessment, so too will students in this course.
*This course satisfies the requirement in Foundations.
5304.001 Studies in Renaissance LiteratureConstance Kuriyama
When Foucault asked, “What is an author?”, he raised a question that has particular relevance to English Renaissance drama. Renaissance playwrights, including Shakespeare, lived at a specific historical moment and participated in a vigorous artistic and cultural movement that both shaped, and was shaped by, the literary output of individual authors. As a result, their work was not always as sharply distinct as a traditional author-centered approach might lead us to believe. This course will be devoted to studying works by major English Renaissance playwrights other than Shakespeare, including Kyd, Marlowe, Jonson, and Webster, in relation to closely related plays by Shakespeare, looking in particular at how English Renaissance playwrights made use of other writers' work. As a partial theoretical foundation, we will read and discuss essays on authorship and influence by Barthes, Foucault, and Bloom. Written work will include a short critical paper, a research paper, and a final examination.
*This course satisfies the requirements in pre-1700 British literature and Genre: Drama.
5309.001 Studies in 19th-Century British LiteratureSean Grass
Victorian Sensation Fiction: The Anxieties of Commerce and Gender
During the last twenty-five years, sensation fiction has been perhaps the most studied sub-genre of Victorian prose, and for good reason: with Gothic roots, Newgate novel sensibilities, plots ripped from the ghastliest contemporary headlines, and characters shaped by distinctly Victorian debates about femininity, domesticity, racial otherness, and capitalist economics, sensation fiction offers modern scholars remarkable opportunities to study the anxious, closeted world of Victorian England. This course will take on several of the most significant Victorian sensation novels as well as a few authors who are read very infrequently today, and it will approach sensation fiction through lenses ranging from book history and commodity culture to gender studies, postcolonial theory, and even art history. The reading list for the course will almost certainly include the following: Charles Dickens, Great Expectations; Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White and The Moonstone; Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Lady Audley's Secret; Ellen (Mrs. Henry) Wood, East Lynne; Charles Reade, Hard Cash.
Requirements for the course will include response essays, a long presentation that includes leading class discussion, a conference-style abstract, and an article-length (ca. 6000-word) seminar paper.
*This course satisfies the requirement in post-1700 British literature and Genre: Fiction.
5317.001 Studies Postcolonial LiteratureKanika Batra
Shadows, Ghosts, and Nervous Conditions: Nationalist and Post-nationalist Hauntings
in Postcolonial Studies
The Indian writer Mahasweta Devi's evocation of the ‘pterodactyl', a pre-historic bird that miraculously appears in the famine stricken area of Pirtha, a region left out of the promises of national development, is perhaps one of the most poignant symbols of the passing away of an indigenous civilization. The pterodactyl represents the unfulfilled promises made to the tribal people, a dying race that finds itself anachronistic in the modern, progressive nation-state. This is a state that has left the indigenes out of the promises of development and progress made to all citizens at the time when the nation gained its independence from colonial rule.
Postcolonial studies as a body of critical and creative work implicitly or explicitly refers to European colonialism and/or forms of neo-colonialism practiced by postcolonial states in league with Western capitalist interests. Some of these writings are, in a sense, ‘possessed' by the memory of the nationalist ideals that provided the impetus for anti-colonial resistance; all are aware that there are new variants of imperialism that demand new forms of exorcism. We will read a selection of literature and theory from India, Jamaica, Rhodesia, and Sri Lanka, originating in the now discredited but still used descriptor, ‘Commonwealth Literature', its transformation into ‘New Literatures in English' and since 1986, with the publication of The Empire Writes Back, ‘Post-colonial Literatures'.
As an interdisciplinary mode of analysis that derives equally from the history of Western colonization in various parts of the world, a political response to it in the form of anti-colonial nationalist movements, cultural assertion of indigenous languages and traditions, and an examination of the social consequences of colonialism and neocolonialism, and movements in response to these, postcolonial studies can be seen as an ‘overdetermined' discourse. And within its ambit is included an ever-widening array of literature and theory that does not follow traditionally accepted genre and period based characterizations of literary studies. However, despite this lack of definitional co-relates, it is possible to see two main currents in this literature that in a way shadow each other: the articulation of an upper class diasporic and distinctly post-nationalist sensibility evinced in much post-colonial writing and a grassroots oriented sensibility that takes the nation and national development as the basis of its discourse. We will examine the possibility and desirability of dialogues between these currents through a set of readings comprising theoretical essays, fiction, short stories, life-narratives. We will also be viewing some documentaries related to the central ideas in the course.
5323.001 Studies in 19th-Century American LiteratureAnn Daghistany Ransdell
Short Fiction of the 19th Century
This semester we will study 19th-century American Short Fiction. The course will begin with the earlier period as seen through the historical allegories of Hawthorne, including, among others, "My Kinsman, Major Molineux," "Young Goodman Brown," "The Maypole of Merrymount," and "The Scarlet Letter." These will be followed by Poe's pre-Civil War racial satires "Hopfrog" and "The Black Cat," as well as "The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym." The gothic tales of A. M. Bernard, a.k.a. Louisa May Alcott, will be represented by her class and gender study, "Behind a Mask," as well as the Civil War stories in her autobiographical "Hospital Sketches" and "My Contraband," that depict her experiences as a Civil War Nurse. Henry James will take us into the psychological gothic with "The Turn of the Screw," and two others. The course will end with the ghost stories of Edith Wharton, with particular emphasis upon "The Lady's Maid's Bell." The twin focus of the study will be upon the American gothic tradition as well as upon the portrait of U.S. 19th century history, especially the issues of race, gender and class, as they are represented in short fiction. Requirements: Three short film/fiction papers, a longer paper upon selected topics and and oral presentation of that paper, as well as a final.
*This course satisfies the requirement for pre-1900 American literature and Genre: Fiction.
5324.001 Studies in 20th-Century American LiteratureBryce Conrad
This course is devoted to examining American modernism from multiple perspectives. While studying several key literary texts of the period, we will investigate other modernist forms of expression, such as architecture, music, painting, photography, and film. Rather than giving a prescriptive definition of modernism that isolates literature from the rich ferment of American art in the opening decades of the twentieth century, we will seek an integrated though not totalizing picture of the aesthetic, social, cultural, economic, and historical forces that animated modernism.
Requirements include two exploratory essays, oral presentations, a research paper, and a final examination. Writers to be studied will most likely include T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, John Dos Passos, Hart Crane, Djuna Barnes, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zora Neale Hurston, Ernest Hemingway, Marianne Moore, and Wallace Stevens.
*This course satisfies the requirement in post-1900 American literature.
5325.001 Studies in American FictionYuan Shu
Post-modern American Fiction
This course investigates postmodern American fiction in terms of literary responses to the radical social, political, cultural, and technological changes in America since the 1960s. We begin by examining how the meta-fiction of Thomas Pynchon, William Burroughs, and Donald Barthelme breaks the narrative frame and creates new dimensions of reality. Moreover, we also reconsider how the works of Gloria Anzaldua, Jessica Hagedorn, Ishmael Reed, Gerald Vizenor, and Karen Tei Yamashita engage the issues of history and tradition, and represent the diverse and multiple perspectives of racial minorities and women in America. Finally, we read the cyberpunk fiction of William Gibson and Neal Stephenson, and the writing of Don DeLillo and Cormac McCarthy in the changing social and technological context in America. During our discussion of these primary texts, we invoke and contest various critical notions of postmodernism as articulated by Ihab Hassan, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Fredric Jameson, David Harvey, Jean Baudrillard, Donna Haraway, Katherine Hayles, bell hooks, Trinh Minh-ha, and Antonio Negri.
*This course satisfies the requirement in post-1900 American literature and Genre: Fiction.
5338.001 SyntaxMin-Joo Kim
Syntax is a sub-discipline of linguistics that deals with sentence structure—that
is, how sentences are formed and structured. This course aims to introduce the fundamental
principles of theoretical syntax and prepare students to conduct more advanced research
in it and to apply the knowledge to other more applied disciplines such as language
acquisition, language disorders, mass communication, machine translation, and artificial
Students will learn analytical methods used in syntactic research such as how to analyze syntactic data drawn from various languages, how to formulate plausible hypotheses based on them, and how to compare and evaluate different theories and hypotheses. Topics will include but will not be limited to phrase structure rules, binding, and constraints on movement.
There will be a textbook and some minimal reading assignments. But the course will proceed based largely on lectures and discussions about the weekly assignments. In addition to doing the weekly assignments, students will read a journal article and do a critique on it. Furthermore, students will submit a final term paper, utilizing the acquired knowledge of syntax in linguistic analysis and will make an oral presentation on the research findings towards the end of the term.
5340.001 and 5340.002 Research MethodsAnn Hawkins, Jennifer Snead
This course prepares students to undertake research on the graduate level. Students
will gain a thorough grounding in using library resources and in applying bibliographic
theory. Students will undertake intensive literary research, creating enumerative
and annotative bibliographies, and writing a textual history and/or research guide
for their topic. Students will consider the technological aspect of books by analyzing
their physical characteristics (binding, cover, printing, font, impression, etc) as
well as their nature as socially constructed material objects. Students should expect
to complete a variety of practical skills-building exercises in analytical and descriptive
bibliography and in textual editing (including a project in TEI-coding for electronic
editions). Note: This is not a course in literary analysis or literary criticism,
but in the historical, cultural and technological contexts of books, contexts which
are essential to any understanding of a literary work.
*This course satisfies the requirement in Foundations.
5342.001 Critical MethodsScott Baugh
“Critical Methods” is a graduate seminar designed to survey a range of contemporary
approaches to reading texts critically. Bring in theory, some naively assume, and
you lose the magic of reading; however, it is always already there, and we may gain
from being fully aware of our own approaches to reading texts, our critical methods.
We will focus on schools of criticism predominant over the last four decades or so
and, as a result, will be able to return to our scholarship in a more serious, more
conscious, and more professional way. We will begin, as did Terry Eagleton, with the
question, what is literature? We will move, as did Roland Barthes, from work to text.
Like Judith Butler, we will inscribe bodies that matter. Mirroring Slavoj Zizek, we
may look awry and, following Bakhtin, avoid utter inadequacies. Rather than bound
ourselves into a single anthology, an online reserve of readings will include some
tried pieces for a course such as this—by Paul de Man, Stanley Fish, Julia Kristeva,
Walter Benjamin, Jonathan Culler, Michel Foucault, Laura Mulvey, Manthia Diawara,
among others—as well some less-tested ones like Joanna Russ' How to Suppress Women's Writing, Jesús Salvador Treviño's “Thirty Years of Struggle,” articles from Wired magazine, and others as they fit.
As a group, we will cross the range of critical methods, but individually participants will be encouraged to devise particularly relevant projects that facilitate larger research agendas and professional interests. Moreover, as you discover ‘schools' most useful to your own research, then you will have the opportunity to read backward and through earlier influences on that school, potentially exploring pools of information across a number of disciplines including philosophy, history and historiography, sociology, psychology, physics, among others.
Formal requirements: assigned readings; one short (5-7 pp.) essay; one class presentation; and one article-length (15+ pp.) essay. A course-long journal will be due as a final exam. It's also likely we will take advantage of some online discussions and a designated CMS and/or wiki in addition to heavy doses of class discussion and some seminar presentations.
*This course satisfies the requirement in Foundations.
5342.002 Critical MethodsJen Shelton
[No course description provided.]
*This course satisfies the requirement in Foundations.
5351.001 Studies in FilmMike Schoenecke
Adaptation and Film
Everyone who sees films based on written texts feels able to comment, at levels ranging from the gossipy to the erudite, on the nature of the success of the adaptation involved. Interest in adaptation, unlike other aspects of film, permeates our world. And it ranges backward from those who talk of novels as being “betrayed” by boorish filmmakers to those who regard the practice of comparing film and written texts as a waste of time. Filmmakers have been drawing on literary sources, particularly novels of varying degrees of cultural prestige, since film first established itself as pre-eminently a narrative medium. In view of this fact, and given that there has been a long-running discourse on the nature of the connections between literature and cinema, it is surprising how little systematic, sustained attention has been given to the process of adaptation. This is most surprising since adaptation has attracted critical attention for more than 90 years. In fact, Literature/Film Quarterly as well as several other film journals on both sides of the Atlantic have explored new and controversial approaches to adaptation; English 5351 focuses on major approaches to adaptation, whereas most discussions of adaptation have been narrow and come unstuck in time. In fact, most discussions of adaptation in film can be summarized by a New Yorker cartoon that Alfred Hitchcock once described to Francois Truffaut: two goats are eating a pile of film cans and one goat says to the other, “Personally, I liked the book better.”
*This course satisfies the requirement in post-1900 American literature and Genre: Drama.
5355.001 Studies in Comparative LiteratureAnn Daghistany Ransdell
Theory and Practice of Methodology
This semester we will explore diverse approaches taken by contemporary scholars, to prepare students for academe by giving them informed options for their future research. By reading theories alongside literary works, we will examine fiction illuminated by these different methods. We will also listen to guest lecturers from Texas Tech's English department division of Comparative Literature, and discuss with them their methods: Cultural Studies, Religion, Myth Criticism, Postcolonial Studies, Globalization, and Print Culture. Our literary texts will begin with traditional methods, in close textual analysis of style and structure, of Flaubert's Madame Bovary. We will turn to Literature and Religion as we read together Hesse's Journey to the East. Next, we will take the historical approach to late 19th century America with Allende's Daughter of Fortune, set in Gold Rush California. Mythological Criticism will supplement the historical method in Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago, about the Russian Revolution. David Carroll's recent critical work on Camus: Colonialism, Terrorism, Justice will guide our understanding of French-Algerian Camus' The Plague and "The Guest," while journalist Lorraine Adams' Harbor will further advance our knowledge of responses to the revolution and an Algerian immigrant's true experience in America, following the Cultural Studies method. Karen Yamshita's Through the Arc of the Rain Forest will be followed by Peter Hoeg's Borderliners, about oppressive reform schools for disabled children. The course will end with a concentrated focus on the causes and impact of terrorism in John Updike's The Terrorist, and Moshe Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Requirements include three short response papers, a long paper chosen by the student from selected works, an oral presentation of that paper, and a final. The above texts will be supplemented by a theory anthology.
*This course satisfies the requirement for Comparative literature.
5370.001 Creative Writing WorkshopJacqueline Kolosov
Robert Frost characterized poetry as “a momentary stay against confusion.” More informally, Muriel Rukeyser said, “I don't believe that poetry can save the world. I do believe that the forces in us wish to share something of our experience by turning it into something and giving it to somebody: that is poetry. That is some kind of saving thing, and as far as my life is concerned, poetry has saved me again and again.”
In this generative workshop, we will foreground both poetry's ordering power and its saving grace. Simply, we will strive to write the poems that have to be written. How to begin? I will ask each of you to bring to the first class copies of the 3 poems you cannot live without—as well as the 1 poem you've written that has made all the difference. In this way, we will begin the conversation of what makes a poem necessary—and for whom? An essential text for the workshop will be Greg Orr's Poetry As Survival, an investigation of lyric poetry's capacity to enable individuals and cultures to confront and tranform disorder or suffering into art—“a momentary stay against confusion.”
Craft will be as central as necessity. We will therefore mine necessary poems through close reading and through the experiments that arise out of the conversation—what each poet brings to the table. We will be mindful of sound and syntax, rhythm and form. Because poetry is ultimately about concision, we will ask how far can we trim a poem back without sacrificing any of its mystery.
5370.002 Creative Writing WorkshopJacqueline Kolosov
Young Adult Fiction
From its very beginning, young adult fiction has portrayed teens confronting difficult social issues including divorce, drug abuse, and rape, as well as the challenges that accompany coming of age in contemporary society. Today's young adult novels are as diverse as the audience that reads them. In this reading and writing-intensive workshop, we will begin by looking at two young adult novels including Margot Rabb's Cures for Heartbreak (which was originally published as individual stories) in order to define the key strengths of writing for this audience and to get a handle on writing in a teen voice. The young adult novelist must create characters with whom the reader can identify—protagonists who long for what they do, but don't know how to achieve their desires; protagonists who are struggling with issues of sexuality, spirituality, relationship, and self-image. To further understand the lives of today's teens, we will read excerpts from texts on adolescence including the classic Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher. With this foundation, we will focus on character development including capturing the teen voice, plot, conflict, dialogue, scene, and revision as each writer maps out his or her own young adult novel (or group of linked stories).
5370.003 Creative Writing WorkshopDennis Covington
This is an advanced workshop in the writing of creative nonfiction, or literary journalism, a genre Ronald Weber calls “fact writing based on reporting that frequently employs techniques drawn from the art of fiction to create something of fiction's atmosphere or feeling and that, most important, moves toward the intentions of fiction while remaining fully factual.” (Henry James says that the chief intention of fiction is to create a “direct impression of life.”)
Students will write at least three article-length pieces, each with a minimum word length of 3000 words. The required texts will be Stiff, by Mary Roach, and The Art of Fact, edited by Kerrane and Yagoda.
5380.001 Advanced Problems in Literary StudiesBruce Clarke
British Literature and Science
This seminar will introduce students to the interdisciplinary specialization of literature and science with a survey of nineteenth- and twentieth-century British texts: excerpts from Charles Darwin's seminal works of scientific prose, a parade of science-fictional or science-conversant prose narratives, and for good measure, a recent science-inflected work of British drama. As we sample historical and theoretical approaches to the study and cultural interplay of literary and scientific discourses, we will incorporate some review of pertinent scientific developments over the last several centuries. In this period, scientific theories of evolution, energy, entropy, and relativity accompany a host of social schemes and concerns, powerfully refracted in the storyworlds under narration: eugenics, degeneration, political order vs. cultural chaos, the possibility of individual and social renovation, of global utopia or planetary catastrophe. The reading list, in addition to selections from Darwin's Beagle, Origin, and Descent, is likely to include Bulwer-Lytton, The Coming Race; Butler, Erewhon; Wells, The Island of Dr. Moreau and The Time Machine; Huxley, Brave New World; Clarke, Childhood's End; Mitchison, Solution Three; Lessing, Shikasta; Stoppard, Arcadia; and Wright, A Scientific Romance. Classes will be in seminar discussion format. Students will give several formal class reports and write a midterm and final paper.
*This course satisfies the requirement in post-1700 British literature.
5380.002 Advanced Problems in Literary StudiesJulie Nelson Couch
Many Tongues: Translating Middle English Literature
This course will introduce students to the grammar, syntax, vocabulary, phonology, and prosody of Middle English. The term Middle English encompasses an array of regional dialects that coexisted in England after the Norman Conquest in 1066 and before the standardization of English in 1430. Students will acquire proficiency in distinguishing between and reading the different regional dialects that comprise Middle English. As a result, students will be able to comprehend and read aloud Middle English prose and poetry, from the prose of a twelfth-century chronicle to late fourteenth-century romance poetry. This course will prepare students to study Chaucer's major corpus, The Canterbury Tales, in the Middle English Literature course (English 5303) to be offered in the spring. This course will not only be of interest to literature students but also to linguistics and creative writing students interested in the theory and praxis of translation. Class time will be spent hearing, translating, and pronouncing the language. Students' work with Middle English will culminate in a translation project and in a dramatic reading of a tale by Chaucer. Course requirements also include a mid-term and a final exam.
*This course satisfies one part of the requirement for English philology.
5390.001 Writing for PublicationSara Spurgeon
This course will help graduate students in literature and linguistics prepare a manuscript
for submission to a journal in their field. Students must have a suitable article-length
paper (5,000 – 7,000 words) by the beginning of the course, usually one prepared in
a previous graduate course. The essay must be a critical work, not creative non-fiction,
fiction, or poetry (Creative writing faculty already offer the best advice for this
sort of publishing).
*This course satisfies the requirement in Professional Development.
5390.002 Writing for PublicationLara Crowley
This course focuses on the process of preparing an essay for submission to a peer-review
journal. Each student begins with a previously prepared essay (10-25 pages) that he/she
wishes to revise. Students prepare and present a conference-length version of this
research and determine an appropriate conference for presenting such a paper. They
also consider appropriate journals for their essays, in part by analyzing critical
approaches and emphases found among articles in various journals, and then tailor
their submissions for their target journals. In addition to revising their own essays,
students participate in peer-editing workshops, write cover letters, and learn about
related issues, such as how one obtains grants for research in libraries and archives,
publishes book reviews, and develops proposals for books, collections, and editions.
Although this course takes a practical approach to scholarly publication, we also
consider throughout the semester how one might define scholarly success in this field,
and each student develops a research agenda that will encourage future success.
*This course satisfies the requirement in Professional Development.